03-03-2010 02:55 PM - edited 03-03-2010 03:04 PM
Bayonetta review (PS3 version)
I’m basing my review of this game on it having been installed on my hard drive from the start, also note I have played the original Devil May Cry. The game saves for this game are copy prohibited.
What’s this game about then? Well you play as Bayonetta; Bayonetta is believed to be the very last survivor of the Umbran witches. Bayonetta is a very strong willed woman who utilises her hair as her most dangerous weapon; she also has the habit of being rather sexual when confronting her opponents, and often uses her charms to her advantage. She will not be bossed around by anyone and likes to get right to the point from the start. She is a no nonsense action girl. However despite her strong attitude she is currently suffering from a very bad case of amnesia.
So what’s the story about then? Many hundreds of years ago the Umbran witches looked after the dark of the world and the Lumen sages looked after the light but a tragedy occurred and now both are thought extinct. Bayonetta is found in a coffin twenty years before the game starts, she has no real memory of what happened before she was in the coffin or of know about any of the events afterwards, however she does remember that she is an Umbran witch with the power to summon demons.
Bayonetta has found out about there being 2 eyes of the world somewhere in the world. She feels that having one of these eyes already in her possession that having the other will help her regain her lost memories or at least put her on track to regaining them. Little does she know that she is not the only one who is after both eyes of the world, so not only is she a target for these gems of wealth but she is also a target of the minions of heaven.
Her journey takes her to the mysterious city of Vigrid which seems to not only have links to her forgotten past but also links to the other power of the past the Lumen sages.
Bayonetta while on her search for the second eye of the world in the city of Vigrid will encounter a lot of different types of environments, a wide variety of enemies as well as a few quite unique bosses, not only in where you fight them but their general design too.
The locations in this game couldn’t really be much more diverse in my opinion if you tried; you have an inner city area with buildings all around which connects to the area where a small church is, all of this looks very quaint and cosy, but this would be only a cover to hide what the place is really like.
Another example of the areas you get to see is a rather angelic world which is just as much as a decoy as the ‘normal city’ as the forces of heaven want you disposed of. The areas you get to traverse are not simply moving from point a to point b while fighting enemies on the way, at times you will be timed to reach the end of a section as fast as you can as the pathway may slowly be crumbling away or you may have to protect something while keeping yourself alive until you can proceed again.
There are no puzzles to speak of in this game however there are a lot of opening up pathways by finding the keys to proceed with, or pathways which you must use within a strict time limit after activating them.
You will notice that these moments in the game don’t give you enough time to reach your goal, that’s when Bayonetta’s power of witch time is needed, you simply activate witch time by using a statue trap and you can then run to your location with ease. Witch time happens whenever Bayonetta successfully dodges an attack at around the last second, in witch time everyone else is slowed down and so is time itself allowing you to have a huge advantage in battle.
Don’t expect to be walking everywhere you go like a normal person either, being a witch gives Bayonetta powers like ‘witch walk’, this allows Bayonetta to walk on walls etc so she can traverse up or down walls etc whenever a full moon is showing. No full moon though means no ‘witch walk’.
You will also get the opportunity to see into the realm of heaven in some levels temporarily and the surroundings will change a lot when this happens.
Bayonetta also has many other forms of transport she can use throughout the game but I won’t spoil them.
The enemies you will face will always be minions of heaven but don’t think that there isn’t a wide variety of them as there is, one example is the Affinity, these are your basic grunts of the angel world that can wield a variety of weapons, and they are a bird and humanoid hybrid that can fly if they wish to. Another example is an enemy called Fairness, these are a griffon like enemies that have short and long range attacks, despite there size they are quick to attack and can prove a deadly opponent. Fairness can also stun you with their roar making you an easy target.
Sometimes you may encounter a stronger variation of an enemy but these will go by a different name and have new attack patterns but still utilise the lesser counterparts’ attacks as well.
Now for the combat system, firstly there is no form of magic that you can use despite playing as a witch except for the aforementioned witch time and witch walk, this is a little surprising since you’re a witch and you don’t use magic to attack however Bayonetta relies on her other fighting abilities.
Bayonetta starts out with using basic hand to hand combat which she can fuse wicked weaves attacks at the end of these combo to knock opponents flying or to deal a lot of damage in one hit. Wicked weave attacks are attacks where Bayonetta using her hair calls upon the power of Madama Butterfly to punch or kick an opponent, her hair forms the physical representation of a part of Madama Butterfly which hits the enemy.
Bayonetta can also use a variety of weapons in the game as well, she starts out with the Scarborough fair guns, which she can not only use with her hands they can be attached to her feet as well, giving her a very unique way to fight enemies.
The Scarborough fair guns aren’t the only weapon she can use either there are a few other long range weaponry she can use which can also be equipped to her feet as well. She also can equip melee weapons too like the Shuraba. The Shuraba is a sword that Bayonetta can use to cut apart her enemies in battle, this can only be used by her hands but there are melee weapons that Bayonetta can equip that can used by her feet as well.
The game is also features a extremely wide and robust combo feature, not only does each weapon have a distinct combo set for where it is placed on Bayonetta, so its combo is different if placed on her feet when compared to her hands but depending on what two weapons you have equipped on these two areas also effects the combo as well when you want to mix and match you style. This means no 2 combination of weapons will have the exact same combo shared between them and considering there’s around 10 weapons in the game to get that’s a lot of possible combos to use.
If you have any guns equipped you can activate a move called bullet climax this is a witch time like move which allows you to fast fire your guns at enemies while they are in a slowed state.
If however you find yourself not being able to damage the enemy with your weapons, you can use there weapons against them instead, sometimes you may find an enemy weapon or they may drop one which can be used for a limited number of attacks.
A novelty with this game is that some doors require massive keys to open them; these keys can also be used as weapons.
Bayonetta also has two very interesting type of attacks which are unique to not only the enemy they are used on but where Bayonetta is position when the attack is executed.
The first is a torture attack, this attack can only be pulled of when you have a full magic gauge section, and this attack tends to damage the enemy greatly in a very unique fashion, this can range from guillotining the enemy to crushing them with a spiked wheel and spinning the wheel. Despite how deadly these attacks are these are not instant kill attacks.
The other interesting attack is the climax attack, this is used against bosses and bigger opponents whom you won’t be able to take down normally, Bayonetta uses her hair to summon forth a demon whom will attack the enemy and you must do an action like repeatedly tap a button to get bonus halos, if you do not tap the button enough you can fail the attack as well.
Halos are this games form of currency, you gain a lot from combat but most are gained by getting as high a grade as you can when playing the game. Each level is composed of multiple stages which you must either reach your destination as fast as you can, destroy all the enemies that come after you or by protecting something until all enemies are destroyed. You are graded on the highest combo you can perform, how long you took, whether you got hit or how many times you were hit. These 3 criteria give the grade for that stage of the level and all the stage scores are then compared to give you an overall grade for the whole level. What also affects the overall grade is how many items you used and if you died and by how many times you died.
Halos are used at the shop called Gates of Hell here you can use halos to buy a variety of different things for Bayonetta these are categorised as
Weapons, these being duplicates of weapons you already own allowing you to have the same weapon on both hands and feet.
Accessories, this is where you buy the accessories that Bayonetta can wear.
Items, These being the consumables of the game to either restore life or upgrade attack temporarily. Interestingly the majority of the consumables are lollipops.
Techniques, this is a bunch of fighting techniques that Bayonetta can learn, interestingly these techniques can be turned off.
Rodin’s treasures, these mainly consist of bonus costumes that Bayonetta can wear.
There are 2 other ways of acquiring items, one is via concocting, the other through angel attack.
Concocting is where you take any mixture of 3 different item types and mix them up to create any of a possible 9 items which you can use in battle. To get the materials you just destroy the scenery inside levels. Though this is a free method to getting items the cost to make items is high as your materials will run out quickly.
Angel attack is a shooting gallery mode which you play at the end of each level, you have a set number of bullets (which can be increased by finding bonus bullets mid level) and you must try to shoot as many angelic enemies down for points. If you acquire enough points you can trade them for items, if you can’t trade them for items or you have left over points these can be traded for halos instead.
The game also has you finding a variety of collectibles or doing a task to get a collectible.
One of the collectibles to find in this game are Umbran tears of blood, these can be gained in a variety of ways, you can gain them by catching crows inside of levels, you can gain them by meeting trophy/achievement criteria or you can get them by completing certain Alfheims.
Alfheims are trials the character can choose to do, these are not really a collectible in themselves though they are part of a trophy/achievement, but the trials you must complete inside them do give you collectibles. Each Alfheim has a set task you must complete; these can consist of only using wicked weave attacks to win or not using witch time at all. Once you have completed an Alfheim you can gain either part of an LP, a broken witch heart or a broken moon pearl.
LPs are also a collectible to get, you can get these whole or you must find parts of them throughout the levels, these unlock new weapons for Bayonetta to use after handed over the LP to Rodin in the Gates of Hell shop.
Broken Witch Hearts are Bayonetta’s way of increasing her health; you need to collect 4 to get a full heart and to increase your health meter, these cab be found in chests as well as Alfheims.
Broken Moon Pearls are used to increase Bayonetta’s magic gauge, for every 2 pieces you find her magic limit will increase, these too can be found it chests as well as Alfheims.
The final collectible is Antonio’s notes, these are notes that you can find on most levels that detail the back story of the game or give more details on other subjects.
Now for the good things about this game and there’s a lot of good things to be had in this game, this game has a slightly long opening which spans over 2 levels, both are short levels with a long FMV in between them and through these two levels I would say is one of the best openings to a game ever.
A great thing this game offers is when you first load up a level you can practice combo moves will you wait, you can’t change what weapons you have equipped during the load but it’s a great feature to get in a little practice before starting.
The enemies you face on levels change depending on what difficulty you have the game on, so don’t expect playthroughs on multiple difficulties to be exactly the same.
There are loads of extras to gain in this game and loads of items etc to unlock, it would take quite awhile to unlock every costume and bonus feature but it is well worth it. You can unlock concept art, 3d models of everything in the game etc.
This game as mentioned above gives extra details on the games back story or on other topics via Antonio’s notes, however the game also offers an in depth back story to each enemy and boss you get to meet as well as the demons Bayonetta can summon. This information is gained just by meeting an enemy or using the demon automatically for the first time.
This game offers a great musical score which sets it apart from most other games.
This game has so many surprises in it, I can’t even count the number of times this game has surprised me. Every time I thought I’ve seen everything this game has to offer it brings out something new again, this goes on right until the end.
Now for the bad and there are a few niggles, firstly despite being installed on my hard drive the game still suffers with random load times here and there especially if you want to skip a scene you have to wait to select the option.
QuickTime events are not necessarily a bad point in fact if used properly they can add to the experience however this games QuickTime events are hit and miss, mainly because quite a few QuickTime events that come out of nowhere. However not all QuickTime events are used badly in this game as some are used to help gain you extra halos.
Sexualisation, while I do believe sex in games can have its place if it is used properly this game seems to be sexual just for the sake of it, the fact Bayonetta seems to get nearly naked on almost all levels just feels like overkill.
While the musical score for this game is one of the best scores I have heard in a game, when the same few songs are played constantly throughout the game no matter how great the score may be this starts to grate. After awhile you may just mute the TV or play music just to go over it.
Graphically this game is something else; the detail given to some of the bosses you will face is great, the detail on some of the smaller things on levels is of a higher standard compared to your average game. The way the floor can crumble beneath your feet and how each part just falls to oblivion is great. The scaling that some of the levels have is extraordinary; I can’t remember the last game to show such great scaling. Some of the levels graphics are completely psychedelic in nature: it is truly amazing at times.
Finally the game doesn’t always utilise just the FMV to portray a scene, sometimes a scene will be played out by you looking at movie stills, while some may say this is a cheap gimmick and to save money it really does add to the feel for this game. This game could be sold on its graphics alone.
To sum up this game, it is easily deserving of being placed in the running for game of the year, I wouldn’t be surprised if some people place it as game of the year, this game is just excellent and there are very few games that deserve to be called that. To sum up how I feel about this game I would say this game is like taking a trip into the mind of a madman and living to tell the tale, it’s a game you won’t forget in a hurry and you’ll want to play again and again. This deserves to be in anyone’s collection.
on 03-03-2010 05:08 PM
nice review there .. the only thing that stopped me even renting the game was the demo ,i found it a button masher, but after reading your review ill certainly look out for it in the bargain bin at some point in the future ,,thanks for the review again awesome job well done ..
05-03-2010 11:05 AM - edited 05-03-2010 11:08 AM
I have to say this game is worth getting but install it first though, it makes the gameplay less tedious because of all the loading. It's an excellent game.
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