Bayonetta Reader Review
This was yet another game that I bought despite not liking the demo version very much. I find that whether you like a demo of a game often correlates poorly with your opinion of the full version. Given how well this reviewed I felt it was deserving of attention.
This is a feature laden, generous and long, roaming beat-em-up. It has a striking visual style and is very colourful. The enemies you face and bosses you fight are unlike anything you will have faced before and are highly imaginative. The main character, the witch Bayonetta grated on me a little initially but eventually won me over with her sassy confident style.
The story was utterly ludicrous and very much in keeping with the bonkers artwork. Luka surely wins the award for the most useless and superfluous 'love interest' in all of gaming. There was quite a lot of additional information about the back story buried in collectables that you could read if the story engaged you.
The main triumph of this game is its thrilling, deep and complex combat system. There was a vast array of moves and weapons to employ against the differing enemy types. Carefully timed dodges activate 'witch time' that allows a few seconds of invulnerability to punish your assailant. Unfortunately the game was quite poor at showing you how to play it well. It wasn't great at introducing its key concepts either. There is a facility to practice new moves on the loading screen but without any 'move list' to check attacks off against it just amounted to button mashing for me. High scoring combos were beyond my skill level. If ever there was a game that I wished I was good at it was thin one. The potential for carnage and show-boating available to the skilled player is immense.
I found this game very difficult. The game revels in telling you how poor you are and then rubbing your nose in it. "The shadow remains cast" and "oh wadda day" were phrases I became all too familiar with. The game builds to a suitable climax with the expected string of bosses to overcome at the end. Many of these were multi-stage bosses, some of which had mid level checkpoints and some didn't. It was poorly signposted whether you had reached a checkpoint or not so there was often an anxious wait to see whether any progress had been made or not. Despite the difficulty, death was often rewarded with a full health bar so it is eventually possible to make progress once you learn the attack patterns, although progress sometimes feels rather attritional in that regard. Certainly I would not have been able to progress past some of the final bosses without the use of some of the 'lollipop' power-ups that grant a period of invulnerability. By and large each boss or new enemy is introduced with a short cinematic sequence. These are mercifully skip able however it would have been nice to have been able to skip them with a single button press rather than having to skip them via the start menu.
A special mention must go to the climax moves and torture attacks which are truly spectacular and gloriously gratuitous respectively. The angel attack shooting gallery was also great fun and a nice diversion, although I only ever started getting the hang of its odd timing towards the end of the game.
If you are nearing the end of the game - be warned - it takes ages to wrap itself up, with a playable credits sequence and then two more cinematic sequences to watch which are quite long but enjoyable. You might want to bear that it mind if you are pressing on to finish it late into the night.
The game is well deserving of its lavish praise and excellent review scores. It would be worthy of repeat playthroughs. Certainly it is likely that the more practice you put into it, the more you will get out of it.