An introduction styled like an old movie condemns a witch for having a child with a sage, and an ominous voice implores me to awaken. Suddenly, I’m on a broken clock tower as it falls through the sky, and I wildly mash buttons to fight angels as a voice narrates the war between the Umbra witches and Lumen Sages. Soon we’re in a graveyard, where a woman prays by a coffin – until angels approach, at which point she attacks them while upbeat music kicks in, a man bursts out of the coffin to help, and the woman slices off her own clothes.
Once “Fly Me to the Moon” begins playing, I suspect this game is a bit over-the-top. By the time she’s firing cheap guns (four at a time, two on her hands and two on her feet) and shouting, “Guns!” whenever she needs a new set tossed to her, I’m CERTAIN it’s over-the-top.
So began my playthrough of Bayonetta, a game that’s equal parts hilarious and thrilling.
Demon Summoning – through hair?
Bayonetta is wild and irreverent, but so absurd it should amuse rather than offend. The protagonist, Bayonetta, is a witch in a pact with a demon. She summons the demon through use of her hair, which she also uses as magical clothing. This means that whenever she uses powerful attacks, she loses some of her clothes (though full nudity is never shown). It’s utterly insane – and yet, the game presents its mythos in such thorough, detailed ways, it’s not as hard to accept as you might think.
The Bayonetta Story
Many people ignore the story, but I actually loved it. It’s a bit convoluted, but not much more than, say, a typical JRPG. Bayonetta’s search for her lost memories takes her to the holy city of Vigrid – where the mystery deepens. Still, if you don’t share my love of the awesomely weird story, just focus on the gameplay.
The gameplay is stylish action at its finest. While you start with four guns, you eventually have access to a variety of weapons, from katanas to giant claws. As you chain together attacks into combos, which can be practiced during any loading screen, an ability called Witch Time gives the game a unique flavor. If you dodge immediately before an enemy’s attack, you trigger Witch Time, and everything around you enters slow motion. It’s an invaluable skill you’ll want to master to survive the toughest enemies.
And trust me, they’re tough. Bayonetta is a challenging game. Expect to get “stone” rewards for most chapters, until a second playthrough when your skills have improved. Even with that in mind, you’ll die often. Then there are the bonus challenges, usually accessible by backtracking, which give you even harder goals.
All about FUN!
Yet despite its difficulty, Bayonetta never stops being fun. I must have died to the enemies Grace and Glory a hundred times (don’t even mention their stronger counterparts), but every time, I wanted to try again. The action is incredibly fun, and boss battles are the definition of epic.
It’s a fantastic game, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you like stylish action (think Devil May Cry ) and want a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, despite some truly awesome scenes – you need to play Bayonetta!