|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: platinumgames||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 5, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
August 19, 2008 - One could argue that the action platforming genre has become a bit stagnant in recent years. Since many developers have been focusing on RPGs and shooters, many have speculated that action platformers like God of War were a dying breed. However, Devil May Cry mastermind Hideki Kamiya is firing back at this speculation and has created an all-new IP to prove that this genre is alive and well.
Bayonetta is a new game that revolves around a witch (appropriately named Bayonetta) who is battling heavenly beasts in an alternate universe where human beings are merely reflections and don't figure much into the cosmic equation. The game features quick and stylish action a la Devil May Cry, and looking at early footage, it is fairly obvious where this game's pedigree comes from. Combos are really fluid and feature high flying attacks as well as over-the-top acrobatics. The game is essentially a single-player affair, and you will be spending a lot of time getting to know the titular character.
Bayonetta herself is actually a pretty impressive creature, and she is probably the best reason to be interested in this game, much like Dante was the best reason to play Devil May Cry (sorry, Nero!) Bayonetta is a witch with other-worldly powers and a decidedly sexy style. She exudes charm and her overall look radiates sexuality, from her skin-tight clothes to her moe-style glasses. Her fighting style can best be described as a potent mix of both gunplay and magic. She uses a combination of four guns: Two she uses in-hand, and two others are attached to her boots. Yes, you read that right, Bayonetta can shoot people with her feet. Although one has to wonder how she can pull the trigger....
But it is not the pedal-based gunplay that makes Bayonetta unique. No, it is her magical powers over hair which sends this game into a completely new stylistic stratosphere. Bayonetta's hair is basically the centerpiece of both her attack power and her wardrobe. Her entire outfit is made out of hair, and when she initiates an attack sequence, the hair from her outfit will detach itself and form something else completely, like a giant fist or stiletto heel that will smash all who stand in her way.
Bayonetta can also use her hair for certain in-game boosts. For example, if she needs to jump over a long pit, she can create butterfly wings from her hair and just float to her destination. I'll be the first to admit that the hair mechanic sounds a little weird at first, but seeing it in action looks pretty cool, and the hair-based mechanisms actually give Bayonetta a very unique feel.
However, there is more to Bayonetta's power than just hair manipulation. Bayonetta is also able to implement a high level magic spell that changes the flow of time into "Witch Time" and slows things down considerably. This is probably a less innovative mechanic then all the hair attacks, but it is nice to see that Bayonetta will be incorporating some more traditional elements to please longtime fans of the genre.
In addition to Witch Time, there are also some more familiar elements in Bayonetta that will help people who are seasoned action veterans feel right at home. The game makes use of a pretty familiar looking upgrade system where you trade collectible angel halos for stronger weapons and attacks. New weapons can also be found in various level stages, or they can be taken from conquered foes.
From what we've seen, Bayonetta looks a lot like it's spiritual precursor, Devil May Cry. It has a lot of style and some considerable substance to back it up. The visuals look amazing and, while the hair aspect is certainly unexpected, I would be excited to get some hands-on time with this title and try it out before making any judgment. Bayonetta definitely has some serious creative potential, and hopefully it will help push the action genre forward in a way we haven't seen since the original God of War! It is slated for release sometime next year, so hopefully we'll have more to report on this title soon!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor