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Friday, February 19, 2010

Bayonetta on Xbox 360 Impression

Bayonetta on Xbox 360
Over the top, addictive, amazing, fun and just a bit naughty. Bayonetta is all of these and so much more. This amnesic witch would be right at home in any Devil May Cry, even better as characters in DarkStalkers, but as a standalone heroine she does just fine. The Bayonetta demo offers just a glimpse of the gameplay but it’s the full game that reveals Bayonetta to be more than eye candy in a solid action game. Why does this witch not deserve the bullet fate of others, let’s take a look …

Gameplay – Action so over the top at times once it’s over a cigarette is needed. Bayonetta can run, climb (walk on walls) glide and more as she unleashes brutal attacks from kicks and punches to swords slashes and insane shooting from her hands and feet, guns on each. The influence of Devil May Cry is an easy one thanks to Bayonetta Director Hideki Kamiya, DMC’s original creator. The action, puzzles and use of magic/skills is all so fluid and getting combos, dodges and attacks just right while in a mass of angels, there is no better feeling in gaming. Some exploration is available but the path and battles are linear. Move to an area, solve puzzle, move on, fight baddies, mix, and repeat. Customize weapons, unlock moves and increase health and magic. The core functionality is established but how Bayonetta executes her moves, she is deadly, this game is deadly to the hours it will consume. Not to be missed are special torture attacks that have some button presses involved but don’t make this feel like a God of War clone.

Graphics – Bayonetta looks great and she’s just the beginning. The graphics just highlight the design put into each character, weapon, setting, you name it its looks great. While Bayonetta is one of the best playing action games it’s also one of the best looking with a level of style more fit for a club than an angelic battlefield. She looks great, that’s all that need to be said about Bayonetta and her game.

Sound – Bayonetta sounds like every possible fantasy and fetish wrapped into one beautiful package. Her accent is over exaggerated, phrases so over the top at times it’s humorous and her cool manner just highlights the way she fights. In a nutshell the voice acting is great, a treat to listen to from Bayonetta to Rodin. The background music is poppy but overall forgettable but there is one tune that is so addictive it sticks in the gamers head and will cause them to head over to iTunes for some Fly Me To the Moon. The game sounds as delicious as it looks.

Design – Her hair; its clothing, it’s a weapon; it’s over the top and works. Bayonetta is gorgeously designed and not over exaggerated like some tomb raiding gaming leads. Her looks are so unique, her moves sensual and her accent is drool inducing but she’s no bimbo. Falling through the sky while fighting hordes of angels and big dragon things while uncovering a missing past … yeah, the level, angel and character designs hit on all cylinders. Some of the city based levels feel, well like a city but at times levels can look and feel very cool even if it involves falling through the cosmos. The angels are cookie cutter but there are so many varieties of cookies to taste. Gamers will be challenged by uniquely designed enemies that don’t give any quarter and challenge not only the gamer but the designers skill in crafting a witch that can move fluidly leaving no doubt this is a masterfully designed game.

Miscellaneous – Besides the action it’s Bayonetta and her back-story that’s fun to follow (please make this into an anime ala Devil May Cry from FUNimation please). She kills angels, she gets her weapons and items from demonic arms dealer Rodin at the bar Gates of Hell, she’s a witch but not the bad a guy. There are the ancient orders of the Lumen Sages (light) and Umbran Witches (dark) who one time maintained a balance then fought and, fast forward, leave Bayonetta as sole surviving Umbran. She awoke from 20 years of sleep at the bottom of a lake and she slowly encounters pieces of her past, unlocks new powers and moves the plot along. The narrative moves along the gameplay and like a good movie, it all fits at the end but will present some confusion while playing. Don’t think about it too much, just enjoy and comprehend later.

Overall, Bayonetta rocks, period … really, why are you waiting, go buy, play now. Bayonetta is everything there is to love about action games. She will remind gamers why many fell in love with the hobby in the first place. Testing your reflexes, feeling a sense of satisfaction and the guilty please Bayonetta brings … what a great package.

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