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Bayonetta Review

A seriously deep game that wears a sexy smile...
Before you write off Bayonetta as a straight Devil May Cry clone, a weird Japanese hack'n'slash, or another sad attempt by a game to be sexy - STOP. Although it has elements of all these things, Bayonetta rises above such simple classification by being the boldest, most explosive and downright unashamed game we've played for years. It isn't a whacky genre game - it actually defines the genre it sits in.

On the surface, Bayonetta rightly draws comparisons to the likes of Ninja Gaiden, Dante's Inferno and Devil May Cry. At the core of the experience you're pushing face buttons to create combos that devastate your opponents. There are a huge amount of moves available, and you can switch weapon sets mid-combo to create an almost infinite string of blows. And it's all seriously easy to execute. Button bashers will be chuffed to see spectacular results from their pad-mashing (because Bayonetta uses her hair as a weapon and clothing, the more extravagant your combos, the more you see of our heroine) and - at the same time - purists will delight in mastering the more complex moves and the timing needed for a perfect dodge.

It's an incredible system that never punishes a lack of ability, but always rewards moments of skill. Pull off a last-second evade, for example, and you trigger 'Witch Time' - several seconds of slow motion that allows you to execute a massive combo on your enemy without fear of being hit. Later on certain enemies can only be damaged in Witch Time but, by then, you'll have it nailed. Similarly, if you land a flurry of moves without being hit your magic gauge will fill up, allowing you to pull off a spectacular 'Torture move'.

As you progress you can buy new moves and animal forms for Bayonetta to temporarily transform into, but none of them are essential and you can quite easily finish the game with the massive amount of moves at your disposal from the start. There are new weapons to unlock (which bring fresh combos) like a whip, a sword and, er, ice-skates. You can even engage Automatic mode, which handles evades for you, leaving you free to button-mash your way through the game. Thanks to its simultaneous accessibility and depth, this really is head and shoulders above its closest rivals.

However, the true beauty of the combat lies in the scenarios. This isn't just a mindless slog through armies of faceless samurai warriors, or pipe-carrying thugs - Bayonetta is taking on weird and wonderful creatures that range from simple 'angels' with halos and oddly distorted faces, through to abominations the size of small towns. Just when you think you've beaten a truly show-stopping monster, something even bigger and more impossible rolls along for a kicking. The penultimate boss, for example, throws a sky-scraper at you and yanks down a satellite from space to try and crush you. The boss fight before that takes place on the side of a multi-story building as it collapses and then moves on to the back of a speeding missile . It's so wonderfully over-the-top that when you finally activate the killer blow (known as Climaxing - really) you'll punch the air. No exaggeration - when we finished some of the later bosses we literally slammed our fist into nothing and shouted at the screen.

These intense fights are broken up by smart platforming sections, simple puzzles, and basic level-exploration. However, this being Bayonetta, these in-between moments are far from throw-away and sedate - one moment you're freezing time to walk on water across a fountain, the next you're motor-biking up the side of a rocket launching into space. Really. It's all part of the grand, 100 miles-per-hour spectacle, and it's what makes Bayonetta the new bench-mark for pure action games.

Thankfully, Bayonetta never makes too much of an effort to explain all the epic madness. There is a whole religious apocalypse plot running away in the background, which keeps you in grotesque enemies to slay, but it's Bayonetta herself that holds your interest in between fight scenes. Every line she delivers drips with sexual innuendo, but it's all very tongue in cheek. You're never asked to seriously consider Bayonetta as a sex object (early developer comments that Very Easy mode would allow you to play one-handed were intended as a joke), despite the fact she is the sexiest collection of pixels we've ever seen. Like the rest of the game, Bayonetta is there to poke fun at gaming conventions by exposing just how ridiculous they all are. She's Lara Croft without the prudishness, Rubi from Wet played with honest sexuality. She's one of the most memorable, likeable characters in the history of games and we really hope she gets a sequel.

And the sly fun doesn't stop with Bayonetta herself. Her supporting cast, and the finer details of the game, reveal a treasure trove of clever gaming in-jokes guaranteed to put smiles on faces (check out 'Playja Vu' for a run-down of the best gags). The end boss character is a particular highlight for us because he's played so posh, English and over the top that he comes across as more laughable rather than loathsome: he so perfectly parodies the well-manicured, well-spoken nemeses of a thousand less imaginative video games. He may spout the kind of rubbish we'd expect from mediocre fan fiction, but we just can't stop listening to his plumby voice, wondering when we'll get the chance to smash his stupid face in with our sword and 'skates.

Its these details - for example, to concoct an item you don't just press a button, you actually have to add ingredients to a virtual pot and mix it with the Right Stick like a Witch stirring her cauldron - that provide the multi-colour icing and slightly rude arrangement of cherries on the Bayonetta cake. Everything here suggests Platinum Games had a whale of a time making the game, and that joy is passed on to the player.

Sadly, the PS3 version is less polished than its 360 counterpart, with mini-load screens every time you open the inventory, pauses between action and cut-scenes and, on rare occasions, visual and audio slow-down when the screen's too full. It's a shame, because every stutter feels jarring next to the slick in-game action and cut-scenes. The technical problems don't ruin it, but leave us a little short-changed - we'd happily add a few percent to the score if it could be fixed. Sega are 'investigating' a correctional DLC patch, but nothing's confirmed yet.

Conversion aside, it seems churlish to complain. Sure, some of the checkpoints seem unevenly spaced, and there aren't enough chances to visit the Gates of Hell to stock up on health and boosts - one boss battle that follows a long Space Harrier style shooting section was made twice as hard as it needed to be, because we'd run out of green health lollipops - but this artificial adversity only makes felling the big boys more satisfying. Bayonetta is all about pleasure (in gaming) and satisfaction (in victory). It embraces, and shatters, genre cliches; less a Devil May Cry clone, than the rare, raw DNA that infused Japanese games, before seductive Western ideals sullied their purity. It's wiser than its forbears, but never cynical - and simply irresistible fun.

PSM3 Magazine
// Overview
Verdict
Overall Sexy, epic and wonderfully ridiculous - a slick action game.
// Interactive
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Read all 33 commentsPost a Comment
sold!
petpiranha on 22 Dec '09
Got my money
DAEDALUS79 on 22 Dec '09
was this an import version then? I hear Sony actually got involved because the ps3 version was way inferior to the 360 version. they're trying to fix it by the UK release which is what you guys should have reviewed in the first place right?
Sleepaphobic on 22 Dec '09
The demo was pleasant enough but not enough to entice me to buy it.
versionr on 22 Dec '09
I must admit that I am confused.

Is this a review of the Japanese import, or a review of the alleged polished US/PAL version? Confused
Mark240473 on 22 Dec '09
ffs! can the review monkeys not write an article without ruining end level boss characters.

thanks a lots for that..idiots!
adgr19 on 22 Dec '09
looking at the ign 360 review and the ign ps3 review is unbelievable. i always knew the ps3 version was worse but i didn't realise it was that much worse. i may hold out until they sort it out.
Sinthetic on 22 Dec '09
was this an import version then? I hear Sony actually got involved because the ps3 version was way inferior to the 360 version. they're trying to fix it by the UK release which is what you guys should have reviewed in the first place right?

Really? I didn't realise that. Pretty bad that SEGA couldn't be bothered putting a bit more polish into it themselves. Their games are usually so pristine.


looking at the ign 360 review and the ign ps3 review is unbelievable. i always knew the ps3 version was worse but i didn't realise it was that much worse. i may hold out until they sort it out.

Might do the same myself. Still, it's not out until the 8th January, so don't really have a choice!
spacelion on 22 Dec '09
I found the demo pretty boring... I'm not buying
dannybuoy on 22 Dec '09
Insta-buy!
Nitramuse on 22 Dec '09
i played the demo and thought it was disjointed.
although it had exceptionally detailed graphics i found as soon as anything moved it became a mess.

cant believe its gettin huge reviews though!!! Surprised
amazingdweezo on 22 Dec '09
JUST BUY BAYONETTA! A grand art masterpiece on every level.
FAUNA on 22 Dec '09
This game's reputation keeps drawing me back and yet I hesitate...Regardless, I think I shall wait and buy "Darksiders" and "Dante's Inferno" first and then perhaps pick up "Bayonetta" second hand or with a price drop.
The_KFD_Case on 23 Dec '09
Demo was uninspiring in my opinion. Looked pretty, but came across as bit of button masher and did not excite me. Played it once through, deleted it and forgot about it.
Brains on 23 Dec '09
I played thought the 360 demo and thought it was s**t, but then that doesn�t surprise me as I think all games like this are s**t, this, Dante�s Inferno, God Of War, Darksider�s, all s**t in my eyes. Massive piles of elephant sized s**t.
Conkers on 23 Dec '09
I played thought the 360 demo and thought it was s**t, but then that doesn�t surprise me as I think all games like this are s**t, this, Dante�s Inferno, God Of War, Darksider�s, all s**t in my eyes. Massive piles of elephant sized s**t.

Merry Christmas!Very Happy
steve_2003 on 23 Dec '09
I played thought the 360 demo and thought it was s**t, but then that doesn�t surprise me as I think all games like this are s**t, this, Dante�s Inferno, God Of War, Darksider�s, all s**t in my eyes. Massive piles of elephant sized s**t.

Merry Christmas!Very Happy

All right then, massive piles of festive reindeer s**t.

Merry f**king Christmas, to one c**t and all!
Conkers on 23 Dec '09
I cant wait for this, for people that grew up playing old school Japanese games this is perfect.

My only issue with the demo is she sounds a bit manly with fighting. Apart from that I think Im developing a very sad polygon crush.....
roland82 on 23 Dec '09
@conkers, what the hell i the point in reading the article then? I played the demo and thought it was great, but will probably wait for the playstation version to be sorted out before buying
ThebigJBIG on 23 Dec '09
bigJBIG you are a man of sense.
Sinthetic on 23 Dec '09
@conkers, what the hell i the point in reading the article then? I played the demo and thought it was great, but will probably wait for the playstation version to be sorted out before buying

What was the point? To give a view point on a game I think is complete and utter s**te in comparison to the large scores it�s been getting everywhere, judging by every other article on this website I thought we were allowed to purvey views both to the positive and negative!

Just a different viewpoint my man, if we didn�t have those the world would be boring! I�m not slagging it off per se, I can see why people would like it, it just aint for me!
Conkers on 24 Dec '09
Oh and I�m still working when really I shouldn�t be, so I�m kranky.
Conkers on 24 Dec '09
your not the only one. In defense of Bayonetta and Dante's Inferno. A treaties on not all games being the same by wheresmymonkey.

Within there genre both games are fantastic, from the brief glimpses i have seen in videos and having played the recently released demos. It is my honest assumption that if ye be a fan of the hacking and the slashing variety of computerated games they should surely find a home on your antique book shelves along with your copy of War and Peace and the communist manifesto.

However if you are of the disposition that the adventures of Dante and ms 'etta not be to your likeing, then you can bloody well bugger off and play something else. I reccommend Demon's Souls if you have the means or maybe waiting for the the next thrilling installment of either the MAss Effect or Bioshock serials.
WHERESMYMONKEY on 24 Dec '09
I played thought the 360 demo and thought it was s**t, but then that doesn�t surprise me as I think all games like this are s**t, this, Dante�s Inferno, God Of War, Darksider�s, all s**t in my eyes. Massive piles of elephant sized s**t.

Merry Christmas!Very Happy

All right then, massive piles of festive reindeer s**t.

Merry f**king Christmas, to one c**t and all!
yup christmas is gay brah (love playing black metal loud during this time) but if you dont like god of war you can die horribly by satanic woodland critters p**sing aids into your eye then raping you (love tht episode) while you play the bestest game of all times which is prob halo for you right?
merry christmas and may satan own all you cattle Very Happy
Sleepaphobic on 24 Dec '09
Looks like Beyonetta has some serious competition upon it's release. Dante's Inferno, Darksiders, Dark Void (kinda simular) and the reigning King God of War III.
happy times for gamers.

PS3 will insure GOW III is good and so far looks like Bayonetta is a winner. I like that Japaneese Anime stuff. it's refreshing for American gamers who only get Wii fit or WWII games.
Krayzie B.o.n.e on 25 Dec '09
Hmm, think I'll wait for GOW...
PS3_fannyboy on 5 Jan '10
Have just been playing Bayonetta (up to level 5 now).

The review hits the nail on the head, the game is an absolute delight. Handles wonderfully, looks beautiful and is incredibly satisfying to play. The art direction of the game is stunning and moves at a great framerate even when theres tonnes going on (on the 360 version at least).

I've been lucky enough to have played the God of War 3 demo as well as the Dante's Inferno demo. Although I have loved what I've played of all three, Bayonetta has that classic Sega games feeling of euphoria and exhilaration that gives it an edge.

A great (and expensive) few months for gamers.
canis77 on 6 Jan '10
I think it looks rubbish. Awful Japanese style bottom bending teenage wet dream. Awful voice acting and from the vids I've seen, a very inconsistent visual style.

I'm not a fan of DMC, so I doubt I'll take to the gameplay in this either.

My respect for Edge's reviews goes down another notch... particularly after the score they awarded Dragon Age.
funkyjack on 7 Jan '10
I was so moved by the poor quality of this review that I registered for this site just to comment on it.

Commenting on the end boss.. revealing 5+ different plot points. You have no concept of "spoiler".

Thanks for ruining all the excitement.
tuxjay on 8 Jan '10
the game is sublime. absolutely f**king love it.
Sinthetic on 9 Jan '10
Its absolutely amazing.
The japanese set the bar for game development and hardware in the late eighties/early nineties and this game has that old school feel for me.
logan13607 on 13 Jan '10
On ps3 looks like Bioshock before patch, foggy washed up picture. Long and annoying loading times, especially after kills. They should do what Tecmo did with Ninja GaidenSigma.
If you have option buy it for 360.
minimalistic on 25 Jan '10
This message is not being displayed because the poster is banned.
hello0123 on 28 Jan '10
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