It’s been 10 years since the original Bayonetta graced consoles and we’re going to give it the review it deserves. Find out what we thought in our Bayonetta Review!
|Release Date||October 29, 2009/February 18, 2020|
|Price||$24.99 USD (2020)|
Bayonetta was one of those games that managed to elude me when it came out in 2009 From what I read at the time, the game was plagued with issues and frame rate drops on my console of choice at the time (PS3), so I never worried too much about missing out. As the years have gone on, I’ve come to seek out those games I have missed during that era as I truly feel it was one of the best eras in gaming history. I finally have my chance as SEGA has brought this game along with Vanquish to the PS4 in 4K at 60FPS on the PS4 and Xbox One X.
Bayonetta looks pretty basic to begin with, but as you traverse to new areas, it starts to brighten up a little bit. The graphics aren’t going to blow you away or anything, but it looks more than adequate for this era of gaming. The game is set in the fictional European city of Vigrid as you search for s mystical item as most games of this nature go. The plot in Bayonetta is pretty much an afterthought with how crazy the actual premise of the game is. You’re a witch with dual-pistols strapped to your stiletto heels who can take out archangels with her hair. There’s a ton of backstory in this game with books and different items scattered around the environment that you can interact with. Bayonetta struggles with amnesia which only allows her to see flashes of her life before she awoke at the bottom of a lake around 20 years before the events of the game. It’s basically one of those stories where you’re searching for that one mystical item as Bayonetta pieces together her past.
The fun part about Bayonetta is the combat system and just how fluid and easy to use it is. I don’t generally play many games like this, but I was able to jump right in and feel like I was invincible after paying attention to the quick tutorial in the prologue of the game. There’s a basic punch and kick attack like any other game out there. There are also combos that you can execute based on the weapon that you have equipped, some are even capped up with a finisher called Wicked Weave. This move summons a fist or boot from Bayonetta’s hair (which doubles as her clothes). Using this move allows you to create a devastating rhythm to every battle. You can even perform a Climax finisher which transforms Bayonetta’s hair into a giant dog that eats up her foe, it’s quite the sight to see.
The combos are great and really fun to pull off, but the mastery really comes with the dodge mechanic. If you press the dodge button before you are attacked, Bayonetta will evade the attack. If you press the button at the last possible second before you’re attacked, you activate Witch Time, which freezes time for everyone else and allows you to get valuable extra hits in before time goes back to normal. It’s a good challenge to try and get your timing right to actually activate Witch Time. You start to become more attentive to the audio and visual cues of the different types of enemies as they are about to attack.
Each battle sequence is graded based on time, how much damage you take, and the quality of your combos. This is one thing I don’t normally enjoy about games as I feel it really takes away from the accomplishment of beating a section of the game, but I didn’t feel that way in Bayonetta. While I do feel a grading system is unnecessary, I also found that it drove me to polish my combos and my combat skills in general even more than I thought I needed to before. It’s a challenge, but not one that feels like it’s daunting and not one that prevents me from enjoying the game if all I get is a bronze medal.
Bayonetta is a great character that is a joy to play as with all the confidence she exudes and how dominant she is during every battle. She’s just a fun character. This is never as apparent as it is in the action cutscenes. Bayonetta frequently breaks the fourth wall by posing and glancing at the camera and you always feel like she is in control of every situation. The camera really gets over her personality and, while it can be a bit over-sexualized at times, the game knows when to lay off of that when there are tense moments. I guess the best way to describe it is that the game doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Most of the chapters are just different fights as you push your way through the level. There are different little sequences here and there that break up the monotony like a motrocycle sequence, shooting down missiles, and other things of that nature. I did get annoyed by the fact that cutscenes tend to transition right into a battle in which you can be hit right away which takes away your chance of getting a Pure Platinum medal right off the bat. I did enjoy the fact that there was some nice enemy and boss variety and it didn’t feel like I was just going through the motions constantly.
Alfheim portals teleport you to an arena for a specific combat challenge. These portals lead to some difficult battles. These aren’t difficult just based on the enemy, but more on how skilled in combat you have to be to complete the victory conditions. Don’t expect them all to beatable the first time you try, some of these will require you to be stronger and have better weaponry available. Bayonetta is meant to be replayed, you can go back to any chapter and try and farm for items or obtain a higher medal than you received the first time around.
Bayonetta is a fun experience that everyone should try if you’re like me and have never played it. People who have played games like Devil May Cry will eat this one up and may even have a new favourite in the genre. I do feel like the game has aged very well and wouldn’t be out of place if it was just released today. Bayonetta herself is a great character and one that I think has plenty of room to grow in the future.