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Bayonetta

Bayonetta

Details
Publisher Sega  Developer PlatinumGames  Release Date Out now (Japan)  Price ¥7,980  PlayersGenre Action/adventure  Supports 720p, DualShock 3, Dolby Digital 5.1   Age Rating 18+  Web site www.sega.com/platinumgames/bayonetta

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When Bayonetta director and Devil May Cry creator Hideki Kamiya spoke out recently on the subject of the over-sexualisation of female videogame characters, he stated – in relation to games by Gaiden designer Tomonobu Itagaki – that “It’s a huge mistake to think like an idiot that big breasts on women seem erotic”. By that, we assumed that he meant that games should stop objectifying women and just bloody well grow up a little. Having just played Bayonetta, we now understand that he’s just more of a legs and ass man.

The assumption that games are made for teenagers – usually an observation made by non-gamers – is unavoidably confirmed in Bayonetta. We confess that in all of our gaming days, we have never seen such a comically over the top mixture of gore, violence and overtly sexual content. If you’d like to simulate the basic raw experience of Bayonetta while you wait for the game to hit these shores, take a bull-whip, some handcuffs, a gimp suit, a kilo of diced brisket, some pigs blood and a spanking paddle, drop it all in a leather-bound blender, hit ‘frappe’ and moan like a sex addict.

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That’s just not as bad as it sounds. There isn’t even one ounce of po-faced seriousness with which the game regards itself, so it really doesn’t take very long before you’ll begin to laugh along with it, rather than at it. The key, believe it or not, is not that Bayonetta herself – an Umbra Witch of extraordinary power – has guns on her feet. In fact, it’s not down to any single gimmick. Instead, the game’s strengths are both its variety and its consistent ability to surprise – a factor that runs the entire length and breadth of the game’s ten or so hours running time. Bayonetta will constantly reward you with new things to play with, whether bought from the game’s shop – a bar known as The Gates Of Hell and run by shady Manga stereotype Rodan – or through simply exploring and collecting.

Bayonetta’s range of moves is almost too vast to comprehend and complimented by some of the slickest animation we’ve ever seen in a Japanese action-adventure. And luckily, there’s no need to learn them all unless you feel you have to as a completionist. In fact, the almost unimaginable number of combat maneuvers allows you to pretty much feel cool no matter what buttons you’re bashing, making for an ultimately rewarding and exhilarating experience, especially when you discover something special and actually take a timeout to go find out how you did it. Assisting you further in learning new combos, the game’s loading screen contains a moves list and an area in which to practice. Just as well really, since our one major criticism of the game is its laborious load times; a gameplay-obfuscating factor that even rears its head when you pick up new items.

For a few years now, Japanese gaming in the west has seen some steady decline. In a move to stem the flow of revenue hemorrhaged by the nation’s industry, there has been a tide of statements from its key players, each surmising that it needs to Westernise to regain former appeal. When you really think about it, though, back in the day, we didn’t buy Japanese games because they were just like American ones. We bought Japanese games because, lacking any shared social reference whatsoever, they were stark-bollock mental.

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So while the likes of Final Fantasy and arguably Devil May Cry 4 have, broadly speaking, been run through the western filter, Bayonetta is perhaps the nuttiest Japanese game we’ve ever played. It’s as if Kamiya himself has realised that it’s the national freedom of imagination and its culturally boundless creativity that made the country’s gaming industry among the strongest in the world. And for that reason, he refuses to budge, to relent nothing to a logical plot or the enabling of western-passé character design. As a result, Bayonetta is twice the game.

It’s immature, it’s brash, it’s loud, it’s nonsensical, bizarre and overtly sexual (note, we didn’t say sex’y’ on account of game cameras flying at high speed into  Bayonetta’s gusset isn’t much of a turn-on). But at the same time, it’s so tongue-in-cheek that all of that somehow gets alchemically transmuted into loveable, daft, exhilarating, awesome, and titillating. Bayonetta is all of those things but with it, in pure gameplay terms, simply one of the finest action games we’ve ever played; imaginatively created and masterfully executed in every conceivable way.
Dan Howdle

Summary
The most over the top, unremittingly silly, astoundingly inventive, consistently thrilling, overtly sexual, guiltily enjoyable Japanese action game we’ve played in years.
93%




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  • noctic

    why didn’t you criticize the lead character’s design “Bayonetta” ?

    she is soo skinny and flat and yet they keep calling her sexy !
    and don’t you think that she’s a bit too OLD to do some bizarre/sexual moves like dancing, posing, sucking a lollipop…etc.
    one word to dicribe her “DISGUSTING” and not sexy!!

  • IanDransfield

    Too old? She’s only 500. That’s not old, that’s sprightly.

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  • Ferry

    Bayonetta is not the most beautiful game character, but she is very unique and also a very fresh design. She is not a generic beauty teenager like most games do.

    It may be a bit off topic but Bayonetta character design is better than FFXIII, which feels boring. It’s maybe because I’m a bit tired of Nomura’s style..