Bayonetta: A Character Action Game, Emphasis on the Action

By Andrew Agney

aagney@lc.edu

 

Platinum Games is known for their exciting and flashy character action games, a genre that blends the beat ‘em up, hack-and-slash style of gameplay with a deep story driven by or around the main character. Though, for how much people like to talk about their more popular titles, we cannot forget the game that put them on the map: Bayonetta.

Released in 2009 for PS3 and Xbox 360, Bayonetta follows the titular character who is one of two last known Umbra Witches in the world. Stricken by amnesia, Bayonetta ventures to find out about her past and continue the war against the forces of heaven that her kind had lost; along the way she will encounter a cast of colorful characters, including another Umbra Witch who seems to know all about Bayonetta and her past, but is not talking anytime soon.

With fast-paced, bombastic combat, an intricate combo system and several weapons to choose from, Bayonetta thrives in the “action” part of “character action”, alongside a “witch time” mechanic that slows down time whenever an attack is dodged at the last second, allowing an opportunity for experienced players to get more hits into their combos or new players to take a breather during the hectic fights.

The story does leave a bit to be desired, but is still good enough to allow for interesting character developments and an air of mysteries; there are also books dotted throughout the game that go into extra lore of the world, like the Umbra Witches, for those of you who do not mind extra reading.

However, the game is pretty risqué in some parts, with Bayonetta often making suggestive comments and becoming nearly naked for her finishing attacks. The game also has a pretty strong basis in religion with the premise being a “holy vs. unholy” war, but even if you can get past all that, the game can be rather difficult if you are not used to the genre and are not playing on the easy difficulty; also requiring several playthroughs to unlock everything, the game, while sporting a lot of replayability in this regard, does take a bit of a time sink and is for veterans of the character action genre, but it does have difficulty selection and several kinds of healing items to help ease new players in.

So, if you are looking for a game that has witches, giant weapons, spectacular combat, gives a challenge or you are just looking for something new to try, Bayonetta could be the game for you. I give it a 8/10.

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