I’ve not heard that much about this one but when I saw that it was developed by Hideki Kamiya – the creator of the Devil May Cry series – and his new studio (Platinum Games)I though it was worth the download. When I booted it up to see it was published by Sega as well my heart fluttered a little.
I’d say you get a pretty good idea of what the game will be like from the demo. As you might expect it is in the same vein as DMC. Having not played a hell of a lot of that game (I don’t yet own a PS2) my mind instantly drew parallels with Otogi on the original Xbox (made by AM6 at Sega). Both the Devil May Cry series and the Otogi series fall in to the same basic category anyway – 3rd Person OTT Action – but it was the art style and enemy design that really reminded me of Otogi (the sequel especially).
Bayonetta takes place in Vigrid, a fictional city in Europe. The titular character is a witch who shapeshifts and uses various firearms, along with magical attacks she performs with her own hair, to dispatch her foes. She possesses four handguns—two hand-held, and one attached to each heel—and has also been pictured with shotguns, rocket launchers, a glowing whip with a cobra ‘s head at the tip of it, and a two-handed katana. Bayonetta faces angelic and warrior-like enemies that confront and challenge her for reasons she is unaware. She awoke after a 500 year sleep and found herself in an unfamiliar area with no memories of who or what she is. Over time, she begins to remember what caused the predicament she found herself in.
You have a basic button-mashing control system (with many a combo if you are actually prepared to master it) with jump, action (usually shoot), punch and kick buttons. You can lock-on and dodge too and if you hold the punch or kick buttons at the end of a combo you shoot your gun too, nice. Like with Otogi (and presumably DMC) jumping combos can be pretty effective especially with the use of your guns.
Also you have a slow-motion mode that you activate if you dodge an enemies attack at the very last moment. This give you about 3 seconds to do some decent damage whist all them monsters can do nothing about it. There’s also a handy move where you do a 360 degree movement on the analogue stick and then press punch or kick (or maybe both, I can’t remember!). This lock’s your movement and gives you quick and easy turning/aiming for a few seconds to shoot the shit out of your surrounding opponents.
Lastly, you seem to have access to ancient weaponry that either has limited ammo or otherwise runs out after a certain number of hits on the enemy. These are dropped in combat by your foes. My favourite of the demo was a huge axe that I collected off a boss or mini-boss character. It’s not quite the same size as when he uses it (as you can see in the demo) but it’s fun all the same.
The story (my interpretation from the cut-scenes in the demo at least) follows the story of Bayonetta, a half-witch banished to our world because one of her parents was human. It’s possible that she is the mother of this half-breed but I think she’s supposed to be the child? Either way, she wakes from the memory/dream of the banishment at the witch council hearing to find herself on a train. It pulls in to the station and she sets off for her destination (wherever that might be!). You are now in control of Bayonetta and you can walk around and interact with things – but not people. It seems Bayonetta is somehow out-of-sync with the human world as everybody appears see-through like a ghost. They walk and run about but they don’t seem to be aware of you at all. You can however see the demons who are all around… Kill Them!
Overall I liked what I saw. You are basically getting a Japanese third-person over-the-top action game so if you like that sort of thing (Devil May Cry, Otogi, Onimusha etc) you will probably like this. The story could be interesting (Bayonetta is voice by somebody English :)) but really it’s the insane combos, spells and special moves on demons etc that is the defining factor here. I won’t rush and get this on release day but I’ll definitely try and pick it up cheaper later on.
Bayonetta will be release in the UK on January 8th 2010.
Go to the Xbox Live Marketplace Page for the demo and add it to your download queue. You can also check out some screen shots and view a trailer there too.
The demo is also available on the PS3.