Today the demo for Platinum Games’ action title Bayonetta was released on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Marketplace. I’ve been looking forward to trying out the game for a while especially since when I tried to download the Japanese version of the demo when it came I found out that it was limited to gold members only. After rave reviews such as Famitsu’s perfect score and from various other gaming outlets I knew I had to play right away and downloaded the 769 MB demo from Xbox Live during my lunch break.
Bayonetta is a sexy modern day witch with black thick-rimmed glasses giving her an intelligent aura. The way she uses her long dark hair for her clothing and for attacks makes her feel like a deadly flower. Even her targeting reticule which looks like a crimson red pair of lips pounds home the idea that she is a beautiful yet strong women fighting for…actually I have no clue what. Either way the game gives off the fragrance of style from its upbeat feminine soundtrack to its beautiful European setting.
Combat is relatively simple to pick and the fun comes in mastering basic skills and learning to pull off over-the-top combos for maximum style. There are only two attack buttons and a general action button and all attacks are performed from different combinations of these buttons in conjunction with the left analog stick. Melee only requires a tap of the Y button for punches or the B button for kicks. The titular Bayonetta also packs plenty of heat wielding two handguns in her hands and two on her feet which she can use at any instance by holding the corresponding button instead of tapping it. This makes switching between melee and ranged attacks and vice-versa a cinch in any predicament making Bayonetta a versatile fighter.
By dispatching enemies successfully Bayonetta’s magic meter increases until it hits maximum. At this point Bayonetta can activate her special attacks called Torture Attacks. By pressing both attack buttons simultaneously one of several different kinds will be unleashed on the unsuspecting victim. After activation an icon on the screen will appear which corresponds to the controller’s face button. By rapidly tapping the button onscreen the “Megaton” level increases allowing Bayonetta to let loose more stylish pain. However the magic meter will decrease if you are hit so dodging is one of the most important aspects of the game.
One of the biggest features of Bayonetta is Witch Time. Bayonetta cannot block but instead dodges attacks with the tap of the right trigger. Bayonetta can easily evade enemy attacks with a few taps of the button but for added flair you can wait until the last possible moment to dodge. Getting the timing right might take a few tries but the rewards are enormous. This activates Witch Time, Bayonetta’s version of bullet time, which slows down everything around her while she herself moves at regular speed allowing Bayonetta to deliver devastating damage. As a Touhou fan I love the idea of rewarding the player for grazing attacks.
The Xbox version of the demo contains three sections; the Tutorial, the Falling Clock Tower and the Angel’s Metropolis.
The Falling Clock Tower is insane. I don’t even know what’s happening but for some reason Bayonetta is God knows how high fighting off crazy looking angels on a tower as it plummets to the ground. How cool is that!? The sheer amount of chaos makes it hard to fight at times but I imagine its a blast for others to watch. The graphics are rendered well and there are never any hints of slowdown unlike the PS3 version.
The Angel’s Metropolis starts off as Bayonetta rides a train into town and leaves the station. As she is walking off the train a cool runway-like sequence introduces the Bayonetta logo which is suddenly interrupted by a short story sequence. Bayonetta makes her way to an courtyard where she battles regular enemies and a succession of bosses. Describing it wouldn’t do justice to how cool it is so just watch the gameplay video instead.
Bayonetta is an absolute blast to play. Everything just feels so polished making for a sleek action game. Although the game launches in North America a few weeks after the holiday season on January 5 it will be out in time for a nice early Birthday gift. Can’t wait for it.