What might put you off...
First off - Bayonetta is as amazing as everybody says it is...
Disclaimer: Played 360 version - First playthrough on Normal difficulty in about 12 hours - then went on to play a little on Hard, Very Easy and Easy difficulty.
Bayonetta is a linear over the top sexy action game featuring a fluid combo heavy combatsystem focusing on allout offensive gameplay. Any well timed defensive action will trigger Witchtime (slows down time for a couple of seconds), which further encourages offensive gameplay. There are tons of weapons to find, buy and wield. Any combination of weapons can be equipped to hands and feet - making for endless variety. Bayonetta offers a deep upgrade and personalization system for combat and looks - all driven by ingame currency (halos) dropped by defeated enemies (angels). It's a crazy story of demons and angles - sages and witches and the quest of an amnesiac umbran witch to find out the truth about her past.
Bayonetta does what it sets out to do perfectly. If all you care about are a fluid, responsive, rich and deep combat system and a crazy over the top story featuring a supersexy and uberconfident bulletwitch - then you will find yourself in 5/5 stars gaming heaven.
I love the artstyle. It's like a dominatrix studio meets H.R. Giger meets a burlesque club meets a witch themed anime. It runs smoothly at most times. There's a tiny bit of screen tearing every now and then as well as some minor slowdowns. Nothing too troublesome.
Cheesy J-Pop/Jazz and a lot very gamey tunes (most of which are tributes to old SEGA game soundtracks). The music and soundeffects fit well to the overall action and tone of the game. Nothing too troublesome. Nothing to write home about. Unless you are into cheesy songs and J-Pop/Jazz.
Combat Controls are spot-on. Responsive and fluid. Except for 'focus on one target', which is located on RB (you have to hold it down), right above the right trigger button, which is the singlemost important button used for dodge and other defensive moves, which will activate witchtime if executed perfectly (i.e. last possible moment). Unless you use one finger for each trigger and shoulderbutton (i.e. 4 fingers for 2 shoulderbuttons and 2 triggers), you will find the standard control configuration impractical when it comes to using the focus function - which isn't really necessary most of the time. It's bad, since it could have been just as easily on the left trigger, which is weapons swap. You cannot customize the controls at all.
Usually - it does a sufficient job of capturing the action. Sometimes though, in corners and stairways and other confined spaces, the camera can be real bad, taking any control from you. Also, big enemies can obstruct your view. Same goes for ranged attacks, which often come from off screen. There's one fight in particular, happening on a highway with cars coming down the lanes. Since Bayonetta doesn't work with fixed camera perspective at all and it's almost impossible to keep the camera facing the right way to be enabled to evade oncoming traffic - that particular combat encounter on the highway is just horrible - so much wasted potential. The camera can put a notable dent in the otherwise almost perfect combat mechanics. Since the game is extremely linear, there's no good reason why Platinum didn't use fixed camera angles in places where the free camera just doesn't work out.
- Bayonetta (SO HOT!)
- Great Enemies
- Many Enemies
- Great Bosses
- Many Bosses
- SEGA themed levels (outrun, space harrier)
- Endless Combinations of Weapons
- Endless Combos
So - here come my reasons why Bayonetta is not a 5/5 star game for me. Even though I like Bayonetta's core gameplay and love its artstyle and over the top story and character designs - I hate the design philosophy behind it.
- I hate that death is inevitable (Normal difficulty and up) - just because you'll barely ever get any health back from anywhere but the green lollipop consumables, which are pretty expensive. Bayonetta is not designed on a encouter to encounter basis, but on a level basis. Either you pull off the level perfectly or you'll die. Personally, I enjoy surviving a lot. I don't like dying slowly from an ever depleting health bar. On hard mode, you don't even get any health back between levels. So you'll die. It's inevitable. Designed that way by choice! Yes - dying doesn't mean much, because you don't get punished for dying. You barely get set back, if at all. You'll regain all consumables you've used after the point where you've been set back and so forth. Really forgiving. Other than being mocked by the game for dying! Nah - I don't appreciate being teabagged by a game. Get off my case - assholes!
- I hate the ingame economy. Yes - there's tons of cool and essential shit to unlock in the shop. But it's way too expensive. I barely made enough dough in one proper playthrough to buy all combat moves. Buying all extra weapons? Forget it. Getting more than the most elemental accessories? Fuck off - no way! Extra costumes? No girl - that couture is out of your price range. The game is setup to be a massive grind! The final weapon unlock will only be available to players grinding past 10 000 000 halos total! That's like a bazillion hours of grinding. No sir! If I can't even unlock all my most elemental combat techniques in one serious playthrough - you take your shit way too seriously. I'm not gonna grind a hack 'n slash game forever just to get to play all mechanics and weapons. That's just outlandish! What assholes! They're saying like :'Look - all this cool shit we made, you'll never get to play with, because you won't grind our game for 1000 hours straight!'. Dude - there's a Bayonetta schoolgirl outfit and fucking lightsabers! Grrrr! I hate your guts!
- I hate exploration in extremely linear games like Bayonetta. The hiding spots are always super contrived and the whole process of searching for them on purpose feels unnatural, forced and it's fucking with the game's pacing. Especially when most of the extra weapons are actually only obtainable by finding their freaking hiding spots. You hide away the extra fun in the most tedius, stupid and pointless part of your gameplay? Foul! Fail! Bullshit! Obvious asshole move is obvious!
I had a lot of fun with Bayonetta and its crazy and over the top gameplay, story and characters.
If it weren't for the realization that Bayonetta would be so much better, if the developers wouldn't have carefully locked away all the extra fun they built into Bayonetta. Making it all but impossible for everybody, except the most dedicated Bayonetta players to ever truely experience it's full awesomeness! What a bunch of assholes! I will never dedicate myself to a game like Bayonetta. I will never make a Masters degree in Bayonetta gameplay - because it ain't worth it. It's just a god-damn singleplayer hack 'n slash game. A very good one - but that's it.
And mocking me every step of the way - no sir! Go fuck yourselves! I'm satisfyied with Bayonetta, it's a great game. Well executed and fun. But I don't like Platinum games design philosophy and I won't buy Bayonetta 2 or any of their future games - because I can't handle their design. It's pissing me off, worse, pissing at me - in my face, all the fucking time! One more Stone Statue and I'm going bonkers! Fucking wankers!
P.S. The hardmode is really hard! It revamps the entire game with new spawn patterns and FUCK! It's hard. So if you are into punishing yourself with such a thing. Enjoy it you will. Immensely. Everybody else - expect a bitchslap to the face.