Bayonetta finally received the PC port after eight years of the initial release and with my new found love for the hack n slash genre thanks to Nier: Automata, I dived right into the game without much thought.
So what is Bayonetta?
Bayonetta is a third-person hack n slash game developed by Platinum Games and published by Sega.
(+) Flashy Hacky Slashy Gameplay
Bayonetta is clearly built around the idea that “Gameplay is king” and it is evident by simply looking at the amount of combat depth the game has. The number of combos available since the beginning is staggering (Speaking from a newcomer’s perspective to the genre) and then there are moves that can be bought using Halos, which are the in game currency.
The defining aspect of the game has to be the way the combat flows. Chaining long combos together is not only gratifying, but also feels smooth due to the slick animations of Bayonetta herself. The dodge is wonderfully implemented, the perfect timing of which slows down every enemy around Bayonetta and allows the player to execute devastating combos without any kind of resistance from the enemies.
The combat in Bayonetta is really enjoyable; it’s very flashy, fast, and follows the principle of easy to learn, hard to master. On top of granting witch time, dodging will help keep the magic meter up and climbing, while getting hit by an enemy will deplete it. When the magic meter is full, the player can use what are called “torture attacks”. These involve iron maidens, chains, and a few other tools that were probably used to torture people in a bygone era, that you can use to inflict massive damage on enemies. So remember- attack dodge attack dodge torture repeat.
The enemies start off as straightforward grunts and then slowly climb their way in size as the game progresses. New weapons from downed enemies change up the gameplay considerably, especially when switching items on the fly. The enemies’ attacks are well telegraphed apart from being well animated. The boss fights are absolutely tremendous. Leviathan angels and monstrous demons appear and dynamically change the way the boss fight is made.
Thing about boss fights is that the bosses are repeated quite a few times, though not as proper boss fights. They are mostly included in subsequent set pieces as mini bosses making the set pieces feel bloated more than they should. It’s not like there is less variety on display here, but a a slight niggling thought is present that the developers intended to pad the game at these points. The bosses that are there are designed pretty well and have diverse attack patterns which keeps things fresh in the long run.
Talking about set pieces, the ones in Bayonetta are some of the most unique and good set pieces I have seen and this is coming from someone who absolutely despises set pieces. From riding a missile to tearing through a city on a bike, the game is full of surprising scripted moments. But as mentioned above, the set pieces tend to overstay their adrenaline filled welcome through the use of padding and end up becoming chores.
Now it is obvious that Platinum Games won’t remake a game with texture overhauls, but despite being 8 years old, the game holds up pretty well and looks absolutely gorgeous at some points. The characters look great and the facial and overall animations are done pretty well considering it is an old game.
Some low rest textures will appear occasionally, but those don’t impact the overall gameplay experience.
(+) Story & Characters
The story is pretty much cliched for an action title and there is not much to ride home about, though the background lore is decent (If you have the patience to read everything in the notes and connect the dots). Most of the story is depicted through cut scenes which are relatively short and quite fun because of Bayonetta’s nature. The overall dialogue delivery and story can be a bit too cheesy for some people, but for my taste, it was just the right amount.
I doubt that the story of Bayonetta is the main appeal for many people, but for what Bayonetta lacks in story as a game, the cast of colorful colorful characters from Bayonetta herself to Cereza to Jeanne to Cheshire and their interactions with each other provide some great moments within the game.
(+) Sound Design & Music
Now, I am not a music enthusiast, so I can’t speak much about this department, but the music in Bayonetta is fast paced and is pleasing to hear without being too invasive.
As for the sound design, I have mentioned above that the attacks of enemies are well telegraphed, which partially is a result of the audible cues that the enemies give away. Even if an enemy is outside the FOV, a small clink by one of the grunts immediately notifies the player of an incoming attack.
(-) Gameplay Breaking Moments
While Bayonetta is overall a solid experience, there seldom are moments in the game which change the rules without letting the player know. Especially near the end game, one encounter included not being able to use witch time even with a perfectly timed dodge and while the encounter wasn’t particularly tough, it certainly broke the flow of the game because I had gotten accustomed to playing mostly in witch time and it took me some ‘time’ and more than a few tries to get adjusted to the speed of both the enemies’ movements.