Game Review: Bayonetta

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bayonetta

Genre

Fantasy Action/Beat-em-up

Platform

Xbox 360, PS3

Story

Bayonetta is an “Umbran Witch” suffering from amnesia – like half the video game characters out there – when she gets a link to her past, she has to fight through legions of “angels” to find out the truth about her origins. Yes, I said angels. Bear with me.

Gameplay/Mechanics

The gameplay is going to be the strongest point of this game. Bayonetta’s weapons include four guns (dual wielding, and two attached to her high heels, making them more Beretta than Stilleto), a whip, a sword, and two claw-like gloved weapons, and her hair.

Yes, her hair is a weapon. Then again, her clothing is also made of her own hair. Thankfully, most of the resulting flashes of skin are less than a split-second; one could be exposed to more skin on the average beach than playing this game.

The mechanics are simple – consisting of a two-button combination system, or one-button, depending on what difficulty level you’re playing at.

Music/Graphics

This is a visually beautiful game. Graphically, it’s stunning. The cut scenes border on artistic (though some could be considered “artsy”), and attacks look almost lovely. I’ve actually played it through twice just to watch the graphics in motion. And, thankfully, the graphics are Japanese in style – meaning that, while there is blood in the game, it’s so pixelated, it’s comedic.

And the music was a surprise and a delight, since half of the “fight” music consisted of an updated edition of “Fly Me To The Moon.”

Morals/Appropriateness

Here’s where we’re going to have issues.

I mentioned fighting angels before? Well, it takes a while before you realize that this fantasy universe bears no relationship to reality. It’s more of a light-dark dichotomy that borders on the Zoroastrian. I knew we were no longer in Kansas when the “enemy” started referring to “resurrecting Jubelius, the creator.” Forget being morally confusing to a kid – this confused me for about three levels. Though by the end of the game, I was saying to myself “What does God need with a starship?” (Bonus points if you get the Star Trek V reference.)

There are also sexually suggestive comments sprinkled here and there throughout the game, but those are more witty than lurid – leaning heavily on Dorothy Parker-esque material.

Ignoring that, there is a character in the opening sequence who seems to be impersonating Joe Pesci’s character from Goodfellas, with enough for letter words on screen to fuel an Eddie Murphy movie. And he’s on screen for a whole five minutes. That alone is worth an over 17 rating.

Addiction Danger

For this one, I admit, there will be a bit of an addiction risk—to start with, you can’t save in the middle of a level, only at the start or at the end, so you’re forced to play through. There is also no way to buy all of the various and sundry outfits, accessories, weapons, and other toys scattered throughout the game. And it’s just that fun. However, I think the addiction level is only moderate. After the second playthrough, things start to get repetitive.

Problems/Ending Comments

At the end of the day, I think this game counts as a guilty pleasure. I enjoyed the game quite a bit, but I can’t imagine recommending it as a gift. The ESRB rating includes mention of “torture attacks,” which are little quicktime events that go by so fast, they left zero impression on me – mostly because I spent more time trying to identify the correct button and hitting it as often as possible than I did looking at the screen.

ESRB Rating: M for Mature. Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes

ESRB Link

My Rating: Enjoyable, but not for everyone. Probably not for anyone here.

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.

Copyright 2013 John Konecsni

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