Staggeringly awful.

User Rating: 1.5 | Bayonetta X360
"Oh dear."

"Oh dear..."

This is pretty much what went through my mind over the first few hours of Bayonetta. I picked this up on day of release after all of the gushing hyperbole from the Gaming press. I had the first twinge of worry during the opening sequence of mashing buttons to kill respawning angel/demon things, being assailed with a hideous, mangled, ear-bleedingly bad rendition of "Fly me to the Moon."

Then Bayonetta spoke...and in a second you realise that she is going to be a one-dimensional character pulled from the school of all-attitude, no-charm anime inspired heroes who you are supposed to think of as being cool and tough, but in fact are unoriginal, done to death and utterly unlikeable.

Not only that, but the bored, by-the-numbers voice acting chews through more cliches than a Bruce Willis movie, and caused more than a few painful winces until I just skipped all of the (many, many, many) cutscenes.

It is now of course that I must say that I was not a fan of Devil May Cry. I found it shallow, tedious and dull. Bayonetta is much the same beast. although dusted with the unfulfilled sex fantasies of the programmers. It really is like the daydreams of prepubescents, with Bayonetta strutting around with an uncomfortable looking exaggerated swagger that one could only imagine on a very cheap pole-dancer. The camera will frequently zoom in on Bayonetta's crotch, and she's nearly always sucking on a lollipop with a fair amount of tongue... It's hard to believe that Lara Croft was attacked so strongly by feminists over her stick thin waist and pendulous breasts. Bayonetta must be causing the same feminists to stroke.

All of this I would forgive if the damn thing was fun to play. But sadly, it's Devil May Cry all over. Button mashing and twitch dodging. That's it. You'll get more combos as the game progresses, but many leave you more vulnerable to attack than the main button mashing combos you have at the start. The dodging is also vital, triggering the witch-time-bullet-time-whatever mechanic. Aggravatingly, many enemies are only vulnerable to attacks in witch-time, leaving you waiting for someone to attack you to respond with the same button combination you've been using since the first level, all the while looking out for someone else trying to attack you so you can repeat ad-nauseum.

There are quick time events with very little warning that can cause your instant death and force you to replay a section. Groan.

The Camera is very intelligent during boss fights, but in standard sections it swings behind you, so if you're getting some distance from the bad guys or not facing your foe, you either have to run towards them or move the camera manually which is agonisingly slow. Expect to be hit by someone off screen, though not nearly as often as in Ninja Gaiden.

Boss attacks are telegraphed, but don't think you won't have to repeat to memorise the patterns until you get them down. Boss fights also last foreeeeever.

The music is the worst kind of rock-guitar, dance-fusion cacophony that seems to be prevalent in Japanese influenced games (and Capcom in particular seems fond of). Some are so bad (like the aforementioned "Fly me to the Moon") that you grit your teeth and pray to shut-the-hell-up because you can't really reach for the mute button because your digits are too busy mashing X and Y.

Sigh.

I think it really comes down to this:

"Do you like Devil May Cry?"

If yes, I kind of envy you...and also think you're weird, because I see no gaming merit in that, or Bayonetta, but I wish I could like them as much as so many others seem to.

If the answer is no, then steer clear. Do not believe others telling you this could be the game to make you appreciate this type of gameplay, that it makes it accessible to all, that it is an all time gaming classic. Just don't. Save yourselves the cash and disappointment, for I fear to you, like me, you may find this game shallow, ludicrous, lazy, dull and charmless. It is without a doubt one of my most reviled videogame experiences to date

This is a rare review from me because I think there are people to be warned. I usually agree with the majority of reviews, but here my opinion is so utterly opposite to the majority of the gaming press I felt it important to warn those expecting gaming nirvana in this most gleaming, and polished...lump of poo.




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