Bayonetta Demo Impressions

It's amazing what this woman can do in killer stilettos.


The over-the-top action game by Devil May Cry creator Hideki Kamiya stars a multitalented witch in a skin-tight suit made out of hair. Bayonetta was playable on the show floor of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, but we met with Kamiya of PlatinumGames in a closed-door session to get a look at an all-new fiery level. We watched as the heavily armed star, Bayonetta, took out creatures with ease and made her way with style and grace through the crumbling ruins of a city.

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From the get-go, there were explosions and nonstop action as our lithe heroine plowed through every enemy that came after her. Armed with four weapons, two in her hands and a couple more by her ankles, she was packing some serious heat. A wave of lava was pouring through the city streets, tearing down buildings left and right. Her special abilities aren't limited to weapons. She can open portals to demons, which lend her an extra pair of fists to attack her opponents. This power comes from her hair, so as she's fighting, her long tresses will swirl crazily around her body, giving you a clear view of her backside, and leaving very little to the imagination. Once she's done, her hair will meld back onto her body as a protective battle suit.

At one point, Bayonetta jumped onto a creature and used it to surf the lava wave to safety and then nimbly danced along the walls sideways, defying all laws of gravity. Her ballet moves didn't end there. Later on, she also sprouted a pair of wings and floated gracefully to another rooftop. We watched as she took care of the level's miniboss, a giant metallic beast with wings, in a flurry of dizzying moves. After each section of a level, your score will be tallied and you'll receive a medal depending on your performance. This carries over until the end of the chapter, at which time you'll be graded. While the game was loading to enter the next scene, the demonstrator played around with a list of Bayonetta's moves. To keep loading times productive, you can practice your long list of combos, which are listed onscreen as you wait for the transition to complete.

The final boss we encountered was a massive two-headed dragon, who happened to get one head stuck into the window of a church. As we watched Bayonetta attempt to make short work of the beast--while dodging giant fireballs coming from its mouth--the dragon eventually broke off a chunk of the building, head still attached. So then we fought in the air, on a conveniently sized piece of floor, with the other dragon head peering maliciously around the wall. The flying behemoth eventually broke free of the wall, and in a glorious and dramatic finish, Bayonetta sent that large, unwieldy piece of architecture directly into the faces of the hulking creature.

While all the fast-paced action was happening, an upbeat Japanese pop soundtrack played in the background to keep things alive and moving. The music does switch up a bit depending on the scene, which gives the audio some variety. Visually, Bayonetta looks great, especially during the cutscenes, which we aren't allowed to discuss in further detail. Action fans who like the DMC series will not be disappointed though, since this feels very similar.

One feature that Kamiya pointed out was witch time, which will happen when you dodge at precisely the right moment. Everything slows down enough for you to have an opportunity to counterattack. This means risking your neck a bit, since you need to be close enough, but we were told that the payoff is worthwhile.

Kamiya told us that there is replay value because of the different weapon choices that Bayonetta can make. As you progress through the game, you'll unlock more weapon types and can customize the type of setup that you want. Since she's armed hand and foot, there are plenty of variations to mess around with, and it might take a few visits to certain areas to get a better score.

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Since this was a hands-off demo, you can also check out our hands-on impressions of the other level being displayed on the show floor. Bayonetta is set to be released later in the year.

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