Bayonetta Hands-On

We kill demons and a giant, baby-faced monster in this intense action game.

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Bayonetta is being brought to life by the same man who created Devil May Cry, and it’s easy to see the similarities between the two over-the-top action games. We had a chance to play through a level of Bayonetta today and came away with a racing heart, as well as a hankering for some more woman-against-demon fisticuffs.

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The action in Bayonetta is very similar to the DMC games. You have both a sword and a gun with you at all times, and you can easily chain combos together, switching between the two weapons. The combat focuses more on style than substance, letting players wail away at the attack buttons to produce some deadly, flashy moves. When your enemy's health is low, you can execute a torture attack, which is a disgusting maneuver reminiscent of the fatalities from the Mortal Kombat franchise. In one, we conjured an iron maiden out of thin air, slammed the enemy inside, and tapped the X button to inflict more pain, as well as earn some more points.

Combat isn’t all about mashing buttons and materializing iron maidens, though. One cool move in Bayonetta is witch time. If you dodge an enemy’s attack just before it hits you, the enemy will slow down and you will get a few seconds to unleash the fury. It’s a pretty fun technique, making us tempt fate again and again as we tried (and often failed) to pull it off. You can also pick up weapons your attackers drop. We nabbed one long axe, and once we were done swinging it around, we stuck it in the ground and swung around it ourselves. Rampant violence and sexism is par for the course in Bayonetta.

We fought two bosses as well. One was a hulking beast with a baby’s face--creepy and deadly. It would smash the ground with blind fury, but it was easy enough to get behind it and make its health bar drop. When it was on its last legs, we executed a climax move, which had us create a giant creature from our hair that chomped on the dead cherub. The other boss ambushed us on a bridge. It was so large, though, that halfway through the battle, it picked up the whole structure, and we continued to wail on its hands while it was carrying us. Needless to say, it was a pretty intense battle.

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Bayonetta is shaping up to be a satisfying action game. It’s scheduled for release later this year, so we’ll have to see if it can keep up this breakneck pace until then.

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