E3 2008: Bayonetta Impressions

We check out a witch with mad hair powers take on freaky-looking angels in this first look at Bayonetta.

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Bayonetta is an upcoming action game for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 that features a witch protagonist taking on strange versions of angels in a modern-day setting. Our first look at a preview build of the game today showed that it has many similarities in style and substance to the Devil May Cry series, which is probably no surprise considering that the director of Bayonetta is Hideki Kamiya, the brains behind the very first DMC game.

Think DMC with a woman instead of Dante or Nero and you're a long way toward understanding Bayonetta. The game's main character is the witch Bayonetta, a quite attractive sort who dresses in tight leather and has long black hair. She also packs some serious firepower, having twin pistols as well as guns built into her shoes. The level that was demoed to GameSpot at E3 2008 began with the title character running through what looked like a gothic building before heading outside into a large courtyard area with a big, central fountain. A quick cutscene then jumped in, showing several goblin-like creatures--but with angel wings and adorned with halos--swooping into the courtyard.

The fight that took place next was pure, stylish DMC-style action. Bayonetta seamlessly switched from melee, magic, and weapons attacks, and was racking up 40-hit combos on the large goblins. The melee attacks that we saw her dish out included a lot of standard punches and kicks, as well as a sweet-looking multifoot stomp on opponent's chests. Bayonetta also seems to have some sort of magical hair attacks, with her long locks transforming into giant fists and feet to help finish off combos. One magical move that stuck in our mind was the ability to slow down time for a few seconds to deal further punishment to enemies.

The game will also feature special finishing moves, some of which summon various exotic torture devices out of thin air to annihilate an enemy. One such move saw a guillotine appear--Bayonetta foot stomped an opponent into the guillotine before hitting the switch to let the device's blade fall. Sega reps tell us the game will feature different finishing moves for various enemies.

After the goblins were disposed of, a gigantic boss enemy armed with a two-handed axe appeared out of a portal. Bayonetta had to keep attacking the creature's flanks, given that frontal attacks proved too dangerous. The special finishing move here involved the witch turning her hair into a massive dragon's head, which promptly bit straight into the boss enemy's torso to finish him off.

Bayonetta is looking extremely promising at this early stage, and we're keen to get some hands-on time with it to see how closely it matches the frenetic style of the DMC games. Bayonetta will be released for the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2009.

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