A strangely charming, but extremely challenging game

User Rating: 8 | Bayonetta X360
Bayonetta awakes from a 500 year sleep with little memory of her past. She begins to piece together her memories whilst searching for a mysterious item known as The Eyes of the World. She is part of the Umbran Witches who have been battling against the Lumen Sages. The story is really hard to follow since Bayonetta herself doesn't really know what is going on, and the cut-scenes are over-dramatic and full of over the top violence, sexual references, and slightly cheesy lines. Bayonetta is a nimble character and can chain combos together with a mix of punch, kick, and gun attacks. It's combo system works really well due to the impressive animation of the characters and enemies. Being a witch, Bayonetta can add a bit of magic to the mix with her "wicked weave" attack, turning her hair and clothes into a demon figure, and also dodging at the last moment activates slow-motion 'witch time'. A lot of the battles rely heavily on this mechanic, so it isn't the case of just button mashing to victory since you need to wait for the attack, dodge, then unleash the fury. Filling up the magic meter can also allow you to do "torture attacks" which do large amounts of damage and involve a bit of button mashing to rack up more pain. Weapons can be unlocked and assigned to Bayonetta's hands and/or feet including a whip, claws, guns, sword, and skates and can be mapped to 2 weapons sets and switched at the press of a trigger. The loading screen doubles up as a practice mode, complete with an on-screen move list, which is a nice reminder of the controls when you die and are waiting for the game to reload. Each chapter is split up into 'verses' which are scored separately based on time, combo damage, and damage taken, and the more hardcore gamers will go for the platinum awards. On the normal difficulty, Bayonetta proves a tough challenge and I would advise to run through the game on an easier setting first to learn the mechanics. If you want a harder challenge, there are higher difficulties available too. By collecting halos that enemies drop, you can spend them at the shop, but the extra techniques and special items are particularly pricey. The normal items like healing items are a fair price but are limited in the amount you can purchase. Some chapters end in a boss battle, but the larger bosses are so dramatic that they have their own dedicated chapter. These take some time to take down but have checkpoints at certain stages. The overall style of Bayonetta is certainly strange but has a lot of charm. The overall look and difficulty of the game will draw comparisons to Ninja Gaiden and if you enjoy that kind of game, then Bayonetta is an obvious game to play. The soundtrack to the game is very repetitive since one j-pop sounding song is repeated an insane amount of times throughout the game and doesn't really fit; but yet adds to the games madness. Overall, Bayonetta is a great game, but the story was hard to follow, and some of the extra variety they tried to put in the game like the motorbike sections don't really work and aren't particularly fun. Normally I wouldn't encourage quick-time events, but since the cut-scenes were so dramatic and sometimes quite lengthy; it probably would have suited the game to have more quick-time events as well as being more complex, rather than used sparingly and involving one button press.