Bayonetta, video game: hellish witch brawl of heavenly superlatives

[english translation of: Bayonetta, Videospiel: Höllische Hexen-Prügelei der himmlischen Superlative]

Who knows the name Hideki Kamiya is aware that it stands for an incomparable style in the creation of video game worlds. Kamiya played a major role in the development of the horror classics Resident Evil 1 and 2, the Hack & Slay milestone Devil May Cry and the enchanting cel-shading adventure Okami. Especially with DMC he created a memorable work that should shape his future work. However, after not being allowed to work on a follow-up title, a creative volcano seemed to be bubbling inside him for a long time. This one was just waiting to spit out a new action hit, which would take the same line as his bygone matter of the heart. In 2009, the game Bayonetta was finally published. A crazy trip, a never-ending battle between light and dark, with boss battles on the verge of lunacy being part of everyday business.

The story so far: Protagonist Bayonetta is a witch of the venerable Umbra clan. It once guarded the world side by side with the Lumen Sages to save it from doom and sorrow. Twenty years ago, she woke up at the bottom of a lake after a 500 year long state of sleep, only to find herself in a strange modern world. Her journey begins when she is told by her informant Enzo that the right eye, an artifact from bygone days, is said to be in a town called Vigrid. Bayonetta hopes to recapture her lost memories of the events of her time and the reason for her disappearance by searching for it. Already before her departure, she is attacked by angelic creatures, but can assert herself through her abilities in combat. Not only does she possess firearms skills through her total of four pistols, but she also has a pronounced quick-witted ability that she uses both physically and verbally. The path to truth and her complete memory evolves into a mystery of leaps into her dark past and the fight against the mighty Lumen Warriors of Light, who seem to know more than they reveal. Quite in the spirit of Devil May Cry, Bayonetta presents itself as an action-packed Hack & Slay, which puts great emphasis on the right level of style when it comes to ridiculing bizarre opponents. However, this is not a mere copy. Although the game mechanics are clearly based on Kamiyas masterpiece, Bayonetta manages to distinguish itself clearly from the spiritual model through an original universe and the staging of its protagonist. Her mocking proverbs and refreshing British accent can undoubtedly keep up with the cheeky one-liners of DMC´s Dante. The unique characteristic of the self-confident witch, however, is her long black hair, which she not only wears as an elegant body suit, but also forms into gigantic beasts. These are only too happy to tear her fallen enemies to pieces. And who believes that this sounds wonderfully insane, can look forward to a variety of obscure enemy types. These occur, for example, as flying angel heads, wild chimeras and divine bosses in skyline dimensions that are always belligerent. The combat system is based on the use of traditional combos and creative finishing moves. A colorful selection of weapons and techniques invigorates the battle with opposing hordes. These can be purchased at the Arms Dealer’s Nightclub of the allied demon Rodin in exchange for halos of hallowed creatures. On the journey through Vigrid and other supernatural places, time puzzles provide the motivation to stay tuned and recover for a moment from sometimes brutal button smashing. On the downside, the restrictive arena like level designs and the boring collecting of background informations in document format still opposing the praiseworthy gameplay and design.

Bayonetta was originally released in 2009 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. The version for Master Race contenders was published in 2017. Especially in the tested PC port of the game the camera has to be criticized, which is often caused by confusion on the battlefield due to unpleasant angles and movement. The graphics got a visible update and can even be set up to 4K. Despite the high proportion of quick-time events and included tendon pulling sessions of hitting and smashing the gamepad. Bayonetta was and remains an absolutely worthy stand-alone title. The appearing characters and the imaginative plot are so charmingly and humorously staged that the player is equally pleased about the cutscenes and the onward fighting. Rarely has an epic feud between light and darkness been so entertaining.

For fans of: Devil May Cry, Darksiders, God Of War

Studio: Platinum Games, Nex Entertainment
Publisher: Sega, Nintendo
First published: October 29, 2009
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U, Nintendo Switch
Genre: Action game, Hack and Slay
Game Mode: Single Player

Test device: PC


© featured image: Platinum Games

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