When it comes to hack n' slash games the first that comes to a gamer's mind is God of War and Devil may Cry and that's because these two where the kings of this type of games on last gen consoles. While the next iteration of God of War isn't fully on its way yet, Hideki Kamiya, the creator of the original DMC impresses us again with his new creation Bayonetta.
Like all Japanese amine, Bayonetta's story theme is about the fight between the forces of darkness and the forces of light. Even if it follow the default Japanese flow, a fan of these kind of stories will notice an originality: Its not about the light who should take over darkness here, but about the existence of a necessary balance between those two. So generally I had satisfaction when it comes to the content of the story but not its presentation. It is told through very long cut-scenes and boring sideshows. I did skip a lot of them and I believe a non-Japanese amine fan will skip them all.
Its not just the story who has been presented badly but generally the game is a disaster in that field. Literary it is the first time I get confused in the menus and not understand directly what every tab and every option is for. When you enter the game, hit start you get directly into the massive hot fights nothing is explained. Only curious and experienced gamers will try to press every button to see what they do, others will directly play. This proposition will let most of the player miss some really important options available in the menu when you press select ; my brother who played that game played 7 chapters without noticing that he should press select and use the abilities and he discovered it by chance. This is not everything, consider you directly went into that important menu, I'm sure than none will directly know what to do cause what first will appear is some strange stuff that you have no idea what they are and plus you play the game and there is no notification about them to let you aware of them. You will get new weapons and never know about, collect stuff that will allow you to create some powers like more damage and heath and ... and you won't be notified of nor the way to make them. Personally, I did change my weapons the first time in the 4th chapter and it took me almost 2 chapters to get used to the menus.
Another frustrating this is the music this game offers during the battles. I really didn't see where a jazz type music could fit in an action game where it is all about speed and reflex and screening while fighting cause you will live the moment, it felt so awkward for me.
But really who cares about the presentation when after all the suffering you will get used to it enjoy the game. What is more important is the gameplay . In that field Bayonetta is far form being disappointing yet it is revolutionary in every way.
Bayonetta has this ability to carry four weapons: two in hands and the other two in her feet. You have 7 weapons in the game and you can freely choose where to put them on you feet or in you hand of course except the Katana can only be hold in your hands. The big number of weapons generates a huge number of attacks, each combination of two weapons have different attacks forms and the cool thing is that you can save your favorite two combination and switch between them on the fly with the LT button. This option is very important during fights and create a unique awesome experience and take your fighting creativity and possibility to the next level especially if you know how to coordinate the attacks. Not only the weapons create various weapons but originally there are to many attacks to chose from: A combination of Y and B and time creates about 20 attack form or more, press the RT or RB and you will add extra ones , use the weapons and you will have an extraordinary huge catalog of attacks. Do more combos and your hits will be more powerful and bayonetta will start using her hair so she will get more and more naked and at peak combo climax attack will be available for you; it is like an interactive attack that is the most powerful in the game and it evolve showing one of bayonetta's hair monster. The defence system in this game consists of pressing the RT just before an attack to enter the witch time aka "slo-mo". At first I wished the existence of some traditional block button or counter attack thing but after playing more the game and master the fighting system I noticed that adding such defensive options ruin the spirit of the game : all the battles are about speed and coordination of attacks so the last thing you need is standing in the middle waiting for someone to attack you so you can press a button and attack back, it will feel so ugly.
For this out of the ordinary gameplay some really good enemies are needed in order to fight the hell of them. The game makers did not present us only good enemies but some very challenging ones. For the first time I play a game on normal difficulty and find it challenging, at some battles i did suffer especially after chapter 10. Enemies are hard and there is a big variety of them and they have original names like : glory and his more powerful brother glorious. What i liked about the enemies too is that they never attack alone, always in group and in a coordinated way : when you try to avoid one the other one will try to attack, some will try to set you up in traps and this will get more and more tough once you stat playing the game at hard difficulty. Boss fights are important in hack n' slash games and once again Bayonetta master them . These fights are against huge creators that you can't tell what is you are fighting in the fist place and they are frustrating; usually the boss have a health that is 3 or 4 times bigger that yours so you will suffer till it dies and there is an attack pattern to follow to kill it. Just like in DMC 4 even if you killed that boss you will see that through the game it will reappear as normal enemy and kill him again .
Again like in DMC, after each fight you have a score rating your performance in the battle you just did. This rating consists of three trophies : Combo, Time and Damage. While in the first 2 it is easy to get platinum level, the third is so challenging and will always be the cause to lower scores. During battle the scoring feels very just but in the end of the level where you will be given an overall rate for the whole chapter I can clearly say it is unjust. In most of the levels my average battle score was gold or silver and I always get a stone or bronze award which is so unjust.
Not only the rating system is not well done but the shop "Gates of hell" where you buy your upgrades and new weapons has some very high prices that most of the good stuff there you have to play 6 or 7 chapters to be able to buy them and to purchase everything in there playing through the game more that 5 times is needed.
Playing Bayonetta was a pleasure for me, the game really does move the hack n' slash genre to a higher level through a revolutionary combat system and a huge variety of attacks cause DMC 4 really feels old after playing Bayonetta. Plus I'm sure that if you will not get bored if you play it more that one time and I believe the game is designed to be played multiple times.
I'm really excited to see how Bayonetta will stand against two major powefull opponents : Dante's Inferno and God of War III .