Sunday, 23 May 2010
Publisher - Sega
Developer - Platinum Games
Platform - 360/PS3
The Devil May Cry series is well known for its lack of substance in exchange for large splashes of style, but this is a formula that fails to enthral me. My first foray into the Cry franchise was pretty late on at, well as late as I could be, with Devil May Cry 4 (PS3/360 [mine being the 360 version]), and the £7.99 I paid for it would have been better put towards almost anything. I'll take it as a sign from the great above that after finishing just about half the game the disc shuddered to a moody halt with my console demanding the disc to be cleaned like the back of a white van.
Devil May Cry looked pretty, but not pretty enough or well enough to hold my attention for a game that I could complete by pressing the same combat button over and over and jump whenever the terrain required me to.
So why even play Bayonetta never mind write about it after stating how I feel about games that trade weight for flash. Because, as simply as I can put it Bayonetta is the Devil May Cry franchise done right. Extremely right.
Bayonetta at first appears to be nothing more than than flashy façade wearing button masher it presents itself as but it opens out to be so much more.
At first your basic weapons inspire little faith and the game would be much poorer if you didn't unlock more after you start to progress through a few chapters. Every weapon has a different style to the others, and most operate differently depending on how you equip it. You wear two at a time and can quickly swap between two combinations of weapons which you set up on the pause screen. Most of the weapons are radically differently from the guns you start with, after collecting them all it feels like you have an entire fighting games character select screen condensed into your inventory at your beck and call. Your arsenal will eventually include a possessed whip, a katana, rocket launching tonfas and some magic ice skates that let you glide around like a not so PG friendly ice Mario. They vary up and change your fighting style enough that I was compelled to start a re-run straight away to collect what ones I'd missed.
If you enjoy the thrill of rummaging around for extras, and the cheap adrenaline rush of acquiring collectables then no disappointment will be found playing Bayonetta, at least in the field of collecting. There's collectables for health boosting, magic gauge extending, music records (which unlock weapons) and crows whose purpose are pretty much just to be collected for the sake of it.
Bayonettas story is paper thin so much so that you could cut ourself on it if you examine it too closely. You will want to play on though and will be pulled through the game compelled, not to find out what happens, but how. Bar a few select segments of the game, to which I'd like to take an aside to award the achievement of video game sections that make me want to rub powdered glass into my eyes ground from the bottles of the painkillers I needed to finish them, Bayonettas campaign runs smoothly. The bad sections are the driving and piloting sections, they get repetitive very quickly and just drag.
The art and design is beautiful and I just wanted to see more. If I could get the developers to do anything I'd ask that they don't make me fight the same stock angels again, you've shown me what you can do game, give me more not just a taster. Music wise, it's fine. Not enough variety really, you'll hear a rendition of 'Fly Me To The Moon' so many times that even if you don't like it initially your brain will make you, trust me it's just easier that way.
Bayonetta is a repetitive game. It's its nature to be so, but it works as hard as laboratory mouse gnawing through wires connecting electrodes to it's brain to keep your attention from wandering off. And the the most parts it does a fantastic job.
Price verdict - £25/$35
I own the 360 version of this game. There's some loading time which can be reduced by installing the game to your hard drive, and ,thanks to a commenter for pointing this out, you can now do this with the PS3 too which drastically reduces the loading times. This game needs good flow, stuttering into pause screens and out of them does not suit it at all. So if you can go with the version with less loading time.
Edited the Ps3/360 loading times segment thanks to information from a comment.