GC 2008: Bayonetta Impressions
Written Tuesday, August 26, 2008 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Bayonetta is one game of a four game agreement between Platinum Games and SEGA and this was our first look at the game since its announcement way back in May and ... talk about wow! The game’s director is the renowned Devil May Cry creator, Hideki Kamiya and so similarities between the two series was always a given. This is a guy who has created the competition and said he took Devil May Cry as far as he could and wants to take Bayonetta to the next level.
Meet Bayonetta, she is the main protagonist of the title and she’s a witch, but not your usual stereotypical witch with a black gown, pointy hat and crooked nose, no, not in the slightest. Instead, she is a tall temptress with long black locks which not only form part of her combat moves but also her clothes. If you thought that sounds over the top and elaborate, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Bayonetta is actual a force of good, fighting an evil power in this classic tale of good versus evil turned on its head and this is a theme that runs throughout the game. This reversal of roles and stereotypes can be subtle such as Bayonetta’s combat moves that sprinkle a fine dust of flowers and love hearts over the screen as you perform them, or in your face, like her enemies, the evil angels. Even the collectibles around the levels take the form of halos which were noted as looking more like rings as a tribute to another SEGA game.
Bayonetta’s combat and whole fluency of attacks is where the game comes to life. Sure the environments look fantastic, but that’s more of a blur when Bayonetta steps in to combat mode to take on a bunch of evil angels who are more reminiscent of gargoyle like hawks that are kitted out in medieval armour.
Let us give you a little insight to Bayonetta and her combat moves.
We all get she’s a witch, but did I mention that said witch has guns on both her hands and her feet? No, how could I forget that? She also has access to a whole arrange of other weapon sets so you don’t have to rely on the dual gun ensemble, we managed to see the katana and shotgun boots get-up in action and more impressively, these can be switched on the fly allowing you to link various weapon set combos together.
As Yusuke Hashimoto, the game’s producer, took on a bunch of these angels we couldn’t help but see the similarities between this and the Devil May Cry series, because I mean, even Bayonetta herself uses the thousand sword stab that Dante has used for years, but the game seems more over the top and elaborate than the aforementioned and yes, that is possible. Take Bayonetta’s hair for example, she can use it to unleash powerful attacks on her foes that allow it to take the form of a giant shoe to stamp them in to the ground.
Bayonetta can even use enemy weapons that she can pick up, against them and she even has the ability to slow down time if she evades an attack so she can get a powerful attack in response. If that wasn’t enough, if you can fill her meter up in the bottom corner of the HUD, she can deal a crippling special move against her enemies. It may have essences of Devil May Cry in it, but the action is more over the top and elaborate. I suppose one could say it was Devil May Cry on some sort of crazy hallucinogenic amphetamine if you must.
At this point we saw a mid level boss and the beast was at least 5 times the height of Bayonetta, I could only describe it as a giant ogre with a marble statue face. Elaborate, I know! The key to the boss, like other enemies in the game was to knock off the pieces of armour and slowly wound it until you can perform a special hair move to defeat it. Some of these special moves are reserved for bosses and mid bosses and the one we saw involved Hashimoto getting Bayonetta to use her hair to become a giant growling dog who eats the boss. I swear, you can’t make this stuff up.
We also managed to get a look at a Games Convention exclusive level which essentially was a huge church that was falling through the sky while Bayonetta dispatched enemy after enemy that came landed on this falling piece of architecture. Again, the level was artistic and beautiful but there is rarely time to take stock of the environment as the combat and actions was going at a thousand miles an hour.
How does Hideki Kamiya intend to beat Devil May Cry and co in the genre? Easy, by creating this “climax action” genre through which Bayonetta will be the standard setter. The combat and animation even at this early stage looks fantastic, fluent and over the top; three things that this genre is usually good at. The SEGA and Platinum Games team noted that every time they show something off new, they will raise the bar, so we look forward to what they have to show off in Tokyo this coming October, but even at this stage, signs point to Bayonetta being a great title.