GamesCom 2009: Bayonetta Hands On Preview - Hair to the Throne
Written Thursday, August 27, 2009 By Lee Abrahams
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Pure action games are a fairly rare breed on the Xbox 360 and recent additions to the genre like Ninja Gaiden 2 and Devil May cry 4 have not been given the warmest of welcomes by gamers and critics alike. Luckily we may well have a game just around the corner that is a welcome return to form, and it is due in no small part to developers who know a thing or two about the genre. When you’ve had a hand in the original Devil May Cry, Viewtiful Joe and Okami, then there will undoubtedly be an expectation to deliver.

After a lengthy hands on we were also treated to a demo by none other than Hideki Kamiya himself, the game’s director, who was keen to show off some of the newer aspects of the title and answer a few questions. From what we saw, the game is shaping up to be something a little bit special, featuring the kind of fluid combat and jaw dropping boss fights that Kamiya has become renowned for.

You control the titular character, Bayonetta, a demon witch who was locked away in a cursed coffin for hundreds of years. Accidentally set loose, she is now on a quest to restore her missing memories and punish those that entrapped her. It would be too obvious to say she was an anti-hero, as it seems more like Bayonetta is an out and out villain considering the fact she is fighting angels. No doubt the story will offer a number of twists and turns and it is already apparent that other characters will have a vital part to play. One of these is Luka, a young man seeking revenge for the death of his father, and through a number of flashbacks it becomes apparent that he has a history with Bayonetta – though whether she had a hand in his father’s death is another question. An interesting aspect of their relationship is that they occupy different realities of the same world, so can only ‘sense’ each other rather than see each other. Luka is also unaware of the demons so close at hand, but that does not mean they cannot harm him.

Anyone that has played Devil May Cry will be instantly familiar with the combat system, which involves a number of light and heavy attacks strung together into combos. The moves at her disposal will depend on the weapons Bayonetta equips, as she can attach equipment to her hands and feet. Not to mention use her hair for massively damaging assaults. With an array of gear at your disposal, such as guns, bazookas, swords and whips, you can string together a wealth of options. Plus you can store pre-set arrangements of weapons and switch to them mid combo for even more damage. Not to mention the fact you can swipe a ton of enemy weapons and turn them against their former owners. For those not really in the mood for studying a ton of combos you can study up on the loading screens, which allow you to practice for as long as you like and display damaging button combos that you might not have been aware of. The developers were keen to point out that thanks to the number of weapons and the ability to switch set ups at any time, even they were not sure how many combos could be pulled off.

Once in combat you can build up energy to unleash special torture moves, such as throwing your opponents into an iron maiden or crushing them with a giant fist. You are also rewarded for dodging enemy attacks at the last second, as doing so enables you to enter ‘Witch Time’ – a power that momentarily paralyses your foes and allows you a split second to gain the upper hand. Obviously the larger the enemies the more convoluted the tactics you require. One large, multi tentacled boss that was put on show required you to dash up its tongue, dodging incoming attacks, before leaping onto its head to wreak some havoc. Even smaller enemy battles have a real sense of spectacle about them, but fighting huge creatures as they smash scenery around you is supremely satisfying.
The key to the whole game according to Kamiya, is accessibility. The whole game has been designed to draw in players that might not traditionally be interested in this kind of title. The learning curve is certainly not as steep as in the previous games he has worked on, but I did make a point of asking of whether the same sadistically tough modes would creep in for the hardcore players. His answer was a resounding yes, but he was also at pains to state that each difficulty was more about making the game fun as opposed to impossibly tricky.

The game plays superbly and even relative novices should have no trouble stepping into the fray and stringing impressive sets of moves together. For those that want to, there is still a deeper challenge and one that looks simply jaw dropping. I think Bayonetta may well cast her spell over a large number of us when she eventually lands on Western consoles early next year.

Bayonetta is currently slated for a Q1 2010 release outside of Japan. Japan sees it this coming October which according to SEGA will be region locked.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 14789
Comment #1 by Webb [STAFF]
Thursday, August 27, 2009 @ 08:35:18 PM
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I'm going to add before anyone tries to pick us up on this. The headline caption is a pun, and is not a typo/spelling error.

After my recent success with puns failing, I thought I'd point this one out before someone *tries* to correct me ;)

Forum Posts: 37
Comment #2 by Spartan C37
Thursday, August 27, 2009 @ 08:47:40 PM
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Nothing like a good fast paced action game :)

Forum Posts: 198
Comment #3 by The Betrayer142
Thursday, August 27, 2009 @ 08:49:24 PM
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lol nice one webb :) Never really into these japanese-looking fantasy action gamey things, after a horrible experience with Devil May Cry 4, but may give this a rent.

Forum Posts: 41
Comment #4 by DarciusPhoenix
Thursday, August 27, 2009 @ 08:55:08 PM
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Hair to the throne! hahaha. Good pun. I like puns. The word 'pun' sounds fun too.

Forum Posts: 76
Comment #5 by Crazy Best
Thursday, August 27, 2009 @ 09:39:45 PM
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Shallow and pedantic.

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #6 by Krueger1428
Thursday, August 27, 2009 @ 09:55:26 PM
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I love the Devil May Cry series and always have. I have been looking forward to this for 2 years now, and I have it pre-ordered can't fucking wait.

Forum Posts: 53
Comment #7 by TokeTilYouChoke
Thursday, August 27, 2009 @ 10:12:16 PM
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not gonna lie, DMC4 was a bit of a let down however this game does look insane. and i dont mean the difficulty lol. (but it probably is too haha)

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #8 by friedreindeer
Thursday, August 27, 2009 @ 10:54:26 PM
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interesting premise... still a maybe for me, i guess ill wait and see how the gameplay holds up

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #9 by TheSaint08D
Thursday, August 27, 2009 @ 11:15:51 PM
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Wow #5 Someone one has some snob issues. I'd assume you only play artistic, deep, meaningful games...and they would be?

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Comment #10 by Webb [STAFF]
Thursday, August 27, 2009 @ 11:20:09 PM
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Just an FYI - Kamiya was only involved in DMC1. DMC4 has nothing to do with him; although, I loved it personally =P

Forum Posts: 300
Comment #11 by toonsage
Thursday, August 27, 2009 @ 11:34:14 PM
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whats the pun ?

Forum Posts: 333
Comment #12 by Mrs Cliffton
Friday, August 28, 2009 @ 01:15:21 AM
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chill out #9 hes citing a family guy reference

why are people quick to slander? lol

This should be interesting as there aren't enough hack and slash games that arent "dynasty warrior-esque" plus hopefully it will havesome humor it it (I like it when it is punny) :P

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #13 by boudro13b
Friday, August 28, 2009 @ 02:20:18 AM
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I do enjoy the DMC series a lot, and this looks kind of intriguing. However, It appears to take DMC's "cheese" factor to a whole new level. You won't be able to tell anyone you're playing it and keep a straight face. At least Devil May Cry pretends to be a normal game...most of the time. I do hope it turns out good though.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #14 by deadheishiro
Friday, August 28, 2009 @ 04:26:41 AM
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I'm happy this is coming out. There's so little of japan-weirdness in games these days and Bayonetta feels like a refreshment from fps shooters and cover-system shooters. This game will rock for sure, hey it's Kamiya's game we're talking about, ane every fetishists dram;P.

Forum Posts: 893
Comment #15 by DaChiefOfOwnage
Friday, August 28, 2009 @ 06:46:05 AM
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Hahah "you want to touch me?"

Forum Posts: 242
Comment #16 by JustAFriend
Friday, August 28, 2009 @ 06:51:20 AM
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#5 shallow and pedantic, I agree

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #17 by Havaier
Friday, August 28, 2009 @ 06:59:48 AM
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#5, for the lot of you don't know it but that's a line from family guy

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #18 by Havaier
Friday, August 28, 2009 @ 07:03:13 AM
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ok this is embarrassing, in overall is game just boring for me, the only part that got me "wow!" is when on the trailer where she fires like 7 bullets before they have time to "fly" away.

Forum Posts: 1147
Comment #19 by P1TTMAN
Friday, August 28, 2009 @ 07:35:00 AM
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Hmm.. I agree as well: Shallow and pedantic.

Forum Posts: 34
Comment #20 by oOoOMidoriOoOo
Friday, August 28, 2009 @ 08:03:09 AM
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Meh, like some people are saying, it might be fun, but not very deep. For an aimless action game, its all you could really ask for.

Forum Posts: 37
Comment #21 by Alshain
Friday, August 28, 2009 @ 08:48:35 AM
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Just a minor editor moment:

I think you meant "locked away in a coffin" instead of "looked away" and it's "wreak" some havoc, instead of "wreck."

Minor details aside this was an interesting article and I'm looking forward to trying the game.

Forum Posts: 137
Comment #23 by Voxael
Friday, August 28, 2009 @ 10:17:02 AM
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I wasn't really interested in Bayonetta but this article has made me reconsider my stance. Not quite going to pick it up yet, but if some more articles like this one come out, I might pick it up after all.
Damn it, and I was broke already.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #24 by TwiceAzzNice
Friday, August 28, 2009 @ 12:14:33 PM
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This game is gonna kick ass!!!

Forum Posts: 18
Comment #25 by BLAZIN BRIAN 21
Friday, August 28, 2009 @ 01:52:02 PM
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This game looks sick, and hopefully the achievements are not impossible to get like in DMC 4.

Forum Posts: 987
Comment #26 by Devil Sora
Friday, August 28, 2009 @ 06:42:25 PM
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If its like Devil May Cry's gameplay I'll be slightly dissapointed. . . .I didnt like DMC1 that much but if its like DMC3, and 4 then we're cool. . . . I'm waiting for a release date on this before I buy it but I need a new hack and slash game to quench my rage lol

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #27 by travis5223
Sunday, August 30, 2009 @ 03:34:40 AM
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@#5, your a douche ON TOPIC: looks fairly cool, might rent it, should keep ya occupied a good 5-8 days after that, it may just get repetitive, still looks very vewtiful though =p

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Platinum Games


US January 05, 2010
Europe January 08, 2010

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