From the mind of Hideki “Devil May Cry” Kamiya came Bayonetta in 2010. Flashy, cheesy and packing plenty of punch per wicked weave combo, the game turned the action dial to 11, making its predecessors in the genre look tame by comparison. Fast forward a few years, and not only is Bayonetta returning in a much-deserved sequel on the Wii U, but the titular witch is getting her original adventure upgraded for a new console ride as well.

Bayonetta (1)

Let it not be said that Bayonetta is a game that places an emphasis on realistic and gritty story-telling. There’s an absurd story at play here, detailing the rise and fall of the Lumen Sages and the Umbran witches. Each clan once possessed the Eyes Of The World: planet-shaping objects of supreme power –  and the two eventually went to war with one another in a battle that was filled with plenty of mutually-assured destruction.

Bayonetta (7)

Enter Bayonetta, the last of the Umbran Witches, who has been plying her trade as a supernatural exterminator in the two decades since she awakened with a bad case of amnesia. Caught in a fight with the heavenly host of Paradiso, Bayonetta has to embark on a quest with the fate of the world and her memories in the balance. Along the way, she receives able assistance from the demonic weaponsmith Rodin, the goodfella wannabe Enzo and the lame love interest Luka, who has an axe to grind with Bayonetta. Oh, and there’s also a little girl by the name of Cereza who pops up during the adventure…who happens to bear a rather striking resemblance to the lethal witch.

Bayonetta (3)

To flesh the story out, there’s a mixture of techniques spread between missions and battles. Fully animated cutscenes mesh with film strip sequences which complement the narrative rather well. Get the popcorn out however, because there’s a lot of story to tell in Bayonetta, with half the game easily being devoted to these sequences. As cheesy as they may be, they’re decently presented and they at least serve their purpose of giving a player enough exposition as to why you’ve just slammed a motorcycle into the face of a massive angelic god before pummeling it even further.

There are some fantastic set-pieces in Bayonetta, where developer Platinum games flexes all of their outrageous muscle in order to craft an adventure that escalates rather quickly, and then some.

Bayonetta may boast an unconventional story, but its level design is as orthodox as can be. You’ve got a wide number of stages to get through, with point A and point B being definitively mapped out for players, with your progress tied heavily into the narrative of the game. There’s a very standard formula of rinse and repeat present here, as battles with Paradiso agents are bookended by cutscenes and more narrative. You’ll brawl with a few angels, take on a gigantic boss, get graded on your ass-kicking and watch a few cinematics. Repeat ad nauseum –  but thankfully, these cutscenes can be skipped.

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Bayonetta (8)

While the basic structure of Bayonetta doesn’t exactly stray away from the norm, the same can’t be said for the core gameplay. At its heart, Bayonetta is all about using a variety of techniques with which to scrap it out with various hosts of angels. The combat is extraordinary to say the least, fine-tuned and polished to an insane degree as Bayonetta uses multiple sets of guns and unlockable weapons in her pursuit of the past.  By affixing various weapons to her limbs, the combat also begins to offer players more options and gives players choices between attacking faster, stronger or even both should you unlock the necessary items needed to acquire such skills.

A dodge mechanic is also present, with perfect timing rewarding players with a matrix-like slow-motion effect that allows for the damage to be piled on. It’s an absolute necessity to master this technique, as even a good offense needs a decent defense. The core combat itself is especially deep, with dozens of combos available, yet the madcap action never feels out of control. With a bit of practice, you’ll be nailing combos that will make the eyes of onlookers explode, as Bayonetta sizzles into action with the explosive arsenal of tricks in her bag.

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That action is punctuated by extra Torture Attacks once a bar is filled. It rewards players with extra currency with which to upgrade their attacks, and Wicked Weave spells that allow the impossibly leggy witch to summon monstrous beasts from the hellish Inferno domain and finish off her opponents. There’s also a great selection of angel fodder to plow through, with the game doing a fine job in offering up decent mixes of giants, holy snakes and weather-manipulating titans.

Bayonetta has a few quick-time sequences available, but thankfully, they’re nowhere near as oppressive or distracting as the events that plagued many a game from the era. With most of Paradiso gunning for you, Bayonetta quickly becomes a game of escalation. Enemies that popped up as bosses early on become regular obstacles that pepper a gauntlet of destruction by the time the end-game rolls around.

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Sprinkled between those stages are a few clever homages to other games that help break up the flow of constant boot-to-ass blasphemy. Playing through Bayonetta will take you anywhere from between six to ten hours, depending on your current difficulty setting or tolerance for cut-scenes. Once the credits roll, there’s still plenty to do thanks to arena stages that are hidden within the game, as well as two more difficulty modes which up the punishment ante.  There are also more moves to buy as well as some extra weapons from your friendly neighbourhood demon blacksmith.

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It’s been a couple of years since the game was released, and it’s beginning to show. Ignore the cheesy plastic doll visuals however, and you’ll find that Bayonetta is still a massively imaginative game, as the Umbran witch goes into battle with skyscraper-sized Angels and their various minions. The game makes no bones whatsoever about it being heavy on the cheesecake and page 3 visuals, but writing it off because of that is a disservice to say the least. More often than not, you’ll find yourself laughing at this gratuitous pandering, instead of succumbing to it.

Bayonetta (2)

If anything, this is a game that will leave you breathless when it comes to some truly inspired design. If there is some nit-picking to be done, it’s with the soundtrack to the game, which mixes weird Japanese pop music with a soft Jazz score and the occasional bit of rock; a selection that doesn’t always gel well with the aesthetics of the game itself.

The biggest draw of this version of Bayonetta however, is that players can finally take the witch to bed with them. But not like that. The Wii U GamePad boasts a perfect transfer from your big screen to the smaller screen in your hand, with the action never slowing down for an instant. It’s a smooth transition, playing like a point ‘n tap game on steroids that makes for a great feature to boast about. If you’re not too keen on using the bulkier GamePad and want to avoid awkward questions as to why your bed has a massive increase in sexual innuendo as of late, there’s also support for the Wii U pro controller.

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There’s also a more cosmetic change in the air, with Bayonetta able to dress up as Nintendo fan favourites such as Princess Peach, Daisy, Metroid’s Samus Aran and Link himself, with the costumes staying with players all the way, cut-scenes and all. And if you thought Bayonetta’s original outfit was provocative, then you’re about to have a confused childhood when you see her interact with characters dressed like Mario’s girlfriend.

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Last Updated: September 19, 2014

Bayonetta
Summary
Bayonetta was the queen of action games when she arrived in 2010, thanks to a vivid debut that set a new benchmark for the genre back then. Fast forward a couple of years later, and the game is as stylish and relevant as ever.
8.0
Bayonetta was reviewed on Nintendo Wii U
86 / 100

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia’s M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

  • TGS Babay (Umar)

    Is this available separately already???????Tell me yes

    • I don’t think so. Thought it was exclusive to Wii U?

      • TGS Babay (Umar)

        This is the first one. I was confused as well lol

        • When it comes to Wii U I am always confused!

          • TGS Babay (Umar)

            LOL hopefully one day you’ll join the ninty fam…but I must say ,you will never survive with the WiiU as your only console. You need another one/PC, unless you’re a hardcore ninty fan

          • I was a ninty fan for about 10 years, last was the Cube, loved it hard dude.

          • TGS Babay (Umar)

            Wish I had a Cube in the day 🙁 the only console that eluded me

          • It was dope man. It may have looked like a Fisherprice toy, but it has some solid games.

          • CAE9872

            Awesome little machine that. The only Nintendo console I currently don’t own is a WiiU. OK I also don’t have a NES or SNES but ONE day I will dammit!

          • Paladinrja

            That was because anyone with half a brain could see it was more powerful than its competitors. I think it was about the time that Factor 5 released the pg count that people began to wonder but just like this Gen, it took a while for everyone to have enough mental space to actually consider what was going on while Sony was basically telling you, that you are not cool if you don’t own a PS2.

            The same is happening with Wii U. Only this time there is no Factor 5 pushing the hardware. HD development doesn’t suit everything and this is quite true of how Nintendo’s IPs are finding use of it but I don’t think people are recognising the subtle genius of those vistas and characters, that being reinvented in every iteration without losing the instant recognition.

            Devils Third will end up being the first Factor 5 style showcase because Nintendo just don’t need that kinda art direction with their staple of characters but you and so many others are doing a gaming institution no service at all. Some media voices have speculated that the Wii U is the new cube, whilst most people with a Wii U are flatly stating outright that the platform is quite simply the new age of gaming; and of course there are millions out there stating at every aspect of the console that they have done it all before. I can absolutely guarantee that you have not, not one little bit.

            In light of this, if you haven’t picked up one by now, its pretty obvious you won’t at all isn’t it? At least not until everyone else validates a reason for you to do so.

          • TGS Babay (Umar)

            Someone was selling one with games on sagmer.co.za wonder if they still have it

          • CAE9872

            If you ever get the chance to get one do so. I have had tons of fun with it. Mario Sunshine, Smash Bros, Wind Waker, Super Monkey Ball, Resident Evil 0, Metroid Prime, hell it even had Final Fantasy on it. Echoes of Time series I think it was?

            I must make a concerted effort to try pick up more games for it – expand the collection.

          • Paladinrja

            I’m quite happy taking a hiatus from the publishing umbrellas of the industry and their products I have rehashed for the past 10 years. I do have a PC but I am not getting the titles you are talking about on that either, rather titles that are only coming to PC of which there are many. In the console space I only have the Wii U with titles that are not coming to any platform other than the Wii U.

            I’ve been gaming for a little over 30yrs and although I am a core Nintendo fan (I would hardly be a gamer if I wasn’t would I?) I am a multiplatform gamer whom transitioned to PC back in 1991 as a primary platform. I am pretty sure I am not the only one and regardless of the hyperbole (of which this fyi post is too) I think you will find that there are legions of gamers like me out there.

            I will support the only gaming company because I am gamer. Little more than that needs to be said except that the trends that supply the narrative surrounding Nintendo’s competitors, Nintendo themselves do not need to be part of and thus for those developers and publishers that do not put their best foot forward on this platform, can forget my money of which I have plenty. So I am going to do far more than survive this Gen, I am going to be happy.

          • TGS Babay (Umar)

            That’s good man. I can respect that 🙂 personally I respect the developers more than Nintendo. Dont get me wrong I love nintendo with all my heart..but if I had to stay with them only how could I support the wonderful people at XSeed and Falcom for example? I would deprive myself from experiencing those games and giving money to great companies that produce great games. I chose games over a company because I am a gamer.

          • Paladinrja

            Development goes where the gamers are. Its an easily understood goto statement, by a buncha companies that use it as an excuse far too easily. The statement “I choose games over a company” is a fallacious statement based on an unbalanced proposition. I think you mean that you choose that lions share of games over a platform that will not get that parity. In which case you are choosing not to support gaming but to support corporate agenda. Accepting gaming without Nintendo in the equation is about as anti-gaming as you can get I mean there are literally a tonne of games made by this particular gaming company and its partners (whom are extensive) that are not getting your support. So yes, you are choosing and helping to perpetuate a corporate agenda even if you do not view it as such.

            Thats where the media fails to inform the gaming public in my opinion (as many developers keep telling the media I might add). Its one thing to promote their work and inform about the industry and there is much about working in this industry that developers will not and cannot say outright; in this double edged sword that publishing umbrellas have created, most obvious this Gen. Its up to that media to interpret that correctly and most are not.

            No one in this industry is happy about having one less platform to monetize on (this actually is a business too) and no one in this industry views the situation as Nintendo’s fault. It makes our jobs much harder and far less complementary to be in a situation where mediocrity is just around the corner.

          • TGS Babay (Umar)

            You speak as if Nintendo has done no wrong in all of this. That there is this huge conspiricy by big corporations, feeding us lies to buy into thier system. While I cannot rule that fact out all together, some companies dont make that much money and they cant afford to release their game on a platform that isn’t doing well. Yes we can blame the industry all we want, but nintendo has refused to evolve and adapt. There are still people out there that doesn’t know what a WiiU is. And look at this New 3DS, they still haven’t learned from the problems that came from WiiU’s marketting. They aren’t doing enough to win developers over, and I cant blame the developers either for not wanting to release their games on there. Nintendo might be the purest gaming company out there, but they sure as hell are not without fault in all of this. I support them all. I have a WiiU and I love it. But I want more, and a lot of gamers want more too. And we’re just not getting it from WiiU

          • Paladinrja

            <>

    • Hamed5514

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      http://GOOGLEBESTJOBs/2014/09/18..,,..

      • TGS Babay (Umar)

        Shutup BOT. U NOT BAYONETTA

  • Hammersteyn

    LOL, that metroid and link outfits! Please tell me she has a Kirby one as well.

  • Really nice to see the Wii U chaps getting something non Mario/Zelda/Pokemon related. I loved the heck out of the original and curse the day OvG decided to trade it in for some other kak I can’t even remember.

    • OVGrounded new game+++

      We rented it out. I have tried to find a copy ever since. I found one at Musica 2 years after it was released for R699 back in 2011. I know, I asked the management why it was so expensive and they had no clue.

      GOOD for Nintendo backing the production of a new game. SEGA sure as shit did not care.

      NOW if Microsoft were doing the same thing with the sequel to the Tome Raider Exclusive then I would not have a problem with that. But they just seem to be renting it for a year or two. FCUKERS.

      • TGS Babay (Umar)

        Cash crusaders lol always see copies for like 90 bucks though 2nd hand

  • Paladinrja

    My two most played games are Vanquish and Bayonetta of last Gen. In fact I still play them daily. I work in the industry so you will have to pardon me when I say that I do not play games to be object oriented about my downtime, that is my work and despise that aspect as it is.

    I play the games because I like the way they make me feel, little things like achievements and rewards matter less to me than the flow of the game. Once achieved, if a game hasn’t provided me with some reason to stick around then its failed on a fundamental level. For instance I did not want to leave Assasins Creed 3 any more than I wanted to leave Metroid Prime. Its not a matter of replay value. It has more to do with being in the game, too many games these days don’t provide that. Far too many, in fact most feel like they deliberately attempt to wrap things up and kick you out. Strange considering the genre of entertainment.

  • freelancepimp .

    Your written review is far more generous than your final score.You seemed to laud the game and praise it’s core gameplay mechanics while limiting your criticisms to a few details that are so insignificant you relegated said criticism to just being nitpicky. I think its a great review that gives a far better impression of the game than the final score would leave one to believe. As for the music not matching the aesthitics at time, I do agree. I’ve also noticed this in a lot of Japanese anime, where a night club style jazz theme is playing while two guys fight to bloody death in a forest somewhere.

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