Bayonetta: First Impressions

Nov 13, 2009

It’s hard to believe that this game can be that good. The gaming press have been all over it, wet-dreaming their way through 10/10s and perfect scores, so when I hit the floor at the Eurogamer Expo in London last week (did I mention how great it was, btw? If you live in the UK and didn’t go this year, you missed out. Seriously), I made a beeline for the dark, tall, hair-clad witch we know and love as Bayonetta to put her through her paces myself as we searched to regain her lost memories and powers …

What struck me first and foremost was that Bayonetta hits the ground running. With an intuitive yet simple combat system, beautiful landscapes, great soundtrack and, of course, our not unappealing heroine, anyone can pick up a controller and get stuck right in – and I do mean anyone. Whilst there’s plenty of combos to be recited, learned and memorised – something you can try whilst hanging around in the loading screen – you can still kick-ass with nonsensical, button-mashing frenzy, too. Other reviews will tell you that there seems to be an infinite amount of combos to discover, and I’m not going to tell you anything different – there is no way the combat system is ever going get old. Add in the extra quick and slow time elements, and you know that no one chapter, no matter how often you replay it, is ever going to give you the same battle twice. The magical elements and special attacks are interesting, engaging and varied. Plentiful enemies keep battles entertaining and spontaneous, and the better you fight, the higher the score, and the better your subsequent rewards. Simple, no?

It’s easy to let the pretty backgrounds and colourful butterflies lull you into a false sense of security but trust me – Bayonetta is bad ass. She fights well and truly for the dark side, slaying angels not demons, and she wilfully cashes in on their blood-soaked halos in exchange for new weapons and techniques. The battles are suitably gory and bloody, but while we’re told that her darkness is deliberately at odds with her unashamed femininity, it does occasionally jar and I’m still not convinced of the contradictory aspects of the butterflies and her blood-lust. But as that is possibly explored later in the game, I’ll keep an open mind for now.

Down points? Yes, there are some. I spent half an hour with this game and was still grappling with the unwieldy camera when I left. Slow time doesn’t add much to the gameplay – at least, not from where I was sitting – but admittedly it doesn’t detract from it, either, and I found the patently non-interactive world to be a bit of a let-down. Whilst I didn’t get remotely bored during my time with Bayonetta, I could sense that the battles themselves could get a tad repetitive after awhile, even if the fighting/combos within them did not. But it remains to be seen how the chapters vary further on in the game.

Although my date with Bayonetta was criminally short, the half hour or so I had to sample her wares was enough, quite honestly. And while there’s certainly no such thing as the perfect game, Bayonetta comes pretty freakin’ close – close enough that it’s currently sitting aloft on my 2010 Must Buy list.

Bayonetta is scheduled for release on the XBox 360 and PS3 in early 2010 in both Europe and the US.


  1. Ruby /

    Interesting review, Once I heard from IGN it got a perfect score I just had too research more. Thankfully I learned alot and now I (finally) know that its possible a good game to play over and over. Once again, Thanks!

    • Vikki Blake /

      You’re very welcome! When you get the game, come back and give us your own thoughts!


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