Welcome to the latest Game of the Month podcast but in its new form with its new name, Late to the Party.
This month Greg Giddens and Neale Jarrett (Baron Von Pleb) talk about Bayonetta.
We loved it, adored it even, and so did the community. The over the top, highly stylised, combat heavy adventure proved to be just as compelling now as it did back at release. Sure, its utterly bonkers plot and the aforementioned over the top style threatened to put people off but in the end the majority couldn’t help but fall in love with its charms.
This month’s recording features guest appearances from Mathew Moore and Derek McRoberts (DigitalPariah), in our new community interview section. If you’d like to be interviewed for our next Late to the Party recording, on Borderlands, then be sure to comment in the forum post and perhaps we’ll be in touch.
This month’s winning comment is from DigitalPariah, and is as follows:
To start, I think I should state have a chequered history with this game.
I love the genre, being a fan of GOW, DMC, Dynasty Warriors and a lot of other Hack and Slash games that fail to come to mind at this time, but for me, Bayonetta seemed to tick a lot of boxes that made me NOT want to purchase it.
This is not as much for what the game did promise, which seemed to be gratuitous crotch and ass shots of a virtual woman, but was mainly due to the absolutely abysmal DMC3.
Not fair, I know, but regrettably that is how my mind worked.
Fast forward 12 months, and after hearing Matt raving about this game on a few occasions, and it being picked as game of the month, I picked it up for a bargain price of £6.99.
How wrong I was….
Maybe it’s the couple of years away from the genre, but this game is actually really enjoyable.
Influences of this game must be listed as well, the obvious ones being DMC for the style and sheer over the top plot and Max Payne for its obligatory Slo-Mo triggers. But the nod’s to Dante’s Inferno (the Divine comedy poem, not the dire game) and games such as Outrun and Afterburner in the motorbike and missile sections are a definite wink to the Sega greats of days past.
Some of the gunfight sections between Bayonetta and Jeanne also smack heavily of an influence from Equilibrium, which is a pedigree that this game should be rightly proud.
The basis of the totally over the top plot, is that you play as Bayonetta, a witch, who in a deal with the demons from Inferno, must kill angels from Paradiso daily to prevent being dragged into Inferno for eternal suffering. The opening credits also reveal that in the past, a member of the Umbran Witches and their counterpart, the Luman Sages (who draw power from Paradiso) sired a child, which was a long held taboo.
One Medieval witch hunt later, and it appears you are the last Umbran Witch, having been buried at the bottom of a lake for several centuries. This has the added benefit, that Bayonetta has lost most of her memories, and so is also discovering the story alongside you as you progress through the game.
I played this game to the end and as is tradition with a lot of Japanese based plots, I still had little idea what the hell was going on throughout the game by the end of it… The soundtrack, I can understand could be a marmite aspect, you will either love it or hate it. Personally, I loved it. The Brenda Lee rendition of “fly me to the moon” fits perfectly alongside the pop/funk soundtrack, although I did feel that it was probably slightly over-played. I cannot fail to mention, the over the top dance video at the end of the game, which would have put a grin on the face of any pre-pubescent boys who played this game, and maybe a few of their older counterparts (looking at you Matt…)
Gameplay varies little, apart from the aforementioned Outrun and Afterburner tribute levels, this is your generic hack and slash.
Initially, during the opening credits, you have a fighting section where if you have never played the game, you will button mash to death.
You are then thrown into a tutorial section, where against a red screen and infinitely spawning enemies, you can practice the combo abilities to your heart’s content. Once you are fully armed, it’s on to the main event, despatching angels. String together enough combos without getting hit and you will charge your Torture ability. This is a high damage attack, which takes you outside of combat to focus solely on the enemy you are targeting when it is activated. These tortures are also varied by the rank of angel you are fighting, but you will see them all countless times before the end of the game. Another arrow in Bayonetta’s quiver is Witch time. This slow motion trigger, is activated by dodging an enemy attack at the last second, which slows time to allow you to unleash hell (sorry for the pun) on the unsuspecting angels.
Finally, you have the true beauty that is the boss fights. These take obvious inspiration from God of War’s epic boss fights by the sheer scale of size, but the premise remains largely the same as the combat throughout the game.
Fire off your combos until you are prompted to execute your Torture ability, while occasionally participating in quick time events during the fight. Each of the Tortures this time, are based on Wicked Weave, which is Bayonetta’s ability to channel demons into the world through the medium of her hair. These moves look fantastic, with huge Wolves, Crows and even Spiders forming in the sky looming over the angels and descending on them to finish them off and drag them to the inferno, as payment for Bayonetta’s demon cohorts.
It will please the boysnthat this is when Bayonetta is at her most naked, as not only does her hair form demons, but it also makes up the one-piece cat suit she wears throughout. (Again, Far Eastern culture has left me at a loss).
In addition to all of the above, each chapter is broken down into sections, which are ranked, and then an overall rank and leaderboard position is derived from your speed, combo and ability to avoid being hit, and this game cries out for you to give it “one more go” even after the credits have rolled, which I have to mention appears to happen at least 4 times as the game has one of the longest, and most epic endings to a game I have played since Final Fantasy X.
This game can be played as a button masher, but like all of the games I mentioned at the start, to get the most out of it you have to learn the combo’s to get the most joy out of this game.
To end on a quote from Luca, one of the secondary characters from the game…”I’ve got to give you credit Bayonetta, you never cease to impress….”