If there was one thing Hideki Kamiya is known for, it’s constantly blocking people on social media. Second would be his history as a game developer. Mr. Kamiya has had a hand in some of gamings of prevalent IP. He worked on the original Resident Evil as a game planner. He directed Devil May Cry and Viewtiful Joe. Looking at his catalog, you can tell what the man wants above all else. The games he directs are referred to as “Kamiya games” and people actually get what that means. It doesn’t matter the genre, if Hideki Kamiya is the director, you’re in for an overload of flare.
Platinum Games was formed in 2006 by Shinji Mikami, Atsushi Inaba, and Hideki Kamiya. As the result of a merger between Seeds Inc. and Odd Inc., Platinum brought some of Japan’s greatest developers under one roof. In 2008, Platinum announced a deal with Sega. Sega would publish four of their titles. One of these fabled four became Bayonetta. A raunchy hack-n-slash successor to Devil May Cry.
Bayonetta has been asleep for a long 500 years. After awakening to a new status-quo, you begin to uncover the dark past of the Umbra Witch and Lumen Sage clans. After finding out a little girl is the target of angelic attacks, you enlist the help of a journalist named Luka to rediscover your memories and find out the truth behind these incidents. Even if you have to go to Heaven and back for it.
Bayonetta has hundreds of combos to perform. She has the usual light and heavy attacks of the genre, but many more abilities you can purchase from Rodin at The Gates of Hell. I found that some of these moves should’ve been on Bayonetta at the start. It’s dumb that you have to purchase the ability to dodge in the air, but I can understand not wanting to overload the player all at once.
As you progress, you’ll find demonic CDs you can give to Rodin. In return, he’ll craft you new weapons to use in your adventure. The game has two “styles”. You can equip any weapon to either the regular or heavy attack in either style. You can switch between both styles at will. Bayonetta can use four weapons in combat seamlessly!
Bayonetta also has a form of special attack. After beating up enough enemies, Bayonetta will be able to perform torture attacks. After using one, you’ll have to mash a specific button to perform the attack. The more you mash, the more damage is dealt. You can’t use torture attacks on bosses, but after a specific amount of damage is done, you can perform a climax. A climax is just a torture attack on steroids. You still mash, and you still do a lot of damage, but they’re much grander in scale. More like cutscenes that stop the flow of action.
The game is divided up into chapters. Each chapter only takes from fifteen to twenty minutes. It made the game easy to pick up and play at any time. In between fights, you’ll be exploring worlds. In these areas, you’ll find the CDs and other written books detailing the history of the Umbra Witches and hierarchy of angels. There’s a lot of incentive to explore and find everything. Especially for those big on lore.
In between chapters, you will play a round of “angel attack.” It’s just a simple, arcade-inspired, shooter. You have a limited number of bullets as angels fly by. You have to try to hit the angels in weak-points to earn a higher score. I really didn’t like this minigame.
Bayonetta makes it’s raunchy demeanor a selling point. This type of media isn’t for everyone, but it always walks a fine line. Creators have to realize when their creation is being “shocking” or being “annoying”. Visually and verbally, Bayonetta has some pretty clever jokes and witty moments. I felt the games overuse of swearing early on was more of an annoyance than anything else. Especially because it’s all but absent in the late game.
Bayonetta’s presentation is unlike any other game I’ve played. The visuals can feel downright abstract at times. Most of the game is written out in metaphor. It’s presented as if on a grainy reel of film. I appreciate this style for two reasons. It’s interesting and it allows them to animate less with a valid excuse. I remember enjoying the music I heard on my adventure, but I can’t remember any of it.
Bayonetta took me only eight hours to complete on my first play-through. Being a decade old, I sometimes ran into difficulty and stiff momentum that felt unintentional. The game feels far from outdated. Clear and concise, Bayonetta is a journey I’m glad I took. It offers the best of the hack-n-slash genre without dragging along. I highly recommend Bayonetta for fans of the genre or first-timers looking for a good starting point!