I suggest you watch this at least once, for hilarity.
I started playing Bayonetta with few, if any, preconceived notions about it in my mind. I knew that she user her hair to clothe and kill things and that the game had an M rating for blood and gore, ‘intense’ violence, strong language, suggestive themes, and, the crowd favorite, partial nudity. As of this point I’m sure that the naughty bits were included solely to get the game to M and make this a must have for pre-pubescent teens with a slow internet connection.
The game starts off with you and some other person (presumably a witch) falling on a clock tower killing angels. There’s some backstory but you don’t notice that because you are KILLING ANGELS! First, disregard any notion of what you think God’s most holy servants and army look like because, according to SEGA, you are wrong. Angels are not some beautified version of a human or anything close. They’re eagles. Kinda. They resemble something that would happen if an eagle, a crusader, and a lava lamp had a three-way, which, considering the overall theme of Bayonetta would not be an entirely impossible idea.
What Zero Punctuation’s Yahtzee say’s about the game’s fetishized tendencies is entirely true. You have a woman wrapped in skin tight…hair who prances around taking it off for you, the player, to see every press a button.
She walks in what can only be described as a “Stripper runway strut.” Consumable items are all lollipops which she sensuously sucks during every cutscene where she has one. She even has glasses and a bun for the “sexy librarian” crowd. Even in the first scene of the game you are treated with her exploding out of a nuns robe and then giving you a close up of every conceivable angle of her adult parts for about 10 minutes while she beats on some Angels. If you so desire you can pick up a weapon from a defeated enemy and swing around it as though that’s how you make your living at night, kicking and shooting things also of course. I think my favorite part, however, is when I had to pull a lever. No you might think “What’s so bad about that?” She could have easily just pulled the lever with her hair or arms like a sane person but no. Bayonetta decided that the only way to pull it was to kick her leg up, wrap around the pole and bend over backwards to close the loop. (see it here)
As far as the gameplay goes, it is incredibly simple and I can otherwise only bridge parallels between it and Devil May Cry, minus the incredibly difficult part. You have a large number of combos available but you end up using the one that only requires you mash the Punch button until a demonic leg comes out from your hair and kicks whatever you were punching’s ass and the a few of the techniques you can buy from the store, all of which end with (literally) a snapshot of Bayonetta in a suggestive pose for a second. As for the store you buy things using red orbs halos that you collect from defeated enemies and benches and crates and flowerpots and everything else in the world. I have no idea who decided that halos were a “Very Rare” metal because you deal with these things in the thousands. The cheapest thing costs 5000 halos and techniques cost at least 15k. I’m sure that Rodin (pronounced Rodan), the proprietor of the Gates of Hell bar and store, is shafting you and selling these things for a serious profit in the Inferno (read hell), though I suppose you get what you can when you are fighting the armies of God.
I think. It is never really clear what is going on in Bayonetta. From what I’ve seen Bayonetta woke up in a coffin at the bottom of a lake 20 years ago and has been fighting angels to avoid being dragged back to hell. Then some stuff happens and you see a lot of fanservice. I hope that once I finish the game I’ll understand why I was fighting a two headed dragon in a church only to have part of the church (the part with you in it) ripped from the ground and flown around, climaxing (yes, that’s the technical term) in you throwing the church back at him after a dreaded quick time even or Press X to not die sequence. Generally speaking, I would miss such events the first time every time because they just pop up randomly so that you don’t finish without seeing the “sorry you died” scene and racking up a skull and crossbones continue (which costs you style points at the end of a level and nothing else).
Despite all that the game is surprisingly entertaining and fun to play. I am continually surprised by each astoundingly awesome move that Bayonetta comes up with. Nothing is more satisfying that watching a difficult boss be destroyed by a gigantic spinning torture wheel, or other such devices. Once you get past the fact that she is shooting guns from her feet (my answer is she’s a witch) you realize how cool it is that she is shooting guns from her feet and you don’t question it. If you want story, character development, or anything artsy save yourself 50 dollars and go buy Killer 7. If you do want a game that entertains and lets you battle Angels with bondage gear get Bayonetta. Just don’t let your girlfriend see it or she will think you are cheating on her.