Hogwart’s Delinquent Class Alumnus – Bayonetta (XBOX 360)

One thing that puzzles me about wizards and witches is why do they sometimes wear spectacles? Hey, I’m Harry Potter, I can slay really dangerous monsters but I can’t opticus correctus my eyesight. And since when did Sarah Palin go to Hogwarts?

I am obviously talking about the relatively mysterious recent Xbox 360 offering of Bayonetta. You’ve maybe seen the trailers, I know I did, and was completely baffled. What the heck is going on here then? Statements such as ’10/10′, ‘Best Game Ever!’ and ‘Look What The 11th Governer of Alaska Is Up To Now!’ were popping onto the TV screen in abundance (OK maybe I made the last one up), but as to what the game was about we were left in the dark.

So anyway, I went to my local game trading store with a few old Xbox 360 titles, hoping to trade them in for Modern Warfare 2. They didn’t have it, so to cut short a long and largely irrelevant story of looking through the shelf racks, asking the shopkeeper and not finding what I was after, I walked out of there with Bayonetta.

Every once in a while a game comes along which seems to break all conventions and boundaries. Bayonetta is that kind of game. You play the part of a hyperopic witch on a quest to find out her past and generally cause havoc to hordes of angels along the way. At it’s heart, Bayonetta is a beat ’em up. Kind of like a classy Dynasty Warriors. But it’s also an adventure game, maybe a bit like the age old Dragon’s Lair or Soul Reaver. It’s also a bit like interactive anime. It’s also a boss killing game, maybe a bit like Shadow of The Colossus. What I am trying to convey here is that it’s a game that doesn’t really fit into any neat category. Not that it really matters for these are not the game’s best features.

The most memorable bit about Bayonetta is that it takes all of these ideas, sticks them all in a big pot, mixes them all up and then adds a big dose of the crazy juice and then presents the whole trippy package in a completely accessable form. The end result is truly headspinning. For example, in the first level you are kicking angel butt on a giant clock tower, which is hurtling towards the ground, your witchiness allowing you to defy gravity and stay on the clock face as the horizon giddily spins and the ground hurtles towards you. Next time you play you might be fighting a giant boss, shooting it in the face with the guns in your shoes as you flap around on butterfly wings and alter the flow of time. You might even do well enough that your hair turns into a giant demon and eats the foe on your behalf. Add to that the occasional fun of throwing your opponent into an iron maiden you just summoned while you walk on the ceiling and I hope you get the picture.

The thing is though, as insane as it is, the game does all this crazy stuff flawlessly. At no point do you think that it is out of place to suddenly start surfing an angel on a wave of lava. The controls are smooth too, and soon enough you can cause some real havoc and give yourself a good dose of nausea. In addition, when you are not defying all laws of reality you are presented with really good cutscenes. Usually I find storylines and cutscenes in games terribly tedious, but these are really worth watching.

So do I like Bayonetta? Yes I sure do! It has completely blown me away. It is seriously worth getting it simply for the experience. The amount of polish in this game really has to be seen to be believed and those 10/10 reviews have truly been earned. Its not so much a game, but more of a multimedia experience. Should I have bought Modern Warfare 2 instead? That’s a tricky one. I think Bayonetta is seriously the better purchase, but Modern Warfare 2’s amazing multiplayer means it will still be very enjoyable long after the second and third play through.