First Thirty: Bayonetta (360)
…what? I just spent the most surreal 30 minutes of my life in the company of Bayonetta, a game that seems to be half convoluted, campy, bizzare cinematic, and half Devil May Cry with a witch wearing a costume made of her own hair. I think the italics should indicate to you the seriousness of the situation. So join me, if you dare, for a brief excursion into the downright perculiar first thirty minutes of Bayonetta.
You start with a brief cutscene, which is about some European witches, and appears to make very little sense, and then you’re on the face of a clocktower which is falling down the side of a mountain (I think) fighting a load of angels and a two-headed golden dragon. I’m usually not someone who ‘gets’ Japan, or the whole ‘Japanese’ culture, and this game might make more sense if you are, but this game makes about as much sense as Jabberwocky.
After killing the angels by kicking, punching and shooting them, the timeline skips ahead to an overlong cutscene which involves a fat guy mouthing off about Humpty Dumpty (and now the Lewis Carroll reference is justified) at which point, a bunch of angels fly down and attack Bayonetta, who is dressed as a nun. It’s intimated at some point that she’s lost her memory, but frankly, I’m not sure that she’d have been able to make out what was going on either way. She kills some angels, changes into her-hair-suit (in case you’d forgotten, her suit is made of her own hair. At this point, you might be asking yourself “Why is she killing angels, if she’s the hero?” Well, it turns out that her powers came from a pact with the devil, so she’s got to kill the angels otherwise she gets dragged into hell. That stands on a rather unstable patch of theological ground, but it’s clear this game isn’t trying to make sense, so we’ll move on.
There’s a tutorial bit which teaches you how to punch, kick, jump, dodge, and shoot (with guns attached to your feet). If you dodge just before the enemy hits, you get a brief burst of Witch-Time (slow motion) which allows you to take down angels with greater efficacy. After having killed quite a few angels, there was another cutscene, some bald guy burst out of a coffin, threw a large amount of guns at Bayonetta in a ridiculously over-the-top cutscene, and all the angels are killed… or something.
Then, you’re driving away, and a cargo plane crashes onto the motorway, and you fight some more angels on the aircraft’s flaming wing while time is frozen . In this section, you have to do three ‘torture attacks’ in a time limit, which basically involves building up a magic meter by hitting enemies without being hit yourself, and then dispatching them in ridiculously over-the-top attacks which involve various execution devices, such as iron maidens and guillotines made out of hair. There’s also a point where a large angel turns up, and you use your hair becomes a dragon and eats it. I honestly cannot believe I’m writing these words. Go and find it in Youtube if you’re not going to buy the game, because this is something you need to see.
If I’ve said negative things about this game, it’ll be because I am so confused. From a gameplay point of view, it controls well, it’s fun, and it has plenty of gory explosions. The story is ridiculous, but that isn’t really the point – the gameplay is outrageously fun, and stomping on angels with a demonic high-heeled boot made out of your own hair never gets old. A fun, entertaining, if perplexing half-hour. My full review will be along shortly.
This First Thirty was based on a review copy provided by Sega, but played at my friend David’s house, because my bloody 360 has red-ringed, and is currently in Germany for repairs. Get it together, Microsoft.Tags: 360, bayonetta, platinum games, sega, XBOX 360