If there’s one thing that Bayonetta was missing, it was enough monsters and opportunities for epic, escalating battles where I get to slaughter vast amounts of cunts with astonishing style and panache.
Let’s get one thing straight – basing yourself on a mishmash of God Hand and Devil May Cry while having amazing tits and ass is an excellent starting point, but I was hoping for a little bit more than a brilliant combat system dropped into a steadfastly average 3rd-person adventure (albeit one slightly elevated by the batshit mental storyline, but not to any significant degree). Imagine my outright horror and consternation that Bayonetta insisted on doing nothing else other than its starting premise of simple mashup between the two, with some Ninja Gaiden on top.
This is something of a let-down. Despite the colossal, towering amazingness that Bayonetta’s fighting system represents, it’s somewhat astounding – and, I believe, a total crime – that you don’t fight through swathes of idiots for 90% of the time you spend playing and end up with endgame KO counts in the tens of thousands. Instead, there were these unfinished bits where I had to WALK AROUND and do NO FIGHTING WHATSOEVER. All these empty corridors CLEARLY needed a bit more filler than ‘walk up staircase for 30 seconds’ or ‘wander around some streets’, ‘jump through some remedial platform challenge hoops’ and ‘wait for cutscene to finish’. Basically, a nice implementation of classical crowd melee mechanics would have been nice.
YES YOU CUNTS. Stop braying about Bayonetta’s stellar qualities for one second and consider it as some smack in the face to Ninja Gaiden, only with less monsters to fight. It’s all in there – the pointless cutscenes, the pointless adventuring, the ULTRA FUCKING SICK SWORD WORK (only you don’t get the same awesome options for on-landing powerup with the charge attacks, as far as I can tell). What could have been THE VERY BEST GAME OF ALL TIME APART FROM VIRTUA FIGHTER is instead a really good game of sporadic fighting and too many boss fights with two nostalgia nods that went on for far too long. It’s a bit of shame, considering it has the (perhaps) best fighting system ever invented. For me, this separation of combat into delineated instances when each level could have been full to the brim with ever-respawning, currency-generating, XP-giving sword-fodder is a criminally missed opportunity to merge three gaming templates into one shining, unified triumph that shames all before it. As it stands, it only shames Devil May Cry. NOW, I know I’m being a classic cunt by having a go at Bayonetta for not living up to my mad dreams of what it could have been, so if you really want me to review the game for what it is rather than what it isn’t, then take this: it isn’t as good as God Hand and it isn’t as good as Ninja Gaiden 2. There. I said it.
Bayonetta is, like, totally fucking hot, but I didn’t get to play with her enough. I couldn’t really dress her up properly, nor could I really customise how I used her to anywhere near the degree I could customise Gene. Looking back at what I have to plough through on a harder difficulty level, or what I need to do to unlock Jeanne, leaves me with a massive sense of resignation. It’s going to be a plodding affair where all I’m doing is not looking forward to the next boss fight, as it’ll be a bit harder and probably more of a fucking grind. The density of combat is pissily thin compared to Ninja Gaiden 2’s onlsaught of removable limb challenges and, well, it leaves me thinking if such a reliance on boss fighting as focal climaxes wasn’t so much necessity of the game’s outmoded concept, but more another ham-fisted attempt to associate itself with a PROPER ART GAME like Shadow Of The Colossus. Then again, you can always get properly enraged by thinking that this somewhat lacklustre structure has more to do with taking on the rhythm of lumbering set-piece snorefests like God Of War, where spectacle and asset movements are seemingly considered more important than deep-ass stylish technical endurance fighting.
It’s really, really hard to write all of this because Bayonetta is so totally fucking hot but, y’know, it’s true. It’s as much a victim of its AAA aspirations as it is a true contender for such a status and, well, it’s bullshit. Can’t we just have a special edition that’s nothing but fighting all the fucking time with no big, dull boss fights? Or do I have to unlock that?