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Games Reviews

Bayonetta

Bayonetta
Sega/X360/PS3
[Four and a half stars]
Price: Rs 2499

Rolling Stone IN Feb 15, 2010

Games today try too hard.  They beg for your attention, wanting you to take them seriously with complex, even cheesy plots, innovative game play and uber realistic art-direction and graphics.And then there are games like Bayonetta which make no bones about that fact that they’re all about the fun and nothing else. The plot is gloriously campy, the art-direction is of the sort that makes you wonder what the folk at Platinum Games were smoking and the dialogue satires older titles they worked on included Resident Evil 4 and Devil May Cry.

Bayonetta gives you control of a witch by the same name who literally tortures angels, eats gigantic enemies with her hairdo and has guns attached to her stilettos, all while looking like a sexy librarian, glasses et al. The gloriously campy plot tracks the awakening of Bayonetta in a tomb at the bottom of a lake with no memory, to find that 500 years have passed and that the world as she knew it has changed. In the uncovering of her past you’ll come across everything from witch-angel gang wars to multidimensional plotlines with enough ludicrousness, innuendo, plenty of gratuitous violence and hilarity to keep you absorbed for a long time.

With a plethora of enemies to lay waste and weapons ranging from whips to shotguns to choose from, fun is always just a button away. Add to the fact that Bayonetta controls extremely well and you have title that raises the bar for other action games to come. In a fight you can summon a variety of weapons to deal death to your enemies, combine moves in special combo modes to do twice the damage and even shapshift in later levels. In addition to this, the game rewards agility in a unique way ”“ dodge an enemy attack at the right time and you enter ”˜Witch Time,’ which effectively slows time down and allows you to unleash destruction with multiple moves while your enemy is incapacitated. String together a long enough combo of attacks and you’d be able to launch into a torture attack, that allows you equipment such as guillotines and chainsaws.

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Even while Bayonetta focuses on the fun aspect, much attention has been paid to the graphical interface as well. Each frame oozes eye-candy, from the loading screens (which also serve as a training ground) to huge environs such as a vast coliseum, and every element serves it’s purpose in delivering an experience that’s best described as over-the-top.

This extends to the music too: Rather than have an orchestrated, gothic soundtrack as you might expect, Bayonetta is cleverly laced with generous doses of J-pop and jazz, heightening its devil-may-care attitude. In terms of difficulty level, skilled players would have no problems finishing this off on normal difficulty in around 10 hours and yet come back to wade through a wealth of unlockable content, while newbies have two easy modes to choose from.

All in all Bayonetta is one beautiful, gargantuan spectacle of gaming goodness that proves that games can easily be fun if they didn’t try too hard. Definitely a must buy and 2010’s first contender for game of the year.

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