January 6, 2010

First Impressions: Bayonetta (PS3)

Chris Nitz Says Bayonetta has finally arrived state side. This is a huge hit overseas and now we finally get a taste of it. With all the hype and fanfare, I hoped it would live up to the bar that had been set. I can say that this is one enjoyable game. Even with the downfalls that plague the PS3 version.

I am going to start with the bad things first. I played the demo on the 360 and highly enjoyed it. I got the game on the PS3 due to it being more of my system of choice. After playing Bayonetta on both systems, the 360 does have the better visuals. The PS3 visuals are not horrible by any means. It is just that the 360 has better color saturation and a much sharper picture.

Bayonetta also has frame-rate issues from time to time when the action gets hot and heavy. It does get frustrating when your knee deep in enemies and the frame-rate starts getting all flakey, which causes you to screw up a combo. It is something that can be lived with as it is not a constant happening, but it is an annoyance.

The last big issue I have with Bayonetta are the load times, which are horrible. Just pausing the game causes a bit of loading...PAUSING THE GAME!! Now, most of the loading screens allow you to work on combos, but all I want to do is look at the options in the pause menu and I have to load that. This is just unacceptable in this day and age. I'd put up with a 20-minute install if I can just pause the game so I can skip a cut scene I have already watched.

These few downfalls might make the game sound horrible, but those are just minor bumps in the road when you start playing. The story is not going to win any Oscars. You’re a badass witch who has lost her memories and that is all you know. You fight the forces of heaven, but have no idea of your past. This has been played out before, but Bayonetta is sexy so we will give the story a bit of slack.

The area where this game really excels is in the gameplay department. The action is fast and furious. Though there are swarms of enemies to fight through, it does not feel like it is over done or overly repetitive. I have not made it to the end of the game, but the first two hours have been highly enjoyable.

The controls are very solid. Combo-a-holics will be in heaven as there are a plethora of options here. Between the kicking, punching and shooting, there is never a dull moment. As you fight you will fill a magic gauge. This leads to the ability to do a devastating attack. These attacks are fun little ditties like kicking an enemy into an Iron Maiden or setting up the baddie on a Guillotine and dropping the blade on their necks. This is all on top of the special hair attacks. Bayonetta can use her magical hair to stomp an enemy into the ground, or form a giant dog like head and eat the enemy into submission. It all adds up to make one of the most enjoyable actions games out on the current gen systems.

The music is going to be a love or hate situation. The soundtrack is heavy on the Asian pop music. I found that it fit the theme of the game rather well. I enjoyed it, though I would not pause the game and make dinner as the sound loop does get a bit old. I can't really complain though as I found the music did a lot to help make this game feel that much more entertaining.

Despite the downfalls on the PS3, Bayonetta is an awesomely good time. The combat is extremely fun and enjoyable. Button mashers and combo fans will each have a good time here. If you have a 360 I'd urge you to get it as you will be rewarded with some better visuals. No matter what your system of choice, this is a great action game that is worth the blisters bound to form on the thumbs.