Bayonetta Review: All Spectacle & Little Substance

Bayonetta Review: All Spectacle & Little Substance

Alright, so the review itself may not be stylish and certainly not sultry, but this is a review of Bayonetta so I’m not a complete liar.  It’s also a second opinion of the game in case you missed our first review of the game.  I went into Bayonetta expecting an over the top Devil May Cry style game with a high level of polish and an interesting story.  After finishing the game I can honestly say it’s everything I expected it to be, so why did I leave confused and more than a little underwhelmed?  I don’t think it was the hype, even though the game had plenty of it.  It looks amazing and plays like a AAA title, so it can’t be that.  So why don’t we go through the game’s features piece by piece and see what failed to interest me.

Yes, I know, everyone else loves the game so I have no right to be hating on it.  Stop right there.  In now way did I hate this game or even dislike it, I loved the fact that I could press three buttons and look like a total badass on screen.  I also loved the game’s style, because it has a truly unique personality (and a very Japanese one at that).  The main reason anyone should try this game is for its gameplay, and more specifically, it s combat.  There is a healthy dose of puzzles hidden underneath all the pizazz but as a combat centric action title Bayonetta is second to none.  Whether you’re a pro or a noob there’s something for everyone and the multiple different difficulty levels is a welcome addition.

Bayonetta is also a great looking game in both its visuals and its overall style.  It all works brilliantly together, especially the enemy designs.  The enemies range in looks from colossal creatures to small floating heads, and they all have a similar style (lots of golds and whites) so even in the more cluttered of arenas you won’t find your gothically garbed gal lost in the skirmish.

Technically, the game is almost superb.  The flowing combat and expansive arenas are fine and littered with no noticeable bugs but the camera can be more than a little frustrating at times.  It’s not quite as bad as say, Shadow of the Colossus, but it’s also nowhere near the rest of the game’s level of polish.  PS3 users should know that their version is vastly worse than its 360 sibling with a myriad of technical issues that really hurt the experience.  These problems range from frame rate problems, long loading times (a recent patch helped this), and even some screen tearing.  If you have a choice I suggest you go with the Xbox version.

So far the game is outstanding, so what could possibly make it bland for someone like me?  In the end it was the story that failed to satisfy me.  It’s extraordinarily convoluted, the cinematics (though skippable) are way too lengthy, and by the end of the game I felt absolutely no connection with any of the game’s characters.  Bayonetta, while beautiful in a Kickass Librarian kind of way, failed to get my empathy for her memory problems and after several hours playing the game the rest of the characters I came across had just blended into a faceless pile of NPCs.

I’m a guy who loves his stories; I play games to get lost in their gorgeously rendered worlds and in the end Bayonetta proves itself as an excellent action game, but it’s also just a ton of spectacle with little substance.  Platinum Games tried to hide Bayonetta’s lack of personality with some tight clothing and a stripper’s gait and while that might be enough to keep the attention of teen boys its not much for the rest of us.  Because of this I won’t be giving the game a score because it’s simply not the right game for me; action fans shouldn’t hesitate to check it out, but if you’re looking for an experience with real substance, this isn’t for you.


Article from Gamersyndrome.com

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avatar I ruthlessly tear apart the English language by lending my "talents" to a handful of websites including Cheat Code Central, Game Zone and Bloody Disgusting, all while working on acquiring a degree in Video Game Design. Oh, and I'm also desperately searching for a social life.