Bayonetta: A Journey Of A Witch Who Fights Bird-Like Angels. And Yes, Her Butt Is Essentially A Co-Star. Thanks A Lot Japan
Bayonetta turned out to be a breath of weird fresh air. Released in January of this year from Plantinum Games and created/directed by Hideki Kamiya. For all intensive purposes, you should know that I played the PS3 version. Even after the graphical and loading patch, Bayonetta still suffers from very noticeable slow-down — so buyer or renter beware. The flaws are obvious with Bayonetta as a game and character. Some of the miscues may be coyishly accepted by Japanophiles and 'so bad its good' fans. However, Bayonetta is a better game than God of War. The combat far exceeds the complexities found in Ninja Gaiden Sigma or the Devil May Cry series. I await the thrown e-tomatoes, but Bayonetta — with half the polish of the aforementioned top tier games — executes in almost all categories of what makes a simple experiences into a memorable game.
Recommending Bayonetta isn't the easiest thing for me to do, seeing as this commentary/review isn't close to being as gushy as Dave Halverson's diatribe-of-love for the game. As much as I hate to pull from other reviews, I am somewhere between Arthur Gies' caveat-filled glowing recommendation and Leigh Alexander's discussion on the level of feminism in this game. Two articles I could nitpick to death, but ultimately, they 'get it' and I think at Bayonetta's inviting heart the game requires you to be open to fun and to turn a blind eye to an overused, over-sexualized joke.
Protip: Weave Attacks Do More Damage During 'Witch Time' Which Is The Bullet Time Dodge Mechanic In Bayonetta. Also, Dude She Totally Almost Gets Naked. Score!
Fun is a very understated requirement in games. The evolution of game development has been trying so hard to show players different experiences and evoke a variety of emotions, that we forget that there needs to be room for a game in there somewhere. Bayonetta is torn out of a Aeon Flux cartoon. She is possibly eight-feet tall and completely clothed in an all leather, skin-tight outfit — it is beyond me, as to why her suit is her hair weave and the mega-weave attacks foes leaving her nearly naked. Within ten minutes of manipulating Bayonetta's character model during the loading screens you get the sense that men will never get past the "tits and ass" aspect of creating a logical fantasy when it involves a woman.
I guess we could look at the rippling abs of Kratos and see that creating any fantastical character in games takes a sense of creativity and sensibility. Though Kratos is only wearing a skirt and a frown, there is never a sense that he needs to break the fourth wall by greasing himself up and doing a pose down.
The writing is witty and partially confusing. Bayonetta, an Umbran witch, has been sleeping for nearly 500 years and has forgotten her past and the on-going war between her estranged clan and the Sages? In the mean time there is a journalist, Luka, who is on a quest of revenge and answers from Bayonetta. The out-casted witch ventures from incredibly detailed cities to damn near outer space in order to … well … that is where things become a bit sketchy.
When You Aren't Googling The Overly Embellished Assets Of Bayonetta, The Environments Are Actually Very Beautiful. You Should Give The City Of Vigrid A Look. You May Find A Fair Amount Of Hidden Secrets.
In an interesting addition to what could push the argument of, "How could Bayonetta be a feminist character?" in a positive direction — Bayonetta acts on her own motives. There is no point [within the story] where Bayonetta acts on behalf or is motivated by a man. If anything Bayonetta is a quest of a woman finding herself [cue cheesy Lifetime music] and discovering why her clan of Umbran witches are important.
Unfortunately, with such a fantastic and rich game that exists in Bayonetta, the joke that Platinum Games repetitively hits the player over the head with is, "She's smart, witty and empowered, but she also has tits!" which damn near undoes so much good found in this game. Imagine a meal you've never had. You take one bite. It's delicious. Then out of no where, the waiter puts a teaspoon of human poop directly in the middle of your meal. Sure you could eat around it, but there is no escaping that there is shit in your dinner.
There are moments when the 'girl power' aspect of Bayonetta is at an all-time high. Juggling the mysterious [or not so mysterious] origins of a child name Cereza whilst dodging heaven's foes with the help and hindrance from ex-clan sister Jeanne, Bayonetta's plot has potential for some depth. So why is pole dancing necessary?
Image Provided Complements Of The Digital Foundry: Though I Had A Blast With The PS3 Version, Bayonetta Was Developed During A Tumultuous Period Where The Lead Development Console Is The XBox 360. Still An Enjoyable Game Nonetheless.
I usually am fairly annoyed when inept games writers comment on race in video games, so I am fully aware that I may be out of my element when commenting on the feminism in Bayonetta. I am a man and I'd like to think I can put gender aside and look at experiences and games like Bayonetta with a fairly balanced eye.
I begrudgingly say that I loved every second I played as Bayonetta. It is that fun of a game. The graphics are at times teeth gratingly awful [PS3 version]. The cut scenes range from chuckle-worthy to hilariously bad [seriously, why put some cut scenes in with characters speaking but not moving their mouths or body — spliced with scenes where they are? budget?]. The voice-acting is surprisingly apt and the jazzy soundtrack didn't annoy me as much as I thought it would.
Now if we can just tell the developers of Bayonetta 2 [which I'd like to see] to tone down the pole dancing and masturbatory hijinks, we could have a sensible discussion about feminist characters in video games.
I give Bayonetta
A Fictionalized Fantasy Female Character Can Be Sexy, But Sexy Shouldn't Be Reliant On How Naked You Get.
The "Jade Is Not Impressed" Award
*** Complements of The Brog ***