The Brilliance of Bayonetta

I finally finished Bayonetta last week, just days before the announcement that the sequel is not only in development but that it’s exclusive to Wii U. Who’d have thunk it? Glad to see Nintendo have rightly but their might behind Bayonetta, although it still seems odd: a bit like finding out that Disney are producing Death Proof 2. Anyway, I’m looking forward immensely to the sequel, but I can’t imagine how Platinum can top the original, which is without doubt the most ridiculously over-the-top and insane game I’ve ever played.

Many video games tend to peak early on and then peter out a little towards the end, but Bayonetta keeps layering on the craziness and innovation right up to the game’s explosive finale, and even beyond that. The premise is outlandish enough – you play a witch who has stiletto boots with guns for heels and clothes made of her own hair. Oh, and she can form her hair into giant fists and heels to attack enemies, as well as conjuring up enormous hair beasts like tarantulas. And she looks a bit like Sarah Palin. And that’s just for starters.

“Fly me to the moon…” That song has been stick in my head for weeks.

I don’t want to spoil the craziness that follows, but I have to mention there’s a fantastic tribute to Space Harrier on one of the later levels that put a grin on my face a mile wide – it even has a remix of the original Space Harrier theme tune. And the final level just has to be seen to be believed – just when you think the game couldn’t get any more outlandish, it punches outlandish in the face and dances the can-can across its prostrate body. You just have to play it yourself, words really can’t do it justice. Oh, and it also has the greatest end credits sequence since MadWorld – I don’t want to spoil it, but I’ll just say that ALL games should end like that.

It’s refreshing to come across a video game that just manages to get so much right on so many levels, from the super slick presentation to the astonishly fluid combat. The fighting system is incredibly simple to pick up, allowing you to do incredibly flashy moves with just a few simple button presses, but at the same time it has immense depth if you want to delve into it. What’s really impressive is the precision of it all – no matter how busy the screen gets with enemies attacking from all sides, you always feel in complete control, and everything runs super smoothly. It’s like the the Ferrari of game design.

Eat hair fist, cherub-faced monster!

It’s not entirely perfect – you could perhaps argue that some of the cut scenes are a bit long, and the plot, for all its fun, doesn’t make a helluva lot of sense – but these are minor niggles in an otherwise sumptuously brilliant game. If you haven’t played it, get it now. And if you have played it, tell me about your favourite bit in the comments, I want to talk excitedly about how good the ending was.

[As penned in breathless excitement by Lucius Merriweather.]