Based on the relatively positive feedback from my last Bayonetta article and with the release of the new trailer, I thought it might be useful to take a closer look at the trailer and point out some of the interesting details that people might have missed. Originally, I wanted to do a voice over but my microphone is not very good, so I will spare you from having to listen to my grating voice and just use screen captures instead.
Right off the bat, we are given some details about the story which involves two clans that used to work together for “the powers to be” and apparently something goes down which causes “balance to be toppled” and Bayonetta lost her memories. Granted the trailer is a bit cryptic about certain details, but as it stands the story doesn’t strike me as terribly interesting. Given that Bayonetta lost her memories, you can probably bet on most of the story being told through flashbacks. However, I don’t know a lot of people (myself included) who really play fast-paced action games for the story.
There seems to be a lot of focus in the trailer on this dragon creature and we even get to see a bit of the combat involving it later on. I would imagine that this is merely an intermediate boss, since it would be odd for Platinum to disclose the final boss this far in advance. Be that as it may, this is a pretty large boss and as you can see towards the end of the trailer, the boss fight appears to be rather epic. At least, the battles aren't the typical "fight a huge boss in a big open arena" and they actually used an almost side-scrolling sort of level for the dragon boss.
So much going on in this image. First off, there is a new enemy which appears to be a slightly beefed up angel that looks like it will use its claws instead of melee weapons. If you watch the trailer, you will also notice bits and chunks of the enemies falling off as you strike them which is a nice little detail. We also get to see another torture attack later on which involves crushing the angel between two large hands.
More importantly, we finally get to see the HUD and targeting system. You’ll notice that the health bar is in the top left corner along with a set of glowing orbs. After watching the trailer a few times, I have yet to ascertain exactly what the orbs are for. Although, you can fill the orbs by attacking enemies, I didn’t see any footage where the orbs decreased, so it is unclear whether they have anything to do with the torture attacks or animal transformations.
You can also see the enemies health bar in the bottom right corner, which I actually kind of like. I found the health bar/targeting crosshair combination used in DMC4 to be a bit annoying, since I could only see the health of one enemy at a time. This method at least lets your see multiple health bars although they only appear after you strike the enemy. Speaking of the targeting crosshair, you can see it crosshair on the blue angel and I am not quite sure I like it. While it is rather clear on the blue angel, I question whether it will be as easily visible against the red angels or other larger enemies (more on this in a bit).
Lastly, you can see your combo points in the top right. The only thing I want to say about it is that I hope you have the option to either turn it off or at least make it a bit transparent. I don’t mind combo point indicators, but I find that some can be distracting. Granted this one isn’t that bad, I just tend to find them to be something that are more useful to people who go for high rankings and I would prefer to be able to turn it off.
Here we get to see a new weapon, a whip. The first thing that I thought of was the Devil Bringer from DMC4 and I am actually kind of glad they added this weapon in. I liked how I didn’t have to chase enemies around in DMC4 and how being able to draw enemies closer helped keep the action relatively constant.
You can also see that the angels are now an orange color, mostly likely caused from the lava on this level, but whether this is a new variant or not is unclear though. Granted the image I have is a bit blurry, but even if you watch the trailer you will notice that the targeting crosshair is a bit hard to see against the orange colored enemies, but I am hoping that this is just a result of the video quality.
We also see a brief clip of Bayonetta transforming into what appears to be a cougar while fighting one of the bosses. A few interesting things to note here. First, the transformation to and from the cougar form is rather seamless and quick. Furthermore, the cougar form has its own attacks which can then be chained together with regular attacks, again rather seamlessly. This might be in part to the icon in the bottom left of the screen which appears as you approach the enemy in your transformed state. Perhaps, a simple button press is all that is needed to chain attacks as you transform. Also, note how well the camera handles as you move around the large boss. My only concern is that the camera dips a little low and the grass blocks your view momentarily, but it does adjust well as you move behind the boss.
A couple of really interesting things happening in this image. First, if you watch the trailer you will see a second character dressed in red jump up from the bottom of the screen and start attacking. Co-op confirmed? Doubtful, especially since it is hard to tell who the character in red is trying to attack. And the clip right after makes her appear antagonistic, so it might just be a boss fight.
The worrisome thing going on is the timer in the middle of the screen. I will never understand why developers insist on adding timed sections to action games. In fact, you will notice the “Torture Attack” counter on the left, which means you probably need to execute 3 torture attacks before the time runs out and I am sure this will not be an easy task and much more difficult than simply killing the enemies.
I hope this article has helped spark the interest of a few people. The biggest concern I had as I watched the trailer was that the style of the combat looked remarkable similar to DMC. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing and Bayonetta certainly has elements which differentiate it from DMC. However, I worry that people while be dismissive of it because it might look or feel sort of derivative. Otherwise, I am still rather pleased with the trailer and the game looks like it will have a lot of really fantastic gameplay elements, a deep combat system, and lots of fast-paced action.