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The Villainthropist avatar 10:03 AM on 06.06.2012  (server time)
Why's she called Bayonetta? She has no bayonets.

I'd have called her Gunonetta.

AKA A Backlog Diary: Part 31

Having just finished one more game in the backlog, I find myself at a cross-roads; a cross-roads with about thirty different exits. There are still so many games to go, and even though, lately I have been carving off chunks from my console backlog, Steam and physically packaged PC games dominate the horizon. The hard part is where to start, as with so many choices, it becomes difficult to know what Ifeel most like playing next, and instead end up picking one through eenie-meanies-miney-mo methods, which due to a lack of willpower, I may not enjoy to its fullest. If I re-emerge myself in LA Noire as best as I can, I may simply get bored and end up stopping again. Here are some choices from the list of games I have already started and ought to finish first:

• LA Noire- I have just gained access to the Homicide desk, but found the game tedious in its repetition and constantly felt like Phoenix Wright had a better handle on the detective genre, possibly due to its wackiness and pretty colours. LA Noire is just a bit too noir, and yet not noir enough, feeling more like a dull episode of CSI than an interesting fifties era crime thriller.
• Final Fantasy XIII has been untouched for nearly two years after I got stuck quite close to the end. It’s a shame, because unlike most people, I was really enjoying it.
• Mortal Kombat is all good fun, but I haven’t quite got the knack of its mechanics, and keep getting my sorry ass handed back to me with apologies from the Netherrealm. If I get the hang of it, this could be fun, but being competent at MK is harder than being competent at DOA or Soul Calibur.
• SSX has a similar problem. I tried to play this last night, and managed to get a fair way through World Tour mode, but then got horribly stuck in Antarctica to the point where the game offered me the option to skip the level I was doing. I must have been that bad, but some levels are just hard to make good lines on.
• I keep getting quite far into Super Meat Boy, and then having to reinstall Windows on my PC, at which point, despite best efforts to back up save files, I lose progress and have to start again. Good fun, but I’ve finished the first two sections about five times now.
• I was really getting into LocoRoco 2, but my PSP died.
• Resident Evil: Revelations failed to set off a real spark of intrigue when I first started it two months ago. Could be really good, but I may have to work for it.
• Homefront… urgh Homefront. Started the first level yesterday and kept getting blown up by grenades in this section near a downed airplane. Unlike Call of Duty, the grenade indictator is pretty feeble, and I got blown up five times in a row before I swore at it and exited. I need a good reason to come back.
• Forza 4 just keeps on going. I probably still have another 60 races before World Tour mode is completed. May just renew my Xbox Live Gold subscription and take it online, because there’s only so much racing against the AI on the same tracks over and over in lovely weather I can take.
• Split/Second is also quite hard. Like Mario Kart, it’s just luck if you cross the line in 1st place and some fucker hasn’t squashed you with an airport terminal.
• Madworld- I’ll be honest, I forgot I had it.

So to sum up, I don’t know what to play next. Particularly idle days just see me playing Temple Run on my phone, so some encouragement for a certain title might just give me the drive to get going again. Either that or I end up collecting stamps and blogging about that. Do you want that?

So, Bayonetta. Am I allowed to like this? Am I allowed to actually fucking adore this game, hail it as the best hack n’ slasher this generation, whooping the ass of Batman, Dante, Ryu Hayabusa and all those Dynasty Warriors guys? Am I allowed to say that Bayonetta herself may be one of the most entertaining and likeable protaganists of all time?
The reason I doubt this is primarily awareness of the times we’re in. There is a strong call for more rounded female protaganists in games who don’t purely rely on the sexuality of the character and the player to sell themselves to their audience. I cite Alyx Vance and Rochelle and Zoey from Left 4 Dead as examples of game characters who aren’t there to be pretty and sexually appealing (or at least, not purely created for those reasons). Bayonetta, in contrast to these three Valve creations (oh, and Chell) has been designed very much with her (and for the male/lesbian population, our) sexuality in mind. She dresses in what appears to be skin tight bondage gear, which is in fact her hair, which at her beck and call can scarper, take demonic form, and tear evil bastards to shreds whilst Bayonetta looks on in her barely censored birthday suit. She taunts her enemies with sexual innuendo, swears, backflips, and even poses after some attacks, at which point a camera click can be heard. As a liberal minded modern mid-twenties male, pro-female, and part of a society that encourages a loss of ditzy sexy female stereotypes, am I supposed to dislike this game?

Now I know that there has been little, if not no fuss about this game. I have not read or heard of any objections from the female populace about the character or the game. I am not trying to create a controversy where this isn’t one. So why do I feel the need to doubt whether Bayonetta is a good example of a female video game character? A character done right? Is it just her sexuality that at first made me cautious about outwardly declaring that despite the objections some may have had to her, she is one of the best pixellated women to come out of Japan in forever?
I suppose I just feel the need to be cautious. Generally, I feel the need to declare that I too dislike the rather adolescent use of female semi-nudity in Dead or Alive, despite the games being some of the best beat ‘em ups available for entry level players and veterans alike. I liked Bayonetta, and at first I didn’t know why. I felt like ought to be put off because of her in-your-face sexiness. But to take things into further analysis, despite this focus being a primary part of her character, it is the other ingredients that justify citing her as brilliant. She’s smart and cocky (both shown by her taunting of angels the size of buildings), confident, dominating, independent. In fact, the “traditional” role of damsel in distress is reversed here as she frequently saves the life of clumsy journalist Luka (a male sidekick, so to speak).
So what does Bayonetta teach us that we did, or probably should have already known? That a characters blatant sexuality is okay, so long as the other traits of the character justify it. Despite being a kick ass ninja, Kasumi seems to spend half her time in bikinis, crying out for her brother Hayate. Bayonetta needs no one. People need her. And that is why Bayonetta herself kicks ass. She may be a sexy female protagonist, but she isn’t there just to be a sexy female protagonist.

I can't see this fighting stance allowing too much accuracy with firearms.

Also, the game itself kicks ass. The combat is very well developed, with the Witch Time dodge mechanic testing reflexes and allowing you to dominate your enemy. Torture attacks are entertaining, levels are gorgeous and well designed, enemies are both beautiful and terrible (in a good way) and demand different tactics and thought processes to be felled. The game offers much replay value through the collection and purchase of items as well as a scoring system, action sequences are varied (you’ll ride not only motorbikes, but hells’a’poppin’ missiles!) and the plot, despite being a bit mad and hard to follow at times, is at the best of times entertaining, and at the worst of times adequate enough to encourage progress. If you want a good looking and challenging hack n’ slash game with a great protagonist and some real depth, I can’t recommend Bayonetta enough, even though from what I hear, the PS3 version is plagued by loading times and slowdown.
I’m giving Bayonetta a 10, because it showed me what Platinum games are capable of. I loved Vanquish, I enjoyed MadWorld (and hope to finish it soon), and Bayonetta is probably one of the best games of this generation. Much more than a pair of spectacles and a pair of tits.

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