By now, you've hopefully read Jim's glowing preview of Bayonetta. Lord knows Ashley Davis and myself did. With what we assumed would be our final preview already posted, we sat restlessly in the E3 press room for a few moments until realizing that if we rushed down to the show floor, we could probably get some time in with Bayonetta before E3 closed down.
Jim had repeatedly called it his game of the show in regular conversation, and that was all the suggestion we needed.
After one monster made out of hair, several almost-nip-slips and a few dozen decapitated demons later, what did we think of it?
Hit the jump to find out.
Ashley: We didn't play Bayonetta until literally the end of the show. I'm not sure why we waited so long. We passed the booth several times before.
Anthony: We probably put it off because there was always a line.
Or rather, a pretty big-ass group.
If you go to the showfloor on the last day of E3 in the last few hours of the show, though, it's like being a kid in a candy store.
Ashley: Going along with this metaphor, I would say that Bayonetta was a gigantic swirly lolipop that we both enjoyed very much.
Anthony: If swirly lolipops could induce half-boners.
Ashley: Well, it was colorful and delicious.
One of my favorite things about the game is its imagery. I've never seen a game designed quite like Bayonetta is.
Anthony: Yeah. Functionally, it is Devil May Cry in almost every way, save for the really satisfying, 360 degree gun-shooty move she can do that seems like it's ripped from a third-person shooter. Otherwise, I really just ended up digging the game's charm, above all else.
Though I dunno if "charm" is the right word.
Ashley: Bayonetta's design constantly wavers from artistic (spouting butterfly wings during double jumps) to nearly over-the-top (the hair transformation scenes).
Anthony: I think it's so over-the-top that it becomes almost mindblowingly effective.
This is a game that made us simultaneously laugh, feel like badasses, and occasionally lean toward one another and say, "admittedly...that's pretty sexy."
Like, when that big-ass foot made of hair came out of some portal Bayonetta created and kicked a dude in the face, I suddenly realized it -- this is next-gen Battletoads.
Ashley: I have no basis of comparison (never played the DMC games), but I really loved the combat. It was very satisfying, and easy to pull off combos. The loading screens even allow you time to learn the various combinations of button presses available to you.
There's no one way to kill something, and that's great. I couldn't imagine things ever getting old with all the different things you can do.
Anthony: The basic mechanics are pretty simplistic, but the visual rewards for executing cool combos made our demo much more enjoyable than it really had any right to be.
I think it could probably get old if stretched out over several hours without significant change to your abilities or the enemies you face.
But at the same time, that's most DMC-esque games I've played. And Bayonetta is thus far the coolest game in that genre I've ever gotten my hands on.
Ashley: It oozes a style that, so far, we haven't seen anywhere else. That style could very well carry it a long way.
Anthony: Yeah. I mean, even the way Bayonetta walks was perfect. While you're shooting, she just sort of holds one hand out to fire, putting her other hand on her hip. All sassy-like. And if you try to move while doing that, she struts . She doesn't walk. She struts .
Ashley: And she has a very sultry taunt that Anthony probably used every five seconds.
Anthony: It was the "bustin' makes me feel good" of Bayonetta.
Anytime you want, you can press the left bumper and she'll just stop and strike a pose, for no real reason.
Which is awesome.
I think Gears of War could benefit from that mechanic.
Ashley: I'm not too sure about that. Marcus is no Bayonetta, unfortunately.
Anthony: "MORE LIKE TEN SHITLOADS"
Ashley: Sega, give us a male Bayonetta! Please!
Anthony: Fuck that noise.
Having had no real experience with DMC-esque games like this, what did you think when you left the booth? Would you buy it, based on that demo?
Ashley: I think I would. I got a taste of that fast-paced, satisfying action, and I would really like to experience more.
That, and I want to see more hair transformations. Those are very interesting.
Anthony: And the sudden flashes of flesh -- I have to say, I usually get really offended by characters like Lara Croft or whatever who claim to be about Serious Female Empowerment Action, but Bayonetta is so incredibly overt about her purpose that I couldn't help but buy into it.
There's no hand-wringing there. She's there to give you a boner, and that's okay.
Ashley: I agree, although the real life Bayonetta at the booth made me roll my eyes the few times we saw her.
Anthony: I heard some scary stories about what that poor woman had to go through.
Some dude put his hand, like, an inch away from her vagoo during a picture. And she noticed. And had to pretend not to.
Ashley: Yikes. Suddenly, I feel empathetic for her.
But, I mean, you're a woman. How does a female character who comes right out and says "my purpose is to be arousing" compare to someone like Lara Croft, who pretends to be a serious character but is secretly about pretty much the same thing?
Ashley: I never got the "I'm sexy so this game will sell" vibe from Bayonetta. She's almost a caricature of offensive female videogame characters.
Anthony: Really? I guess my wang missed the irony.
That does make sense, though. She's pretty over-the-top.
Ashley: Maybe it was because I was laughing and having so much fun.
Anthony: No harm there, then. I really hope the plot of Bayonetta never asks the player to take it seriously, because nothing in the mechanics or visuals I experienced in that demo would justify anything other than the most barebones, unpretentious plot imaginable.
Ashley: Yeah, we didn't really get to see any plot at all, did we?
Anthony: Such is the tragedy of playing an E3 demo.
Either way, I'm unquestionably renting this game whenever the hell it comes out, and will be actively looking forward to it until then.
Ashley: And I will just mooch it off of Anthony when the time comes.
Though, if the full product turns out to be just as enjoyable as the demo, I would definitely go out and buy a copy.
Anthony: We shall see.