Bayonetta Preview (Xbox360)

It’s been some time since Capcom’s Devil May Cry 4. Fans of the beat-em-up genre have been aching, myself included, for a new, fresh title. As someone who’s beaten DMC4 on every difficulty level, my ache was been dulling from non-use…thanks to Sega’s showing at PAX (since it was one of the few titles I missed at E3), my appetite has been made wet again.

Bayonetta follows the aptly named witch through her trials and tribulations as part of what we can only fathom as an occult of sorts, fighting off demons, angels, and witches alike. It comes as no surprise then that the fair lady comes armed, quite literally to the hair. Carrying dual pistols as her heels and on her large hips, it’s not a matter of who’s safe, but rather who’s got more time to live.

Meet Bayonetta, the witch with no B in it.
She likes to fight. She uses guns, swords, other people's weapons...whatever she can find.

Of course, all’s fair in love and war, so guns aren’t her only weapons. Far from it, in fact, to the extent that she’ll gladly pick up and steal enemies weapons to use against them, each with its own selection of viable attack combinations to dose out maximum damage. Some weapons are collectable (at least from what the demo showed, for a limited time), though the most intriguing is Bayonetta’s hair.

Using a sort of bullet time, here named “Witch Time”, a perfectly timed dodge will slow time down, making it very easy for huge combos, which ultimately end in a special attack if properly triggered. Each attack removes Bayonetta’s clothes, which is actually her hair (don’t worry kids, there’s no actual nudity), and attacks the enemy with an assortment of diabolical finishers, including a giant hair-monster and a guillotine. Each attack can also rack up extra experience points, depending on how fast you can button mash. Even if you’re not fast enough to properly activate witch time, you can still reach these special attacks.

As the only person who went through the entire demo without dying once (so said the Sega representative), my twenty minutes on the game were enjoyable, even if it was only on normal. With Hideki Kamiya helming Bayonetta as game Director, who also created both Devil May Cry and Okami, I felt right at home with the controls on the Xbox 360 (some DMC fanboys are still bitter about the move to the 360, I’m sure). Gameplay was solid and smooth, controls flowed easily and quickly, and I had no hiccups while playing (even if I do now…stupid swine flu).

Of the two sections I played, both early in the game, Bayonetta entered an old, familiar city and is immediately greeting magically by someone she doesn’t know. She steps off the train and in the first major courtyard, is attacked by flying demon creators (who, thanks to my skill and overinflated ego, stood no chance). The very next section featured a slight boss fight against a giant beast, clinging to a wall and taking down the bridge Bayonetta is standing on.

She'll even disrobe for a good kick in the nuts.
In the end, it's nothing a little, or big, guillotine can't fix. Thankfully, she keeps a spare. In her hair.

Just after the not-particularly-difficult boss fight (on normal, I remind you), we cut to a cutscene in which Bayonetta overhears two other witches discussing how one can prove herself, thereby challenging Bayonetta to a duel. It is seen as sacrilegious at first because of who Bayonetta is exactly, but what that is remains unclear. Defeating the boss ends the demo (and that was easy too).

Each level, in the standard Hideki Kamiya fashion, ends with a point total, so anyone looking for stardom on leaderboards can certainly get it, if they know what they’re doing. Unfortunately, Bayonetta is set for a later release in the US and worldwide than Japan, October 29th as opposed to January of next year, so they’ll be filled with the best Japanese players in the world. Look at the bright side: if you’re waiting in line the midnight it releases, you’ll already have a point goal to reach!

Bayonetta is set to release on October 29th in Japan, and in January 2010 in the Europe and North America regions. Expect to see plenty more from the Tokyo Game Show.

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By stuntkid (SI Elite) on Sep 18, 2009
I think I'm looking forward to this. Yep, I am!