I preordered Bayonetta immediately after a friend told me about how awesome it sounded. I had been a big fan of the Devil May Cry series already so it’s not a huge leap that I would love this game since it seemed to take the same attitude towards gameplay and style.
I LOVED this game. The gameplay is outstanding. It’s just the right length. It has tons of re-playability. It rewards you early and often for good gameplay and the combo/ranking system is easy to understand yet super hard! It’s my favorite out of all of the combat-centric-stylized-combat games I’ve played yet.
The gameplay feels like a fighting game. You have a TON of combos all made up of the two attack buttons (Punch and Kick). Depending on what weapons you have equipped you can do different attacks. Throughout the game you can earn weapons that you can permanently equip. You start with guns on your hands and feet (as you see in the videos for the game) and can earn stuff like a sword, ice skates, shotguns (for hands and feet), a whip, etc. Also throughout the game enemies will drop some really powerful (and often slow) weapons that you can equip and use for a short time.
The dodging aspect of the game is the best part. Hitting the right trigger makes your character dodge an incoming attack. The dodging works great and I never felt like I dodged and got hit during the dodge (Plenty of times when I think I dodged but Bayonetta didn’t start the dodge before being hit but that’s par with the course). The enemies do NOT hesitate in attacking you even if you are dealing with a different enemy. This makes dodging really important. If you are in the middle of a combo and you here the sound of an off-stage enemy shooting you with his angel horn, you better watch for the projectile and dodge at the right time!
Two aspects make the dodging even more useful. If you dodge at the last second (except in the hardest difficultly mode) you start Witch time which is basically this games bullet time. You can hit projectiles back to their shooters, and generally get some big combos off during witch time. You can also keep a combo going during a dodge. If you are trying to pull off a A-A-A-B-B combo and have to dodge during the third A just hold it down and continue the combo after (hopefully during witch time!)
You do have an energy bar that can help you accomplish many times. By default every full bar lets you do a torture attack on an enemy. These attacks DO stop the battle for a second while Bayonetta summons some type of torture device and does major damage to your current target with it. These all require some sort of button mashing or stick spinning (I don’t think it’s too much though) and deal a ton of damage. Your energy goes away a bit every time you’re hit though so pulling these off can be quite tough.
The only other use of energy comes from many accessories that you can buy. Most allow you to hit A+B to use energy to do something, whether it’s make you invulnerable to one hit, or do damage, etc. This combined with your weapon choice provide a lot of options in how you want to play. You can be more offensive or defensive as you see fit.
I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed this game. As soon as Caitlin finishes Mass Effect II I could see myself picking it up again to finish the Non-stop Climax (hardest) difficulty mode. I submitted my Penny-Arcade contest submission for beating Hard but I haven’t heard anything yet about if I made the cut to receive a shirt. I hope I did!