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Cos-play devotees are gonna have a field day with SEGA’s modern day witchy affair, Bayonetta, a thirdperson action game that has some outstanding visuals and boss fights with a storyline that ultimately becomes a blur of clichés.

With pistols strapped to her stilettos and all manner of other weaponry, Bayonetta is a witch looking to avenge a wronged past. This story of a witch wronged, is a muddled affair not helped by numerous and lengthy cut-scenes that do very little to connect the player with past and current events or the characters. Bayonetta herself is one big, lolly-pop-sucking, skin-flashing, flirtation that will keep young teens and men that should know better, glued to hope that she’ll do some sort of naked dance each time a boss is taken down. Fighting a way through the many angels, that block the linear path to the next boss battle, seemed designed to develop a technique of button-mashing frenzy which feels deliberate at times but mostly heightens a feeling of luck when a combo is achieved – and be warned there are many, many combos in Bayonetta.

There’s very little else to amuse the gamer who loves a deep storyline with fully fleshed-out characters but saying that, if your picking up Bayonetta for some deep ‘n’ meaning videogaming expressionism, then you are doing yourself a disservice. At Bayonetta’s heart is a pumping, ultra-violent shooter cross beat ’em up cross that sometimes feels like it’s playing itself when the action becomes too frantic. At those moments, all thoughts of hand-to-eye co-ordination jump headlong into a dried up swimming pool from 150 feet up. Combat in Bayonetta leaves you brain feeling liquidised and ready for consumption and your nerves aching for a sedative.

Bayonetta is part pleasure and part pain, it is there to simultaneously reminded you how videogame combat can be fun without being ultra-realistic but also how cheesy story-lines and make-shift characterisation can combine to make a total and utter mess of things. So if you can get passed Bayonetta’s cheeky but clichéd pantomime and the overly long cut-scenes then what you’ll be delighted with is a riotous game of frightful fighting mayhem. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you!


David Osbon