So How's That PS3 Bayonetta Demo?

Illustration for article titled So How's That PS3 Bayonetta Demo?

SEGA's released a new demo of upcoming Platinum Games title Bayonetta on Xbox LIVE and the PS3's PlayStation Network. I've never had a chance to check out the title until this demo hit. So I did just that.

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While Bayonetta won't be released in the West until early 2010, the game is slated for later this month in Japan. This is what Japanese consumers will see before they decide to buy or not to buy the game.

Voice acting is in English; however, the in-game text is in Japanese.

As far as action titles go, Bayonetta certainly has a pedigree. The game was developed by Platinum Games, the remains of Okami and God Hand studio Clover, and designed by Hideki Kamiya, who created Devil May Cry.

Gameplay-wise, the title has a Devil May Cry with players unleashing a string of combos. Unlike the last Devil May Cry game, Bayonetta is fun. The game play is a blast. The demo has a tutorial, which can be skipped, and it is helpful in giving a rundown of combos and moves. Commands are shoot, punch, kick, dodge and jump, and these moves and be combined to make deadly combos and "torture" moves.

Bayonetta does avoid the pratfalls of other action titles of similar ilk, and combat doesn't feel like an exercise in button mashing. Besides Bayonetta's pistols, it's possible to pick up enemy melee weapons like axes, which mixes up combat.

The game takes place in an alternate universe. The Gothic setting won't win points for originality, and the enemies and big bosses seemed like similar to characters you'll find elsewhere in the genre. But there are plenty of innovations — giant hair monster, anyone? The R&B soundtrack is a major plus, too.

The demo does feature some dazzling set-pieces, like a boss fight on the ceiling, walls and floors of a cathedral.

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There were camera issues during combat. The default camera is floaty and slow, and more often than not I found myself trying to avoid attacks while attempting to swing the camera around to locate the enemies. It is possible to adjust the sensitivity for the camera, so this is largely a non-issue. There were issues with pop-in, too.

As it's already been revealed, the lead platform is Xbox 360. Sure, Bayonetta is not the best looking game on the PS3, but it does not look as rough as many have claimed. Yes, graphics are slightly muddy and not as sharp as they should be, but it's not to the point of being distracting and should not be a deterrent on deciding whether to pick up the game or not.

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It won't be for me.

DISCUSSION

Yyyeah, don't ask me why, but I'm just.. not feeling it.

I most certainly did *not* feel that it somehow managed to avoid button mashing. Quite the contary, I felt the game was so visually cluttered, with particle/blood effects, feathers, and god knows what out of every. single. attack. That I very, very seldom could see what I was hitting (giant boss not withstanding) and sometimes even felt like I couldn't see *around* her. Maybe time will smooth out my comfort level, but attacks felt very 'spammy'. Something about the controls just felt off to me—Bayonetta just seemed to go sort of crazy in whatever direction. While I know the game's selling point is 'over-the-top' (and it does work with the occasional hilariously awesome 'summon giant monster thing and SMASH), parts of it officially crossed the line from 'So over-the-top-cheese it's awesome' to 'Over-the-top-to-the-point-where-I'm-giggling-at-the-stupid.' (See: Bayonetta's walking animation. Seriously, the first thing that jumped to mine was who framed Roger Rabbit).

I really did want to like this game, having enjoyed most of the Devil May Cry series—I even put 4 in the 'decent way to waste a day or two' category, but quite opposed to that game, where the controls felt intuitive and instinctual, I found myself really, really struggling to get things 'right'—which can be a deal-breaker for me. Since it's an action game, ultimately that is what matters to me, and since it didn't work—well... dunno.

I'll probably give it a college try if I hear amazing things about it's release, but it's off my radar, so take that as you will.