Oh, Bayonetta. Few franchises have stirred up quite so much passion, excitement, infuriation, giddiness, debate, controversy and all-too-knowing glances within the space of one game as Platinum Games’ oversexed hack-n-slash extravaganza. And now the similarly outlandish sequel, imaginatively titled Bayonetta 2, is not only coming exclusively to Wii U but will be published by none other than Nintendo themselves. But what have exactly The Big N got themselves in for? For the uninitiated (Nintendo included, perhaps) let’s take a look at the wild, wicked, utterly weird and ultra violent world of the Umbra Witch herself
Sarah Palin Bayonetta.
The original Bayonetta launched back in 2010 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and was directed by Hideki Kamiya, whose directorial credits also include similarly Japanese-tastic games as Viewtiful Joe, Ōkami and the upcoming The Wonderful 101 for Wii U, not to mention Capcom stalwarts such as the original Devil May Cry and Resident Evil 2. Bayonetta‘s gameplay featured the eponymous character warding off the armies of heaven who had gone rogue in a good old case of nature falling out of balance, with the devilish anti-hero using everything from katana blades to her trademark shoe-guns to restore order in a suitably 18+ fashion. The fast, furious and frenetic action of the game saw effortless gunslinging backflips, endless combos and madness overloading television screens as players furiously mashed their controllers in giddy delight. The lunacy of the combat system was only intensified when Bayonetta’s trademark “torture” moves came in to play, ranging from summoning chainsaws and iron maidens to finish off her opponents to transforming her hair/clothes into a portal to the Netherworld from which monstrous beasts would emerge to destroy her enemies. It all sounds a far cry from Tetris, doesn’t it?
The aesthetic clash of Bayonetta’s lipstick-kiss lock-on reticule against the sheer amount of angelic guts being ripped open creates a visual identity for the game that is incredibly bizarre but equally rather charming. Regardless, this game is stupidly fun to play. (If there’s a big white space here, please refresh your browser!)
While the gameplay of Platinum’s unique action game was top notch (and if you’re in any doubts as to the quality of Bayonetta, be aware that both Famitsu and EDGE magazine, two famously stern pantheons of gaming criticism, gave it perfect marks) it was that title character that gave the experience charm, flair, shock and intense appeal. In addition to the stark nakedness of her mandatory concluding attack, the overall design of Bayonetta is designed to channel an overt sexuality that straddles a vaguely awkward line between dowdy librarian and pleather dominatrix. (A line made all the harder to straddle given the fact that Bayonetta’s posterior is so large it probably has its own gravitational pull.) The game actively courts and toys with this notion of the active objectification of its heroine, with developers claiming that the core theme of the game and its combat is “sexiness” itself, with the endless knowing winks to otaku culture and the game’s implied male fan base never seeming to let up. Bayonetta even comes with the option of a Very Easy / Automatic Mode that not only automatically navigates Bayonetta for the player but allows them to play the game one-handed. (I’ll leave you, dear reader, to imagine the possible uses of a spare hand while playing Bayonetta for yourself.)
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