Post-blogging last week, I started a run-through of Shadow Complex on Insane… blimey! That’s a tricky bugger. Consulting online guides indicated that the usual plan of attack on that difficulty level involves the early acquisition of one of the Golden Guns… which, in turn, are only unlocked after a 100% run-through of the game. Which, of course, I had buggered up by not acquiring a particular item before a certain game event. Which is a bit annoying, I must say. I soldiered on as much as I could, before dropping the difficulty down a notch… or two. Efforts will be ongoing with Shadow Complex, I think; even more so, given the extra internal achievements – including the implausible 100%-ing Insane in less than 3 hours.
But enough about that; this week was really all about Bayonetta. Waaaaay back in May last year, I wrote the following:
To be honest, though, my mind has been more focussed on a game that’s still some months off: Bayonetta. Ever since I first laid eyes on the initial teaser trailer, I’ve been gagging for more goodies from Platinum – and they’ve delivered some delicious tidbits on the complexities of modelling Bayonetta’s arse. Now, I’m a bit of a fan of a bit of female protagonist posterior, and Bayonetta backs that up with some nutball looking action – I can’t wait.
And, ever since then, anticipation fuelled expectation and led to a game that I had hyped to the max in my own head.
But you know what?
My expectations – and hence, the hype – have been absolutely met.
Bayonetta is lush. There is so much spit-and-polish on the entire package that it gleams. It oozes style and class – and, most overtly, sexuality. Hideki Kamiya has most certainly succeeded in his desire to create a sexy witch, and the engine-driven cinematics (as well as the demon-invoking incantation scenettes) really flaunt Bayonetta’s gorgeous form – sometimes embarrassingly so. Certainly, this is targeted at a more adolescent market than the one I’m supposed to be in, but believe me – I’m not complaining.
The action is fast and furious, and every chapter managed to elicit a genuine exclamation of “what the fuck??!?” There’s plenty of fan-service – not only for those eager to view the female form, but also more senior game players, with cheeky and good-natured homage paid to previous Sega properties. Sure, there’s a few sticking points – the final boss battle had be a bit exasperated and backtracking for goodies, leading to a fair amount of item whoring in my Normal playthrough of 31 hours (Kamiya reckons the first playthrough should be about ten-to-twelve hours) but I admit to having a big sloppy grin on my face for the vast majority of it. The second playthrough (on the very aptly named Very Easy difficulty) was a spot over six hours; item and skill acquisitions are preserved, which should be the break I need to be able to get through the Hard and Non-Stop Infinite Climax (yes, that really is the name) difficulties. However, some of the tasks required to unlock goodies in-game verge on the silly; finish Normal in less than three hours? Get Platinum medals for every chapter? Dreaming.
It’s by no means a perfect game – for some inexplicable reason, the camera speed defaults to mogadon mode, which frustrated me immensely until I poked around the menus a bit. The narrative aspect of the game is also lacking; the opening exposition takes place during an inconsequential battle (yes, I know I raved about how No More Heroes does almost the same thing, but this just didn’t seem to work), and the story itself is a little… ermmm… odd. But there’s so much Good Stuff in Bayonetta that drowns those criticisms out; cheeky laughs and flirty winks, humour a-plenty, and some of the most bizarre battles I’ve ever seen.
And much more besides, but I’ll not mention that for the moment – it’s still too soon. I’ve been blessed by folks who got me one of my copies a couple of days early, so I accept that there are many who’ve yet to experience the glory of Bayonetta. But I implore you – play through on Normal. Watch all of the credit sequences. There’s some fantastic stuff in there :D