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    E3 2009: Bayonetta hands-on impressions

    by Janine Dong on Jun 6, 2009 at 11:16 AM
    bayonetta gamertell e3 2009

    I first caught a glimpse of Bayonetta at the 2008 Tokyo Game Show so when I found out that Sega would be debuting a playable demo of this game, I made sure I held my place in line. The demo offered two different stages: A tutorial (easy mode) and actual levels (normal mode).

    Bayonetta is a third-person action adventure game set in a fully 3D environment with game play that closely resembles Capcom’s Devil May Cry. It includes an intact combo system as well as a scoring meter that tallies everything at the end of the level and awards the player with different trophies representative of skill level displayed. Bayonetta was being demoed on the Xbox 360 and is scheduled for a multi-platform release in late 2009 (Xbox 360, Playstation 3). From the early looks of this game and the demo, it looks like the latter part of 2009 is heating up to be be one extremely sexy adrenaline rush.

    The main protagonist is a tantalizing young woman named Bayonetta. Not only is she a witch but she has a fashion sense to literally die for. Her skintight bodysuit isn’t just black because that’s her favorite color. It’s black because it consists completely of her own ebony hair. She also sports some pretty death-defying stiletto boots whose heels are the actual barrels of handguns. These avant garde fashion stylings aren’t just for show though.

    Throughout the game, Bayonetta will always retain the use of her default weapons: the pair of handguns, a katana, and her magical attacks she performs with the assistance of her Rapunzel-esque hair. As players progress through the game mincing enemies left and right, they will occasionally drop weapons which Bayonetta is able to pick up and use herself.

    There are two sets of enemy weapons available to her and can be instantly switched between during game play. Apparently, the first set are primary secondary weapons featuring long arms such as spears and axes while the other are secondary weapons such as the trumpet which is used liked a bazooka. The demo only featured only a limited number of enemy weapons for usage but each of these came with a limited move set and a signature special attack. An example of a special attack utilizing an enemy weapon is when the spear is actively in use and the correct command is properly input, Bayonetta will perform an attack that will remind most people of a stripper lithely dancing around a stripper pole. However, enemy weapons are temporary and once its gauge depletes, it will disappear from her inventory. Performing a special attack with any enemy weapon exacerbates this gauge and halves its life expectancy.

    Quite contrary to these types of games, players will be able to input a string of button combinations to perform long-winded combos on enemies. Bayonetta is also able to perform double-jumps and when done, lavishly colored butterfly wings sprout from her back that enable her reach higher areas as well as perform mid-air combos. During a certain time called ‘with-mode’, Bayonetta will be able to walk on walls and ceilings, making combat even more hectic and diversified. There’s also a mode called ‘witch time’ which is triggered during combat when the player is able to successfully dodge an enemy attack just before it hits her. During ‘witch time’ the screen changes colors and all actions except for Bayonetta’s enter into slow motion which allow the player to execute an additional string of combos.

    bayonetta screenshot e3 2009

    In addition to the health gauge visible at all times in the upper left-hand corner, beneath it is a magical bar that increases the more you strike an enemy entity. Once this gauge becomes full, Bayonetta is able to enlist the help of her hair to perform quick summons known as ‘wicked weave attacks’ at the end of successful combos that include a stiletto-ed foot coming from the sky to stomp on the afflicted enemy. Another interesting aspect of combat is called the ‘torture attack’. This is a finishing attack that comes in all sorts and sizes and can only be done when the magical bar is maxed. An example of a torture move is when an enemy becomes encased in an iron maiden and is brutally and mercilessly ripped to shreds by our lovely little vixen.

    Apparently, torture moves aren’t that easily performed and I was told that for demo purposes only, onscreen hints signaled you when to input the right combination of buttons in order to achieve the affect. Players are able to correctly determine when to push the dodge button because there will be indicators that appear over enemies that begin to flash red dependent upon the ensuing attack.

    bayonetta screenshot e3 2009

    There was one die-hard boss that made an a couple of appearances at several points in this game. It was a massive statue-esque being that sported a look to parallel the fashion sense of a Greek statue complete with unruly yet silken beard, toga, and some sort of heavenly halo. It was easy enough to beat and dodge thanks to the onscreen warnings and once it was weakened, there was an indicator that told the player to input a button set which resulted in a massive summon called a ‘climax attack’. Bayonetta’s hair flows from her body (leaving her quite naked) and into a portal from which a grand horned dragon monster head comes forth to take the boss into its jaws and fling it back and forth like a puppy’s chew toy.

    During the final battle with this boss, Bayonetta’s summoned beast finally engulfed the creature whole leaving not a speck in site. During these calamitous summon attacks, players are able to rack up more hits by rapidly pressing an indicated button to achieve the most amount of damage points.

    Bayonetta will also be able to invoke something called “Beast Within” and this is where she “calls upon primal forces, transforming into various beasts (Panthers, etc.) according to the situation.” Unfortunately, this wasn’t present in the demo.

    Site [Bayonetta] Photo Gallery [Gamertell]

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