The Average Gamer

2012 Gaming Catch-Up – Bayonetta

I’m not one to make New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, they are often stated to set out correcting something in one’s life that they actually have no intention to correct in the first place! That being said, this will be as close to a New Year’s Resolution as you’ll ever get from me: to experience more gaming for the pure fun that it brings.

Not that gaming isn’t fun, you understand, but I’ve got into bad habits; buying multiple games, online or retail, but never playing through them. Or even worse, starting a game, then jumping ship to something else, seemingly never to return. Rinse and repeat, and that sums up my gaming for the last 2 years.

So, I took a long look on my shelf of Xbox games, and instead of trying to choose but always defaulting to FIFA 12, I decided to take on each title I have started but not finished, in alphabetical order. Nothing like a bit of OCD to mix things up, eh?

The first of these titles was Bayonetta. Released 2 years ago, it was touted as a very early Game Of The Year candidate at the time. Forgive me for using technical language, but it is a fucking brilliant game. I can’t recall a game that is so easy to pick up and play, yet has so much depth to it. Lists of combos are displayed on the loading screens, with the opportunity to try them out, too – but such is the depth of Bayonetta, you can create combos of your own, and be rewarded for their effectiveness.

Probably the briefest way to describe the game is Devil May Cry on speed, but it is so much more than that. The range and variety of combos, weapons and accessories is unprecedented, the levels are beautifully rendered, particularly the European-style buildings, which reflect the fictional setting of the game, the European city of Vigrid. The action itself is incredibly fluid and fast, particularly in battles, where even though there is a lot going off, it all runs in high-resolution. It just looks incredible.

I’ll be honest, when I first picked up the game during 2010, at first I could see the similarities with Devil May Cry, and both DMC and Bayonetta were directed by Hideki Kamiya. As I got to grips with it, my initial thoughts were that it was merely more of the same but with better graphics, better combat and less repetition. Plodding through the first few chapters, I didn’t really know what was going on. It was fun, and became more challenging as it progressed. I died a fair few times, so it was put down, with the intention of finishing it when i could be bothered.

When I picked it back up just a week or so ago, It really hit me how much damn fun it is. The story, often told in either cut scenes or speech accompanied by movie reel stills, is fantastical yet engrossing, with some plot twists to keep it fresh and involving. Bayonetta also has many cool odes to Sega (the game’s publisher) moments, such as collecting gold rings for destroying enemies, and one of the chapters is an incredible homage to Space Harrier that just has to be experienced. Even the ending of the game knows how much fun you’ve had, and that you didn’t want it to end. I’m even toying with starting it all over again already.

So, this is the first of my solo-gaming exploits for 2012, with quite a few more to come. Next up, it’s Bioshock 2…