Sega’s Bayonetta has certainly made waves over the last few months. It even has the support of Cosplayers who’ve dressed up like the protagonist before the game was even released. Famed Japanese gaming magazine, Famitsu, awarded Bayonetta a 40 out of 40 and U.K.’s Edge magazine gave it a 10 out of 10. Released in Japan on October 29, 2009, the title has sold over 270,000 combined on the Xbox 360 and PS3 in its first four weeks of release according to VGChartz.com. But is the title any good or is this just hype?
I had the opportunity to play the demo yesterday, and if it is representative of the entire experience, I think gamers will be impressed. This is one insane idea for a game. If Kratos (God of War) and Dante (of Devil May Cry fame) had a baby, it would look like Bayonetta. In my short time with the game, I was killing and torturing angels, collecting what appeared to be their halos, using a dodge-activated bullet time system to get the jump on my enemies, and losing my character’s clothing every time she used her magic. And talk about magic… I had Bayonetta summon a dragon who then promptly bit the head off of my enemy. The action was fast-paced and Bayonetta’s moves were easily accessible.
What may not be so easily accessible is the story in Bayonetta. Maybe it translates better in Japanese, but describing the story as vague would be an understatement. Hopefully, the full game will be a little more coherent. Still, Bayonetta’s slick graphics and over-the-top violence are sure to be crowd pleasers. Call me crazy, but there is something strangely satisfying about making Bayonetta do a handstand while she shoots her enemies with the guns attached to her stiletto heels. You can now check out the Bayonetta demo yourself, which is available on both Xbox Live and PSN.
Based on the early buzz surrounding the game, could Bayonetta cannibalize the sales of similar titles such as Darksiders, Dante’s Inferno, and the current action champion, God of War III? I’ve had an opportunity to play demos of each of these titles, and in my opinion, nothing will prevent God of War III from being a big hit on the PS3. The game demo was everything a God of War fan would expect in style, graphics, and most importantly, violence. With the other titles being multi-platform releases, however, God of War III could lose its crown if one were to look at sales figures alone.
Dante’s Inferno, the game that most closely tracks God of War III in game style (squint your eyes while you play and you could almost confuse the two games), has already been mired in controversy with its “Acts of Lust” contest and fake church protests. In that game, you control Dante, a soldier from the Crusade, who is attempting to free the soul of his lover from Lucifer. The demo was a blast to play, the story is epic (based upon the poem Dante’s Inferno), and could be a surprise hit on the Xbox 360 since it does not have to compete with God of War III. But as to Bayonetta, will gamers prefer the extremely bizarre over a more straight-forward action title? Or will gamers find killing demons and ghouls more gratifying than exterminating angels?
Darksiders likely has the most to lose, since it releases on the same day as Bayonetta. In that game, you control War, one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who has been blamed for starting the Apocalypse prematurely. You then wander what remains of Earth in an attempt to find the entity that caused the world’s destruction. Darksiders is the brainchild of Joe Madureia, who has a strong following for his work in the comic book world. This alone should attract some interest. But compared to Bayonetta and Dante’s Inferno, Darksiders felt a little more ponderous and puzzle-oriented, which may turn off those seeking a pure hack and slash experience.
Which game do you think will rule early 2010? Post your thoughts below!
Bayonetta and Darksiders are both available for the Xbox 360 and PS3 on January 5, 2010. Dante’s Inferno ships February 9, 2010 for Xbox 360, PS3, and PSP. God of War III releases exclusively for PS3 on April 1, 2010.