by Brendan Griffiths
previewed on PS3
Bayonetta can rely on temporary transformations to help her out. Such as turning into a panther for extra pace to outrun enemy attacks or sprouting butterfly wings for jumping higher and gliding longer distances. The most useful transformation takes place when you time an evade to perfection (the absolute last possible moment) to activate Witch Time. Bayonetta disintegrates into a swarm of bats only to re-materialise in human form with time greatly slowed down. This allows you to regain your composure and really hammer home some easier timed combos.
Building up combos fills a magic meter that let's you use Torture Moves to really get the blood splatter going. Activated by holding two of the face buttons, some of these moves include spawning guillotines, iron maidens and a giant spiky wheel to repeatedly run over some poor soul. Kicking someone into an iron maiden is way more fun than it should be.
If all this seems normal to you, how about using Bayonetta's hair as a weapon? Yep out of nowhere some combos activate a portal that sees a giant fist or high-heeled foot made up of swirls of evil hair, smash into the nearest angelic fiend. Actually her hair seems to be a part of her outfit so when she does this, she ends up buck naked with only convenient swirls of encircling hair saving her blushes. Not that she would care.
There are even more bonkers moves unleashed by her possessed barnet for the giant boss fights. These 'Climax' attacks are generally used to finish off a boss (not as filthy as it sounds). The most memorable one seen so far sees a portal opening for a huge dog's head made of hair, teeth and probably rabies. It picks up bosses like they are toys, shaking and biting them, with the player bashing square to do extra damage. Dante's looking a bit past it already.
There are some vehicle sections with Bayonetta riding a motorcycle. In line with the rest of the game's vibe, she'll be spending as much time riding upside-down and along the walls as she will on the ground.
There are quite a few loading screens but Sega has offset this by letting you practice any moves you want during them so you won't get bored. Looks like there will be no rest for your thumbs after all!
The core gameplay might be familiar, but the crazed execution of it is simply off the scale. Essentially the action feels easy to get to grips and you can expect to put on an awesome combat display. Casual players will be able to have a good crack at it and the more hardcore fighting fans can lose themselves in the sheer depth of the weapons and combos, experimenting with their timing and weapon changes mid-flow. Far from merely being Devil May Cry in high heels, Bayonetta looks set to be massively entertaining and a lot of fun to play. Perhaps even outperforming the Capcom series?