Bayonetta

  • Release: January 5, 2010
  • Developer: SEGA
  • Publisher: SEGA
  • Genre: Action

The Shadow Remains Cast

Bayonetta finally arrives in proper form, battered but not completely beaten in the journey to the PlayStation 3.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: February 3, 2010
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Not often -- rarely, even -- procrastination can actually work out rather nicely. Just a few days ago, this review would have been very different. Bayonetta, the brainchild of Devil May Cry, Okami and Viewtiful Joe director Hideki Kamiya, is the natural progression of the "bug" that birthed a pure action game from the roots of Resident Evil 4. What Devil May Cry began, though, Bayonetta completes in a way that has to be played to be properly appreciated.


Until a few days ago, when, with the help of Sony, SEGA released a patch that would allow the game to be installed to the PS3's hard drive, the only way I could have actually recommended one would play the game would be on the Xbox 360. See, the development of the PS3 version came not from original creators Platinum Games, but via a sort of adopted development effort by SEGA themselves (though, obiviously, Platinum helped). Bayonetta was clearly made for the 360 -- there just happens to be a PS3 version.

And that PS3 version was, frankly speaking, absolute shit. There's just not a strong enough word out there to use outside of an expletive. The sheer amount of loading the game sported was not only completely disruptive of the original experience, it made it an absolute chore to do nearly anything outside of just running around and button mashing in a handful of environments with sometimes downright terrible framerates.

Pick up an item? Prepare for about five seconds of loading while the little graphic of what it is actually shows up, and Lord help you if it's something you can actually read; that'll cost you another 10 seconds at best. Died and just want to skip a cutscene the second time it plays? Sweet, kick back for another five seconds while the pause screen shows up just to give you the option to jump ahead. Drilling into the menu that holds everything from item creation to reference to game options is another handful of seconds.

Now, if you own a PS3, you're doing yourself a massive disservice if it isn't hooked up to that series of tubes we call the Internet, but it's especially important that you do so long enough to at least grab the update to the game. It's not unplayable, but it's not far off, and the experience is so tarnished that it's simply not worth playing on the PS3 without the patch. Make use of that Ethernet port or Wi-Fi or suffer the consequences.

There are still some issues, of course. This isn't the game's native platform, nor was it developed by the original dev team (at least not completely), and as such it's not really the "true" experience, leaving some textures a bit on the blurry side and the framerate struggling to stay above choppy territory at times. Here's the thing, though: the game pushes the boundaries of what you expect in an already over-the-top genre so hard that it's rare things get so technically flawed that you aren't left slack-jawed over what just happened.

Environments in Bayonetta are both rife with gothic embellishments and little touches that give everything a living European feel (despite there not being a whole lot of "living" residents), and fantastical enough to seem like something just a bit removed from our plane of reality. Then, with increasing frequency, those environments are turned -- quite literally -- on their head, allowing you to run up walls and dance across the ceiling in a beautiful ballet of death and dismemberment.
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