The Bayonetta Demo is Quite Impressive


On January 5, the day Bayonetta is released, I’m going to take the day off from work to get wasted and play it all day long.  Such are the guilty pleasures of a 31-year-old attorney.  Unfortunately, I’ve still got to wait another month for that dream of a day to become a reality.  Yesterday, though, I was able to download the demo for the Xbox, and suffice it to say I’m more excited for this game than ever.  I have high hopes for Bayonetta, and I don’t think I – or anyone else, for that matter – will be disappointed.


If there’s one type of game that gets my ticker racing, it’s a bad ass action game.  I know that the big craze these days – and for quite some time, actually – are first person shooters, but I’ll put aside shooters like Modern Warfare or Halo in favor of action games like Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry, and God of War.  And if you can power-up your character with new weapons and/or abilities like in the aforementioned games, I’m all in.  As it’s from Devil May Cry creator Hideki Kamiya, Bayonetta is cut from a similar cloth.

The Bayonetta demo comes with a tutorial, which I played before taking on the actual demo levels themselves.  The tutorial isn’t really a walkthrough; instead, it’s just you (Bayonetta) and an enemy angel on the screen, and you can try out different combos and become accustomed to the controls.  If you’ve played a next-gen action game, then the controls should feel pretty familiar already, but I did have one issue: there was no option to customize the controls.  Granted, this is just a demo, but I am pretty sure I read somewhere that customizable controls will not be an option once the game is released in January.  This could potentially be a problem.

Like Devil May Cry, there’s a button to “lock on” to an enemy.   In this case, it’s the right bar (RB) button.  The button to dodge is the right trigger (RT) button.  During the demo, I didn’t see any advantage to actually locking onto enemies, but if locking on is actually an important part of combat in Bayonetta, it’s going to be very frustrating.  It’s impossible to both lock on and dodge without using two fingers, and so your hand is placed in an awkward position on the controller, making the button-sensitive combos much more difficult to pull off.  If I could customize my controller, I’d simply assign the “lock on” feature to the left trigger (LT), but I’m worried that I may not have that option.  Maybe locking on to enemies won’t play a major role in the full release – it sure didn’t in the demo – but if it does, it’s going to be like learning to play video games all over again.


As for the gameplay itself, Bayonetta is a gorgeous game.  Graphically, it’s almost overwhelming, and it’s crazy impressive how smooth and fluid the visuals actually are.  During the first part of the demo, I fought angels on a falling clock tower, and it wasn’t easy to concentrate on fighting instead of simply sitting back and enjoying the amazing scenery.  Mashing buttons resulted in some pretty dazzling combos, and when I went back and played the demo a second time – actually trying to perform combos – I found that I could do whatever I liked with the enemies.  Bayonetta has a variety of attacks, many of them ending with a giant fist or boot made of hair smashing an enemy to bits.  Ever better, with my magic gauge filled up, I could perform “torture attacks,” where I’d stick an enemy in an instantly-appearing iron maiden or guillotine.  It was quite fulfilling.

The second part of the demo took place in an open courtyard, very reminiscent of the opening stage of Devil May Cry 4.  Once again, I was attacked by angels, except this time there wasn’t so much going on in the background, making it a bit easier to fight.  I was able to employ “witch time,” which is essentially the same thing as The Matrix’s “bullet time,” slowing down the action so that I could punish my enemies to an even greater degree.  Using witch time almost makes the game unfair, so I’m guessing/hoping that in later, more difficult stages, it will be a lot tougher to dodge.


Aside from the small button-configuration issue – which may prove to not be an issue at all, depending on how important “locking on” is – the Bayonetta was a joy to play.  I anticipate even more incredible visuals and a variety of enemies when the game is released in full in January.  Like I mentioned, I’m pretty damn excited for Bayonetta.

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  1. I really wasn’t that impressed with the demo, it seemed like a pretty generic with a mildly interesting character. I enjoyed I just wasn’t blown away. Someone want to explain what I’m missing?

  2. @ Alex

    I thought that visually, the clocktower stage was impressive. But overall, the animation and gameplay was as smooth as I’ve experienced for an action game. Perfectly seamless movement with no slow down or quirky camera issues.

    I keep reading how sick the full game is going to be, and I’m very excited to get my grubby little hands on it.

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