Bayonetta

360 (also PS3)

Sometimes itís easy for gamers to be swayed by reviews, particularly when so many are throwing plaudits at a title like confetti at a wedding. Letting the tidal wave of praise pass, itís with a clear head we offer our verdict.

Believe it or not, Bayonetta isnít the best game ever made. Weíre also pretty sure that it wonít be the best game of 2010, although it will obviously make it on to many of the best of the year lists. Thatís not to say that it isnít fun to play, but to declare it as perfect would be way off the mark.

Letís cut to the chase Ė story. It just doesnít make any sense. Some games can get away with it, but Bayonetta contains so many cut scenes of great length, that theyíre hard to avoid. It transpires that Bayonetta is some kind of witch who has lost her memory. She makes some kind of pact with the devil and then goes off to fight angels and whatnot. Itís so poorly constructed; itís like watching those really bad films they show on the Sci-Fi channel, where its awfulness draws you in.

boom game reviews - Bayonetta
Oh my, I do apologise, that was one evil curry.

Despite the so-called story going off on all kinds of tangents, the reality is that you are left with a character that kills whatever is in front of her. No one can deny itís beautifully presented with lots of polish, but at the end of the day it is just a beat Ďem up.

Then thereís the character of Bayonetta herself. Her prim, proper English maím accent is completely at odds with her dominatrix outfit. It would be like the voice of Lara Croft coming out of the mouth of Mario, itís that wrong. And the fact that sheís clad in clothes that look like they were sprayed onto her curvy frame Ė itís 2010 people, arenít we above all of that silliness now? Thereís no reason for this character to be as titillating as she is supposed to be. And if youíre aroused by a video games character in this day and age, then you really should be seeking professional help Ė either that or appear on the Jeremy Kyle show.

While playing through it, the camera can also be a little on the slow side to catch up with the action. With so many enemies coming at you, the last thing you want is a sluggish camera, hobbling about four paces behind you. But thatís exactly what it does here.

Thereís also a real sense of dťjŗ vu with the enemies too. They all appear to be a little too similar to one another, which after a while, makes it feel like youíre fighting the same one over and over again. To its credit, the same canít be said for the boss battles, which are varied and unique. Thereís a scale of epic-ness about them, which at least makes them a joy to play through.

In terms of its fighting mechanic, itís borderline mind-blowing. The combos on offer are like the toppings for a Subway sandwich Ė endless. For those who like to experiment, the possibilities can lead to some impressive finishing moves. At the same time, those button bashers amongst us can feel just as smug pulling off similar moves with random jabs at the controls. So both sides are catered for.

At times it feels like the game would feel right at home in an arcade cabinet. You can imagine some spotted oiks being drawn in by the flashy graphics and trashy music, drooling over Bayonetta and her outrageous curves (no wonder those carpets were so sticky under foot). After popping quite a few coins into her slot however, youíd soon realise that the experience was all too repetitive and a bit on the shallow side.

For those with a deep connection with beat Ďem up titles, this will appear to be your holy grail of gaming. Perhaps thatís where many of the 110% scores are coming from; dedicated fans of the fighting genre, worshipping at the temple of Hideki Kamiya Ė who was responsible for Platinum Games releases Devil May cry and Viewtiful Joe.

Thereís also the total absence of multiplayer to consider. If this were any other major title, it would have been slammed for that omission; as it stands though, it appears many have been happy to overlook it. 100% and no multiplayer eh? Hmm...

Ultimately though, to the average (non Viewtiful) Joe on the street, the game feels more stylised than stylish. It plays well when it allows you to do so, but thereís an awful lot of dour dirge to sit through before you get there. Donít believe hype; at the very least give the demo a whirl and make your own mind up.

Donít get us wrong, thereís some real fun to be had here. Weíre just disappointed that so many reviewers went clearly over the top with this title, declaring its arrival with the kind of fanfare you would expect to accompany that of news of the second coming. It is not a holy experience. It will not change the face of gaming as we know it. Itís a pretty beat Ďem up Ė but really not much more than that.

three out of five