Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon

Switch adventure

In the world of cinema, audiences are more than familiar with the origin story. It’s something we’ve all become aware of, most recently in the world of Marvel and DC with the back stories to their myriad of characters.

But it’s also covered by the term prequel, popularised by George Lucas, who released his original Star Wars trilogy as episodes four, five and six, as even then he was fully aware that these stories had to come from somewhere. It’s just a shame it was The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

Video games haven’t really explored this mechanic as such, not with much in the way of substance in story development terms at any rate, with only a few notable exceptions such as Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Red Dead Redemption 2.

Even rarer is to take a character, already established in a franchise and genre, and go in a completely different direct with an origins tale. And that’s exactly what PlatinumGames have done with a fresh take on Bayonetta.

boom reviews Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon
So there's your toy boy, now go get it!

Born to a sage father and witch mother is Cereza, who, at the age of fifteen, is being taught by the stern, no nonsense Jeane, the ways of being an Umbran witch.

Frustrated by the pace of her teachings, Cereza wanders off one night into the Avalon forest, with only her stuffed toy Cheshire for company.

Not long into her journey, the young witch finds her stuffed companion possessed by a demon. This demon has powers that can aide Cereza, which she will need, as she suddenly finds herself trapped in the forest, and she will need to find a way out.

Although Cheshire has his own agenda, Cereza’s set of magical skill could help him out too, so the pair of them set off together on a truly magical adventure.

boom reviews - Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon
You regret saying my pet looks like a monster now don't you...

Now we’ve made our feelings quite clear in the past that the Bayonetta franchise leaves us cold. We can appreciate the appeal, but it’s just a game series that we’ve never enjoyed playing. So you can understand our reticence when faced with playing a prequel. This however, is a very different beast; a beautiful, twisted, awesome beast at that.

Whereas the Bayonetta games are full-on combat games that see the main protagonist kicking, shooting and using magic to progress, this sequel is a far more elegant and cerebral state of affair.

It is a game where you can play as Cereza alone initially, but soon have control over Cheshire too, who when summoned, is controlled with the right stick, with Cereza the left. They have very different sets of skills, with the young witch using magic and Cheshire brute force, but they combine beautifully, and will need to in order to progress.

At times they go on different paths; although never too far apart as they are linked by magic, so have to stay within a certain distance of one another. This takes a little getting used to, having complete control of both of them at the same time, but it works remarkably well. Cereza usually kicks things off by casting a spell on a foe to restrain them, and then Cheshire can come in and does the grunt work to finish them off, making for a pleasing bit of team work.

The splitting up also helps with environmental puzzle solving too, but where it can be a pain in other games, it’s just a joy here. As is much of the rest of the game.

The visuals, for instance, are often jaw-dropping. It’s a sumptuous, water colour painting style throughout, making it one of the most beautiful games on the Switch. And Cheshire is just a work of art himself, in all his forms, with a pretty loose art style, where some of his colours bleed over his outline for instance, but, much like the rest of the game, it’s just a thing of beauty to behold.

It’s aided by the game’s presentation too, which is a story told from the pages of a fairy tale book. It’s been done before, but not quite as effectively done as it is here, with its sublime art style.

On top of that you have the voice acting, from the superb narrator, who really gives it some gravitas, to all the characters involved. All help in projecting a real sense of something magical taking place.

And as if you weren’t spoilt enough, it’s accompanied by an incredible soundtrack, which acts as the icing on a very special cake.

It is an enchanting world that is just a pleasure to explore. It doesn’t necessarily have the hardest of difficulties, but at the same time, it’s no push over either, hitting that sweet spot just right.

There are a lot of things to collect on your journey, and at times, we had no idea what we were collecting it for, but there are potions that can be concocted to help you on the way, but we very rarely used them. We did for upgrading both the main characters however, with both them being able to improve on their basic skills.

And although the story dips into somewhat generic waters, with you having to discover four elemental cores, the abilities they bestow on Cheshire make then so worth it.

And thankfully the developers haven’t sexualised the character as much as she appears in the main franchise, which it has to be said is a big relief.

Perhaps the only disappointment is the lack of co-op, and considering the mechanics of the game, it feels like a missed opportunity.

It was certainly a brave move to go in such a different direction, but it paid off, with what is just a visually gorgeous, hugely appealing and thoroughly entertaining game. So much so that we’d be happy if Cereza never grew up, so we could continue her compelling adventures as a youthful witch.

we give this five out of five