It was January 2010. I was waiting in line at a GameStop to trade in a game for Darksiders. (An action game featuring a big guy with a hot voice swinging around a giant sword? Of course I’m there.) While waiting for my turn at the register, I staved off boredom while watching the GameStop TVs that were showcasing new titles and upcoming games. That was how I first met Bayonetta and became captivated by her gracefully fluid attacks. Also, she had guns strapped to her high heels, and her hair could choke demons or something? This had my name all over it.
I wasn’t prepared for a lot of what Bayonetta threw out at me. I wasn’t prepared for the difficulty, the requirement for perfect execution, or how much I would love the gameplay despite the overly frustrating final boss fight. I most certainly was not prepared for the deep story, the tear-jerker moments, or for how much it made me laugh.
Bayonetta quickly went from a game I had a passing interest in to one of my favorite series. I was all over the sequel on the Wii U, and you better believe I bought them again for the Switch. It’s thanks to Bayonetta (and then later, Vanquish) that I became a huge fan of Platinum Games’ style of action games. To this day, I haven’t played an action game style that I’ve enjoyed more than Bayonetta.
While the gameplay of Bayonetta can be soul-crushingly hard, it never once feels cheap. Even better, it lets the player tailor Bayonetta’s move-set to fit their own style. If a combo required too much precision for me—I’m a bit of a button-masher, I admit—then I wouldn’t purchase that attack. As such, I never once felt beaten by the game simply because I couldn’t master this one elaborate combo that requires me to stand on my head and use my tongue. Not to mention, every time you perfectly execute Witch Time, you always feel like you’re the best video game player to ever hold a controller.
It’s always important for gameplay to be fun, but I’m, first and foremost, a story gamer. I need more than having fun twirling around like a figure skater while shooting from my amazeballs high heels. Why is Bayonetta here, in this strange world, destroying demonic angels? Why has she lost her memory? Why is it that everyone thinks she’s evil when it really appears that it’s the angels who are evil?
Not only were all of my questions answered, but these answers revealed a far deeper story than I could have imagined from a game that includes a special attack from Bayonetta’s hair. Her hair also makes up her skin-tight leatherish outfit, so yeah, she is rather naked when her hair flies off. These attacks scream of a silly game that requires hypersexuality to get anyone to like it, when nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, the hypersexuality was so over the top, I couldn’t get offended. I found most of it funny, for starters, simply because it was so nuts. In addition, I couldn’t help but feel like Bayonetta’s character was hypersexualizing herself, to fit what the angels and witches already expected of her. They think I’m a seductive floozy? Then I’ll act like one in the most insane of ways.
Insanity truly is the name of the Bayonetta game. From the characters to the gameplay to the costumes to, um, how Bayonetta walks, it’s all so over-the-top. It’s hard not to enjoy something that is so silly, especially when the silly is a mask for how deep it really is. I cannot wait for Bayonetta 3.