It’s strange how a simple question such as “What’s your favorite game?” has been so hard to give an answer to. I’ve got a lot of games I love but choosing one as my favorite is such a commitment! What if the game I choose isn’t so great to others? Then its flaws would become mine and all my future actions would be judged based off of this seemingly small decision. I could choose some old and obscure game that only a few people will know about or I’ll have to describe it through the rosiest of rose tinted glasses and lead new players to disappointment with it. Or I could go with something modern even though gaming is a hollow shell of its former self and enjoying something made post 1997 is watered down casual fodder. We’ll screw it I’ll just go with Bayonetta.
I love me some action games even though I’m really not all that great at them. I’m hesitant to count the Batman Arkham games in this category because they go about it differently and aren’t as “actiony” as most. I don’t have the lightening twitch reflexes or patience to dodge perfectly and defeat the enemies slowly without losing any health myself. I’ve mashed my way through a few dozen titles but Bayonetta was the first one to really make me feel like I was getting better at it. It establishes pretty early on the risk-vs-reward approach to dodging and how important it is to fighting competently. It’s pretty easy to learn how to dodge too, just the trigger button and you enter bullet time and get to pile on the combos. Other action games have some sort of dodge system sure, but Bayonetta‘s seems to be the best to me. In a time ruled by DLC, Bayonetta is an oddball because everything extra you can unlock just by playing the game. Secret bosses, bonus costumes and secret weapons are available for anyone persistent enough to earn them instead of being offered for sale.
Action games are highlighted by their sometimes lengthy combo list which in the past would sometimes be too much for me. Learn a couple of combos and just use them forever, this would get you through most games on normal, mainly God of War. Bayonetta had a huge list of combos but what was truly ingenious of Platinum was to let you practice them during the loading times with a huge list of them on the side of the screen complete with a little counter for how many times you’ve done them so you could practice the ones you rarely used. You could also practice at the games shop. Point is, you could learn them outside of the main game without the risk of getting slaughtered. The game wanted you to get good at it, and it was the first action game I feel like I truly completed.
Bayonetta’s probably not for everyone for one big reason and that’s its style. I absolutely adore camp, and this game is nothing but between the campy dialogue and voice acting to the over-the-top approach to … well everything. Bayonetta herself behavior is supposed to be the most empowered of empowered women ever presented in media. To me she sometimes acts more like a drag queen; confidence radiating from every action and movement of Bayonetta herself. As silly as it is the game works, the story is there and boy is it ever confusing but it doesn’t really matter. Its like a GWAR concert, you don’t generally go there for the music you go there for the spectacle.
Murmurs of another Bayonetta are around the internet but its pretty unlikely to happen sadly. If we can’t get a direct sequel I’d love to see more games like it. Either way, it’ll remain my favorite game until something far more brilliant comes along. I doubt that’ll happen for a long time.
Kimo is a contemptuous old coot. With experience in video games dating back to 1988 and a schizophrenic range of games he boasts an impressive range of knowledge of gamings best, and worst. Dwelling in the desolate wastes of the American Midwest he brings to Z1Gaming a perspective that looks for positive qualities in even the worst games.