Sunday, 5 January 2014

Well-Rendered's Games of the Generation #8: Bayonetta

Bayonetta, SEGA/Platinum Games (2010)

Before the last generation began, I had a lot of time on my hands. Time to cover every inch of my bedroom walls with postage-stamp sized images of my heroes and embellish the spaces between each one with stickers and sequins. Time to hand-stitch song lyrics onto my denim jackets. Time to play fighters.

Learning to play a good fighter is like learning to play a musical instrument. You can muddle along by learning the basics, but to get the most of it you have to retrain your mind and your muscles to execute complex rhythmic commands. Games are unlike other artistic media in that they withhold content from you if you do not devote the time to uncovering it. In an open-world game, this may be a story hidden in diary entries that are hidden around the world. In a fighter, this content is what your character can actually do, and to discover it, you must learn to control them.

In Bayonetta, your character can perform a mind-boggling array of moves with her disproportionately long limbs, arsenal of demonic weapons and magic hair, and it'll take a fair number of playthroughs before you're fluent in them. I know this because I have played Bayonetta many times despite my gaming time having been significantly reduced since the heady days of full-time education and 8-hour Soul Calibur marathons. Bayonetta's moves are so imaginative and so satisfying that they make learning them worthwhile even for the seriously time-poor.

There are other reasons to love Bayonetta (which I went into in my Character Select article on the game), but as one of the only fighters I've played "properly" since the generation began, it holds a special place in my heart and the parts of my brain responsible for forming muscle memory.

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