I more or less ignored Bayonetta when it first came out. It seemed like it was all about superfluous sexualization: lots of ogling of body parts, special moves that removes the protagonist’s clothes because apparenly her clothes are made out of her hair and of course how could a special move not involve spinning your hair all over the place? At any rate, that didn’t seem to add up to a game worth paying attention to.

Over the years, though, I’d periodically hear about Bayonetta in contexts that were rather more favorable than I expected, and actually I’d hear it brought up more frequently by women than by men. It is unquentionable sexual, but maybe a game that is written from a point of view of fantasizing about being dominated by a sexy librarian who doesn’t take any crap could actually be kind of good, if done right?

Chatter about Bayonetta (and its sequel) popped up again when the third game was getting closer to release. And I was looking for something lightweight to spend some time with; so, what the heck, let’s give the sexy dominatrix librarian game a try.


And it turns out that the sexy dominatrix librarian game is good! It’s stylish, and while the game does not shy on the tits and ass, it also puts Bayonetta fairly strongly in control of most interactions, in a way that meant that I didn’t have to feel dirty watching it. And some of the scenes where she isn’t as in control are ones where all of a sudden she’s having to deal with a small child; those are rather charming! So I liked watching the game, and I liked the cut scenes.

As to the action, from my point of view the action was fine, but also this kind of gameplay isn’t my thing, so I’m not a great judge of it? It was a bit much for me on Normal, so I dropped down to Easy; that was the right choice, but also it was a whole bunch easier, I wish there had been something in the middle. I can’t really tell if the gameplay is good or not; it was clear that, if I wanted to get better, I’d need to improve my skill at reading the opponents and dodging, so there was something that I could have worked on if I’d felt inclined to do so, so that’s something at least.

When reading descriptions of the game / series, I see them talk about the game’s combos; honestly, that felt odd to me as a selling point, because there are basically only two buttons to hit? So, yes, if you do mixes of those two buttons of different lengths and/or interleaved in different ways, then you’ll get different moves; but it wasn’t obvious to me that each of those different moves was strong in a different tactical context, or if the as game giving variety that didn’t matter, or if some of the combos were clearly broadly superior to other of them. So I enjoyed the combat fine, and it was visually stylish, but I just don’t know to what extent there’s actual depth there.


The upshot: I’m glad I gave Bayonetta a try, it was a pleasant change of pace, and now I’ve got a little more context when I hear people talk about it. And it was a good length; I enjoyed the time I spent with it, and it didn’t drag out that time. I’m not planning to play other games in the series, and that’s fine too, it was entirely satisfying as a self-contained unit.

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