Last weekend I was fortunate enough to have enough free time to finish the last few things that needed to be done in the first Bayonetta game before I could properly dig my teeth into the sequel, the game I wanted to play since the end of October.
A lot of things can be said, and already had been said about Platinum’s Bayonetta, both the game and the character, so much so that I would not be surprised that if in the next few years we see feminist and gaming books hit the shelves that focuses almost exclusively on this one umbra witch. Out of everything I could talk about Bayonetta, for now I want to talk about the image Platinum games had for Bayonetta in their game and how they tried to convey that image in everything outside of the scripted cutscenes.
Thanks to the advancements in technology in gaming almost every game protagonist has personality, moving beyond the 8/16-bit times where there was no room in the game to add any character to the characters. With Platinum, their image of Bayonetta is of this perfect fighter that is always in control of her life and of the situation. The game developers try to bring this point home in every moment in the game, she exudes confidence, you tell that from the way she holds herself and how she talks to friends and how she responds to being in the middle of an ambush from Angels or meeting face-to-face with mammoth skyscraper-sized creatures, that would be an end game boss in any other game.
She is someone that can handle every death defying move without breaking a sweat or sustaining a scratch, as you can see from those causal instant death QTE moments in the cutscenes and in the normal areas of the levels.
The idea of a character’s image is easy to convey in the cutscenes, when the game developers has control of everything, the camera angle down to how Bayonetta move around a room but it during the gameplay where the developers makes the point across in the actual game with the grading system.
In the Bayonetta games, every stage of every level has a grading system to score on how well you performed, with points taken off if you take any damage and if your last fight had a lackluster amount of combo points or if you took too long annihilating everything in the game threw at you. The game even takes off points for when you use items, something that you earn throughout the game, because the Bayonetta that Platinum had in mind is not one who would relay on health packs in the fights.
If you play the game in such a way that you are rewarded with the highest score that game can give you, you start to see that the image of Bayonetta fighting in the cutscene and the way she fights in the game is the same. That being said I am grateful that you can use items in the game and you can sustain damage in your first play through without impeding the story’s development or losing the feeling of epic and scale with the boss fights.
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