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Game Reviewed: Bayonetta
Developer: Platinum Games
Platform: Xbox 360 (also on PS3)
ESRB Rating: M
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Bayonetta is a third-person action game that closely resembles the games Devil May Cry or God of War. Players assume control of Bayonetta, an Umbra witch, who has recently awoken from a 500 year-old sleep in Vigrid, a fictional city set in Europe. She suffers from memory loss, but she slowly gains it back as the game progresses. Prior to the incident that caused her memory loss there were two distinct factions- the Umbra Witches, who represent darkness and the Lumen Sages, who represent light. Each faction possessed two treasures, the Left Eye and the Right Eye, which combined form the “Eyes of the World”. At the start of the game Bayonetta possess the Left Eye and is in search of the Right Eye.
The game also borrows some elements from Dante's Divine Comedy in the fact that there are three separate dimensions that make up the world of Bayonetta. Paradiso (heaven) is the home of the “Angel” type foes that she commonly faces; Purgatorio (purgatory), kind of an “in between” realm but is related to the plane humans inhabit; and Inferno (hell), where she draws her powers from and where demons inhabit. Actions that take place in Purgatorio often impact the human plane and this is seen in the game. Although the game features good vs. evil, it is not clearly defined in the sense that witches are evil and that angels are good. The story actually features characters from all three realms that could be defined as good or evil.
Bayonetta is quite creative in the way the player will dispatch of foes, from shooting guns with her feet, to wielding massive swords, to executing torture attacks that can be quite brutal and bloody. The action is very quick and never slows down, except for the occasional platforming segments that can involve anything from walking on water to running up walls.
What Parents Need to Know
Bayonetta features a lot of blood and intense violence. It is rated “Mature” by the ESRB for "Blood and Gore," "Intense Violence," "Partial Nudity," "Strong Language," and "Suggestive Themes." The blood is quite substantial and the torture attacks can be particularly gruesome, featuring guillotines and iron maidens, but the blood and bodies will disappear from the screen after a certain amount of time. In addition, at the end of a boss battle, Bayonetta will enter into Climax mode in which her hair will transform into giant monsters to finish off the boss causing plenty of blood to spurt everywhere.
There is quite a bit of strong language featured in Bayonetta such as s*** and f***.
Bayonetta features quite a bit of sexual content. First of all Bayonetta's skin tight suit is made from her hair and on certain attacks, especially the climax attacks, her hair will come off her body to attack foes. This does not show full blown nudity, but it is quite revealing. One scene has Bayonetta dressed as a Nun, and the camera pans across her cleavage. The game features her in “sexy” poses thorough-out and she is seen pole dancing in the credits, albeit dressed.
Although this game is fictional, you do play as a witch battling the forces of Heaven.
As previously mentioned, Bayonetta is rated "Mature" by the ESRB for "Blood and Gore," "Intense Violence," "Partial Nudity," "Strong Language," and "Suggestive Themes” and for very good reason. The extreme graphic content, bad language and spiritual content are things parents should take into consideration when deciding if Bayonetta is right for their family or not.