BAYONETTA 3 was my favourite game of 2022, and from the snippet of Bayonetta Origins I saw, I was immediately intrigued.
The game’s whimsical art style was nothing like we had seen in Bayonetta before, and neither was the gameplay.
A beautiful fantasy world.
In fact, the similarities between the mainline series and Origins almost starts and ends with our protagonist Cereza.
One of the most unique aspects of Origins is not only new to Bayonetta games, but is almost entirely new to gaming.
The central game mechanic requires you to control two characters using the two halves of the controller independently.
This takes a little getting used to, as you try to move the camera only to find you are moving a giant stuffed cat demon instead, but it’s very satisfying when you learn to execute it correctly.
It seems counterintuitive at first, with things such as the confirm buttons being L and R, but many excellent games – Katamari Damacy comes to mind – have weird control schemes that somehow just work.
Cereza is our left protagonist, and our right protagonist is Cheshire, Viola’s demon from Bayonetta 3.
As you might expect from a witch and a demon stuck inside a stuffed cat, they have very different powers and strengths.
Cereza can slow down enemies, and heal Chesire, while he deals devastating damage using the power of the elements.
It’s your classic support/damage-dealer combination, except that you are in charge of both parties.
The pair don’t work completely independently. By binding enemies with Cereza, you can then deal extra damage with more powerful combos from Cheshire.
They also help each other when it comes to exploration and movement.
Holding Cheshire will help you move faster, while unleashing him allows you to traverse difficult environmental puzzles.
These are pleasant and whimsical as you follow the well-lit path of the main storyline, but can become tedious when you are trying to find the numerous collectibles.
They are clearly marked on the in-game map, but the levels have such verticality that it’s hard to tell which paths are blocked off by ledges, or above and far below the main path.
The map page doesn’t show where each entrance and exit leads or how the different areas connect together.
This can be especially infuriating as you retread the same parts of the level, no matter how beautifully designed they are.
The difficulty in interpreting the map is only compounded by how few and far between the fast travel points are.
Some pathways are blocked off and require Cheshire to gain a new elemental ability in order to access them.
This means you will find yourself returning to areas multiple times in order to mop up your needed items.
Yes, Bayonetta Origins is a Metroidvania. Aside from gameplay that is unusual for the genre, the art style and presentation are different too.
While this makes it stunning to play through, it will appeal more to a certain type of gamer.
This is the gamer who has the time to sit back, relax and absorb themselves into the fantasy world of Bayonetta Origins.
It’s made for a gamer who oohs and aahs at all the delightful, whimsical, and lengthy unskippable animations.
A lot of time and dedication has gone into each aspect of Origins to build an entire and captivating world.
What it comes down to is that Bayonetta Origins doesn’t respect your time.
While this will work for those who buy and savour a few games a year, those who play a lot of games – such as a games journalist – will find it annoying.
However, if you are this second type you will still get a lot of joy out of Bayonetta Origins.
The story is touching, as you slowly watch the relationship between the pair deepening and evolving.
There are twists and turns, and the way the different areas melt and morph into each other creates a breathtaking journey.
The main story is a tightly-crafted delightful 10 to 15 hour journey, but when you are tempted to see more of the world, that’s when it begins to falter.
My advice is to play and enjoy Bayonetta Origins, and to stop playing as soon as it stops being fun.
Because you’ll definitely have fun, but you will feel better for giving up before you reach the point of frustration.
Written by Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.
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