Bayonetta sucks, Monday Night Combat doesn't

Bayonetta Screenshot

Started Bayonetta the other night as part of my gargantuan "catch-up" process, and in retrospect, I think it was a good choice. I couldn't stand playing it, so I got to kick it off my list after only three hours or so. Done!

Seriously though, this is one of the most ridiculously over-rated games of 2010. The number of perfect scores it received is absurd, and I would call into question the thought process and value system of anyone who gave it a ten.

On the good side, the graphics are pretty eye-popping, the combat system has a lot of interesting bits to it, and the whole guns-on-feet thing was gold.

On the other hand, it has some of the most wretched storytelling I've ever seen in a title. The bizarre dichotomy between super-serious cutscenes and insanely-over-the-top-goofy during play doesn't work at all, with each side canceling out the energy of the other. I'm usually one who gets a great deal out of story and cutscenes, but they were verging on painful here—awkward, long, senseless, and adding nothing to the experience.

As for the rest, there was entirely too much going on during play to be able to see what was happening clearly—the definition of visual chaos. The mission structure was pure Devil May Cry, and the rest was God Hand, except not nearly as cohesive or as well-done as either. The whole thing felt like some kind of arch in-joke the developers were having at my expense, and the combat system wasn't so entertaining that I was about to sit through who knows how many hours of it before the end.

Unpleasantly atavistic, intentionally obtuse, and displaying poor sensibility in nearly every aspect, Bayonetta has been ejected from my 360 in unceremonious fashion, and it won't be back.

Monday Night Combat Screenshot

Spent a few hours with the good fellows at Uber Entertainment today. They were gracious enough to invite me over for a good look at their upcoming XBLA title, Monday Night Combat, and show it to me they did.

I'll be talking about it on the podcast this weekend and I'll have a proper interview up shortly, but for right now I can say that Monday Night Combat is looking like a very impressive title, and one that was certainly deserving of its spot in this year's Summer of Arcade lineup.

Although many people have dismissed it as a Team Fortress 2 wannabe, the similarities are only vaguely cosmetic. After actually having a hands-on, the gameplay was much deeper and entirely different than I was expecting it to be.

In a nutshell, each team of players is trying to destroy the "money ball" of the opposition. This is done by guarding a stream of robots that emerges from each end of the playing field. When enough robots hit the money ball, it's destroyed and the game is over. Teamwork is key, and the mix of character types means that players have several different strategies to choose from. For example, I started as the Assault player and waded into things as if I was playing a standard shooter, but that didn't last long. At all. Switching over to a Tank character, I found that his particular build suited my tendencies better, and I began to see the ebb and flow of the action. It's a much more structured and complex style of game than most people are going to expect.

(Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I do think it needs to be said that the Uber team pretty much wiped the floor with me from start to finish. They took it easy on me for about the first 30 seconds of the first match, and then after that I spent a lot of time as chunks on the ground. Still, it was quite fun.)

For more info on Monday Night Combat, check out the Uber Entertainment website, and definitely watch the videos while you're there.

More to come.