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Bayonetta sucks, Monday Night Combat doesn't

Brad Gallaway's picture

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.

Category Tags
Platform(s): Xbox 360   PS3  
Series: Bayonetta  

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i agree, bayonetta's cut

i agree, bayonetta's cut scenes are probably the worse i've ever seen! i just started skipping them part way through the game. though i didn't dislike the overall experience quite as much as you, i also think that it's one of the most overrated games i've played (i'll place it just below littlebigplanet and infamous on my list). i enjoyed *parts* of it enough to power through the stretches that weren't fun but i happily traded it in as soon as i finished.

Heh, this is pretty weird as

Heh, this is pretty weird as I just recently got Bayonetta myself and, after finishing the game yesterday on normal difficulty, I have to say that I completely agree with you Brad. This game has got to be one of the most overrated action games ever. After playing Godhand I was expecting a lot more, but am left severely underwhelmed and actually annoyed that I bought the game. 10/10 from Edge magazine? Yeah. >_>

But seriously, you praise the visuals; I wouldn't even go that far. Massive amounts of screen-tear and frame-rate dips, and overall I've seen PS2 games that look better. And yeah, the story isn't good on any level, and believe me, no-one appreciates random Japanese crap more than I do, but in Bayonetta I actually wanted to skip every cutscene (this from a guy who happily sits and watches MGS cutscenes for 30+ minutes).

How this game gets more credit than the far superior Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 is beyond me. Heck, I was expecting Bayonetta to be an experience beyond NG, but that's just not the case. At all.

To anyone thinking of getting Bayonetta: get Ninja Gaiden 2 instead, preferably on PS3, but damn, even the bug ridden unbalanced 360 version is still better than Bayonetta!

I liked it *shrug*

I liked Bayonetta a lot. I liked the music, the camp, the style, bits of humor, fluidity... and the depiction of the angels was pretty neat in my book.

But it ain' nothin' without gameplay, and I thought Bayonetta was good in that department too. I felt like I could play the levels with style and aplomb, and that's what mattered to me. When I did combos I felt like I was getting somewhere. When I failed, I could realize where and why it was my fault, rather than feeling like the game was cheating. (Enemies that can interrupt my attacks always frustrate me, especially if their attacks can't be broken. Bayonetta doesn't do that, as I recall.)I like Bayonetta's gameplay much better than the arguably comparable Devil May Cry series (although out of that, I really only liked 3).

That said, I also can agree with the thoughts that the "multiscreen bosses" are arguably a different type of challenge, not necessarily a good one. See our reviews here, and I can echo those thoughts somewhat. It changes the nature of the game a bit, and I'd as soon Bayonetta be all flowing action instead of adding pattern recognition. I do appeciate the scale that was introduced by having these; the developers are following a tradition inherent in games from Rygar (PS2) to DMC. I don't like the bosses that require semi-rails movement and having to be in the right-place-at-right-time.

I can understand the complaints about the story, being confusing or feeling like we're always missing something. I just write that off as being one of those Japanese games that seems wacky when it comes to us in the west, whether it's cultural, localization, or just the zaniness that seems to pervade some Japanese popular media. It's probably the same reason I don't have problem with the Japanese RPG, and I realize that's not for everyone, either. The story may not give the game a skeleton, but this is first and foremost an action game, and how many of them have had silly stories over the years?

Bayonetta may not be deserving of a perfect score, but how many games get those and really have no flaws? This strikes me as a game that is tied closely with personal tastes. Perhaps that is the reason for the polarizing opinions of people? I don't know. I can't speak for anyone else, and I enjoyed the game so that's good enough for me.

(And I liked Godhand too, although I found it harder to play.)

Brad, does having a crap

Brad, does having a crap story really matter in a game like Bayonetta? I agree that the story and cut scenes make absolutely no sense.

However, as far as the combat/gameplay is concerned i thought i was the best i've seen since the original Ninja Gaiden. I really enjoyed playing this game and while i never took the plot seriously i also liked the main character.

The combat was perfectly balanced making it very accessible forcing you to learn moves and combos without being masochistic like DMC3.

It's a shame you are not continuing this game as i think you will miss out on one of the best final bosses fights (i have ever played at least).

P.S

With regards to perfect scores.... Edge gave Orange Box a perfect 10, basically reviewing the same games twice....

Hey guys. Although I can

Hey guys.

Although I can appreciate that you both enjoy the game, it's just not my cup of tea.

Specifically in regards to the storytelling, I find it hard to ignore the smoking train wreck of a plot regardless of what the action is like. I mean, I can sometimes ignore a badly-written story if the action is superbly entrancing, but the action in Bayonetta is just okay for me. Okay play with TERRIBLE story means that the game just isn't very enjoyable.

Also, I wouldn't be so quick to write the story off as being Japanese as a way of excusing it. I've played plenty of Japanese games that have clearly-defined characters and well-told stories, and Bayonetta just isn't one of them.

Although I haven't played Okami yet (it’s in my stack, I swear) I have consistently been less-than-impressed with Kamiya’s work in general, and Bayonetta strikes me as nothing more than an iteration on DMC -- a game which had its own host of problems.

Bayonetta is by no means the worst game I've ever played, but it's got a lot of strikes against it, and I've got plenty of other, better things to play. Sorry to disappoint you, but that's all she wrote for this one.

Honestly? Here, let me pick

Honestly?

Here, let me pick apart what is wrong with this. You say that Bayonetta has ridiculous cutscenes and a ridiculous story, yet you bring up Godhand. The same game where you fight a giant gorilla, spank women as part of one of your many beatdown moves, kick enemies in the balls and deal with a female axe-wielding maniac who threatens to cut off your arm. Also, poison Chihuahuas and a gang of power-ranger midgits.

God forbid I bring up some of the DMC3 antics...

I love both Godhand and Bayonetta, and both of them are entirely meant to be over the top ridiculousness at times with small tidbits of in-cheek seriousness. The fact that you are giving up on Bayonetta for this is such a shame, considering that it features one of THE best gameplay systems in an action game to date. Simplistic, but with a high amount of depth and a multitude of weapons to choose from (with the ability to wield them both on your hands and feet no less!). It is fine for someone to dislike the combat system, but it hurts me so. I do wonder how someone could have trouble what is going on in Bayonetta. I also wonder as to how far you managed to get through the game.

"3 hours" "super serious" I

"3 hours" "super serious"
I assume you haven't chosen (very) easy so you are hardly halfway through?
I think it makes more or any sense only when you finish it. The weird story is presented in a sort of serious manner but in the end it's pretty much serious nonsense, sort of a parody to western seriousness in games, imo. Tough i didn't like it myself very much, it's nothing i would call wretched.

I agree that it is being overrated, but i liked it overall so much to play through it more than 5 times i think. I haven't played DMC or God Hand but the Ninja Gaiden demo was pure boredom for me, because that felt seriously serious. Bayonettas extravagance was the igniter for trying to master the fight system.
I liked Bayonetta because she was a mans (manga) fantasy and at the same time totally not. A character that was for me more interesting than 99% of the figures in other games.

While Okami craved for some knowledge of japanese mythology i didn't have and so i felt a little debarred, this game worked just with (anti-)chauvinism plus some backward good/bad.

While I have no doubt we're

While I have no doubt we're on the same wavelength regarding Bayonetta, I would certainly suggest that you try not to associate any of your bad experiences with Bayonetta when thinking of Okami Brad.

There's only two games in the past 10 years or so that I would consider truly worthy of a 10/10 for superb gaming design, and Okami is one of them. If/when you do start playing it though, be aware that it can take around 45 minutes/an hour before you can realise the potential, so stick with it!

FZeroRacer wrote: Here, let

FZeroRacer wrote:

Here, let me pick apart what is wrong with this. You say that Bayonetta has ridiculous cutscenes and a ridiculous story, yet you bring up Godhand.

Except that Godhand never takes itself seriously and the cutscenes tend to be short, while Bayonetta goes on and on and on and on and on with drivels about angels this and evil that.

Okami is... very good

I wouldn't give the game design in Okami a 10/10, not by a long shot.

The narrative manages to be shallow *and* obtrusive which is a flaw in my book. Making the user click through slow dialog really brought some of the design down a notch for me, though the charm of the art and character design compensated for this. I also thought the game was a bit too long for what it was.

Agreed on Bayonetta for the

Agreed on Bayonetta for the most part. The gameplay was okay, not quite on the level of Ninja Gaiden or its sequel (though that game had design flaws of its own... the original NG's still the definitive action game for me) but so much of what the designers thought was 'cute' or 'wacky' left me cold.

And there's a lot of it. Way, way too much. You can't kill twenty enemies before another five minute plus cutscene kicks in where they just... talk nonsense. Bosses are repeated way too often, instant attacks out of cutscenes are never fun and instant death quicktime events after you're half asleep from the cutscenes preceding them... even the graphics which you like suffer from noticeable frame rate issues during certain levels like the highway.

Brad, I'm glad you're willing to speak your mind rather than just go along with the flow as so many others do. It's refreshing that someone doesn't just take Edge and Famitsu's reviews - and I've no idea why they scored Bayo perfect marks - as a template to base your own opinions on.

It's not bad, per se, but it's nowhere near perfect.

nightdreamer

nightdreamer wrote:
FZeroRacer wrote:

Here, let me pick apart what is wrong with this. You say that Bayonetta has ridiculous cutscenes and a ridiculous story, yet you bring up Godhand.

Except that Godhand never takes itself seriously and the cutscenes tend to be short, while Bayonetta goes on and on and on and on and on with drivels about angels this and evil that.

Bayonetta may seem to take itself seriously. This is, in fact, a facade.

Much like how Vanquish can appear to be a serious third-person shooter. It is not. Both of them are meant to be entirely ridiculous both in the serious and non cutscenes.

Also, bosses repeat themselves? What exactly do you consider a boss? As I am pretty sure the real bosses of the game are only repeated once and they are much different/shorter than their first incarnation to boot.

There is a very good reason why this is rated 10/10. It has, hands-down, the best combat system in any action game to date.

The Okami question

First of all, I love Okami, especially the Wii version (despite the waggle combat). But it's definitely not a 10/10 game. It's about 50% longer than it should be, the story's structure is bewildering and even demoralizing, and it handles its dialogue very poorly. However, the art design is fantastic, the game can be quite moving at times, and the way it incorporates the Celestial Brush is brilliant in many ways. I wouldn't say that everyone needs to play it all the way through, though I would heartily recommend that everyone play up to the battle against Orochi. Going further than that is only for people who were really bowled over by the first part.

FZeroRacer

FZeroRacer wrote:
nightdreamer wrote:
FZeroRacer wrote:

Here, let me pick apart what is wrong with this. You say that Bayonetta has ridiculous cutscenes and a ridiculous story, yet you bring up Godhand.

Except that Godhand never takes itself seriously and the cutscenes tend to be short, while Bayonetta goes on and on and on and on and on with drivels about angels this and evil that.

Bayonetta may seem to take itself seriously. This is, in fact, a facade.

Much like how Vanquish can appear to be a serious third-person shooter. It is not. Both of them are meant to be entirely ridiculous both in the serious and non cutscenes.

Why don't we keep the conversation to be about games that have already been released? We still don't know how Vanquish will turn out.

As for the facade thing, I guess it's satisfying when you realize near the end that everything has been a facade. Why, though, should I have to take so long watching boring expository cutscenes before then? We're not talking about something like Fight Club here, in which the parts that don't make sense until you see the end still manages to stand out because they are unusual. Bayonetta's many hours of cutscenes are as trite as they come, except that unlike others they have a sashaying heroine, a blaxpoitation dude and an Italian, all trying to act funny but never for once managed to make me laugh. For me, the story reeked of trying too hard.

Godhand makes me laugh and it doesn't even have to try.

So yeah, the fights are different issues altogether, but I could've played Bayo without ever seeing any of its cutscenes.

nightdreamer wrote: but I

nightdreamer wrote:

but I could've played Bayo without ever seeing any of its cutscenes.

If the biggest problem for someone in this game are the cutscenes then he should just skip them. I didn't watch them in any of my reruns after the initial playthrough.
It's not essential to see them, to have fun with the gameplay.
Still have to love that: "flying" and "sliding" around the world was very cool.

Quote:

all trying to act funny but never for once managed to make me laugh

It was not exactly my type of humor either but i don't think they tried to be real comedy where someone can heartily laugh. I think their acted seriousness was part of the nonsense the whole game tried to be.
The MGS4-demo, that made me laugh. I would have loved such a level of seriousness in Bayonetta. The "hardcore" voice alone is making me laugh. That was what i missed in B. Either some really good funny lines or best the scratched surface of stupid seriousness.

I think the type of humor someone has or expects varies the experience much. The game has character but disliking it is as easy as liking it for the very exact same reasons. As said, i didn't like it much but i have to appreciate its rough edges it didn't polish for mainstream.

The main difference is that

The main difference is that God Hand is entertaining in its goofiness and there are long stretches of gameplay between easily skipped cutscenes. Bayonetta is not entertaining anytime that Bayonetta herself isn't kicking ass, since when anyone in the game talks it puts you to sleep.

Also, I've lost count of the amount of times you have to fight that thing with the tubes for fingers. You first fight it at the airbase, I think? It's a main boss, and even if it's weaker in battles later on, it's still the same enemy being thrown at you over and over. Oh hey, now you can use turrets to take it down. Fresh! Shame it's even more tedious when you can't get up close to attack it normally, but players will be fooled into classing it as a whole new enem... no, we won't.

And no. It's not 'hands down' the best combat system in any action game to date, it's 'arguably' the best combat system in any action game to date. And several posters here have already argued that other games have better combat systems backing them up.

To Echo Brad from earlier, just because it's a Japanese game doesn't mean that exempts the story and characters from being awkward and annoying. Plenty of Japanese games have excellent storylines and characters, and know enough about restraint not to shove them in your face every five minutes.

I wish Bayonetta had a quick way to skip cutscenes, but even if it did, they occur so often that they'd still be a hassle to contend with.

Paul: "The narrative manages

Paul: "The narrative manages to be shallow *and* obtrusive which is a flaw in my book. Making the user click through slow dialog really brought some of the design down a notch for me, though the charm of the art and character design compensated for this. I also thought the game was a bit too long for what it was."

It obviously has flaws to a minor extent, but my defintion of 10/10 is purely meant as exceptional gaming design, not perfection. That said, I disagree about the game length; I think it manages to maintain itself as fun and enjoyable experience from start to finish. It's not like the game is running out of ideas towards the end. There's some back-tracking and re-encounters with bosses, but there's reasoning behind it.

If you compare what Clover did with Okami to developers with most other games its easy to see why the game deserves the utmost credit.

FZeroRacer: "Except that Godhand never takes itself seriously and the cutscenes tend to be short, while Bayonetta goes on and on and on and on and on with drivels about angels this and evil that."

QFT

Boredom.com watching Bayonetta cutscenes.

nightdreamer: "There is a very good reason why this is rated 10/10. It has, hands-down, the best combat system in any action game to date."

Heavily disagree.

I would say Ninja Gaiden has better combat; it offers a very precise, deep and skill-based combat system. Every weapon has a ton of combos and features that make the game almost feel entirely different on each play-through, and figthing the most basic of enemies can be a challenging and rewarding encounter. Not to meantion that watching someone play Ninja Gaiden well looks a heck of a lot better than watching someone playing Bayonetta.

Of course, I'm not saying Bayonetta isn't deep and challenging, but it's just not giving the feeling of having outstanding gameplay like Ninja Gaiden does.

I mean, it's fine if someone thinks the combat in Bayonetta is better than other games, but to try and say that it should allow it to be a 10/10 game isn't good enough.

Overall, Bayonetta could be considered a solid action game if you can put up with the flaws, but to me it's a 7/10 game at best.

Crofto, you misquoted. I was

Crofto, you misquoted. I was the one who said the drivel thing while FZeroRacer was the one who said "hands-down 10/10".

Okami

Okami on the PS2/Wii is probably the most visually beautiful game ever to have graced any system, and it's brilliant, expertly composed soundtrack is right up there with the best of them. It is one of those extremely rare gems that really expand the boundaries of what computer games can deliver as an immersive artform.

Structurally similar to Twilight Princess / Ocarina of Time in terms of gameplay, the innovative (although sometimes frustrating) celestial brush mechanic injects much freshness into proceedings. Additionally, the basis of real Japanese myth, rather than the fictional mythology of Zelda, conveys a far more tangible sense of depth and meaning to the setting, which synergizes beautifully with the artwork.

It's not perfect, probably a 9 or 9.5/10, but it absolutely MUST be experienced - more so than a lot of so-called 10/10 games out there.

I am actually quite surprised you have not played it as I would have thought most serious gamers would have given Okami a shot by now.

Make sure it's next on your list.

Okay, first, you lost count

Okay, first, you lost count of fighting the boss Temperantia. Here, I'll give you the count. Four times. I'll also give you the example of how each fight goes down

1. The major boss fight, first introduction to him
2. The clone Temperence. Smaller, and much weaker. Easy to kill.
3. This time you fight him while during the Space Harrier sequence. This is entirely different than the previous fights.
4. Finally near the end of the game with the Cannons. The only fight I didn't really like.

By the way, Bayonetta does have a way to quick skip cutscenes. A little searching goes a long way...

So your idea of "over and over" is four fights throughout the whole game with fairly significant differences between them.

Next, I will indeed argue that this is indeed hands down the best combat system to date. It flows extremely well, has a large amount of depth to it, a large amount of customization and a nice difficulty curve. People that argue that Bayonetta does not quite have the depth have, very obviously, not played on the harder difficulties where a lot of these techniques are required to live. Especially on Infinite Climax where you can (and will) get horribly maimed by enemies.

Just posting to say 'my bad'

Just posting to say 'my bad' on the misquote. =P

FZeroRacer wrote: Okay,

FZeroRacer wrote:

Okay, first, you lost count of fighting the boss Temperantia. Here, I'll give you the count. Four times. I'll also give you the example of how each fight goes down

1. The major boss fight, first introduction to him
2. The clone Temperence. Smaller, and much weaker. Easy to kill.
3. This time you fight him while during the Space Harrier sequence. This is entirely different than the previous fights.
4. Finally near the end of the game with the Cannons. The only fight I didn't really like.

By the way, Bayonetta does have a way to quick skip cutscenes. A little searching goes a long way...

So your idea of "over and over" is four fights throughout the whole game with fairly significant differences between them.

Next, I will indeed argue that this is indeed hands down the best combat system to date. It flows extremely well, has a large amount of depth to it, a large amount of customization and a nice difficulty curve. People that argue that Bayonetta does not quite have the depth have, very obviously, not played on the harder difficulties where a lot of these techniques are required to live. Especially on Infinite Climax where you can (and will) get horribly maimed by enemies.

Let's be honest here though - that is a *very* boring and forgettable boss. God knows why they chose that one to repeat multiple times.

It's also curious you mention the quick skipping. While it does exist, it's very well hidden. Tapping the back or select button would have been great, but nope, you have to hold two buttons to perform the skip. Not a problem once you figure it out (ie - read about it online), but it's not exactly an obvious button combination.

Personally, I'd have appreciated an option to turn the cutscenes off altogether so that you didn't even have to skip them - they're all uniformly awful.

That said, it's still probably the second best action series made to date in pure combat terms. It is, after all, better than DMC as far as the fighting goes, though not up to the standards set by both Ninja Gaiden titles. However, DMC had a substantially more appealing setting, cast and aesthetic design which does add to a game no matter what the 'gameplay's the only thing that matters' crowd thinks.

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