Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Renee's New Favorite Game: Bayonetta

Last night (after watching the ridiculous final disc of Tru Blood's second season) Stephanie and I decided to play some video game demos.  We tried a few that were ho-hum, some that were plain irritating, and then finally Adam said "You have to see this's like an insane anime hentai movie on crack," and pulled up Bayonetta.

Stephanie is not a fan of this game.  So far.  I think it has something to do with the boobies, and the fact that the character's clothing appears to be made out of her own hair and occasionally comes flying off while she's fighting.

I, however, was in it to win it from the red glittery training session.

Not only is the gameplay glittery, it's really easy to get the hang of, and anyone who's ever played Street Fighter or Tekken games will already understand the concept of combos, which result in crazy awesome gymnastic moves (including upside down shooting from the guns on her shoes).  I also like her ridiculous RuPaul strut and propensity for occasionally pausing in a model-pose.

Once the game starts, you find yourself falling through space on a series of giant chunks of ancient buildings, fighting hordes of angels (apparently Bayonetta is some sort of witch.  With Tina Fey's head).  It's visually stunning, and again the gameplay is fast paced yet simple to pick up on and full of variety.  I also loved that the demo kept giving me clues as to what combos I should take advantage of (the Torture attack was pretty gory but also hilarious--done right, out pops a giant guillotine for Bayonetta to use) and that even with everything going on, I could still see them clearly and easily.

After falling, you land in an Oblivion-esque building and then you fight some more angels.

I didn't get past that part, but I didn't really need to--I already wanted to buy the game.  Demo win.

Other people, however, are not as excited by Bayonetta's gymnastic fighting style.  One of them (who, in spite of her alarmist critique feels the need to dress exactly like the character while making it...) complains that this is just another cog in the sexualization-of-women machine whose marketing techniques are sure to lead to rampant molestation on subway cars, and who points to Bayonetta's being a single mom as the sole redeeming part of the game (because apparently it's better for a kid to have just one parent--as long as it's a female--than two).

I wish this wasn't even a thing I needed to bother commenting on, because the game is really fun, and for me that should be the bottom line.

Is the game awesome?  Yes?  Then buy it.

But because sex in gaming is an issue, and because Steph has an MA in Women's Studies, I feel like I have to at least mention that yes, Bayonetta's a sexy character, and yes, for some people that's problematic.  But I'm a feminist.  I believe in equality for women.  And I don't think that a game is exploitative just because its character is a sexy lady, or even because its character is being marketed as a sexy lady.

And that's pretty much all I'm going to say about that, because it's the kind of thing that people can go around and around on without ever coming to common ground.  Vilify them if you want, but in my opinion the creators made a pretty awesome fighting game.  And if you disagree, talk to Steph.

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