Witch Time? 10 years of Bayonetta
Platinum's Wiccan-'em-up is now retro
It doesn't seem possible for a game as vital, as current as Bayonetta to be ten years old. This may seem silly, but to me it's forever new. The discourse around it has never faltered, never wilted, never slowed down. For ten years, everyone has been talking about how good it is, even with a sequel - itself six years out - it still registers in my mind as freshly as ever. Bayonetta? Why, yes, that just came out. Didn't it? Surely?
Personally, it took me a while to "click" with Bayonetta. My prudish British sensibilities were wrought asunder by her extremely overt sexuality to the point that I'd assumed the game was along the lines of the embarrassing Senran Kagura with its frequent nudity (largely hidden by hair, of course) and the loud, lurid carnality of its titular character.
This assumption on my part, plus my history of inability to enjoy character action games like director Hideki Kamiya's Devil May Cry made me pretty reluctant to try Bayonetta, but when I eventually did I realised I was wrong; it's a game that has its heroine weaponise and embrace her sexuality, rather than one like the aforementioned Senran Kagura or the likes of Gun Gal which revel in the humilition of their cast. The freewheeling, uninhibited Bayonetta has absolute agency in-game and - for the time I played - was never punished or undermined for her uninhibited behaviour.
Of course, that "for the time I played" gives me away. I never did finish Bayonetta. I do find those kinds of demanding combat games very difficult to get to grips with and frustrating in a way that most genres aren't, but it's a credit to Bayo's design that not only did I get pretty darn far, but I've also purchased it three times. I'm angling for a fourth, with my eye on the Switch version so I can finally put this beloved game on the "done" list. It deserves that attention.
Then again, I suppose there's no hurry. After all, it just came out, right?