Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon
released on Mar 17, 2023
Long before this trainee of the dark arts would come to be called Bayonetta, she took a fateful journey into the forbidden Avalon Forest. Alongside her was Cheshire, her very first demon, possessing Cereza’s stuffed toy. Play as both Cereza and Cheshire and search through the treacherous forest to look for the power to save Cereza’s mother.
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I have some mixed feelings about Bayonetta Origins. The game is gorgeous and tells perhaps the most coherent story in the Bayonetta series. The gameplay itself did not hook me as much as the main series. Exploration is hindered by a slightly too slow walking speed and combat is pretty same-y, probably in part to the split character control scheme. That said, the game still was enjoyable throughout and I'm pleased to see PlatinumGames experimenting somewhat with their Umbra Witch.
Spin-off de distintiva estética visual; mezcla una especie de coloreado a mano con pinturas y colores más planos y menos realistas -en comparación con la serie principal- con efectos espectaculares de luz, colores y formas casi abstractas. De jugabilidad sencilla, puede terminar resultando repetitiva, aunque no empaña un resultado que, pese a sus condiciones iniciales de "juego menor", logra brillar por sí solo.
This review contains spoilers
Bayonetta Origins is basically the anti-Platinum Platinum game. It's slow(er) paced than their regular fare, it's focused more on exploration and story than on pure combat. It's not a constant spectacle that's in a constant struggle with itself to keep raising the stakes, to constantly one up what came before it. And it actually really works.
The story's premise is pretty simple, but the storybook presentation really elevates it. Platinum's style of pseudo-cutscenes isn't nearly as jarring as normal when it's presented as turning the pages in a book, and the excellent narration makes even the more mundane scenes a joy to watch. The story's themes of family and friendship were handled pretty well and a few scenes were legitimately touching The way the game starts out slow and builds up to the kind of spectacle you expect from a Platinum game also makes the ending sequence one of Platinum's best, up there with The Wonderful 101 and the original Bayonetta.
None of that would matter if the game wasn't fun to play, but Platinum managed to pull off a completely different style of gameplay really well. At its core it's still a combo focused action game, but there's a much bigger emphasis on exploration, puzzle solving, and backtracking and built around controlling two characters at once. Avalon Forest is a labyrinth, with winding paths layered on top of each other, secret passageways locked behind Cheshire's various elemental abilities, and shortcuts to make backtracking easier. Exploration is mostly rewarded with the two currencies you use to upgrade Cereza and Cheshire, but you'll also find captive wisps that populate a rather comfy hideaway when freed, various text logs exploring the setting and the history of the Faeries, and optional challenges in the form of Tir Na Nogs, this game's version of Alfheim areas or the equivalent from your Platinum game of choice. A lot of these are required to beat the game, but quite a few are off the beaten path and uncover extra parts of the map once completed. As far as the actual combat goes, controlling Cereza and Cheshire with two different sides of the same controller can be a little cumbersome at first, but it ends up working really well. My only real complaint is that dodge is mapped to clicking in the control stick for each character, but that's actually not as much of an issue as it sounds since both characters move pretty quickly, and you can always call Cheshire back with a tap of the L button.
The presentation is probably the one thing I don't need to talk about, but I'll do it anyway since holy shit is this a beautiful game. The whole world has this painted look to it, with the environment fading in and out in the background. That, coupled with the fact that the game does that thing where patterns don't actually move with what they're on and instead shift as things move and instead shift around like the object is just a window that the pattern sits behind (I have no clue what this is called but the cartoon Chowder did the same thing iirc), gives everything a dreamlike feel to it. The piano-focused soundtrack also plays into that whole dreamlike feel, which perfectly fits the changing and illusory Avalon Forest.
I had a few small issues with the game like how the game doesn't really open up mechanically until around the halfway point or how the map is a little hard to read, but honestly those are minor complaints considering how much I enjoyed my time with it. I have no idea what the team that worked on this game was smoking when they decided to make a family-friendly isometric Bayonetta spinoff about a young Cereza, but man do I hope they keep smoking it. Between this, Sol Cresta, and the After-School Hero DLC for TW101 Remastered, Platinum's been branching out from their classic gameplay style, and I'm all for it. I'd love to see them go for something super weird for them like a full puzzle game or something, just to see how they'd approach that. I love Platinum's signature style and all that, but when stepping away from that leads to a game as good as this, I'm really curious as to what else the studio is capable of.
This game is super pretty so far and I really like how it tells like a fairytale in a storybook. Not finished though
Bayonetta Origins is an incredibly unique game and this alone is a reason for this title to be celebrated. Its ideas aren't often seen in other games, and it explores gameplay ideas that are very satisfying to pull off. The visuals are amazing, the storybook aesthetic is charming and cute, I love the fact that we have a narrator. The relationship between Cereza and Cheshire has an interesting development, and the story pleased me as a whole. I love how I can't exactly fit the game into one specfic genre, metroidvania? Maybe, but it is also divided into chapters. Controlling both characters can feel weird at first but I tought I got better after some hours playing. The combat is fun and refreshing, exploration is rewarding as new skills are tied to it. Most of the Tír na nÓg, think of it as like Breath of the Wild's shrines but in this game, have really fun mechanics but I wish there were more of them that wasn't just another combat encounter. I also wish Cereza had some sort of attack other than binding enemies, but I guess this will be in Bayonetta Origins 2. And I must complain about the map, its very confusing and it's not helpful at all, the areas are too vertical and very confusing to navigate, I wish the map showed magic upgrades too. But all in all, as a huge Bayonetta fan I loved Origins, and I want more games like this!
Sino tuviera una exploración que me tire tanto pa atras seria este sin duda seria el mejor bayonetta que hay.
Preparen pañuelos para el final.
Preparen pañuelos para el final.