THOSE who were as obsessed with Bayonetta 3 as I was, are likely to have found the game’s hidden chapter.
Through very obscure means, you could gather three keys, and use them to unlock an extra tale that showed a young Cereza walking through a fairytale forest.
The chapter was short, but as we now know this was people’s first glimpse of Bayonetta Origins.
It’s not only the fairytale style and storybook introductions that set Origins apart from your usual Bayonetta game.
It tells the tale of a young Cereza, before she gains the powers that her hair provides. In fact, she has very few magical powers at her disposal.
She can produce thorns from the ground to temporarily trap enemies, and she can dance to make the plants around her grow.
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The only way she can fight her way through the foreboding world is with the help of Cheshire.
Those who have played Bayonetta 3 will know Cheshire well. He’s Viola’s sole demon companion in the form of a plush cat.
Both while exploring the world and in combat, you can control both characters simultaneously; Cereza with the left, and Cheshire with the right.
This takes some getting used to, but leads to very innovative combat challenges, and unique exploration.
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It works a little bit like Ico, except you are constantly in control. The two characters can never stray far from each other, or else you will find yourself helpless.
Sections where you are separated give you that feeling of anxiety, but by controlling both parties it’s completely your fault if anything goes wrong.
You can join the two together to make navigation easier, but you will often have to separate again to help each other through platforming or collect resources.
At the root of it, the pair need each other. Bayonetta can get in smaller spaces and change the environment with her magic, and Cheshire can climb high obstacles, and smash through blockages.
As is typical of Bayonetta, there are potions you can create and a skill tree to level up.
You gain plenty of boons, such as improved bag space, faster walking speed, and extra attacks in combat, and you will want to do this often.
There are separate trees for both Bayo and Cheshire with separate resources required for each.
The thread of separate yet together is present in every part of the game, between the two parties disputes, to their victory celebrations.
Bayonetta Origins, like the main series, is about exploration, and there are sections much like witch trials to find, that unlock more of the map.
These can be combat focused with certain limits, or difficult puzzle platforming sections, which test you more than the overworld.
And there is quite a robust world. Completely different from all Bayonettas before, this one is a Metroidvania, which encourages you to return to previous areas once you obtain new skills.
A lot of effort has clearly gone into the art style, and while the world is gorgeous, I feel the game suffers for it.
There are some pacing issues, as the game slows down for indulgent cutscenes of the world and enemies, and lengthy animations for each piece of dialogue or action.
Bayonetta has never been afraid of dragging out a cutscene, and these aren’t that long, but have a frequency that constrains you in such an open game.
In all, Bayonetta Origins is not like any other Bayonetta game, and you will enjoy it less if you expect it to be.
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The charming world and unique control system need to be judged on their own merits, and from what we’ve seen so far, it contains a lot of promise.
Written by Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.
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