Bayonetta Origins: Cereza And The Lost Demon – Malice in Wonderland

The difference in direction between the Bayonetta trilogy and the latest entry in the series, Origin of Bayonetta: Cereza and the Lost Demon, is not to be ignored. The replacement for the confident female ruler we know and love is a shy young lady who feels more comfortable holding a stuffed animal than holding a pistol. Instead of the massive, action-packed and over-the-top style works of the main series, we’re treated to enchanted forests, worn-out pages adorned with soft illustrations. and gentle, childish curiosity. So the first few hours I spent with Bayonetta Origins were filled with total and utter confusion. I can’t find a connection between Bayonetta Origins and the Bayonetta trilogy, or the strings connecting the two experiences together. But luckily, the team behind Bayonetta Origins can.

Bayonetta Origins is an achievement, both in the Bayonetta series and in the game as a whole. It’s proof that the rules and limits placed on certain, big-budget series are made to be broken — especially when you can do it with a lot of creativity and cleverly like this. The captivating adventure puzzle game is also fun to play, and more than what it shows on the surface. As its story unfolds, it slowly builds into a recognizable Bayonetta game—a game filled with excitement, darkness, subversion, and feminine liberation—all while remaining maintain a unique identity. All of this combined with a touching story of friendship and motherhood–it may or may not make me cry. much–makes for a game I hope you don’t overlook whether you are a fan of Bayonetta games or not.

Now playing: Origins of Bayonetta: Video review of Cereza and the lost demon

Set long before Cereza stepped into Bayonetta’s improved shoes, Origins is best described as a story “coming from a half-hearted sage”. After witnessing her mother’s imprisonment for a forbidden love affair with Cereza’s father, the young girl is forced to seek refuge under the tutelage of a powerful sorceress who lives on the outskirts of the Forbidden Forest Avalon. . Her teacher is tough but kind – ostensibly to show part of Bayonetta’s cold demeanor – but is often frustrated by Cereza’s cowardice. So when a spirit visits Cereza and tells her it takes courage to become a true witch and rescue her mother deep in Avalon, the young witch quickly ascends. the way to find it.

Cereza facing Avalon Forest
Cereza facing Avalon Forest

In Bayonetta Origins, you control both Cereza and Cheshire simultaneously, with all of Cereza’s controls assigned to the left JoyCon while all of Cheshire’s controls are positioned to the right. Similar to any of Hazelight’s productions (It Takes Two, A Way Out, Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons), the game is filled with asymmetrical puzzles that require you to explore your environment and make use of it. The different talents of both characters to progress. For Cereza, this means using her magic to bring life to useful plants and stunning enemies, as well as using her small body to cross vines. . Cheshire, on the other hand, uses his raw strength, immense size, and elemental strength he slowly unlocks to push ahead. When Cheshire was unable to cross a particular area, Cereza stepped in to create a path. When Cereza couldn’t reach the high ledge, Cheshire allowed herself to shrink into a stuffed animal and was thrown onto the once inaccessible ledge. While not particularly difficult, the puzzles are well-balanced, fun, and constantly built in small ways, helping to properly prepare you for the mindset that the next obstacle may require.

Given this style of play and the nature of the controls, there were a few occasions where I felt my strings break a bit and I accidentally moved Cheshire instead of Cereza or vice versa. Thankfully, the consequences of this were never serious, and I noticed that as I progressed, these confusions became less and less frequent. Considering all the actions you can take as both members of the demon duo–the game’s skill tree is pretty dense–the map is really unbelievably intuitive and generates The smoothest and most enjoyable one-button battle I’ve ever seen in a game.

A big reason why the battle in the game is so satisfying is because of how the puzzle aspect of the game extends to your encounters as well. The vast majority of enemies you confront require either Cheshire’s elemental abilities or Cereza’s spells – which are shaped like some sort of small-scale rhythm game – to make them vulnerable. This makes the battles – and especially the challenging Tir na nOgs stages, which are more like Breath of the Wild shrines more combat-oriented – requiring players to think fast and coordinate. careful. To make matters more interesting, as the enemy types and wave count you face expands, so does the feeling that you’re actually playing an action-packed Bayonetta game – albeit a lot different from what was before.

Cereza walks along a vine
Cereza walks along a vine

That said, players may find that Bayonetta Origins’ battle is where the aforementioned crossover issue tends to occur the most–and the most frustrating. While I’ve found the technique of frequently recalling Cheshire to narrow my attention to one character to control, most of the time you need to play as both, which can sometimes be difficult. can lead to some pretty unattractive gameplay. Also, this complexity can feel a bit at odds with the light and engaging nature of the game. While the game’s story and world make this an easy proposition for younger players, the controls can make the experience a bit daunting.

This feeling continues to grow as you progress further in the game. While I won’t go into spoiler territory – to be honest, the game’s story and callbacks are too special to spoil them – it impressed me with how well Bayonetta Origins captures. head in one place and gently move to another with which we are more familiar. Thankfully, though, crossing this bridge doesn’t involve a change of tone. I was worried as Cereza grew more and more proficient and confident that the game might force sex on the young girl and rob the game of its childlike magic. I can assure you no, on the contrary, Cereza was a kid who discovered his strength and confidence in different ways before diving into the world of guns and leather goods.

Cereza laments her Cheshire stuffed animal
Cereza laments her Cheshire stuffed animal

And beyond the sheer mismatch that might come with that change of tone, Bayonetta Origins is so captivating that I didn’t. want to see it turn into something more familiar–I want to enjoy every second of this game that feels too unique to exist as part of the Bayonetta series. And sure, there are overlapping aspects and parts of the game that connect Bayonetta Origins to the main trilogy in necessary ways, but the focus, direction, and confidence it exudes in both, doesn’t. never change.

While previous Bayonetta games also divided their story into chapters, the chapters in Bayonetta Origins are much more literal, as the story is told as if it were a children’s book. A gentle, dignified woman narrates the story, adding unique voices to some of the characters, such as the always grumpy Cheshire, while the illustrations fade into the weathered pages. The game as a whole has an uncanny painting quality that perfectly matches its sense of wonder, and uses color and camera angles to create scenes that add a touch of grandeur and magic to the experience. intimate experience. While the Nintendo Switch may not be able to keep up with current-gen consoles graphically, Bayonetta Origins is a great example of how developers can combat that by focusing on artistry. art rather than fidelity. However, it’s important to note that the game’s more liberal art style looks much sharper in mobile mode.

Cereza and Cheshire looking for a getaway
Cereza and Cheshire looking for a getaway

All of this, however, shows just how sweet and impactful the story of the Bayonetta Origins is. For years now, the game industry has been calling for games to embody motherhood, and this game is purely Platinum Games’ winning attempt to fulfill that need. In addition, Cereza is as charismatic as the old version of herself in this game. Her lines are conveyed with sincerity, youthful joy and emotion, while at the same time serving as a moral compass and strength that makes her easy to love. Both Cereza and Cheshire exude audacity and reluctant compassion with pure ease and loveliness, and that creates an exciting dynamic that develops into a truly special relationship. . While some looking up at Bayonetta 3’s story might be wary of the direction Bayonetta Origins appears to be headed at the start, wait there – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and The Lost Demon is a testament to creative thinking. While I have no doubt Platinum Games will revolve around this new style of gameplay and storytelling in future Bayonetta games in the same way that Breath of the Wild or God of War (2018) has redirects of their respective brands, but I can’t help but be grateful that the studio believed enough in our team’s vision to create this experience. Despite every aspect of how great the game is, I understand why the developer would do it.

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