That catch is called “witch time,” which is Bayonetta’s version of the Matrix’s ‘Bullet time.’ Dodging an attack the moment before it hits you, slows everything down for about 15 seconds. Not only is the ability sweet, but it becomes necessary for survival later in the game. The game can be very unbalanced in its difficulty at times. You’ll go from fighting some low-life angels to suddenly fighting two gigantic angels that were bosses just two levels ago. Additionally, there are certain enemies that can chain moves back-to-back, quickly bringing about a game over screen. Too many game over screens and it will effect your overall ranking for the stage.
Like many of Hideki Kamiya’s games, Bayonetta features a ranking system. You enter an area, a seal pops up (reminiscent of God of War, Darksiders, Devil May Cry, and every other action/adventure game out there) and as you kick angel ass, you’re graded on your performance. You’ll earn a rating and a medal, and they all add up at the end of the stage for your overall score. Pretty basic, but seeing as how the game’s difficulty can serve you your ass on a platter, don’t be surprised if you receive a few stone awards during the course of the game. The games currency is the angels’ ‘halos,’ which look very similar to the golden rings that you collect in the Sonic the Hedgehog series (Sega did publish the game after all). The only problem with the rings? Well it also happens to be the major problem that plagues the game: the load times.
It’s no secret that Sega, not developer Platinum Games, handled Bayonetta’s port to the PS3, and in the process screwed the game over with ridiculously long load times. To help Bayonetta through her journey, you will frequently enter the ‘Gates of Hell’ bar to trade your halos in for new weapons, items, accessories, etc. Sadly, it takes close to 30 seconds before the area loads up, followed by 30 more seconds of loading when you exit. It gets worse though. When you pick up an item there is a 3 second load time, and when you cycle through your inventory, there’s a two second delay between selecting items. Worse still, at some points, the in-game action will stop completely and load for 15 seconds.
The major reason I didn’t give Bayonetta a 5 out of 5 is the because of the load times. Some sites have compared the PS3 version to the 360 version and have said the PS3 version has problems with the frame rate and that it isn’t as ‘colorful,’ though I never came across those problems while playing the game–only the terrible load times. They were bad enough that I had to dock the game a whole point. Sorry Sega..but you screwed the pooch on this one.