The difference in direction between the Bayonetta trilogy and the most recent entry in the series, Bayonetta Origins: Cherry and The Lost Demon, is impossible to ignore. Instead of the confident dominator we know and love, there is a shy young woman who is far more comfortable holding a stuffed animal than a gun. Instead of large-scale action-packed settings and the innocently over-the-top style of the main series, we’re treated to enchanted forests, well-worn book pages adorned with gentle illustrations, and gentle, childlike curiosity. As such, the first few hours I spent with Bayonetta Origins were filled with complete and utter confusion. I couldn’t find the connection between Bayonetta Origins and the Bayonetta trilogy, nor the threads that tied the two experiences together. But luckily, the team behind Bayonetta Origins was able to do it.
Bayonetta Origins is an achievement, both within the Bayonetta series and the games as a whole. It’s proof that the rules and limitations placed on certain big-budget series are made to be broken, especially when you can do it with such creativity and tact. The charming puzzle adventure is also a joy to play, and there’s a lot more than meets the eye. As its story unfolds, it slowly becomes a recognizable Bayonetta game, filled with emotion, darkness, subversion and women’s liberation, all while maintaining its own identity. All this combined with a touching story of camaraderie and motherly love that may or may not have brought tears to my eyes. a lot– makes it a game. I encourage you not to overlook whether you are a fan of the Bayonetta games or not.
Set long before Cherry dons Bayonetta’s souped-up shoes, Origins is best described as a story about “the arrival of a semi-shiny sage.” After witnessing her mother’s imprisonment for a forbidden affair with Cereza’s father, the young woman is forced to seek refuge under the tutelage of a powerful witch who lives on the outskirts of the forbidden forest of Avalon. Her teacher is firm but polite, clearly intent on showing part of where Bayonetta’s cold demeanor comes from, but is often frustrated by Cereza’s cowardice. As such, when a spirit visits Cherry and tells her that the courage she needs to become a proper witch and save her mother lies deep within Avalon, the young witch quickly sets out on her quest.
In Bayonetta Origins, you control both Cherry and Cheshire at the same time, with all of Cherry’s controllers assigned to the left JoyCon, while all of Cheshire’s are located on the right. Similar to any Hazelight production (It Takes Two, A Way Out, Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons), the game is full of asymmetrical puzzles that require you to explore your environment and use the various talents of both characters to progress. For Cherry, this means using her magic to bring useful plants to life and stun enemies, as well as utilizing her small frame to swing through vines. Cheshire, on the other hand, uses her raw strength, sheer size, and slowly unlocking elemental powers to keep up. When Cheshire cannot cross a particular area, Cherry steps in to create a path. When Cherry is unable to reach a high ledge, Cheshire allows herself to shrink into her full beast form and be thrown onto the once inaccessible ledge. While not particularly difficult, the puzzles are well balanced, interesting, and keep building small, properly preparing you for the thought the next obstacle might require.
With this style of play and the nature of the controls, there were a few instances where I felt like my wires got a little crossed and I accidentally moved Cheshire instead of Cherry or vice versa. Fortunately, the consequences of this are never dire and I found that as I progressed, these confusions happened less and less. Considering all the actions they can perform as members of the demonic duo (the game’s skill tree is pretty dense), the mapping is incredibly intuitive and makes for the smoothest and most exciting one-button combat I’ve ever seen implemented in a game
A big reason why the game’s combat is so satisfying is because of how the puzzle aspect of the game spills over into your encounters as well. The vast majority of enemies you face require either Cheshire’s elemental abilities or Cherry’s magic, which takes form as a sort of small-scale rhythm game, to make them vulnerable to attack. This means that the battles, and especially the difficult stages of Tir na nOgs, which look a bit like the more combat-oriented shrines of Breath of the Wild, require quick thinking and careful coordination on the part of players. To make things more exciting, as the types of enemies and the number of waves you face increases, it also increases the feeling that you are really playing an action-packed game of Bayonetta, although very different from what you had before.
That said, players may find that Bayonetta Origins’ combat is where the aforementioned crossover wires issue occurs most often, and is the most frustrating. While I’ve figured out the technique of frequently reminding Cheshire to narrow my attention to one dominant character, most of the time you have to play as both, which can make for pretty sloppy gameplay at times. Also, this complexity can feel a bit at odds with the fun and welcoming nature of the game. Although the story and game world make this an easy recommendation for younger players, the controls can make the experience a bit difficult.
This feeling continues to grow as you progress through the game. While I won’t delve into spoiler territory—arguably, the game’s story and callbacks are too special to want to spoil—I was impressed with how much Bayonetta Origins starts in one place and gently dances to another we’re more familiar with. . Fortunately, however, crossing this bridge does not correlate with a pitch change. I worried that Cherry would become more competent and confident that the game might force the young woman’s sexuality and rob the game of its childlike wonder. I can assure you it doesn’t, but instead allows Cherry to be a girl discovering her strength and confidence in different ways before delving into the world of guns and leather.
And aside from the sheer inappropriateness that would have accompanied that tonal shift, Bayonetta Origins is so cute that it doesn’t wants to see it become something more familiar – I wanted to savor every second of this game that felt too unique to exist as part of the Bayonetta series. And sure, there are aspects that overlap and parts of the game that tie Bayonetta Origins to the main trilogy in a necessary way, but its focus, direction, and the faith it exudes in both never change.
While previous Bayonetta games also divided their stories into chapters, the chapters of Bayonetta Origins are much more literal, as the story is told as if it were a children’s book. A sweet matronly woman narrates the story, adding unique voices for certain characters, like the ever-grumpy Cheshire, while illustrations fade in and out of the worn pages. The game as a whole has a whimsical painterly quality that perfectly suits its sense of wonder, using color and camera angles to create spectacles that add a bit of grandeur and magic to the intimate experience. While the Nintendo Switch may not be able to graphically keep up with current consoles, Bayonetta Origins is a great example of how developers can combat that by focusing on art rather than fidelity. However, it’s important to note that the game’s more fluid art style looks much sharper in handheld mode.
However, all of this pales in comparison to how sweet and heartwarming Bayonetta Origins’ story is. For years, the game industry has been asking for games that show motherhood, and this game is absolutely Platinum Games’ triumphant attempt to fill that need. Also, Cherry is just as charismatic as the previous version of herself in this game. Her lines are delivered with sincerity, youthful joy and emotion, and her moral compass and strength make her easy to love. Both Cherry and Cheshire bounce between sassy and begrudgingly compassionate with ease and sheer adorability, and it makes for a delightful dynamic that builds a truly special relationship. While some people who noticed Bayonetta 3’s story may be wary of the direction Bayonetta Origins seems to be taking at first, hang in there, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Bayonetta Origins: Cherry and The Lost Demon is a testament to thinking outside the box. While I don’t suspect that Platinum Games will embrace 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) changed the direction of their respective franchises, I can’t. help but be thankful they did. the studio will trust your team’s vision enough to create this experience. Although with how amazing every aspect of the game is, I understand why the developer did it.