In Bayonetta Origins we experience the vicissitudes of Bayonetta as a young girl, who plunged into her first adventure to save her mother.
As we have already told you in our preview (our preview of Bayonetta Origins Cereza and the Lost Demon is just a click away) the look cast by PlatinumGames at the life of the witch of Umbra as a very young girl immediately struck us for its profound diversity compared to the action formula adopted in the main saga, but also for a totally different graphic style, almost tactile, anchored as it is to the sensation that the whole video game is drawn on paper.
In short , this Bayonetta Origins: The Lost Demon is both a gamble and a surprise: certainly the cartoony and sometimes kawaii style of the spin-off may not be appreciated by all Bayonetta fans, used to a more realistic approach, not to mention the presence of highly simplified action dynamics, far from the complexity seen in the three chapters of the series; on the other hand, however, The Lost Demon amazes and potentially expands, and greatly, the audience of those who could participate in the vicissitudes of the witch of Umbra, also looking at a young audience and, in particular, at those who do not wish to try their hand at too demanding games.
In our opinion, Cereza and Cheshirethey hit the mark, becoming the protagonists of a well-kept title in every respect, the result of the talent of an internal team at PlatinumGames made up mainly of the new generation of the studio. We tell you more in our review of Bayonetta Origins Cereza and the Lost Demon.
A couple that explodes
On the main screen of Bayonetta Origins we see a book lying on a table. Within its pages lies the story of Cereza and her early years as an apprentice witch to the stern Morgana on the edge of the Forest of Avalon . Cereza, born from the unholy union of a sage of Lumen and a witch, is determined to become a talented enchantress, just like her mother, imprisoned by the community of Umbra for transgressing her strict rules. But Cereza wants to free her mother from the prison in which she was thrown by her companions, and is willing to do anything to achieve her goal.
With a summoning spell directed by the mighty Morgana, Cereza summons a newborn demon to Hell: it’s Cheshire , a familiar face for Bayonetta 3 players (you can catch up on our Bayonetta 3 review here). Cheshire takes possession of the cat-shaped doll that Cereza’s mother had created for her little girl, and together with the little witch makes her way into the Forest of Avalon to follow the instructions of a mysterious boy, who appeared in a dream to the little girl to promise her a power so big as to be able to free the woman.
The narration of Bayonetta Origins Cereza and the Lost Demon continues largely through the pages of the book above, to be browsed to follow the events that will lead the two protagonists to a splendid ending after about ten hours of play, which increase considerably where want to explore every corner of the Forests of Avalon. The images appear on the book as if they came from the hand of a skilled watercolorist, and manage to fully enhance the fairy-tale tone of the narrative, capable of vividly restoring the events of a modern videogame Alice in Wonderland: exactly like the fantastic world born from the mind of Lewis Carroll, in fact, Avalon is also wonderful and lively, but at the same time full of dangers. Dominated by ferocious fairies thirsty for human flesh, the forest and its intrigues become a metaphor for Cereza’s tortuous journey of inner growth, which at the end of Bayonetta Origins Cereza and the Lost Demon will be very different from how we knew it at the beginning of the adventure, having completed a maturation process masterfully narrated by PlatinumGames.
Too bad for a very staid initial pace, but very few chapters are enough for the story to take a decisive step, also thanks to the implementation of new mechanics and skills of our protagonists.
In dance step
The exploration of the forest is all played on the complementary use of the skills of Cereza and Cheshire, who often find themselves forcibly divided and having to exploit their abilities in order to be able to reunite and continue on their way.
The two are controlled separately via the two Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons, exactly as seen for Mario and Cappy in Super Mario Odyssey: in this sense, Bayonetta Origins Cereza and the Lost Demon is the perfect video game to spend pleasant evenings on the couch co-op with a partner, and who knows what mastery of the mechanics of action titles is not necessary to be able to face the challenges that will arise in Cereza and Cheshire. The very young witch of Umbra, for her part, has not yet learned offensive spells; however, she will be able to immobilize enemies with magical brambles to allow the fierce ally to tear them apart.
On the exploration side, however, the Witch Beat ability allows the young woman to grow plants and flowers to collect items to spend to gain skills or, alternatively, to use as platforms to overcome the frequent height differences. The Beat of the Witch is based on the inclination of the left stick at the right time, but if you just can’t go in time you can select the option that will make the process fully automated. Bayonetta Origins Cereza and the Lost Demon features a wide range of game customization possibilities, from reducing damage taken and enemy strength to strengthening the Guiding Lights, which normally only lead the player to the nearest save point for a short distance. In general, the difficulty is calibrated downwards but following the conclusion of the adventure new challenge levels are unlocked capable of giving a hard time even to veterans of the genre, thus meeting the tastes of a wide audience of players.
As for Cheshire, our big cat will gain totally different abilities thanks to the destruction, during the adventure, of four elemental cores , capable of providing as many forms to the demon.
For example, in its Cheshire Wood form it has enhanced attacks and can grab and pull objects – and enemies – towards it with its long, prehensile, chameleon-like tongue. This significantly expands the exploratory and offensive options available to the couple, and the crossing of the Forest of Avalon becomes more and more fascinating as the adventure continues.
United we win
The enhancement of Cereza and Cheshire takes place thanks to two separate skill trees , unlockable using collectible items found in the Forest of Avalon. It is useful to pay attention to the demon’s abilities both in its rag doll form (which can be held in the arms of the little witch), and in its real appearance, in which it will be devoted to the use of ferocious attacks, capable of tearing apart and devouring make enemies.
With regard to the latter, we were sorry to note a certain monotony in their design, always anchored to an identical basic model, but fortunately in the second part of the adventure there is no shortage of memorable boss fights against opponents full of character, also from the point of view visual. In any case, it is essential to make the witch of Umbra and her very particular cat cooperate continuously: the result is an always lively and interesting dialogue, both in the exploratory sections and during the fights.
This is particularly important in the Tír na nÓg , dungeons located in areas of the forest dominated by the power of the fairies. In some cases the Tír na nÓg will be totally devoted to battles, but we have often stumbled upon real labyrinths based on mechanics that are only rarely repeated. In short, PlatinumGames has shown that it is able to create ever more differentiated contextsstarting from a relatively simple set of skills by Cereza and Cheshire, generating complexity, but without ever falling into an unreadable and enigmatic design. In other words, the title flows with rare interruptions, taking the player on an adventure where the rules are easy to learn, but lend themselves to endless (and interesting) applications. Once the challenge proposed by the Tír na nÓg is completed, the two will have to destroy the magical core that is inside it, so as to make the illusion created by the fairies vanish and return the relative area of the forest to its original state.
We greatly appreciated the map, which allows you to understand at a glance if in some corner of Avalon there are still some secondary dungeons not yet completed, as well as the fast travel option thanks to the Paths of Ignis , earned a few hours from the beginning of the journey .
Watercolor and patchwork
As anticipated at the beginning, PlatinumGames has made choices that break with the main series, both in terms of gameplay and in terms of artistic direction, demonstrating a great desire to experiment and to propose a new image of the witch of Umbra. Bayonetta Origins Cereza and the Lost Demon seems to live on paper, looking on one hand at the ethereal beauty of watercolor colors , and on the other at the infinite possibilities offered by the combination and contamination between different patterns, as if the Forest of Avalon were a gigantic patchwork .
The Cheshire stuffed cat, born from sewing fabrics of different colors and thicknesses, is the ideal symbol for understanding this approach. The setting of Bayonetta Origins reflects the composite nature of Cereza – generated by the union between the members of two tribes that should have remained rigidly separated – and of Cheshire itself, projecting their way of being outside the protagonists.
Hence, therefore, the forest lives on portions drawn in cel shading, alongside surfaces that are almost deprived of their three-dimensionality through the use of uniform patterns; turning a corner you can then run into views with an impressionistic flavor , dotted with patches of green and sky-blue lakes.
Even the game menu is characterized by the same painstaking aesthetic care : beyond the excellent visual presentation, the texts that tell the story of the Forest of Avalon are also delicious, available in the setting, in addition to the descriptions of the main characters, the supporting characters and of the sprites that Cereza and Cheshire can free during their journey, snatching them from the cruel tortures inflicted on them by the fairies. Filled with irony, the fairy tales – one described as “as tall as three pins”, another “as wide as five hammers” – are too pleasant and humorous to ignore, and once again demonstrate the great care instilled by the team at PlatinumGames towards this spin-off of the main series.simply impeccable translation into Italian , as well as from a technical sector that proved to be more than solid, in every situation.
Bayonetta Origins Cereza and the Lost DemonVersione Analizzata Nintendo SwitchA few months after the success of Bayonetta 3, PlatinumGames strikes again, bringing us back into Cereza’s shoes and making us experience an action adventure that is certainly simpler than what was seen in the main series in terms of combat dynamics, but no less interesting for this and significant. Bayonetta Origins Cereza and the Lost Demon is an operation as courageous as it is unexpected and surprising, capable as it is of writing an important page in the life of the witch of Umbra in a convincing and profound way, creating the premises for the young woman to become the witch above the lines we know. Longtime fans will appreciate the winks and quotes featured throughout the journey, and especially in the final stages, while newcomers will be put totally at ease by an in-depth system of difficulty adjustment options and well-explained and easy-to-learn mechanics. Cereza and Cheshire are an irresistible couple, both in the exploratory phases and in the fights; as for the latter, we did not appreciate a certain basic monotony in the design of the enemies, which fortunately redeem themselves in some truly epic boss fights. In short, under the fairytale tones this Bayonetta Origins hides an obsessive attention to detail and many fresh and original ideas. In short, we are talking about an unmissable experience both for fans of the saga and for those who want to approach the videogame world with an accessible and well-structured action, perhaps in couch co-op mode, alongside a partner or friend: