Bayonetta is a Bitch (to learn)

Bayonetta doesn’t have a large move list, most of the weapons are pretty same-y. A bit of experimentation will let you figure out which combos are suitable for a given situation (e.g. do you want to launch the foe, do you want range, do you want something quick). And the moveset is pretty flexible so it’s more about understanding the fundamentals of movement and approaching various enemies than memorizing an entire list of combos. I mean, DMC has more moveset memorization than Bayo for sure. Also, none of PG’s other games have much memorization. MGR has a dial-a-combo moveset, but once you understand move properties, you’ll quickly realize which ones are worth using in a given situation. The rest are for showing off.

The trouble is that they’re rather samey despite having so many, and you get punished score-wise for repeating them. I’ve been meaning to give Bayonetta another shot since I beat it the first time.

MGR has more dial combos than I want to memorize, and I did memorize them at one point. It was disappointing because they were so samey (and also useless).

I think dial combos are alright in moderation, but more than 3 on a given weapon in a given stance is overkill. Nero hit the sweet spot there. He has a basic mash combo, then he has 2 special combos, one for AOE, one for damage. Both of those can be extended with good timing.
Bayonetta has 19 ground combos and 6 air combos!

And you can only see the list of these during training mode, or by pausing during gameplay! (Unless there’s a menu option to enable the training dialogue during gameplay)

The only way to realistically learn all these combo chains is to sit in training mode and try each combo listed one by one until you memorize by rote. The game doesn’t feature a natural process for learning these combos. You aren’t introduced to them one by one and expected to become acclimated to them over a long period of time before more are introduced (the others don’t even have to be locked off, you could have all the moves from the beginning, but guided exercises using specific ones would have sufficed).

The level of complexity here is made very high, but the game does not gain a lot of depth from it, because combos need to repeat moves from intermediary combos, so the more useful moves are functionally chained to the moves that come earlier in the combo.

The average person sees this and probably doesn’t want to put up with memorizing so many sequences. I’ve learned skullgirls B&Bs that are less of a pain than this, because at least every single move in the combo is something I can perform by itself and I know has a functional purpose in the combo. In Bayonetta and games like it, these are completely arbitrary sequences that have no sort of aid or tutorial process for committing them to memory.

In fighting games, there are a bunch of different combos because there are a bunch of different openers and resources that can be spent, as well as different states of advantage the combo can end in. In Bayonetta, those same tradeoffs don’t exist, combos are expected to fulfill the role of functional moves, but because they need to go through all the lower moves to get to the last one that is functional, they end up being samey.


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