Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon Review – An amazing spinoff

Platinum Games has put a lot of care into this spinoff and delivers an adorable, kid-friendly adventure with the outline of a children’s book.

In three excellent games, we’ve seen Bayonetta beat demons with ease, toy with them while gracefully dodging their attacks. With so much confidence and exaggeration, it’s only natural to think that this witch is gifted and born that way. Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon shows that, in fact, this is not the case.

Bayonetta Origins, as the name suggests, tells the origin story of this character. In previous games, we’ve already had a glimpse of the childhood of Bayonetta, whose real name is Cereza, but they’ve been left loose. This game continues those points, in a narrative that shows how Bayonetta evolved as a witch and when she summoned her first demon.

A story that could fit into a children’s book

Despite the PEGI 12 rating, I think Bayonetta Origins can easily be enjoyed by young and old audiences alike. It’s a typical story from a children’s book. Cereza gets lost in the forbidden forest of Avalon and is attacked by the terrible fairies. The difference is that you accidentally summon a demon that ends up possessing your stuffed animal.

The message of the story is powerful. Eager to save her mother, who was imprisoned by witches because of her romance with a sage, Ceresa struggles with her fears and begins to master her emotions. At the beginning of the game, she is just a helpless and insecure child, but her adventure in the forest, along with her unusual friendship with Cheshire (the demon), gradually make her stronger.

It’s a simple story, but with strong pillars, that evokes emotions that easily resonate with anyone who plays. No one can be indifferent to a child separated from its mother, witch or not.

With one joy-con you control Cereza, with the other Cheshire

Bayonetta Origins is a co-op game played solo. You control two characters at once: with the right joy-com you control Cereza. the left joy-con is assigned to Cheshire. It may seem confusing, but in practice it’s not that complicated once you get used to this dynamic. You control not only each character’s direction but also their dodges and attacks.

In fact, Ceresa does not attack. His role in battle is to cast a spell that locks opponents in place, leaving them exposed to Cheshire’s ferocious attacks. The important thing is to keep Cereza safe, because Cheshire doesn’t die, she just runs out of energy and reverts to her teddy bear form. When this happens, he must return to Cereza’s arms to gain energy so he can transform again and continue fighting.

The gameplay is radically different from Platinum Games’ previous games, but don’t see that as a negative point, quite the opposite. Bayonetta Origins’ quirky gameplay is one of its strengths. Despite the initial simplicity, it is possible to evolve both Cereza and Cheshire with new skills that expand the range of things we can do in battle.

This system of controlling two characters at once is not innovative – Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons does the same, for example – but Platinum Games has the advantage of adding complexity and effectively transferring this system to a fighting game. The action doesn’t reach the same heights you’ve seen in other Bayonetta games, but it’s satisfying and sufficient (after all, Cereza is still a ward in this game).

There are many secrets in the Forest of Avalon

There is both action and adventure in this game. Exploration is limited at first, but once you start unlocking alternate ways to Cheshire that allow you to interact with more elements of the landscape, you can start to stray from the main path. There are tons of collectibles, but what’s really valuable to explore are specific resources to unlock Cereza and Cheshire’s more advanced abilities.

“This game has both action and adventure”

Checkpoints and places where you can record progress are frequent. Eventually, you’ll unlock the ability to fast travel between these locations, allowing you to return to sections of the forest you’ve already passed through and apply new skills to access places you couldn’t before. Puzzles are occasional and almost always require the cooperation of Cereza’s and Cheshire’s skills to solve them.

One detail I liked is that you always know where the main path is. You spend a large part of the game chasing a white wolf, who leaves behind bright blue tracks. That way, you always know when you’re moving forward in the story and when you’re exploring a side path in the woods. Of this kind HOLDING HANDS it’s useful, but in other cases the game goes too far. I lost once and immediately a question popped up to see if I wanted to lower the difficulty.

It could be a painting, but it’s just an image from Bayonetta Origins.

Visually, it also looks like a children’s book

Playing Bayonetta Origins is like flipping through an illustrated children’s story. Visually, it adopts this style to great effect. It’s not just in the gameplay that you can see that Platinum Games had the desire to do something radically different with Cereza and the Lost Demon, the art direction is an obvious sign of that desire. The way the forest is presented to us immediately evokes a sense of mystery, danger, but also the desire for an adventure. Visual communication is powerful and effective.

Cereza and the Lost Demon arrives shortly after Bayonetta 3, but it doesn’t deserve to be in its shadow. It’s a spinoff that’s brimming with merit, telling an engaging and adorable origin story. At the same time, it features an evolved and more complex version of the gameplay system that we have previously seen in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. All in all, a great surprise, that goes beyond what is usually expected from a game that is outside of the main line. This applies to both those who played the previous games and those who are going to meet this character for the first time.

Advantages: Disadvantages:
  • Visually it looks like a children’s picture book
  • Engaging storytelling with universal emotions
  • Quirky gameplay that fits the playstyle perfectly
  • There is so much to explore in the forest of Avalon
  • Lots of surprises for Bayonetta fans
  • The camera can have strange perspectives when Cereza and Cheshire get too far apart

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