Game On!: Bayonetta
You could be forgiven for assuming that Sega's latest action game, Bayonetta, was a cheap sexploitation title meant to cash in on a sultry lead character.
But then you'd be missing out.
Bayonetta herself is purpose-built to appeal to hormone-fueled gamers. She's a voluptuous witch whose outfit evaporates to reveal more skin every time she uses her powers.
She also wields four guns - two of which are strapped to the heels of her stiletto boots - to eliminate her enemies, a feathery host of angels sent from Heaven.
These traits scream cheese, but if you accept the absurdity of the character and her world, Bayonetta offers one of the best action-adventure games available for the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.
Bayonetta's adventure begins with that most reliable of gaming cliches - amnesia. Unaware of her past at first, her memory returns through the course of a narrative told with filmstrip-like sequences and a few voice-acted and animated cut-scenes.
But never mind - the plot is one of the last things you'll focus on during this game.
Bayonetta plays a lot like similar games in the genre - Devil May Cry bears more than a passing resemblance - including the combination-based fighting system that fluidly propels the character from enemy to enemy with astounding visual effects.
While the combat system is deep and there are tons of techniques to execute, Bayonetta doesn't require players to master 300 button combinations to be successful.
The game is fairly forgiving and approachable, so even learning a small number of the actions will result in a fun experience. The number of moves and animations also means those interested in doing more complex attacks will still find it challenging and rewarding.
Bayonetta mixes up the action formula in a few surprising ways. The typical pattern of enemies culminating in a big boss challenge at the end of a level is scrambled; major foes can appear at any time during a mission, which is a refreshing change.
Gamers who love action games should seek out this title. And those with a choice should pick up the Xbox version, as the PS3 version suffers from some frustrating graphical issues and slowdowns.
Systems: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Rated: M for Mature
Who Should Buy It?: Sorcerous gunslingers
GameOn! Grade: A