Sega didn't have much this year at PAX. Tucked away to one side of the expo hall floor, the Sega booth had a few DS titles and only one console title of note. But that title, Bayonetta, was PAX's hidden gem. It's an action game that knows what it is and doesn't try to hide it at all. And it is awesome.
Bayonetta's story centers around the titular protagonist, a long-haired witch who uses firearms and magical attacks powered by said hair. She awakens finding herself in unfamiliar territory and later being attacked by angelic forces for reasons she doesn't yet know. In the course of fighting against these forces, she sets off to uncover that which she has forgotten and ... well, there's more to the story that's been revealed, but alas, I don't feel like spoiling it for you. Let's just say it does have a few action game genre cliches in it, but it's serviceable for the kind of title Bayonetta wants to be.
The game plays a lot like Devil May Cry and Ninja Gaiden mixed together. It's a fairly action-packed, button-mashing fest if you so choose, but you can also link together insane combinations to create some very impressive effects. Bayonetta is also able to use enemy weapons in addition to her own guns and kicks. Battle frequency isn't too frequent that it turns into a hack-and-slash style action game, but there's plenty of bad guys to run through and some very interesting quick-time elements to play around with.
Also included are two sepcial features: "Torture combos," which are your special moves that feature things like guillotines and iron maidens, and "Witch Time," which lets you not only dodge big attacks from your enemies, but follow up with massive attacks of your own. Witch Time is in essence this game's bullet-time feature, but the torture combos are just over-the-top, ridiculous and a whole lot of fun to see when you pull them off. Imagine Bayonetta kicking an enemy angel into the ground, then picking it up and tossing it into a giant iron maiden, which slams shut and is followed by blood spilling out of every crevice of the torture device. It's something you have to see to believe, and it's just pure awesomeness.