Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon Preview
Expectations are important. They set the bar for what to expect for an experience and (hopefully) set a realistic level for your enjoyment, biases aside of course. I do a strange thing where I don’t pay any attention to coverage before a game comes out. The irony is abounding as I’m writing a preview, I get that. This means my expectations are kept to a minimum clean slate and are built upon as I start the game up, or if it’s a new title in a series, based on what’s come before.
If you know anything about this game, you know why this might be strange.
The Bayonetta series is a bombastic action series with an iconic hero. Similar to Devil May Cry you’re bouncing between enemies and performing all sorts of mixups to keep those combos alive. Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is not that. That’s not a bad thing, but I’m sure you could imagine the sheer weight of my expectations coming crashing down upon launching the title.
The first thing that smacks you in the face as you launch the game is the very storybook aesthetic. Soft lighting, pastel colours, a light fog-of-war-esque soft glow around the edges of the pages in the intro give the game a very twee look. There’s a lot to like there.
I’m going to skip over the slower part of the intro, even though it’s quite aggressive about notes about the importance of community, family, and a sense of belonging in general. It reminds me a little bit of the old adage “Hell is other people” by Sartre, about the way we are perceived by others makes up a large part of our own sense of self.
The meat of the game is based around the interactions between Cereza and the demon inhabiting her doll, Cheshire. Cheshire is not happy to have been summoned to the world, but needs to play along and help Cereza with her goal, as being apart from her means the end of its existence, literally.
You play as both of these characters, much like in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons where you control one character with the left stick, and the other stick controls the other character. It’s confusing for a moment, but it all comes together. It’s rare you need to control both characters in different directions at the same time in the heat of action anyway, so there’s room for some trials and tribulations.
Being a young witch, Cereza has yet to come to grips with the proper use of magic, only being able to hold enemies and grow magical flowers in the early hours of the game. Cheshire can attack, and unlocks a new form in the opening hours of the game which enhances its abilities as it changes form. This also opens up the ability to backtrack to earlier areas where you could not previously traverse.
There are also puzzle rooms referred to as the Tír na nÓg. These remind me of the Hidden Verses in the Bayonetta games, where you’ll have to fight enemies under certain conditions, but also can have puzzles to do. These are nice distractions to break up the action and exploration from the main game, and the rewards are quite good.
Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon surprised me. It wasn’t what I expected (and that’s on me), but it’s none-the-less a quite delightful jaunt through a young Cereza’s life. I’m interested to see if the game holds up long term, as this type of game either tends to be quite short, mixes up the mechanics to keep things fresh, or stays the course and ends up feeling a bit samey. Here’s to hoping!