It goes without saying to anyone who's seen even the slightest bit of Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon that this PlatinumGames spinoff/prequel is a far cry from what any fan of the main series expects. They are rather opposite extremes: from the unbridled action from the first minute, the precise combos and the 3D spectacle that goes beyond the absurd, we move on to quiet walks through the dream forest of Avalon with the impure witch apprentice and her ragdoll in a beautiful hand-painted setting.
In fact, I have to admit that it was difficult for me to get through the first hours of the game without starting to nod off. The beginning of Cereza's story is very slow both in a narrative and playable sense, which serves as a warning to those of you who are interested in it. A lot of reading, although the story is beautiful and knows how to capture attention.
Words aside - which do introduce the story of 10-year-old Cereza separated from her mother and the witches of Umbra and taken in by Morgana - the start of the game is reminiscent of Nintendo games from the yesteryears, very hand-held, very slow, explaining each movement with practical examples. It is somewhat understandable, because this adventure is played largely with two sticks (twin-stick shooter style), the left for the girl with L and ZL for actions, and the right (R and ZR) for her first summon: Cheshire, a stuffed cat possessed by a hellishly adorable demon. This is already original, looking at the actions you can perform with both, because this fantasy tale is not about swords, wands and bows, but about spells with roots, bites, flower magic and other quite inventive actions.
You'll hear them compare the gameplay to Astral Chain from the same studio, but for now it feels like a cross between Zelda (especially in the puzzles and statue possession dungeons), Okami artistically (let's remember that Bayonetta's father was also the father of the Clover classic) and, of course, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, when it comes to controlling two characters at the same time. You don't do it all the time because on walks through the woods you carry the stuffed animal in "hug mode" like an extendable arm, but you do when the path forks to work as a team, in combat (Cereza casts spells and Cheshire does damage) and in the so-called Tír na nÓg, a kind of Breath of the Wild sanctuary, where you can take advantage of everything you have learned to break the spell of the forest and clear up the map.
After that somewhat soporific start that risks unhooking more than one, with the basic movements more than mastered and the first techniques learned or bought in the skill tree, to which is added the first Cheshire transformation< /strong>, an impressive <strong>vegetable version of the demon, the truth is that a much more interesting, varied and tricky game begins to be revealed. In other words, a lot more things start to happen and they're a lot more satisfying, either because of the way you explore the stage a la Metroidvania or because you do some spectacular combo and end it with a " Yum!" from Cheshire chewing on a fairy (who here, of course, look mean).
I am on Chapter 5 of Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon and I started to enjoy it between the third and fourth. It is clear that it has its charm, no pun intended, and its pace and intentions are already clearer to me. To add to this is its calibre, which is that of an indie title (by the way, for some reason I'd rather play handheld), and that there is therefore much more competition in this area, but it is possible that its personality, its art and its music end up making it a memorable adventure in the long run. I'll keep playing (and reading) the tale for the next two weeks to let you know if it ends up being something magical.