Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon review | I remember picking up Bayonetta 2 in 2018 right before leaving for Cologne to attend Gamescom that year. Having heard of the success and spectacle that was its predecessor I was more than a bit curious to dive in, having enjoyed similar games like Devil May Cry 4 Special Edition, I slotted it into my Nintendo Switch and fired it up on the train ride to Cologne. Imagine how shocked I was to see that the two-hour train ride from Brussels had flown by to the point I almost didn’t get off in time. I enjoyed all that Gamescom had to offer by day while playing entire action movies worth of spectacle each night. Man, I sucked hard at both 2 and the digital download for the original it came included with, the latter I still haven’t finished. I did however make it past the part in the original Bayonetta where she has to escort this little girl called Cereza through the level, protecting her from any angelic Ne’er-do-wells. Had you told me then that that little girl would get her own game where she fights using her stuffed cat Cheshire several years down the line I’d have given you a funny look.
So Platinum Games took that entirely hypothetical feeling personally and said: “Hold my purple magic lollipop.”
ℹ️ Reviewed on PC | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- Gameplay | In Cereza and the Lost Demon you’ll play as Umbral witch-to-be, Cereza, and her reluctant Infernal companion she names Cheshire as they make their way through Avalon forest. Yes, that’s right, you play as both at the same time. Both use one joy-con each for moving, attacking dodging and interacting with stuff. This can get very confusing at times, but I found that focussing on one at a time gets you through most of the combat encounters, whereas the puzzles will often require a more ambidextrous approach. And despite having such limited button real estate, fights still feel nicely fleshed out. Cheshire will be dishing out all the damage while Cereza supports him by ensnaring their foes, using items and recharging his magical energy. Figuring out how to effectively use both of them together will make short work of whatever fae tries to hinder your path. As you venture deeper into the forest Cheshire will also obtain various elemental forms to help traverse the forest. From dragging plants, crushing rocks, dousing fires and more will be needed to advance.
- Watching a Fairy Tale | One of the immediately obvious selling points of Cereza and the Lost Demon is its beautifully colourful picturebook aesthetic. The entire game is depicted with softly drawn images and models that make it feel as if it was all drawn with pencils. Some effects and textures look like they’re part of a bigger pattern that shifts as you move across it. This gives a very cutesy and friendly look to an otherwise elegant yet graphic franchise. This makes it perfect for younger players as a way into the Bayonetta franchise.
- Sounds of Avalon | Games these days often do a good job of matching the tone of their tunes to that of the game. Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon does this to the point where it can serve as an example. The soundtracks range from the ephemeral and tranquil of the title screen and in the forest at large, to a more frantic use of the same instruments when in combat. Mischievous undertones can be heard whenever the fae get involved. And the accordion used in some of the menus never failed to put a smile on my face. The voice acting is also superbly done. The emotions in Cereza’s voice are well expressed and the narrator’s voice is clear and calm. And she not only narrates the story but does double duty for some of the inhuman characters as well which made me think back to the voices my grandmother did when reading me stories as a child.
- What is a witch without her cauldron | I’m generally not a fan of crafting consumables in games. Often a mix of ingredients you can’t reliably get, effects that are too weak, too many variants or fearing you won’t have them when you need them. This time was quite different. For starters, there are 4 consumable items to be made here. A health potion, 2 magic buffs and a sort of bomb for when you’re in a real pinch. You make these by combining up to 4 different materials. And these materials can be found all over the forest, likely dropping from bushes with white leaves when you run or push cheshire into them. And honestly, that’s it. They’re all very potent, easy to make and plentiful. Plus you’re never far away from a save point where you can craft them.
- Into the forest | Avalon Forest is a beautiful and mysterious place full of hidden nooks and crannies, cliffs, caves and other sights to behold. And like all hidden beauties, you’ll have to explore a bit to find them all. These places are called “remembrances” and deal with some few quaint moments Cereza and Cheshire will share on their traipse through these fae-infested woods. But the fairies aren’t exactly the original inhabitants of Avalon, those would be the Wisps. These small ghastly figures of weak constitution can be found all over and are often in need of some assistance since the fairies love harassing them. But not all of them are in need of saving, some merely want some of your crafting items before they are content to join the others in their safe haven. The last things to really be on the lookout for are Inferno Fruits and Moon Pearls. These are used to unlock the more impactful skills from Cereza and Cheshire’s respective trees and are often found quite a way off the beaten path.
- Storytelling | I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the book-like approach Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon takes has cast a spell on me and many who will play it. But where the story of other Bayonetta games feels like it’s largely there to warrant the amazing set pieces for the spectacles to be had, here it’s central to the experience. Cereza has been shown before in the original Bayonetta as a bit of a crybaby and far removed from the charismatic Bayonetta. Over the course of Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon you get to see a coming-of-age story that sets her on her way to become Bayonetta whom we all know and love.
- Tír na nÓg | As you go about your way through the Avalon Forest you’ll run into areas where the fairies have warped reality into a grim and twisted form of itself, with at the centre of them a crack in reality. This is where you’ll find the Tír na nÓg, dungeon-like zones that will challenge you with combat or puzzles to clear before you can restabilize the space around you. These are great because they teach you new mechanics, test you in combat and are generally filled with clever puzzles. Besides gameplay, they also reward you with petals that upgrade your health once you collect 5 of them. I recommend you seek them out whenever you have the time.
I have nothing to add here.
What we Disliked
How long to beat the story | 14 – 16 hours
How long to complete 100% | Around 20 or so hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | The Bayonetta games or anything by Supergiant Games (Bastion, Hades, Transistor)
A game like Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon isn’t one that comes around often and that should be recognized. This charmingly grim fairy tale story will enchant you with its simple yet fun gameplay, authentic voice acting and picture-book looks. It respects your time greatly since you can clear it easily sub 20 hours that go by faster than an Umbra witch can dodge. A must-have for Bayonetta fans and a strong recommendation for Nintendo Switch owners.
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Hey there. Thomas is the name, Sci-fi, action and (J)RPG’s are the game. I strongly prefer co-op over PVP games. Whenever possible, you may find me run wild at a convention in western Europe. Certified anime enjoyer.