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Bayonetta 3 Review

Bayonetta 3

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Bayonetta has never been a franchise I have paid much attention to. Until the recent controversary around voice actor salaries and who was or wasn’t included in the project, I took a deeper look at the world of Bayonetta. What I found was a franchise beloved by many, but perhaps still a niche experience when compared to other Nintendo published franchises. Still, this one from PlatinumGames is promising to be the biggest and best yet – does it deliver? While some may see my lack of experience with the franchise as an issue, I think my fresh take on the series will be interesting. With that said, let’s dive into Bayonetta 3!

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What PlatinumGames is offering here is pretty impressive, at least to read about. To sum of the overarching theme and goal of the game, they had this to say,

Bayonetta struts through multiple locations in an all-new, over-the-top climax action game. Sporting a wicked new ensemble and somehow familiar pigtails, the titular Umbra Witch must face a mysterious evil using her signature guns and time-slowing Witch Time ability. This time, invading manmade bioweapons called Homunculi find themselves in Bayonetta’s crosshairs.

From a story perspective, Bayonetta 3 is a really fun and engrossing tale, albeit one rated for a mature audience. The one thing the development team has nailed – and have done so on the previous two entries as well – is that Bayonetta is a complete badass. It’s not often you play a game where the staring character is so powerful in all aspects, yet our hero owns this game. And I love it. She’s a badass, won’t take crap from anyone, and is one of the more powerful characters I’ve played in a very long time.

Bayonetta 3 is sure to mess with your head when things get started. As you time jump to save the world, you’ll encounter multiples of everything, and keeping track as the story progresses can be a challenging task. This isn’t the kind of game you half-hazardly play through – focus is required at all times, and that isn’t a bad thing. Having dabbled in Bayonetta 2 in preparation for this review, a lot of what PlatinumGames delivered in that experience is mirrored in this, with a few new weapons, action sequences, and gameplay elements to keep the franchise fresh and new.

The chaotic combat is alive and well, bolstered by new abilities that take some time to figure out. While Bayonetta is, at its core, a button mashing experience, those that take their time and learn the ropes will have a much better time. Once again, entering Witch Time is key to really taking down enemies. Slowing up the combat gives you time to plan you next maneuvers, which is critical when deciding when to unleash your biggest and best attacks. In past experiences, perfecting combos was the only way to fill up the special meter – that has changed in Bayonetta 3, allowing players to fill up the meter steadily during all kinds of combat. Once full, Bayonetta can perform her over-the-top and yet so impressive abilities, Demon Masquerade and Demon Slave. Demon Masquerade allows Bayonetta to take on one of her demon forms and use their abilities in combat. These are as impactful in fights as they are impressive to witness. In Demon Slave, Bayonetta can summon a demon to fight by her side. While less impressive, it’s still a powerful ability that can turn the tide of battle.

Bayonetta doesn’t have to do this all alone, however. Along with an old friend – Jeanne – and a new ally – Viola – she will take on the growing threat that is not only looking to destroy the current world, but all the worlds across the multi-verse. It’s a great story to be sure, and the addition of the Katana wielding Viola adds a breath of fresh air.

Issues that Persist 

I’ve been waxing poetic about Bayonetta for nearly 700 words, so I know what you are wondering – what’s the problem? Bayonetta 3’s problem doesn’t lie in the story, or the combat, or the characters. It lies in the presentation. The Nintendo Switch has been out since 2017, and we are beginning to see the limitations of the hardware. Bayonetta’s world is not as lively and full as it could be. Had they done so, the game would probably chug along at an unplayable frame rate. So cuts had to be made, and that ultimately went into environments. While the action is beautiful to look at, look closer at the back of your fights, or the world you are exploring, and you realize some necessary cuts were made to make this game run.

Ultimately, I think, that is OK. I’ve never played the Nintendo Switch because of the visual quality of the titles. I’ve played because I love the portability and the exclusive titles I can only access on this system. Bayonetta falls into this category as this is the only place to play. So despite the issues, it’s an experience you can only play here – might as well make the best of it!

Conclusion

As someone with little-to-no interest in the series until this point, Bayonetta 3 captured me in ways I wasn’t expecting. The fantastic storytelling and chaotic combat kept me moving forward. While the world itself leaves a bit to be desired, this is still a fantastic, must play title.

 

 

Article By

blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

Follow Adam on:
Twitter: @AdamRoffel