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Bayonetta 3 Game review

Game review 31 October 2022, 15:05

Bayonetta 3 Review: A Spellbinding Success

Strutting her way back after nearly a decade, Bayonetta 3 is an impressive sequel that is flashy and filled with charm you don’t want to miss.

The review is based on the Switch version.

There are some games out there that just make you feel good playing them because they have so much character, flow well, and keep things interesting throughout an entire playthrough. Bayonetta 3 not only kept me hooked from start to finish, but it is one of the best games available on Switch right now due to how fresh and exciting it feels and how much fun you will have playing it.

It’s been five years since this sequel was first announced, and it truly was worth the wait. Platinum Games takes some ambitious risks updating features its past two installments kept relatively unchanged and introduces a handful of improvements to keep things stylish and spellbinding. Fans are sure to eat it all up, and newcomers will be left hungry for the next one.

The Witch is Back

PROS:
  1. Dynamic gameplay that never gets old;
  2. Fluid combat system you can customize to your liking;
  3. Varied chapters that keep things fun and fresh.
CONS:
  1. Playing as Viola feels cumbersome;
  2. Performance issues when too much action fills the screen.

Bayonetta 3’s story is a lot more straightforward and simple than previous ones so it makes it easy to follow along if this is your first foray into the series, but it also means it won’t stand out as much. Don’t get me wrong, the concept of a multiverse that contains multiple Bayonettas is amazing and lets the game take you to nearly any place you want—and trust me, you will travel the world—but it’s not the highlight of the game here. Its gameplay is.

That aside for now, its story sees the return of its main cast including the titular Umbra Witch herself as well as introducing you to new villains and a new character named Viola who seeks Bayonetta’s help to essentially save the world. Progressing through chapters, the story slowly unfolds as you encounter new enemies and travel to dimensions where you meet familiar faces and explore remarkable environments.

The game looks as good as it can on the aging Switch, but you just wish you didn’t run into frame drop issues and that visuals just looked a tad more detailed. Expect some smooth 60 fps during exploration and battles, but when things too crowded on your screen, you will see it take its toll on performance. Sounds, however, are always impressive and feature a strong cast that offers various moments of hilarity and sympathy effortlessly to keep the narrative flowing. Its soundtrack also includes new and old tracks that bring it all together and inject levity and style to the various battles you run into.

Combat is where Bayonetta truly shines and features a style similar to past games but in a more fluid system that gives you more options to play with. Each chapter contains multiple “verses” which are either battles with enemies or lavish action sequences that grade you on your best combo string, damage you take, and quickness in completing each one. The scoring system of past games is still present so you can challenge yourself to rack up the most points and even upload them online to show them off on leaderboards. Better scores also give you more experience points to level up your various abilities so the game rewards you for making an effort and not just mashing buttons.

Fun, Flashy Combat Upgrades

The true draw of each battle is simply how much fun they are to complete due in part to the game’s revamped combat system that lets you experiment with various combos to fight off enemies how you want. Bayonetta can pull off dozens of combos simply by punching, kicking, and shooting and you can augment your hits by perfect dodging and entering Witch Time to slow things down.

To augment things even further, the game now lets you command various Demon Slaves and bring them onto the battlefield during fights. Past games utilized demons as combo finishers, but now you can do that and also have them join you on the battlefield to attack. Summoning leaves Bayonetta open and vulnerable so any hit will instantly cancel the summoning, but you can queue up to two attacks in a row for your demon to pull off so you can follow it up with an attack of your own to really do some damage. This ability does come with a magic meter so you can’t just rely on summons to win battles, but it offers you a new way to engage in combat and do some heavy damage on top of everything else.

VERDICT:

Bayonetta 3 is truly eye candy for your senses and is what all sequels should aspire to be. Fans are sure to eat it all up, and newcomers will be left hungry for the next one.

Not only that, but the demons you acquire as you play are unique in how they fight and utilize different special attacks and combos themselves. One demon is an actual train that lets you lay down tracks for it to run through, attacking enemies along its path while another is a giant toad that can summon acid rain to decimate everyone on the field. As you play, you will be able to “test out” these new demons in certain chapters and permanently add them to your arsenal after a certain point in the story.

The way you equip weapons has also changed and actually adds to the variety of attacks you can pull off. Instead of needing to purchase them separately, you now unlock weapon sets as you complete various chapters and each one is linked to a different demon. Unrelated to the beast you summon, however, you can select up to two weapons and swap out to them mid-combos to pull of fancy attacks with various effects. The weapons you equip also let Bayonetta transform during combos so it all adds to a flashy and visual spectacle that never gets old. Not to mention, your demons and weapons also have their own skill trees to upgrade so you can really customize each one with the attacks you want to pull off adding to your plethora of moves.

Stylish and Dynamic Gameplay

Similar to past games, Bayonetta 3 is also linear but features a lot more exploratory elements complete with side quests for you to complete in each chapter. Completing them all increases your overall chapter score and also lets you unlock some goodies like artwork and songs as well as item pieces that increase your vitality and magic meters. This format makes you want to explore every corner of your world in case you miss something so it also adds some dynamism to each chapter besides just making it to the end.

You won’t just play as Bayonetta either as various chapters lets you play as Viola who fights with a katana and can summon a giant cat-like demon to fight alongside her. A unique difference is that Viola needs to perfectly block attacks to enter Witch Time, and she can’t really dodge attacks either making her combat style a sluggish learning curve after playing as the Umbra Witch. Because you can’t swap weapons, her combos feel more limited and less flashy making her chapters the ones I looked forward to the least.

Bayonetta 3 Review: A Spellbinding Success - picture #4

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These aside, what makes Bayonetta 3 one of those games that doesn’t get old is that you never know what to expect at the end of each chapter as each one keeps things interesting and offers you plenty of variety even in how they play out. Sometimes you may even wonder what genre you are playing as you will see yourself gunning down enemies like in a rail shooter, engaging in kaiju battles, and other kinds of action that I won’t spoil for you. There is also a charming 2D side-scrolling mini-game that lets you control Jeanne after every few chapters that offers you a nice respite from all the button mashing that features some great music and takes the game to a whole different direction you didn’t know it could go.

Bayonetta 3 is truly eye candy for your senses and is what all sequels should aspire to be. The game constantly keeps you on your toes and introduces new enemy designs and animations every chapter making it feel mesmerizing each time you pick it up to play again. Taking what worked in past games, throwing it out the window, and tweaking it in a way that works and still keeps you guessing is masterful work that was so worth the wait.

Giancarlo Saldana | Gamepressure.com

Giancarlo Saldana

Giancarlo Saldana

Giancarlo grew up playing video games and finally started writing about them on a blog after college. He soon began to write for small gaming websites as a hobby and then as a freelance writer for sites like 1UP, GamesRadar, MacLife, and TechRadar. Giancarlo also was an editor for Blast Magazine, an online gaming magazine based in Boston where he covered various video game topics from the city's indie scene to E3 and PAX. Now he writes reviews and occasional previews for Gamepressure covering a broad range of genres from puzzle games to JRPGs to open-world adventures. His favorite series include Pokémon, Assassin's Creed, and The Legend of Zelda, but he also has a soft spot for fighting and music games like Super Smash Bros and Rock Band. When not playing Overwatch after a long day at work, he enjoys spending time working out, meal prepping, and discovering new international films and TV shows.

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