|Platforms||Nintendo Switch (reviewed)|
|Release Date||October 28, 2022|
Platinum Games is at it again. A third installment to their successful witch hack n’ slash series is here. I got to see if it holds up to the name of Bayonetta, and I was surprised. I won’t discuss story or elements that may be deemed spoilers; I want players to experience this game the way I did.
Sexual Themes: This comes first because we know what Bayonetta is: a sassy witch that wears her hair for clothes, and occasionally will expose herself while summoning her Demons. It’s not fully exposing but “hilarious”, in the vein of Naruto getting covered by clouds in his Sexy-no-jutsu. The game has Naive Angel mode which does not show any skin. I found this a welcome addition. However, Bayonetta is also suggestive with innuendos, dances, and poses that don’t get censored.
Language: Enzo and newcomer Viola have a very healthy offensive choice of words. Every offensive word is used.
Other Negative Themes: Parents and Christians may be leery of the use of demons, and of fighting angelic beings. The latter is only in optional challenges, unlike in previous games.
Bayonetta is heeding the call of a mysterious voice. It takes her to a yacht, where a storm comes and begins raising the sea level and covering the city. The large vessel carries Bayonetta and a new threat, the Homunculus, on a crazy series of fights. The mysterious voice ends up being a new character, Viola, who came from another universe to explain that the multiverse is in peril. Bayonetta is up for the challenge to gather Chaos Gears and stop the Singularity from destroying every timeline.
I mentioned the beginning antics because of how much I enjoyed the outrageous stylishness that pours from every moment in this game. I’ve been on a huge Devil May Cry 5 binge, so it’s fortunate Bayonetta 3 came along to give me a break from trying to beat Son of Sparda mode. There is so much style oozing from every second, and none of it is repeated twice.
There is so much variety to said stylishness. First off, what impressed me is how every level brings a new enemy type. Some of them become upgraded versions of a previous type, but are upgraded in design, and their attack patterns change drastically.
Another form are the new types of weapon/demon combos. There’s a new way of unleashing giant kaiju-sized monsters, which players can control. Weapons are not separately attached to the hands and feet. There are anywhere from four guns, to a giant club, a microphone, or an anchor. Bayonetta can equip two weapons and switch between them. I found this a tad stifling, feeling like this should’ve stayed a problem with Devil May Cry 3, but perhaps being able to switch between all the weapons is too much for the Switch to handle. It’s not awful, though; they can be swapped quickly by pausing the game at any time, so I don’t hold it against the game.
After all, the battle ratings don’t depend only on how stylish the combos are. Time and damage taken are factors instead, with damage taken feeling like the biggest. I like Bayonetta’s dodge-and-reward system; the chance to get even a smidgeon of Witch Time makes learning time-evasion fun.
Speaking of fun, Viola enters the fray as a playable character and comes with a different playstyle. She only has one weapon/summon, but has a wider variety of combos. Her Witch Time is activated by parrying in perfect time, but she can hold her parry however long, provided a barrage of attacks doesn’t break it.
The levels take place in different time periods with unique layouts and gimmicks just waiting to be enjoyed. There are also collectibles, angel and inferno challenges, plus additional time attack missions within each chapter. Finding animal friends within these stages unlocks the level’s “phenomenon” portion, which contains chains of battles and a reward at the end.
There’s something different and flashy that never brings the game down. The whole time I played the pacing was constant, and the levels were a perfect mix of time, exploration, and scripted fights. It carried the story well. At the end of each mission, the score can be uploaded to a high-score table shared by everyone playing the game. I liked that added feature.
The only critique I have is the low graphical fidelity that appears when dropping into handheld mode. But I only complain because some awesome pictures I took turned out bad.
I’m intentionally staying mum on details because there are many surprises and things that players just have to see and not get spoiled on. I’m highly in favor of people checking this out, even if they never played the first two. It works well as a stand-alone.
The Bottom Line
Bayonetta 3 is a great addition to the series, boasting intriguing gameplay changes and a solid overall experience.