Hey Bayonetta fans, the Umbra Witch has returned! 5 years after being announced, Bayonetta struts her way back onto the Nintendo Switch family of systems just in time for Halloween in Bayonetta 3.
Sporting a wicked new ensemble and familiar pigtails, the 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.
Let’s take a look to see how Bayonetta 3 stacks up to its predecessors after being in development for 5 years!
Bayonetta 3 Details
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Developer(s): PlatinumGames Inc.
Genre: Action-adventure, hack and slash
Mode(s): Single player
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
The Umbra Witch makes her triumphant return
In this third and exciting instalment of the Bayonetta series, the unstoppable Umbra Witch joins forces with a whole slew of other Bayonettas to stop human-made Homunculi from wreaking havoc on the world. In addition to Bayonetta, you will also control the feisty witch-in-training Viola, who is ready to unleash hell on the Homunculi with her sword and her capricious companion, the feline demon Cheshire.
On your journey, you meet a veritable coven of Bayonettas, each more fabulous than the last, while fighting through the streets of Tokyo, the mountains of China and beyond. While I don’t want to spoil any of the story, I found myself having a hard time following the story chapter to chapter. Though, to be honest, it really didn’t matter because the game’s flashy combat is what will draw most in.
Action packed campaign
Bayonetta 3’s combat system is heavily inspired by Capcom’s Devil May Cry series. Bayonetta demands fast reflexes and quick thinking. However, in many ways, this system is more complex than its predecessor. Initially, you might be fooled into thinking that the combat system in Bayonetta is a button masher.
However, it’s not, and it teaches you everything you need to know about how to use it. In addition to being able to perform various attacks, you are also able to summon massive monsters to help you during battle. Although Bayonetta is a genuine challenge, I never felt like I was having a hard time following the action. The Umbra Witch, Bayonetta, can also summon her demonic darlings like Gomorrah, Malphas, and Phantasmaraneae during battle, unleashing their demonic powers in the heat of combat and in new, larger-than-life battles where you directly control the action.
Some of the new characters in Bayonetta have a distinct feel that might throw some people off. For instance, one of them relies on her ability to parry instead of dancing out of the way. This feels different, and it can be hard to take in at first, but I enjoyed learning how to walk again. The only weakness of Bayonetta 3’s gameplay is its non-combat areas. Although they are still enjoyable, I feel that PlatinumGames should have kept the puzzles and platforming parts of the game shorter. For the most part, these areas are generally uninteresting and lacklustre.
Flashy visuals with some performance issues
Bayonetta 3’s visuals are a mixed bag on the Nintendo Switch. Some of the earlier levels look rough and not what you would expect. When not in combat, I noticed some bad pop-ups that appear in the world around you. And, early on in the game, some of the areas where there’s a lot of fire look pretty rough. I also noticed some frame rate issues when the action got intense on the screen.
Despite the apparent various compromises that PlatinumGames has made to Bayonetta 3 on Nintendo Switch, it’s still for the most part a great looking game. The smooth 60 frames per second and the vibrant combat are enough to carry the game through. Though I do wonder what PlatinumGames is holding back on due to the Switch’s hardware limitations.
Additionally, Jennifer Hale does an excellent job in voicing Bayonetta and her supporting cast adds to the fun. The game’s over-the-top style is also very appealing.
Bayonetta 3 will put a smile on fan’s faces despite its flaws
In the end, Bayonetta fans will love Bayonetta 3. It doesn’t stray too far from previous entries in the series. The biggest new features are the addition of a new character and the ability to summon massive beasts. Though, I would say you really have to have played the games to fully appreciate what Bayonetta 3 has to offer.
It’s a shame that the game suffers from some presentation and performance issues. While they don’t ruin the experience by any means, they are noticeable. Let me know in the comments section below if you’ll be picking up Bayonetta 3 and what you like best about the franchise.
+ Familiar gameplay that retains the series’ iconic style and feel
+ New mechanics like Demon Slaves allow plenty of new playstyle options
+ Great voice acting by Jennifer Hale and the supporting cast
+ Over-the-top on-screen action that will keep you on your toes
– Some performance issues and muddy textures in the game
– Some may find the over sexualization of characters a bit too much
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF BAYONETTA 3
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5