Bayonetta 3 Review – The Legendary Witch Is Back

This Is eXputer's Review Of Bayonetta 3.

In the world of video games, series such as Ninja Gaiden and Devil May Cry lit an undying flame of glorious hack-and-slash gameplay which would be remembered for years to come. And among these powerhouses, there is also the Bayonetta series, which I’ve been a massive fan of. And I absolutely jumped at the chance to write this Bayonetta 3 review.

Now fast-forward to 2022, and Bayonetta has finally made its anticipated launch, and we have prepared a review for its return to the industry. So without further delay, let’s dive into our review and what it has in store for you.

Story And Setting

Bayonetta 3 review
The Story.

While the first two games showcased connected storytelling with overarching details and plenty of intriguing lore, the third title dials it back as it is a standalone entry with a new version of Bayonetta, our dubious Umbral Witch, and protagonist of the story. Similar to the previous two installments, the game introduces players to a malevolent entity who seeks to destroy every last speck of humanity but this is where our heroine jumps in to intervene as Bayonetta pushes back with everything she has during the prologue.

However, amidst all of this, we are given a slight tease about the game’s new playable character, Viola, who, quite frankly, looks like a female version of Nero from Devil May Cry 5. Platinum Games does a fantastic job of making her a goofball with a charming personality, but players will either really like or dislike her personality.

There are plenty of returning characters back in the mix as well, as you would expect. It felt wonderful seeing such familiar faces once again, such as the charming Luka and comedic Enzo, and they brought a grin to my face every time they were on-screen during one of the laid-back story cutscenes.

Bayonetta 3 Viola
Enzo And Viola.

But despite all of that, one cannot simply forget about Jeanne, another fellow Umbral Witch and a close friend of Bayonetta, who was seemingly the first game’s secondary antagonist as she was brainwashed by the rogue Lumen Sages. If you’re anything like me and endlessly played both of the first games, you’d know that Jeanne was featured as an unlockable character that players could play after completing specific requirements.

While Jeanne herself is no longer playable during combat, fans will be absolutely delighted by the fact that they can now play as her in separate side chapters, which feature stealth missions in a 2D side-scroller environment and different scripted scenarios.

But overall, I’m sad to say that the storytelling is the weakest point of the game this time around. The gritty opening hours make a strong impression by introducing a mysterious new villain, but it ultimately falls flat on its back once you reach the game’s final chapters. It doesn’t provide the same satisfactory feeling as when I first slayed an evil God during the first two games. Still, thankfully elements such as Viola’s story arc wrapped in a single game were more than enough for compensation.

Gameplay

tHE GAMEPLAY
The Gameplay.

Bayonetta is a trailblazer in the action hack-and-slash genre, and the combat has once again raised the bar even further than its limits in the past. Although the entire structure gets held back by the horribly aged hardware of the Nintendo Switch, Platinum Games does a fantastic job of maintaining the fun-filled style and glamour of the series with its high-octane and multi-layered combat.

The game is divided into chapters, and each contains several verses, essentially the combat scenarios where the player gets locked into fighting demons and various otherworldly abominations. For new players jumping into the series for the first time, the combat primarily consists of chaining together seamless combos from your weapons and their abilities.

Just like in Devil May Cry, the goal here is maintaining a smooth balance of time management, dishing out uninterrupted attacks, and clearing battles without too much damage taken to successfully score the highest ranks and attain various currencies.

Skills tree bayo 3
Weapon Skill Tree.

Players can use these resources to purchase and unlock new skills for their weapons which are an integral part of the franchise and encourage you to replay the game in order to utilize them at their highest potential. What’s different this time around is that instead of purchasing weapons separately once you unlock them, you can use them straight out of the bag, similar to how Dante can hilariously transform bosses into powerful armaments in DMC.

It is an excellent improvement which I personally found to be appealing since I hated previously having to grind several amounts of ‘Halos’ in order to acquire each weapon from the in-game store called the Gates Of Hell. While on that topic, the creativity factor never loses its appeal either, as the weapon list consists of some of the most unique armaments we have seen so far. Tools of destruction such as the Ignis Araneae Yo-Yo, which are these crazy ringed wheels that obviously function just like a Yo-Yo, but in that, you can use them to rain down hellfire on your enemies.

Weapons bayonetta 3
New Weapons.

The combat instantly reels you in tight with these weapons because players can freely use them by simply equipping them when in combat. There are tons of skills for each weapon and just gushing about how each of these new skills can modify a weapon in so many different ways is incomprehensible. By modifications, what I mean is that instead of increasing their damage or capabilities, you essentially transform these weapons and unlock bigger and deadlier moves that can destroy enemies within seconds if used by skilled players.

Another brand-new feature of Bayonetta 3 is the Demon Slavery system, where our mischievous Witch can summon different monstrosities at any given point during combat. These colossal creatures can significantly aid you during battle as they can deal enormous damage in mere seconds. But to offset this resurgence in power, Bayonetta is automatically locked in a dancing stance where she is vulnerable to any kind of damage which will instantly interrupt the summon sequence.

Bayonetta 3 review
Using Demons In Battle.

It is basically a high-risk, high-reward tactic that can be used by channeling the magic energy in your possession during combat. Once you get the combat’s rhythm down, it becomes one of the most vital tools of the game, and maybe at a certain time, you will purposely avoid using it so that you can have a fair showdown against some of the more challenging enemies.

Now that we’ve discussed Viola’s role in the game, her combat is undoubtedly one that older players like myself will find distinctive in comparison to Bayonetta since she has been carefully designed to mimic your traditional sword fighting style. The key differences here are that she can summon her Chesire demon in combat just as you’d expect from a “Witch in training,” and moreover, players are able to parry the attacks of enemies with her sword, which has a slightly different timing window from Bayonetta’s witch time dodge.

Bayonetta 3 Viola
Viola In Combat.

Viola is an excellent refresher to the pacing of the combat, as the missions will require you to swap between these two characters, often in addition to using Jeanne for specific critical scenarios or her side chapters.

She has an entirely different skill tree that players can invest in to enhance her traits and abilities further. I was both eager and skeptical of what kind of gameplay format she could’ve had, but thankfully it all paid off.

Platforming Bayo 3
Platforming And Puzzles.

All in all, there was enough enemy variety where the game constantly challenged me to use different techniques and combos to get the upper hand on my foes, but at the same time, each of the Combat Sections or ‘Verses’ felt rather short. There are quite a few fights in the game mind you, but overall the frequency of them felt a lot more restrained.

Visuals And Performance

The visuals
The Visuals.

Platinum Games has done a great job at working around the dated hardware of the Nintendo Switch, but there is no denying that it has been holding back the potential of several developers in how they can surpass their lengths of creativity. And Looking at Bayonetta 3, you will also soon realize that this title also suffers despite the best efforts of the studio.

The level designs in the game lack inspiration and architecture, with a dull texture palette to go along the side. I couldn’t help but wish the game would also release on other consoles if given a chance, but that’s a possibility that seems out of the question now. If you’re anything like me and played the second game as a refresher for the third game just before its release, you will likely be disappointed by the watered-down assets and clarity in the level design here.

However, it’s safe to say that the game counteracts that as it manages to maintain a solid 60FPS framerate with some minor dips in some hectic situations, which didn’t bother me too much. For an action game such as this, the framerate takes priority here without question. Hence, it is pretty understandable that the developers had to sacrifice the quality in order to achieve the standard performance of the game.

The Verdict

The verdict
Verdict

Bayonetta 3 fulfills the long-awaited promise of delivering yet another hit combo of action-packed combat along with a dazzling array of characters. The storytelling might be a total hit-or-miss, but it gets entirely outweighed by the adrenaline rush of the gameplay.

The game was first announced at the 2017 Game Awards, and since then, the entire fanbase, including me, has been eagerly waiting for what might be next in this wild roller coaster ride of Witches, Angels, and Gods. It is safe to say that after all these years of waiting, the hype behind the game was certainly warranted as it is one of the best games for the Nintendo Switch right now, despite being held back by its lackluster hardware.

Whether you’re a newcomer to the series wanting to dive headfirst into the third game or just a fan of the original two games, playing Bayonetta 3 is a blast. I can safely say it can easily be considered one of the best games of 2022.

This has been our Bayonetta 3 Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.

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Bayonetta 3 Review
Overall
4
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Verdict

Bayonetta 3 fulfills the long-awaited promise of delivering yet another hit combo of action-packed combat along with a dazzling array of characters.

Pros

  • Bayonetta Is As Charming As Ever.
  • Delightful Characters.
  • Immensely Satisfying Combat.
  • New Gameplay Elements.
  • Thrilling Soundtrack.

Cons

  • Incoherent Storytelling.
  • Dull And Uninspired Visuals.
  • Hardware Limits Its Capabilities.

Asad Ahmed

Having a knack for gaming and writing, Asad has annexed these two media to bring you the latest video game content. RTS is where his gaming journey started, but RPGs are where he fell in love with it. Skyrim is his all-time favorite game.

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