Bayonetta 3 – Review, a crazy multiverse to save

Author and references

After a very long wait, which practically lasted almost since the release of Nintendo Switch in stores, finally Bayonetta 3 has arrived on the Japanese hybrid console. Son of a troubled and problematic development, despite everything the game has remained among the most anticipated of this generation, with the work entrusted to those PlatinumGames which have always been synonymous with guarantee (except for the macroscopic stumbling block of Babylon's Fall, mainly due to external factors). It is therefore with trepidation and at the same time fear that we approach this review of Bayonetta 3, which if on the one hand owes Nintendo its very life, having given the IP the chance to survive, on the other hand it owes some of its biggest flaws to the reference console and its limited technical possibilities.

Multiverse of novelties

As was known before the title was released, 2022 has given us a multiverse also in Bayonetta 3, a concept, a ruse, a much inflated "dimension", but which does not lose its charm for this. After a prologue and a fairly quick tutorial that catapulted us into the events, it begins a journey between the various universes to save… well, everything. To do this, we will have to get hold of the Components of Chaos, objects scattered in various universes, which we will have to reach through the only place on earth that acts as a link. In any case there are many, really many new things that we will see: first of all the main antagonist and the new breed of enemies, no longer belonging to the angelic and demonic circles (although we will also meet our old acquaintances), but homunculus, whose origin is initially unknown and which we will let you discover by playing.

Another great novelty of the third chapter, important both from the point of view of the plot and from that of the gameplay, is the new character playable, Viola, a young girl who knows her stuff in combat, but who is in her full "evolutionary" path. Clearly, as has also happened in titles of the same genre such as Devil May Cry V, the type of moves and style of play varies a lot from character to character, and always as in the jewel of Capcom, our Bayonetta will change her moveset and his special skills based on to the equipped weapon. However, we are only at the beginning of the combat news, which we will return to later.

Returning to plot and missions, we can say that the quality tends to rise only in the finish (with the last three chapters in short), while for the first 10 the feeling was that of a repetition of clichés, with real deja-vu interuniversal, but at least they have been able to build the story with his logical sense, though very (VERY) confused.

Very appreciable instead, during the missions, phase and gameplay changes, which if you know the development team well, will seem like ordinary administration, but what they might leave you speechless if you are novice: these changes will see us, for example, riding one of the demons in timed racing phases, or fighting in the style of a 1v1 kaiju fighting game, or even phases where we hit flying targets that approach menacingly. In short, if the will of PlatinumGames was to replicate the variety of stages proposed with the excellent NieR Automata, we went pretty close, it's just a pity that the limited technical potential of the Switch has partially limited the enjoyment of these sections.

However, the appeal drops drastically extra chapters dedicated to Jeanne, which are fundamental for the development of the events, but which actually do not even remotely reach the quality of the combat system of the standard missions. In these missions the witch will infiltrate a large complex where find the professor who knows how to use the Components of Chaos, but where due to a strange power he won't be able to act as usual, "forcing" us to play in this 2D mode, where we will choose whether to act in more stealth mode, or be real bulldozers. Clearly these stages too, special mission after special mission, will tend to vary in some feature that we won't reveal to you, but we don't hide from you that this too seemed to us a mere filler, almost lazy.

The Absolute Truth

During the 14 main chapters of the game PlatinumGames offers us a very particular adventure, with the vast majority of environments that will be explorable, with different elements to interact with (mostly, from destroy) is hidden objects to find. This first feature has proved to be a double-edged sword, which on the one hand has been a real godsend for completionists and for those who want to collect all the collectibles in the game, including models, clothes and so on, on the other hand, it revealed the need to add these elements for stretch the stock in each mission, since many of which would have proved too hasty. Mind you, some of the ambienti I'm very vast and scattered, and to find everything there is to do – and do it – it will take you some time. Obviously among all these things there are also activities, such as challenge missions (often useful for winning pieces of Heart of Witch and Sphere of Moon), environmental puzzles, puzzle activation platform, the witch jewels to "catch" - three for each mission - on the familiars that run around the maps, and obviously the "verses" of the missions hidden in some points of the map. Of course, all of this has its uses, and returning to the "double-edged sword" factor, not everything is essential, and a great deal can be omitted (powerups aside).

Ignite a demon in her

Arriving at the actual "flesh", as one might expect, the best features present in Bayonetta 3 concern the combat system, enriched with many details, so much so that we almost need a bulleted list to list them all.

Let's start with the basics: Bayonetta 3 will see us fight with kicks and punches, as usual, but also perform perfect dodges to activate the storm sabbath (in the case of Bayonetta) and to parry blows to perform even perfect saves, again to activate the slowdown of time (in the case of Viola). Both girls they will have their own skill tree, which will enrich the park moves to slay the Homunculus, moves that we can buy through one of three available currencies. The other two, one will be used to buy the moves of the succubi demons (yes, every demon we subdue will have its own skill tree), and the other, the halos, to buy collectible items. The base currency will also be used for buy items and artifacts in Rodin's shop, and also to buy the additional moves of Bayonetta's various weapons that we will unlock, also with their own skill tree (if you are thinking about Devil May Cry again, let's say that you haven't gone too far, since it seems that the evolution structure of the moveset has been completely copied).

Have we named succubi demons and additional weapons? Exactly, because basic shots are just the tip of the iceberg. If you think that Colors of the World, Bayonetta's starting pistols, are the only weapon with which to show off your skills, know that you will unlock many of themfrom many different types and wait, with each of them that will have some special abilities (as in running or jumping, or one that will practically allow you to fly), your own peculiarities in combatand your own too super move. The variety is quite a lot, and the destructive power as well. Choose the ones that best suit your style and unleash all hell.

Demons, on the other hand, are the real big news in combat: these may be summon when we have enough magic in the appropriate bar, which will be consumed as we make moves with them. These demons indeed will be at our full service, and while Bayonetta…well… dances to command them, they will unleash their full power with devastating moves and holds. These can really be determinants in combat, especially in the early stages, so much so that the challenge is almost nil. “Fortunately”, is meant by the challenge, some bosses will render them harmless – by killing them and rendering them temporarily unusable – and will force us to scramble to win the fight.

We've tried to keep everything new in combat and exploration as tight as possible, but it's there many other small scattered nuances around that you can not fail to appreciate.

Switch, cross and delight

Adding to our thanks to Nintendo for giving us the opportunity to continue playing Bayonetta, however, there are some features that inevitably, given the limited power of the Japanese console, they showed up with broken bones. Let me be clear though, not all Bayonetta 3 defects are due to the console, but also to balance problems by the developer himself.

Starting with the sugary, it is commendable the work done by PlatinumGames from the point of view of the frame rate, which despite not sticking to next-gen levels, picks a limit and firmly holds the point in home mode, with the fights remaining fluid and do justice to the frenzy that the genre is clamoring for.

However, moving on to the part of the details, unfortunately we can only be more disappointed: the team certainly is had to compromise, some blatant, to bring the work to a successful conclusion. It's about a just enough graphics, of most of the settings totally stripped of details, of the effect pop up of some elements (or the 10 fps frame rate of the Japanese soldiers almost at the beginning of the game), of a management of the camera that needs to be completely reviewed, with the larger enemies - or even groups full of small ones - which in some arenas cover the whole screen making it impossible to see what is happening to the character we command, poorly made transparency grids, especially in the environmental parts necessary to overcome platform puzzles, and many other small graphic details that make the progress of the game annoying. I stress however, that many of these problems are more pronounced when playing with the console docked, and who consequently come slightly muffled from the smaller screen when playing in portable.

When the game is hard?

Not inconsiderable in Bayonetta 3, is how they were handled game difficulty, balancing, longevity e replayability. Starting from the latter, it is closely linked to your desire to complete the various missions with honors, and above all with how far you want to go further with the difficulty.

As a practice for stylish games of this type, the game only really starts when you play your second run, with the possibility of facing the story again on the highest difficulty, and with various features that are unlocked at the halfway point. If you actually play only once, not only will you find the game quite short, given only 14 main chapters, but also unsatisfying in terms of the actual challenge (it is possible to finish the game without using a single consumable, and just grab a few life and magic upgrades here and there). Not only - and here the thing is more serious - this FrYou can do this even if you haven't purchased any move upgrades from the skill tree of Bayonetta and Viola (just for the latter, perhaps you will need to upgrade a little, since the change of character and habit may require some adaptation and hand / head coordination). In short, the balance on the first run really leaves something to be desired, especially if you immediately understand how much they are potenti le evocations of succubi demons and weapon finishing moves you will find.

This means that to fully enjoy Bayonetta 3, it will certainly not be enough for you to finish it for the first time: in fact, special modes will arrive for the missions, with a type of them that it will unlock if within the certain missions you managed to catch the three jewels kept by the familiars. Of course with all that and the higher difficulty, there will also be talk of stronger monsters and stuff like that.

The other side of the longevity that you will unlock, always if you are accustomed to the genre, is precisely try to get the maximum mark for the various verses of the missions, and consequently the general evaluation, what that will greatly raise the bar of difficulty, especially if you think about how difficult, annoying and unpleasant some of the special missions are.

Fly me to the moon(s)

The last but not negligible part of the Bayonetta 3 review must necessarily be dedicated to the more artistic aspect of the game. The idea of ​​the multiverse has been able to open up a rainbow of possibilities and novelties to Platinum, and one that cannot be said to have not been exploited. The various universes, with the various locations, have been able to refresh the setting every time when it was about to become stale, changing the color palette and the dominant color from universe to universe (from the reds of China to the yellows of Egypt, for example). This philosophy, as you may have understood, was also applied to our protagonists main ones, with the various customization options and all the outfits that can be unlocked as you progress (necessary? No, but richly flavored).

Audio is once again a trademark, with the colonna sonora which, perhaps not as memorable as that of the first Bayonetta, still manages to keep up and honor the weapons.

Honorable mention goes to fan service: in terms of story, especially in the final stages, if you follow the game from the first iteration you will be prompted to leap to your feet and applaud, with a couple of shock returns that you cannot fail to appreciate. For the rest though, between ballets and comic scenes related to Viola, it is impossible not to think that in many cases they have been entered forcibly, almost to dampen its "magic".

  • Bayonetta 3 (Tested on Switch)8Final Vote

    Coming to the sum of everything, it is difficult to give an overall rating to Bayonetta that manages to encompass everything, above all because from the second run onwards it will feel like you are playing two different titles, especially if you spent your first game exploring at length and out in search of the various collectibles and the various challenges. Certainly a technical care to the maximum of its possibilities by the PlatinumGames, which however had to collide with the Switch exclusivity of this product. A more than comfortable console, which once again allows us to play Bayonetta on a laptop (even if the type of gameplay requires the ergonomics of a controller), but which from a visual and technical point of view shows several times the flank. The dispersion of the maps has a bittersweet taste, the combat system has always been the best, but is hampered by a camera that creates too confusing shots, and a plot that becomes interesting too late. Could we have an even better title in our hands? Absolutely yes, but it's not all to throw away.

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