Release Date: February 18, 2020
Reviewed On: PS4
Some games are regarded as instant classics. And the PlatinumGames-developed Bayonetta is one of those titles. Since its release in 2010, this highly sexualized action game is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a new port to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. While it doesn’t add too much of anything new for long time fans, it is still one of the best action games available.
Bayonetta has players assume the role of Bayonetta as she awakens after a 500-year slumber with a slight memory problem. She ends up meeting Enzo, an informant who can help her find more information about the other half of an item known as the “Eyes of the World.”
This is only the beginning of her adventure, and what a crazy one it is. Bayonetta takes players through hell and back in an over-the-top and zany narrative full of lore and unexpected gorgeous moments of video game storytelling. Players find themselves exploring Vigrid, a ghostly and beautiful region that serves as the battleground for many of Bayonetta’s upcoming fights.
The game might be full of action, but the developers made a choice to pack it full of cinematics. This pretty much adds a layer of style and beauty that would have otherwise been lost had the team just opted for a straight action game. Each time I find myself playing, I’m immersed in the hellish world that it presents. Throughout the story, players learn more about Bayonetta as she regains memories and destroys anything that gets in her way.
When it comes to this new version of Bayonetta, players can expect the same layer of responsive combat and fast action that the series is known for. Running at 60fps with 4k resolution options does wonder to its presentation. However, if you’ve played the PC version, you’ve probably played what this new version has to offer. Still, Bayonetta has never looked better.
In combat, Bayonetta has a range of actions at her disposal. So let’s be clear on one thing, yes, many of her moves utilize her hair that doubles as her clothing. Using her magical abilities and the many guns that she has equipped, players more or less combo their way through every encounter they face. The game also features a responsive dodge action that can freeze time if executed correctly. This keeps you on your toes during every fight and requires a bit of skill from the player if they hope to get through some of the tougher encounters.
It’s quite extraordinary watching Bayonetta move throughout the fights. It’s as if you are in control of a choreographed dance each time she begins a combo. Her attacks connect and respond to your button presses effortlessly. Furthermore, it’s also possible to pick up enemy weapons and use those to pull off several additional attacks. All of this action leads to a climax ending where we get to see some of Bayonetta’s most impressive powers.
Getting from place to place contains some light puzzle-solving using Bayonetta’s powers. These become a bit more difficult in the later parts, but it provides a nice break from all the action. Most of the time, progression is hindered by obstacles or smalls battles, but their is a healthy balance of the two that makes it far from feeling repetitive.
During gameplay, players can travel to hell to upgrade their arsenal and inventory using rings earned during missions. The number available weapons increase throughout the adventure, and they each add variety to Bayonetta’s combos. There are also items available that can be a godsend on tougher difficulties.
The sound design is impressive. Each track is as godly as the next, which makes the adventure even more epic. English audio is also quite good, but this version of the game includes the Japanese audio tracks from the PC version for players who wish to switch between the two. Other options offered are difficulty settings and post-game unlockables.
While Bayonetta is an excellent all-around game, some pain points also return, such as the quick time events where players need to press a button exactly at the right time or else it’s game over. Furthermore, the straight forward structure does come off feeling a bit bare bones in this generation. While it’s to be expected in a game that released ten years ago, some aspects of level design or progression show its age.
Bayonetta is a game that always delivers. It was great when I played it ten years ago, and it’s great today. The added benefit of playing it in 4k 60fps allows us to see Bayonetta at her very best. Still, this version doesn’t add anything on top of the PC version, but it does give a new generation of gamers the chance to experience what this series has to offer.
Going back to Bayonetta’s roots was an excellent time for me. I loved following her through this narrative again and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to see what all the fuss is about when someone mentions the name Bayonetta.
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