Bayonetta 3 has been one of the most anticipated titles for the Nintendo Switch in 2022, and for good reason. Bayonetta is still considered by many as one of the best action games of all time, and Bayonetta 2 expanded upon that formula in masterful ways. Now, Bayonetta 3 graces us with the same formula and some excellent additions, like Demon Masquerade and Climax Summons leading to Demon Slave.
It is a wild, sexy, and good time, but does it push the series even further in the right direction? Or does this witch take a misstep this time in the third outing? Let’s find out!
Bayonetta 3 starts off with some devastation. We see our witch protagonist battling it out with a higher power “angel” named Singularity, and in a twisted turn, she is not capable of fighting this beast off. It is an epic opening that quickly shows how things turn out down the line and introduces us to a couple new key characters, namely Viola. It is hard watching this scene and knowing what is to come later, but it is a powerful and moving glimpse.
The story this time centers around the Homunculi, man-made bioweapons bent on invading universes and wiping them out, plunging reality into the depths of chaos. Naturally, Bayonetta and her friends aren’t having it, and her friends are all back in their wonderfully glorious ways. Seeing the cocky and beautiful Bayonetta take hold of things and move forward has shown her growth in leadership while also maintaining her lovable charm that she’s always been known for.
In classic Platinum Games fashion, Bayonetta 3 is a bit convoluted in its storytelling, especially the Multiverse stuff, and can be hard to follow if you have not played the first two entries. However, there are some stellar moments throughout the game with some powerful philosophical anecdotes to make you think in the midst of your witchery, spell-casting, demon spawning, and erotic poses. The way the Bayonetta series has balanced fun and seriousness throughout their experiences needs to be commended, and Bayonetta 3 does this in spades as well.
Fans of the series will fall right back into the action, as most of the gameplay is quite similar to the first two titles. Bayonetta has her guns, her acrobatic moves and attacks, dodging (Which can activate Witch Time/slowdown if performed at the right moment), and combos that will make any arcade gamer cry tears of joy. In Bayonetta 3, though, a couple additions change the formula, and they include Demon Masquerading and Demon Slave/Climax Summons.
Demon Masquerades are when Bayonetta fuses with one of her internal demons, and they apply to various attacks and movements that can be visually seen when it is activated. This is an excellent addition that adds to the fluid and stunning combat that the series is known for, and veterans are going to go crazy finding new and interesting ways to defeat enemies and earn those big points for the leaderboards.
Now Bayonetta 3 allows the player to take control of the demon being spawned at any point, and this is called Demon Slave. Each demon has their own special attacks and abilities that can benefit greatly in the various battles throughout the game. The larger-than-life kaiju-like battles basically take the summons from the previous games and gives you so much more control of what is going on, and you can equip up to three demons at a time that can be changed on the fly. I never knew I needed Demon Slave in my Bayonetta games, but this just adds so much more to the insane action that I cannot imagine the series without it now, especially the epic boss encounters at points.
Similar to the first two games, upgrades and helpful items are plentiful. A new addition to the weapon lineup is the demon slave club you receive from Rodin early in Bayonetta 3, and this thing is awesome, as it serves as a club, a rifle, and a Demon Masquerade. Thanks to Bayonetta 3‘s weapon swap system, you can easily have quick weapons and slow weapons ready to be swapped out at any time, which is just another amazing way to keep the combat fluid and spectacular.
Rodin’s shop returns, and there are three different currencies this time, with the Humungili being the new primary currency, thanks to the threat in Bayonetta 3. There are helpful one-time use power-ups in the form of lollipops, permanent items that deviate the system a little bit, and cosmetic items to dress up Viola’s room. You can also upgrade your skill tree, making Bayonetta more and more powerful over time. I found these item and upgrade systems useful, although they do feel quite secondary to the action happening and are easy to forget about. Thankfully, though, Rodin’s The Gates of Hell shop can easily be accessed from the chapter select menu, and the skill tree is within the pause menu.
Each chapter in Bayonetta 3 is loaded with secrets, obstacles, and environmental puzzles to keep you busy outside of the linear story. That means that the stages that take place in each chapter are significantly larger than that of the first two games, so exploring becomes a pivotal part of the Bayonetta 3 experience and the rewards are incredibly helpful for upgrades. This is honestly an area I thought was missing in Bayonetta 2, even though that is an incredible game in and of itself, but the side missions and extra incentives just give more purpose to playing each chapter and revisiting if you realize you missed something.
Now, it wouldn’t be a Bayonetta review without talking about the bosses, and my goodness, Bayonetta 3 turns it up to 11. The bosses are varied in size and manner throughout, and the mixture of experience thanks to the Demon Slave and Demon Masquerade make the experiences with these bosses so much more interesting and ultimately satisfying. There are some moments that are so obnoxiously over-the-top and amazing that I cannot speak of them, as I do not want to spoil anyone’s playthrough. Just know that each chapter contains something that will blow your mind.
Graphically, Bayonetta 3 is stunning for a Nintendo Switch title. Sure, when compared to high definition big releases on stronger platforms, it may seem a bit behind. However, the series has never looked better, and the demons almost steal the show this time around, as they are so magnificently designed and appear much more frequently now thanks to Demon Slave. Bayonetta’s new look took some getting used to at first, but she is such a gorgeous character that she can pull off almost anything. Viola looks incredible for a debut character, and the contrast between her and Bayonetta almost serve as a past and future comparison.
One thing the Bayonetta series has always knocked out of the park is the soundtrack and the stellar voice acting. This time around, Hellena Taylor is not the voice of Bayonetta, which was a shock. Thankfully, however, Jennifer Hale puts on an incredible performance as Bayonetta’s replacement, and at times, I almost forgot it was a different person from the first two games. Jennifer Hale, along with the rest of the cast, pull off some fantastic performances and truly elevate the overall experience and storytelling. Bayonetta’s charm was never lost, and the soundtrack that accompanies her in Bayonetta 3 could not be more perfect.
Bayonetta 3 does so much right that I almost gave this a perfect score. However, as is problematic in the first two games, the camera can be a pain in the ass at times, especially when summoning demons and you cannot see Bayonetta thanks to the size difference, which can cause some unfortunate hits against her because you are paying attention to the demon instead.
That said, Bayonetta 3 is still a phenomenal game, and the perfect upgrade to a series that has never dropped the ball. This is a game that goes big and continues to go bigger as you progress, and it is a ride that fans will want to play again and again and again. The fact that they added an Angel Mode for those looking for something less sexual and violent is also a wonderful touch.
If there was any worry that Bayonetta 3 was going to fall apart because of the voice acting dilemma, let me put this to rest: Jennifer Hale is perfectly Bayonetta in Bayonetta 3, and this may be the best Bayonetta game yet. This third entry cements the series as one of the best video game trilogies of all time, and there is no better time to own a Switch than now. Get ready to set that Witch Time, summon some demons, and enjoy the ride of a lifetime, because if you don’t, you are truly missing out.
Fun and addictive story thanks to incredible voice performances
Bayonetta has never looked better
Awesome protagnists and epic boss fights
Tons of replay value thanks to difficulties, secrets, and more
Cements the trilogy as one of the best in gaming
Camera can be finnicky at times
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.