- Still some of the best action out there
- Fantastic and funny characters
- Stunning world design
- Plenty of depth to the combat
- Amiibo support is well implemented
- Visual upgrades are minimal
- Solo campaigns are a tiny bit short
- The original Bayonetta hasn’t aged too well
- Review Price: £39.99
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
- Genre: Action
- Developer: Platinum Games
- Release Date: February 16
Platinum Games’ Bayonetta series contains some of the greatest action titles in the medium, although they perhaps haven’t gained the recognition they’ve deserved in recent years. With the sequel launching exclusively for Wii U, its audience was small yet passionate, but never quite penetrated the masses. This could change with Bayonetta 1 and 2 for Nintendo Switch, an irresistible bundle that newcomers and hardcore fans of the series need to experience.
Bayonetta is a series of spectacular action games starring our titular character, an Umbran Witch equipped with extraordinary powers, whether it be transporting herself to other dimensions or turning her hair into otherworldly creatures to tear apart enemies.
Go into this duo of titles expecting something crazy, over-the-top and confident in its excess. This extends to the violence, locations and personality of its bombastic cast.
Pre-order Bayonetta 1 and 2 from Amazon UK
The original two games are here in their entirety, alongside a few extra bells and whistles that will make a second purchase easier to swallow. Firstly, amiibo support is available for Bayonetta 2 and provides ample benefits for those with a plastic figurine or two littering their shelves. Be warned, using them can make you feel a tiny bit overpowered at times.
Amiibo reward players with currency that can be spent on weapons, techniques and costumes inspired by some of Nintendo’s most famous mascots. They also provide you with plenty of consumable items that will make combat considerably less brutal. You can use amiibo up to 32 times a day, or not at all, if challenge is something you welcome.
The addition of amiibo is sadly one of the only major changes made to Bayonetta 1 and 2 on Switch. Resolution both docked and undocked remains at 720p, and thus image quality hasn’t changed much at all compared to previous iterations. Fortunately, performance is incredibly smooth across each game, which helps the action feel fast, fluid and satisfying. Personally, I found the graphical side of things far more enjoyable when playing with the Switch in portable fashion.
The touch controls first introduced in Bayonetta 2 are back and now available in the first game, too. You can perform combos, acrobatics and also shoot enemies by tapping your fingers across the screen. It’s fun but doesn’t provide nearly enough depth compared to the vanilla method.
I can definitely see touch controls as a potential avenue for repeat playthroughs or for those having a bit of trouble with stringing together combos. Fortunately, they’re very sharp and responsive – a surprising feat considering how manic Bayonetta becomes after mere seconds of action.
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Having first launched for PS3 and Xbox 360 way back in 2009, the original Bayonetta sadly doesn’t hold up as well as its successor. Combat is still beautifully smooth and moves feel amazing to pull off, but some more frustrating elements remain, such as one-hit-kill quick time events and unusual difficulty spikes that can prove frustrating. These crop up frequently enough that they disrupt the overall pacing – a blemish the sequel seldom suffers from.
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Despite the rare annoyance or two, Bayonetta remains an absolute treat on Switch. Its zany, unpredictable narrative and lovable cast of characters already propel it beyond the competition, and then its combat stomps in and proves that Platinum Games remains unrivalled in both mechanical finesse and visual spectacle. Bayonetta is a simply wonderful lead, filled with one liners and a backstory that, while unusual, proves to be compelling in its own right thanks to its fantastic presentation.
While I personally prefer the visual attitude of Bayonetta 2, its older sibling is still positively striking in its graphical presentation. Every level is a beautiful example of towering platforms and unorthodox architecture that can change at a moment’s notice. Bayonetta’s world is always shifting to surprise the player, even if it means transporting you across time, or decking the nearest angelic demon through a medieval tower.
Each campaign weighs in at roughly seven hours if you’ve no plans to tackle side-missions and hidden collectibles. Otherwise, there’s a mountain of replay value across varying difficulty levels and weapon loadouts that can completely transform how you approach combat.
This is especially true with Bayonetta 2, where two weapon types can be equipped at any given time, opening up a cavalcade of combo opportunities previously unattainable. I had a blast replaying my favourite boss battles like this, earning extra currency to spend on bonus unlockables. Make sure you invest in an accessory or two. Special items such as this can provide Bayonetta with ample abilities such as activating Witch Time upon taking damage or hurling damage at enemies after a perfectly timed dodge.
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Bayonetta 2’s online offerings are untouched in this port and offer plenty of additional content beyond the brilliantly brief solo campaign. You can team up with a friend or matchmake online to take on a variety of Verse Cards. Collected during story mode, these objects unlock special challenges where you’ll need to defeat a certain number of enemies in a specific way or with a noticeable handicap. They’re enjoyable and a great way to hone your fighting skills, and ideal for grinding away halos if you’re desperate for high-level gear.
They’re fun and addictive, although I sadly had trouble finding a consistent stream of matches. Although that’s a problem I imagine will improve upon release. You also can’t use touchscreen controls in this mode. It’s understandable, considering how much chaos is caused with two players tearing apart angels simultaneously.
Bayonetta 1 and 2 remain a fantastic duo of action titles that feel perfectly at home on Nintendo Switch. Being able to play two of Platinum Games’ finest efforts whenever you like is hugely appealing, and the abundance of content on offer here only makes it even better.
It’s somewhat disheartening that neither game has received any significant improvements beyond amiibo support and slightly better performance, especially since the Switch has proven it’s capable of far more.
Pre-order Bayonetta 1 and 2 from Amazon UK
With Bayonetta 3 currently in development for Nintendo Switch, this is the perfect way for fans to reminisce, while newcomers sink into the fantastical worlds of madness that awaits them.