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Bayonetta 3 Review

Verdict

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Bayonetta 3 is the third instalment of the series, featuring new playable characters and a wide array of beautifully designed monsters. The ability to control Demon Slaves is endlessly fun and running around as Bayonetta feels very fulfilling. While this game does have its flaws, I think it’s a hack-and-slash that almost anyone can play.

Pros

  • Fast-paced action
  • Beautiful graphics
  • Bayonetta feels great to control
  • Demon Slaves are a lot of fun

Cons

  • Story is nonsensical
  • Viola is nowhere near as fun to play
  • Camera can be annoying

Availability

  • UKRRP: £49.99
  • USARRP: $59.99
  • EuropeRRP: €59.99
  • CanadaRRP: CA$83.99
  • AustraliaRRP: AU$79.95

Key Features

  • Platforms:Nintendo Switch
  • Release date:28th October 2022
  • Genre:Action-adventure, hack-and-slash, fighting game

Introduction

Bayonetta 3 is all-in when it comes to action, throwing in different locations and monsters at every turn to keep things fresh, and I’m happy to say that you don’t really need to follow the incredulous story to have a good time.

Bayonetta 3 is the sequel to Bayonetta 2, which fans have waited eight long years for. It stays true to the series, maintaining the same whacky humour while still throwing a plethora of monsters at you from every angle.

After completing the game, I must say that this was a bizarre experience, but something that I think a lot of people will enjoy, especially anyone who’s already a fan of the series.

Story

  • Follow both Bayonetta and Viola
  • Story is very hard to follow
  • Side chapters to explore

The first thing I noticed about Bayonetta 3 is that it throws everything at you at once; the game starts with Bayonetta roaming through New York but quickly diverts into absolute madness, introducing characters like Jeanne, Enzo, Rodin and Viola and then throwing the players straight into combat.

The game is split up into several different Chapters, which are then split up into Verses. After each Verse, you get a score and a ranking of how you played – unless you play on Easy mode, in which case you simply receive a Cleared award – and at the end of the Chapter you get a final score and overview, with the medals ranging all the way from Platnium to Stone.

Bayonetta 3 demon slave
Image Credit (Nintendo)

There are sections of the game where you play as the titular Bayonetta and some where you play as the newest side character, Viola. In both instances, you are fighting against the Homunculi, creatures that have appeared from across the Multiverse and want to destroy other realities. They are man-made bioweapons and come in a lot of different forms, from vaguely human-looking all the way to Cthulhu-inspired monsters, which made every Chapter feel interesting and fresh.

This is also helped by the constant changes in scenery; I jumped from New York City to Tokyo in what felt like minutes, with plenty of other locations popping up for good measure throughout the game. While I liked how varied each Chapter felt, I do think the breakneck speed made it harder for me to keep up with the story and to keep track of every character. Thankfully, I don’t think you really need to understand the story to enjoy the gameplay, though eagle-eyed fans may need to replay a few Chapters if they think they’ve missed something.

Bayonetta’s and Viola’s gameplay differs a lot, and I will delve into that in the next section, but I really enjoyed the times when these characters share screen time. It’s fun to see Bayonetta poke fun at Viola, who she has nicknamed Kitty – much to Viola’s chagrin – and I liked the moments where they got to bounce off each other.

Bayonetta and Viola together in bayonetta 3
Image Credit (Nintendo)

And it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that this game is extremely camp and over-sexualised, with all the female characters having bodies that I can’t believe are anatomically correct. While this type of writing and comedy won’t be for everyone, I think it added to the overall charm of the game, and I think the outlandish comments from every character fit the tone of the game much better than if everyone was overly serious. Plus, it’s very clear to see that Bayonetta is very happy to stand up for herself, which I thought gave the game a little more nuance than simply having an overly-sexy female protagonist.

It was also surprising to see such overt sexuality and even swearing in a Nintendo game, especially since I associate the company with family-friendly titles like Nintendo Switch Sports and WarioWare: Get It Together!. While this will obviously limit the audience of this game, I do think it added an extra level of hilarity.

Among the usual Chapters of the game, there are also several Side Chapters where you play as the aforementioned Jeanne. Her story also focuses on her battling Homunculi, but it swaps out the 3D combat for side-scrolling missions, with tidbits of extra lore and storytelling sprinkled in for good measure.

Viola fighting in Bayonetta 3
Image Credit (Nintendo)

It took me around 15 hours to get through the story, though I can see this game taking a lot longer if you wanted to complete all the extra missions. I wouldn’t say it has massive replayability, unlike Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, another Nintendo exclusive, but there is definitely more to do once the credits roll.

Gameplay

  • Hack-and-slash madness
  • Quick-time events
  • Many Demon Slaves to choose from

Bayonetta 3 gives players the chance to play as a few different characters as the story progresses. You play as Bayonetta, Viola and Jeanne, and I thought that every character felt different to play, for better or for worse.

Bayonetta, for instance, was amazing. She comes equipped with her iconic guns, named Colour My World, two of which she wields in her hands and two of which are attached to her amazingly high heels. She has a lot more variety than I expected, being able to kick, punch and fire her way through enemies with style.

There is plenty of other Demon Masquerade weapons that you can use throughout the game, such as Dead End Express, a chainsaw-like weapon that can also be used as a vehicle thanks to its huge size, as well as Ignis Araneae Yo-Yo, which comes in the form of four sharp-bladed yo-yos that attach to Bayonetta’s hands and feet. I actually prefered Colour My World the most due to its simple nature, but I really like how steeped in variety this game is, to the point where everyone can have a distinct experience when they play.

Bayonetta shooting guns in bayonetta 3
Image Credit (Nintendo)

She can also fly, coming equipped with a particularly beautiful pair of dainty wings. I loved this, as not only does it make traversing Verses more fun, but it meant that I had more choices when it came to taking on an enemy.

Bayonetta, alongside some other characters, have access to Demon Slaves, allowing her to take control of her Infernal Demons in the middle of combat. These are also very varied, from the massive yet beautiful Madama Butterfly, the demonic train Wartrain Gouon, and the surprisingly cute yet large spider, Phantasmaraneae. These Demons can be used at the end of combos or on their own, although it does leave Bayonetta open to attacks since you can only control the Demon during these moments.

Plus, since Bayonetta is an Umbra Witch she can slow down time using her Witch Time ability. Every time I successfully dodged an attack the world fades into blackness for a short while and everyone else stops moving, leaving me to attack my enemies in peace. This was my favourite mechanic in the game as not only did it encourage me to play better and time my dodges and attacks, but it also makes Bayonetta feel more powerful.

Ultimately, Bayonetta comes with so many choices when it comes to her weapons and Demon Slaves that I couldn’t not enjoy playing as her. Unfortunately, it did make the Viola-heavy parts of the game feel a lot slower, as I was simply desperate to see Bayonetta again.

Viola's cat in Bayonetta 3
Image Credit (Nintendo)

Viola has the same Demon Slave ability as Bayonetta, with her main Demon being a cute but eery cat, Cheshire. However, she does not use the same flying ability as Bayonetta, instead swinging from the walls like Spider-Man. This did feel a lot slower than handling Bayonetta, and it made it a lot harder to land on small platforms effectively, as she often seemed to swing pretty erratically.

Sadly, she does not come with the Witch Time ability, which made her gameplay feel a little less special. While I liked Viola enough as a character, she feels pretty barebones to play as when compared to Bayonetta.

During the Side Chapters, I played as Jeanne, who has popped up in earlier games in the series. She is a witch like Bayonetta but during her sections the game shifts into a 2D side-scroller. She still fights the Homunculi, but instead of hacking and slashing her way through there is some stealth involved, with the ability to hide in doorways and take down enemies from behind.

Gates of Hell shop in Bayonetta 3
Image Credit (Nintendo)

While I didn’t think these sections were as fun as Bayonetta’s, I liked how periodically the game shifts into a new style; I thought it kept things interesting and it was fun to see the different ways I could take on these monsters in a 2D world.

You can also visit the shop to acquire more accessories, build skills and buy items. The shop, also known as The Gates of Hell, is run by Rodin and I was able to use treasures acquired on my journeys as currency. I liked how the shop kept the same aesthetic as the rest of the game and how you could equip Bayonetta with extra add-ons to make fighting even more fun.

While I do think that Viola was the weakest character to play, I still think that overall the game has a lot of personality and handled well. My main issue overall was the camera, in a similar vein to Pokémon Legends: Arceus it seemed to have a mind of its own, and could frantically swivel during boss battles or fights, making the experience feel a little less polished.

Graphics and sound

  • Excellent style
  • Detailed locations

One thing that Nintendo has clearly worked very hard on here is the graphics. While the Switch definitely can hinder the experience by loading objects too slowly, the actual style of the game is remarkable. All the character designs are distinct and lend themselves to the character’s personality, and even watching Bayonetta fly through the air and attack enemies has more style to it than many other games I’ve played.

The locations are detailed and I most cutscenes played like mini-movies. The enemy designs were great to look at, and during those cutscenes, it really feels like I was going head-to-head with real monsters, thanks to the sheer size and detail included.

Butterfly Bayonetta in Bayonetta 3
Image Credit (Nintendo)

This is also complimented by the audio, which was a lot more riveting than I expected. The upbeat jazz makes battle feel more lively, and it works well against the whacky dialogue and character interactions. There are hints of K-Pop and R&B within the music and I thought it helped to enhance boss battles and fights, making everything feel a little more cinematic.

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Should you buy it?

You want a fast-paced action game: Bayonetta 3 runs at a breakneck speed and there are monsters to fight around every corner. With beautiful graphics and a nuanced soundtrack, this is a fantastic hack-and-slash that I think almost anyone can enjoy.

You want an easy-going experience: While Bayonetta 3 is a lot of fun, its story is hard to follow and there are few moments where you can take a break in-game. If you want something less intimidating, Nintendo titles like Pokémon Legends: Arceus or Super Mario Odyssey may be best for you.

Final Thoughts

Bayonetta 3 is constantly pulling new characters and monsters out of its pocket and even though the story isn’t the easiest to follow, I don’t think you need a full understanding of the past games or the lore to jump in and have a great time.

The main downfall of this game for me was the camera, which can make navigation and fights more difficult than they need to be. This isn’t a dealbreaker by any means, but it does make the game feel a little less polished.

However, since the overall style and tone of the game is so cinematic, aided by the great visuals and distinctive audio, I think that almost anyone could get into this title, so long as you’re interested in taking down an ever-growing list of monsters that come in all shapes and sizes.

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We play every game we review through to the end, outside of certain exceptions where getting 100% completion, like Skyrim, is close to impossible to do. When we don’t fully finish a game before reviewing it we will always alert the reader.

Played on Nintendo Switch

Played through the entire single-player campaign

FAQs

What platforms is Bayonetta 3 available on?

This game is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch series, so you will need to own a console to get in on the action.

What age rating does Bayonetta 3 have?

According to the ESRB, Bayonetta 3 has a rating of M. This game does feature swearing and violence, so you may want to consider that before playing it.

How long does it take to finish this game?

It took our reviewer around 15 hours to finish all of the chapters in the game. If you are looking to completely finish the game, including side quests, then it will take a lot longer.

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