Five years after its announcement, Bayonetta 3 is ready to distribute mandalas on Switch. Armed with its eighth degree and ideas more eccentric than each other, Platinum Games intends to use its witchcraft to surpass the millimeter formula that has made the license a must in the genre. Bet won, we were spellbound once again.
MA beloved witch
No more angels or demons. Nintendo’s beloved Witch could have taken it easy, but that was without counting on the arrival of a new threat: the Homunculi. Mysterious human-created biological weapons that plague the entire AlphaVerse. Trendy and more radiant than ever, Bayonetta will explore its own multiverse with a whole bunch of intertwined timelines where alternate versions of Cereza lurk. PlatinumGames has never hidden its relative interest in the scenario, a pretext for its greatest madness, and it has again pushed all the knobs to the max. The Japanese studio has not calmed down, far from it.
To dive into the universe of Bayonetta is indeed to agree to witness a phantasmagoric story that gives free rein to the madness of the studio. It’s taking slap after slap at each sequence where everything will be an excuse to go into freewheel mode. Bayonetta 3 is improbable scenes, incredible and unbridled action which always goes beyond the limits of an already dizzying gigantism in the second part. It’s a firework of staging crazier than each other that win either a smile or the jaw. A festival of extravagance and debauchery pushed to its climax from beginning to end. Bayonetta 3 is ultimately a dantesque game that goes beyond the limits without any complex to take us from surprise to surprise, with its completely crazy story and its controlled pace throughout.
And the Switch exclusivity would be nothing without the naughtiest of its hostesses who ensure this great show. Carried by the multiverse, PlatinumGames allows itself all the follies in terms of character design of the heroine, classier than ever regardless of the version or the world where she is. Impossible not to make a parenthesis on the controversy that erupted before the release. As much to be direct, Jennifer Hale ensures the replacement with virtuosity, delivering us a Bayonetta of a strength and a staggering fragility. If the Witch had already won your heart, she will bring you to your knees here. A care transposed on the whole cast, where Jeanne like Viola, the new witch’s apprentice coming straight from the confines of the multiverse, do not have to be ashamed in the face of all the contortions of the heroine. In order not to change its habits, the chara design of the bestiary still overflows as much gigantism.
Dancing with the devil
A philosophy also rooted in the gameplay, Bayonetta 3 being a pure cocktail of adrenaline and dopamine. Its predecessors had set the bar very high by establishing themselves as the reference of Japanese beat’em up and it seemed difficult to surpass the excess, the punch and the fluidity of the battles of the second installment. It was without counting on the almost maniacal requirement of PlatinumGames when it comes to surpassing itself. Let’s be clear, the game pushes the limits even further by refining one of the best combat systems ever developed for a title of this caliber. Bayonetta 3 manages to deliver a familiar yet fresh feel thanks to an (already well-honed) second installment combat system that’s more refined, fluid, impressive, frenetic, and twirling than ever before.
We therefore find this famous system of flexible and rich combos at the same time, centered around dodges capable of twisting space-time, allowing all the madness for a short time. The Witch, however, has found a formidable new way to knock out her poor opponents: summon and control her creatures at any time by means of a dedicated gauge which limits abuse. The demons provide the show by giving us even more gigantic fights while the heroine, vulnerable to attacks, provides the show by dancing half naked in the middle of this mess. You can not make that up. Enough to deliver even crazier and more impressive combos than usual, especially since it is possible to change the beast, with a simple touch, to vary the pleasures.
We’re not going to lie to each other, it can be a joyous mess on the screen and the fights can sometimes lose legibility. But seeing all these monsters more disproportionate than the other put themselves on the face, it’s frankly enjoyable and pure delirium as we like. The witch of the Umbra also renews her sleight of hand by abandoning her guns at her feet to switch on the fly between two sets of weapons obtained during her adventures. Sometimes slower but more devastating, sometimes more lively and frenetic, these new equipment bring a whole new dynamic to the game by allowing even more madness. The possibilities are insane and only grow with the chapters, where new weapons and demons constantly breathe new life into the gameplay, with increasingly hard-hitting and crazy chains and techniques. It’s constantly renewed and as soon as you dare to think that Bayonetta can lose even a little of its breath, PlatinumGames finds the answer: a new playable character.
She was a punk, she did ballet…
To compensate, Bayonetta 3 can rely on a new heroine with a punk look and a significantly different grip from the brunette with glasses. Viola indeed fights using a katana, magic darts and a single demon: Chouchou. Another way to play without deviating from the fundamentals, which still forces you to change your habits. A period of adaptation will clearly be necessary before getting used to the gameplay of the apprentice witch who has decided not to completely follow her mentor. Unlike her, Viola can fight at the same time as her familiar but with her bare hands. The creature makes its life, while you can chain less powerful attacks to increase the combo counter.
The major difference is that the spell ability does not trigger in the same way. More frontal, the hothead will require a perfect parry with tighter timing than a dodge. A difference sometimes difficult to tame during certain fights, but which delivers more technical confrontations changing the way of approaching the gameplay. Pleasant novelties which are however counterbalanced by the new system of changeable equipment on the fly, abandoned for this character, and which still reserves some very frantic surprises, but not at the level of its elder.
The ever-expanding list of combos, the finesse and depth of the gameplay, are bound to make you dizzy, but the license has always made it a point of honor to meet everyone’s expectations. From the beginner who rumbles by linking blind caps and heel strikes to tame the mechanics, to the more experienced players who are just waiting to express their skill and link the most unsuspected and devastating techniques to blow up the best scores, Bayonetta 3 is particularly enjoyable regardless of the profile.
The Witch and the Switch
Bayonetta 3 does not demerit, however, when it moves away from the beat ’em all terrain. We always find its completely barred phases where we surf on buildings, where we have to avoid entire buildings, creatures and other improbable joys, moments of flight at the limit of ultra exhilarating shoot them up which make use of the dodging, and a few other unimaginable surprises that we won’t say. There are indeed some weaker ones, less precise than the others and which will be able to plague without ever frustrating because everything is implemented not to taint the experience. PlatinumGames still masters the art of insane and spectacular staging which allows the rhythm of the game to never be faulted even in its downtime and its exploration phases where you never feel neglected. We like to get lost in its pretty, varied and more open environments than the second opus. Our walks are always rewarded with a collectible, a puzzle, an object to improve our witches, a more challenging side challenge or even small animals that can lead to another surprise.
This is undoubtedly the key word of Bayonetta 3: surprise. We never have the opportunity to wonder about the redundancy of situations as each fight can reserve its share of unexpected. Even if you think you’ve finished, now the game offers you other things to put in your mouth in case the almost twenty hours required to complete the main story has not satisfied you. Technically too, the game surprises at times. Rarely is the 60 fps framerate lacking, even when there is a riot of effects and monsters of improbable sizes before our eyes. On the other hand, graphically it’s a different story, especially in docked mode where thealiasing and the clipping are ubiquitous and where some messy cutscenes can even, exceptionally, end up in pixel mush.
As a nomad, Bayonetta 3 is doing better thanks to sharper textures, decors that drool less. On the other hand, it is sometimes to the detriment of a more complicated readability as it can be the orgy on the screen. Especially since the camera sometimes tends to get lost when too many huge creatures are in the same arena. Yes, the graphics lack finesse, it’s sometimes very ugly, the urban areas are not pretty at times and we feel that the Switch is pushed to its limits. However, it has just what it takes to dazzle us as the game and its still unique artistic direction bluff in so many other aspects that we quickly forget these ugly flaws.
We would like to give thanks to the author of this write-up for this remarkable material
Bayonetta 3 TEST: Madness and excess, the witch bewitches the Switch!
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