Bayonetta 3 Review

Bayonetta 3 Review – An Experience You Won’t Forgetta

I'm really sorry.

It was a bit touch and go for Bayonetta, wasn’t it? Not only was there a considerable wait between announcement and release, but Platinum had a slate of games that weren’t up to their usual standard in that time. Then, the first trailers hit, and I wasn’t feeling it. Something was off. But now, five years since its reveal, and in the time that Babylon’s Fall both was revealed and announced to be shut down, Bayonetta 3 is finally here. And while many argue PlatinumGames are a shell of their former self, Bayonetta 3 firmly cements itself as one of Platinum’s best.

Bayonetta 3 follows the titular witch once more as she battles a new threat. Where you fought angels and demons in the previous two games, the danger in Bayonetta 3 is human-made. Calling themselves the Homunculi, they’re bioweapons led by a shadowy figure who only calls himself Singularity. Even worse, Singularity doesn’t just want to destroy the world that Bayonetta inhabits but the other worlds that exist at the same time. That’s right, Bayonetta 3 is doing the multiverse schtick. But it’s done so well that I can’t be mad at how cliché it is.

Bayonetta 3 Review

I’ve never been one for the story of the Bayonetta games, but Bayonetta 3 has the most engaging story of the three so far. Both the origin of the new enemies and newcomer Viola are endearing, while the sheer excitement of which multiverse Bayonetta you’ll see next keeps the game engaging. It’s all still nonsense, mind you. The reveals that are presented as ground-breaking revelations are often seen coming from a mile away. However, having an exciting and engaging story in a game like this is still lovely.

 Of course, Bayonetta 3 is an action game through and through, and it delivers in spades. It continues to carry the design philosophy of the previous games – namely having both a high skill ceiling with a low skill floor – but makes a few changes to the formula to up the action factor even more. After Devil May Cry 5, I wasn’t sure a game could ever top that in terms of pure and ridiculous action. But Bayonetta 3 does a pretty good job, even if it’s an entirely different beast of a game.

Bayonetta 3 Review

For one, the way Bayonetta uses weapons has changed. No longer can you equip weapons to her legs or arms independently. Instead, you’ll be equipping weapons to fight with in addition to demons to summon. More on the demons later – but each weapon is imbued with the spirit of said demon. This allows Bayonetta to transform into said demon to pull off flashy attacks and finishers. This is what the game calls the Demon Masquerade abilities. Their flashiness and bombastic nature perfectly matches the vibe of the other Bayonetta staples you’ve come to know and love – like Wicked Weaves, Torture Attacks and of course, the almighty Climax.

But the more considerable change with Bayonetta 3 is using infernal demons during combat rather than as flashy finishers. For most of the game, a shoulder button can be held that summons a demon which can then be commanded to carry out attacks. While these demons don’t have the same breadth of abilities as Bayonetta herself, they all have unique movesets that can serve different purposes in battle. Some are harder hitting and can shatter armour, while others can buff or debuff enemies too. The catch is that, for most of the game, Bayonetta can’t move while she commands these demons. So you can either hold the summon button and input commands or tap the button at specific points of a combo to summon the demon in for a quick attack.

Bayonetta 3 Review

This is a great new system, and one that I was worried would be a little bit gimmicky when I first saw it detailed. But it works genuinely well, and the game’s wide range of very different demons to summon (there are at least nine, possibly more) means that almost anybody can fill out their equipped set of three to suit their style. The only drawback to this approach is that Bayonetta 3 takes place in many wide-open areas with larger enemies, so those who enjoyed battling Jeanne in the first game or other human-like characters in the second might be disappointed. Still, it does make the battles with smaller characters more impactful.

Similarly, Viola is a new playable character who lands much better than Loki from the previous game. She fights solely with a katana, which can be thrown to summon her own demon named Cheshire. Unlike Bayonetta, her demon will fight independently of her when called too. Viola is only playable for about three or so chapters in the entire game, so she’s not too intrusive on the pacing of things, but everytime she rolled around I wasn’t dreading it – but rather appreciated her different, parry-focused gameplay style when compared to Bayonetta.

Bayonetta 3 Review

Of course, the move to more open environments means that there’s still a lot to find in each level. Besides the obvious magic and health upgrades, there are also crystals that, when found, allow you to replay an area of that level with remixed abilities and characters. There are still portals to Niflheim to find too, which offer set challenges that reward upgrades upon completion. But now there are even portals to the worlds of the first two games, summoning those enemies and even music from the original games to provide a quick hit of nostalgia. When you’re done with the game’s fifteen-hour story, there’s still a lot to do and see.


But Bayonetta 3 does feel like it’s been created to be incredibly replayable. The game offers over eighteen different weapons and demons to play around with – so replaying other difficulties never gets as old as you’d expect. Similarly, getting a better score on individual battles on an otherwise terrible run will also update those battles in your ranking for the score-chasing crowd. It sounds like a small thing, but it makes Bayonetta 3 less of a slog to replay, especially if you’re trying to get the best ranking.

Bayonetta 3 Review

Some other missions to play aren’t the standard action game variety, though; these can be of variable quality. The Jeanne side missions are fantastic and never overstay their welcome – they are side-scrolling, stealthy adventures that see Jeanne infiltrating facilities to help out Bayonetta. They’re short and inoffensive. However, some of the other boss battles see you playing as a massive kaiju-like demon against another larger enemy. They’re a fantastic example of how Bayonetta 3 wants to up the stakes, action-wise, but they control so slowly that they’re rarely enjoyable and can be tedius. I understand what they were going for here, but they were never as fun as they could be every time I was subjected to one.

That being said, Bayonetta 3 is immaculately presented on the Switch. It’s arduous to even get games looking this good on hardware that is undoubtedly aging. But Platinum has done its best to get the most out of the Switch both on a technical and artistic level. The presentation, on the whole, scraps the garish Tim Burton-esque user interface for something much more refined and modern. Believe me when I say that scene transitions in Bayonetta 3 are easily the slickest on the Switch. Of course, there are some moments where things slow down, but they’re such batshit insane sequences that I’m sure neither Platinum nor I certainly didn’t care.

Bayonetta 3 Review

The worlds you’ll be exploring are, on a whole, pretty standard, however. Bayonetta 3 takes place in the real world this time around, so many locations are modelled after real-life ones. While I appreciate the necessity to do this from a story perspective, nothing is ever as visually enthralling or exotic as Paradiso or Inferno from the first two games.

The phenomenal soundtrack adds to the game’s very high feel of polish, which once again feels like a step above the previous games. Using the classic swing ballad Moonlight Serenade as the base for most of its music, it’s a fun and upbeat soundtrack to fight to. The boss themes, in particular, really stand out, employing a full orchestra and operatic chanting similar to the music of games like Nier. All in all, it’s a fantastic score.

Bayonetta 3 Review

As we all know, this time, Jennifer Hale replaces Hellena Taylor as Bayonetta’s voice. While it’s slightly different, it’s still just as charming – and her range does wonders for introducing the different Bayonettas found throughout the story.



Bayonetta 3 Review
Bayonetta 3 successfully reinvents itself in many ways to offer an experience that feels worthy of the title of sequel. It successfully shakes up the combat from the previous games by implementing new abilities that help keep things familiar but fresh. Some of the gimmicky battles bring the pacing down and dreaded, but ubiquitous Switch-related performance issues remain. As a whole, Bayonetta 3 eclipses its predecessor and is truly one of the most bombastic and enjoyable action games you can play.
Batshit Insane Action Setpieces
Reinvented Combat System
Ridiculous Weapon Variety
Engaging Storyline
Visual Performance Issues
Tedious Kaiju Boss Battles
The Cheapest Price