Games Review: Bayonetta (Nintendo Switch, 2018): Still got it, baby

It’s hard to imagine that Bayonetta was released nearly 10 years-ago now and the apparently superior sequel Bayonetta 2 was 4 years ago! With the newly released Switch port arriving this month, for the most part, it honestly feels like it was made for it today, it just ages well and for a guy that never played the original or any of its other ports (Xbox 360, PS3 etc..) it holds up pretty well in 2018 and even more so when I can take it with me to work, I mean for a drive!?

Bayonetta from developer PlatinumGames is a style of game that lends itself so highly to Capcom games of old it has a cheesy and convoluted story like Resident Evil 2, it’s hard not to smile and wonder if they were trying to be serious or not and takes a huge bookmark from Devil May Cry’s combat book, as It probably should because they were both helmed by Hideki Kamiya.

No matter how the story takes you, a game like Bayonetta works well alongside its source material and that’s all about hacking and slashing and shooting the shit out of demonic looking angels and their deformed bigger boss creatures, which take the shape of something out of H.P. Lovecraft crossed with Hellraiser. These massive beasts seem to be possessing and taking the shape of giant clock-tower faces that have gigantic arms made out of pieces of decaying buildings (best I could come up with here).

As the story goes, they’re all sent from a place called Paradiso and as one of the last remaining good Witches of Umbra, Bayonetta fights her way to stop the malicious plans of an evil Lumen sage by the name of Balder who has already eradicated the rest of her kind by trying to manipulate mankind into thinking the Umbra are evil and creating the ongoing Witch Hunts.

After being in hibernation of sorts for 500 years, Bayonetta is finally set free and works alongside a very hesitant Rodin who looks after a shop called The Gates of Hell (the place to purchase all your weapon and move upgrades) and an informant by the name of Enzo, who acts and sounds identical to the likes of Joe Pesci.

The game itself plays in the same vein as the original Devil May Cry, incorporating a third-person combat and gunplay, running off walls, shooting and using slow motion and time-bending comes in and out of play randomly. It’s an absolute pleasure to play even if at times the camera tried to take you on as well, the updated graphics for the port seem mostly polished from its Xbox 360 version and while it definitely has aged mechanics, it just works so smoothly on the Switch while on and off the dock and at a full 60 frames. I noticed it more when off the dock as the compressed pictures are sharper and more defined than when it’s stretched onto the big screen, but either way you choose, it’s hard to be disappointed.

While many, many other ports and re-releases will and have been hitting the Nintendo Switch at a rate of about 2 a week and not all of them age well (Skyrim I’m looking at you) I just cannot recommend Bayonetta enough, especially for any fans of Devil May Cry or any of Platinum Games other titles Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and the amazing Nier: Automata which leads into Bayonetta 2 on the Switch which our Video Games Editor David Smith talks about next.

Review Score: 8.5 out of 10
Highlights: Nice clean and crisp visuals and framerate on and off the Switch dock, Combat holds up brilliantly after so many years, the enormous boss battles are a sight to behold.
Lowlights: Story is very convoluted, to begin with, Camera angles can become hard to tackle with sometimes.
Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Nintendo
February 16
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a retail code provided by the publisher.