Bayonetta, Nintendo Switch

I’ve been intrigued by Bayonetta ever since Bayonetta 2 was first announced for Wii U. And after finally getting a copy for Christmas, I was excited to dive in and play it, even though action games are normally what I’d go for.

Bayonetta‘s titular character awakens from a 500 year slumber with no memory of who she is, or of the witch hunts 500 years prior to this game and of which she is the sole survivor.  Bayonetta follows her story as she pieces her memory back together and wreaks her vengeance.

Screenshot from Bayonetta

In Bayonetta you fight back against the Lumen Sages with blend of firearms, physical attacks and magic, strung together in a fluid and fast-paced combat system. Thankfully though, it’s not (quite) all mindless button-bashing as in many action games. By dodging enemy attacks at just the last minute you enter witch time, freezing enemies in place so you can hit them with combo attacks and gradually building up your magic so that you can unleash punishing finishers.

This brings a level of skill to the combat, and there’s something quite satisfying about getting your timing just right, so that you can efficiently take out enemies. This becomes even more satisfying when Bayonetta finds herself pitted against one of the truly epic bosses.

Screenshot from Bayonetta

Towards the latter stages of the game, I did find a couple of these bosses particularly punishing. And found it frustrating as I replayed the same boss fight over and over, trying to finally best them. This reached its peak with one boss near the closing stages, who very nearly enraged me enough to throw my pro controller across the room.

Thanks to the help of a friend who was staying for the weekend, I realised that I should have been upgrading Bayonetta’s weapons and health and magic meters. Turns out that I should have been frustrated with Bayonetta‘s lack of explanation of how to increase the damage I could give and take rather than its difficulty curve.

A quick visit to the Gates of Hell – the store within Bayonetta – soon sorted that, and I quickly started making progress again. It left me grateful for both my friend’s timely intervention and the fact that I’d doggedly refused to give up thus far.

What had given me that determination to keep playing for so long, despite being increasingly frustrated with the (incorrectly) perceived difficulty? It was because I love Bayonetta’s character. She is one sassy witch, and the game’s writing sparkles with humour and witty one-liners.

Bayonetta‘s character, story and enemies are ridiculous and outlandish. Despite that (or maybe because of it?) I couldn’t help but fall in love with her, and I kept playing simply because I  wanted more of Bayonetta. Add to this a brilliant soundtrack that is itself full of wit and energy (particularly the brilliant upbeat cover of ‘Fly Me to the Moon’), and you have a really enjoyable experience.

I loved my time with Bayonetta, and was genuinely a bit disappointed when it came to an end. The good news is that I have both Bayonetta 2 to look forward to, and the excitement of Bayonetta 3 in the future. I really can’t wait to see how Platinum Games have built on this great first entry and discover what’s in store next for this sassy witch.


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