Bayonetta 3 upholds the franchise's lineage of being one of the most imaginative and stylish third-person action-adventure games available.
Developer PlatinumGames continues to feature some of the most chaotic cinematics and wildest turn of events in gaming today, perhaps ever. It is impossible to predict what will happen next, which beyond the amazing gameplay, is arguably the best aspect of the game.
Bayonetta 3 is a game that must be experienced to be believed.
Gameplay Impressions and Accessibility Options
PlatinumGames once again does an excellent job providing accessible features to ensure gamers of all ages can enjoy the gameplay and advance through the story. The difficulty options are fantastic, especially the casual difficulty and different control schemes that can assist players with awesome combos.
For gamers who love to mash buttons and feel overpowered in their hack-and-slash games, Bayonetta 3 is very much like Bayonetta 2 in that anybody should be able to simply pick up the controller and have a blast. There's plenty of moves to unlock and items to purchase with in-game currency, but with the accessibility options players will be able to feel like they have a command of the gameplay and not have to worry about figuring out which buttons to chain in order to master combos.
The "Witch Time" dodge mechanic and special "Climax" moves return. Despite appearing in multiple games, these features never get old. It is always fun to see how much damage Bayonetta can inflict in the short window when time slows down after executing the perfect dodge for Witch Time, especially when combining with the attacks of the biggest and likely most divisive feature: Summons.
It's understandable PlatinumGames would want to make the new summons a staple within the gameplay, but compared to previous games, it feels a bit too reliant on this new mechanic. The appeal for many people with these games is being able to control Bayonetta because she's a commanding character and her stylish gameplay has proved to be awe-inspiring.
Although summons often are not mandatory, the ease of use by simply holding the ZL button definitely feels like the developer pushing for their use. There are encounters that don't allow for the use of summons, which is smart so gamers don't feel the need to always use them. However, for encounters where summons are an option, it feels like they're the ideal way to go in order to maximize damage output.
Granted, gamers have previous games to go back to in order to experience Bayonetta combat if they want, so summons are a way to push gameplay to a different level. However, considering how prevalent summons are in the game, some may wonder if they would have been better served tied to specific moments instead of being so readily available.
Another major change that will likely be divisive is the introduction of the new character Viola.
Viola is every bit as fun to control as Bayonetta from a gameplay perspective. There are enough similarities and differences to ensure the forced switch during the story doesn't feel jarring. Sequences with Viola further push variety and prevent things from being predictable. Viola has different weapons, a different summon and her own skills for unique combos, so it's easy to see how important of a character she is to PlatinumGames given how much care and attention went into her sequences.
There will be no spoilers here as gamers will understand the importance of her inclusion as they progress through the story. Despite that, it's safe to assume many people will prefer Bayonetta since they've been part of her journey for two other mainline games, plus appearances in other franchises like Super Smash Bros.
In general, gameplay sequences are quick, especially in relation to how many cinematics there are. Players might be playing a sequence for less than one minute and are then thrusted back into a cinematic. This isn't new to the franchise or other character-action games, like Asura's Wrath, but it may be jarring for players who just want to get back into the action. Of course, there is an option to skip scenes altogether, which will make speedruns very appealing.
PlatinumGames does a great job with the level design as they feel bigger than previous entries. One interesting element is that it's possible to miss some combat encounters if the player just focuses on the linear path to the next story beat. This isn't a negative, but instead a plus, as that inherently will drive replayability as players replay chapters to see encounters they may have missed.
Although Bayonetta is rated for mature audiences as it skews on the risqué side, "Naive Angel" mode will create an experience for more people to enjoy, especially younger gamers. Since Nintendo leans toward family-friendly experiences, this is a brilliant accessibility featured in order for PlatinumGames to cater to all people instead of isolating potential gamers.
Bayonetta 3 is a spectacle showcase in every chapter as the absurdity level continues to top itself. Although it likely won't match Bayonetta 2's Metacrtic score of 92 or even the original's Metacritic score of 90, it is a worthwhile and unique experience to expand the Bayonetta franchise.
The game is filled with weird and random moments that make for an extremely varied experience. PlatinumGames is constantly changing up gameplay sequences to keep the game feeling fresh and preventing it from being too stagnant in any chapter. Bayonetta 3 is one of the most unexpected and unpredictable games available, even by standards set by the franchise more than a decade ago.
Bayonetta 3 features awesome set pieces from around the world in well-designed levels. The zany story will keep gamers on the edge of their seat to see what will happen next as it goes to places difficult to even imagine.
The gameplay is the star of the show once again, which might be the only predictable aspect of Bayonetta 3 because the game goes to places that are so unpredictable. It is surely a must-play for fans of the series to see the evolution of Bayonetta's character, the carefully crafted world and fantastic gameplay.