Bayonetta - Review

Author: Gianluca "Ualone" Loggia
Date: 2020-03-03 01:46:12
Find the review of Bayonetta 2 here. But we strongly recommend that you read this first, especially if you have never played either game.

In early 2010 (late 2009 in Japan), Bayonetta was a wonderful surprise for all lovers of stylish action games. The genre born eight and a half years earlier with Devil May Cry saw a new milestone arise, precisely thanks to the one who created the progenitor, that is Hideki Kamiya, who in the meantime had abandoned Capcom and founded PlatinumGames together with other ex of the Osaka house .

Bayonetta has a lot in common with its spiritual predecessor, but it is also a game that can add something interesting to its genre. It starts from a common base, with Devil May Cry: both are third-person action games in which the killing of enemies and passing levels is only a small part of what the player can and must aim for. In stylish actions, in fact, what matters is not so much winning, but winning well. And in Bayonetta, marrying this philosophy is fundamental to be able to appreciate all that the game has to offer.

It starts with a frenetic, elegant, exaggerated and fun fighting system, which tests reflexes and stimulates the desire to try new solutions, which is brought closer without problems immediately, but which requires study and training to be mastered at the better. And, above all, that at some point it begins to give great addiction. To the taste and the need to learn to generate increasingly spectacular (and at the same time effective) combos, Bayonetta adds an ingenious element: the dodge that, if performed with perfect timing just a moment before the attack of the enemy hits, makes start the Sabbath Temporale (Witch Time), or a slowdown of the time valid only for enemies. Bayonetta continues to move at normal speed, in that short period of time, and can thus land her shots practically undisturbed.

If you have never tried the Temporal Sabbath, I envy you. The way it fits into Bayonetta's combat system is one of the tastiest things in video game history.

In general, certainly the combat system of this game is among the best ever, and the thing that I noticed with great satisfaction is that it is still very pleasant today. I will tell you more: I don't think anything better has been seen in these eight years. A game can be old for many reasons, but it is certainly more old if, over the years, its genre of belonging evolves and sees new paradigms born. With stylish action games it doesn't seem to have happened, and Bayonetta remains therefore still today among the best exponents of the trend, if not the best ever.

The same cannot be said of all the other aspects of the game, of course, starting with the technical realization which, unlike the combat system, more clearly denounces the weight of the years. This is also because the game has not been subject to particular reinterpretations. The same Bayonetta we saw on the Xbox 360 and PS3, and a few years later on the Wii U, also came up on Switch. As mentioned in the preview a few days ago, the resolution is the same as the original versions of 2010 (720p), which perfectly matches the Switch screen when playing in portable mode, but it is a little difficult to be satisfactory when it is coated on the 3840x2160 pixels of a 4K 55 ”, like the one used for the test. Fortunately, however, the frame rate is convincing: the game remains practically fixed at 60fps and this allows you to enjoy the best of its nature of frenetic action, where timing and fluidity are essential elements. It is certainly not the technical realization, the reason why a Switch owner should approach Bayonetta. Those who want the perfect version of Kamiya's action game would probably do better to turn to that release a few months ago for PC. On Switch, the whim to relive (or live for the first time) the adventures of the witch of Umbra is certainly to be found in other reasons, which we will talk about shortly.

Some stylistic solutions, like many of the interlude scenes created with static or little animated images, may also seem a bit old. And I must also point out that, to replay it today, some of the boss fights, as well as some moments of the game in general, seemed a little too cumbersome in some of their mechanics. I refer only to all those moments in which the game detaches itself from its basic combat system and offers alternative solutions such as jumps to be performed at certain times, buttons to be pressed when the appropriate warning appears on the screen (but without the softness and clarity that usually characterizes quick time events in other games) and things of this type. These are small variations that are not always spot on on a main theme that is fantastic as it is and therefore there would not even have been a need to season with "external" elements.

If the graphics may seem a pinch dated from a technical point of view, from the artistic side it has not aged even a bit and the exaggerated and trashy style with which the settings, characters and many enemies that face each other during the adventure are made , in my opinion, is still fantastic and worthy of being appreciated today by those who have not had the opportunity to do it long ago.