Bayonetta has always been a phenomenal series. Developed by Platinum Games, masters of the character action genre, the Bayonetta games mix action and style arguably better than the mascot of the genre – better than Devil May Cry.
The games mix a ridiculously over the top, badass female lead with a story revolving around religious rebellion, mythology and demons, and undercut all that with action gameplay that’s fast, unforgiving and stylish as hell.
Yes, the story of Umbran Witches versus Lumen Sages – with angels sent to destroy the titular character – might be awash with nonsense and packed with tropes, but to be honest most of that is just dressing for set-pieces that allow for some of the most satisfying action gameplay you’ll get on the Nintendo Switch.
Bayonetta has already been released on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, but the second game never made it past the doomed Wii U – and that means many fans of the series never got to play this classic. But perhaps that was a blessing in disguise, because the Nintendo Switch versions of these games are definitive.
The most notable difference here is that they run at 60 frames per second. Granted, these games never quite make it to 1080P (they’re locked at 720p), but that doesn’t really matter: all the detail you need is still there, and the blistering speed of the action is displayed flawlessly by the Switch whether you have it in docked or handheld mode.
The graphics are crisp, you can always see what’s going on – even when the screen is brimming with angelic foes – and Bayonetta’s moves are endlessly satisfying to watch in this new, better framerate. How Platinum managed to get this game running in 720p at 60FPS on the Switch is incredible. It’s witchcraft.
Considering most of the gameplay in Bayonetta is based around dodging, activating Witch Time (where everything slows down so you can hammer your enemies without the risk of injury) and capitalising on your generous hitboxes, this refreshed framerate makes a significant difference – even if you want to play through the whole game in handheld mode.
The Switch version of Bayonetta 2 comes with amiibo support, too, allowing you to unlock new costumes for the witch if you put different amiibo in the game. You can also play in co-op on the game, which is a bit messy on a smaller screen, but is a nice touch for players wanting to share in the madness.
Otherwise, the gameplay holds up. Granted Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 are nine and five years old respectively, but both are still serviceable, good-looking and enjoyable games. For anyone that was let down with how Devil May Cry ended up being represented in DmC, you need to pick this package up: Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 prove that there is still much to be done in the character action genre – and these games show off just how well stylish action like this can be achieved.
Playing both games together like this shows you just how far Platinum Games developed the idea of Bayonetta over two titles: the insta-fail QTEs are removed by the second game, the combat is tighter, the enemies are more varied and smarter, and that central ‘sexy’ theme is explored to its most ludicrous illogical conclusions.
Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 are both masterclasses in action, shining examples of fast-paced combat gameplay. You can complete both games in around ten hours each, but if you want to master the combos, get yourself gold medals for all the challenges, unlock everything there is to unlock, then you’ve got a package here that is going to keep you feverishing mashing the buttons on your Switch for days, if not weeks. This remaster truly offers incredible value.
THE VERDICT – 5/5
• One of the best action games ever made
• Remarkable production values
• Crisp visuals running at 60FPS
• The first game has annoying QTEs