February 16, 2018
Platinum Games, Sega, Nex Entertainment
If, like me, you’re a fan of strong and empowering female protagonists, then you’ve probably already heard of Bayonetta. This beautiful British bombshell is the star of the action-adventure hack ‘n’ slash Bayonetta series, which Nintendo recently revealed is getting a second sequel. In light of the announcement, Platinum Games and Nintendo have also released Bayonetta’s first and second adventures on the Nintendo Switch in February 2018.
For anyone unfamiliar with the Bayonetta series, the titular heroine is the last Umbran Witch, a powerful faction that follows the darkness, and have made pacts with the demons of Inferno (Hell) to gain powerful abilities. The Umbran Witches have eternally been at war with the Lumen Sages, a similar race who have instead followed the light and made pacts with the angels of Paradiso (Heaven). Bayonetta herself is an Umbran Witch who was sealed for many ages as the Umbran Witches fell to the sages and the human world after being hunted to extinction out of fear of their powers. Bayonetta’s first adventure has her awaken with amnesia and, after 20 years, traveling to Vigrid (a fictional European city) to discover more about her past, her identity and seeking the other half of the “Eyes of the World” she holds.
“Where Bayonetta shines is in its creative combo system. Each weapon has its own set combos and moves which vary greatly depending on the combination and allow a free-flowing and versatile fighting experience.”
Bayonetta plays in a similar manner to the Devil May Cry series, in which the player uses a combination of weapons and hand-to-hand combat to defeat otherworldly enemies in a stylish fashion. The game is broken up into chapters of gameplay, which are further broken up into verses containing combat and puzzle sections. Rankings are given for combo points, time and damage taken at the end of each verse, with the player receiving an overall rank at the end of the chapter.
Where Bayonetta shines is in its creative combo system. Each weapon has its own set combos and moves which vary greatly depending on the combination and allow a free-flowing and versatile fighting experience. Players can change between two weapon sets on the fly mid-combo to mix and match weapons to suit the enemy and their playstyle. The weapons themselves are intricate and unique, ranging from Bayonetta’s trademark handguns, Scarborough Fair, to swords, whips and even ice-producing ice-skates named Odette (themed after Swan Lake).
The Nintendo Switch of Bayonetta is essentially a polished port of the Wii U remastered version. The Nintendo costumes included in the Wii U version return, as do the touch-based controls in which combat can be controlled by tapping enemies and swiping towards or away from enemies and hazards. Whilst the touch controls are refreshing, they do feel clumsy at times and one slip can mess up an otherwise great combo.
The control configuration of the original version remains, but with the thin and sleek design of the Nintendo Switch joy cons, the shoulder buttons are slightly awkward to use, especially to switch weapons and dodge. This can frustrate players until they adjust but using the pro controller may be a better alternative. In addition, the Switch version also includes smoother graphics and 60fps framerate, reduced loading times and is optimised for both handheld and docked play. The fabulous soundtrack returns with a gorgeous cover of Kaye Ballard’s “Fly Me to the Moon” featuring as a special battle theme.
Bayonetta 1 is available as a digital download with the special edition of Bayonetta 2 on the Nintendo Switch and through the Nintendo Switch store. If you picked up the Wii U version of the original Bayonetta, I recommend picking this up if you want to play on the go or appreciate smoother graphics. If you’re new to the series, there has never been a better time to pick up the Nintendo Switch versions of the first and second games, before Bayonetta 3 arrives exclusively to the Switch in the near future.
- Whips, ice skates and claws - Who else could wield those?
- Beautiful British female protagonist
- Fantastic soundtrack
- Smooth 60fps framerate
- Awkward controls when using the joycon
- No amiibo support
- Occasional slowdown
- Not many new features
Bayonetta on the Nintendo Switch is a polished, compact and well-looking port of the original. Whether you are picking it up for the first time, or revisiting the series as it expands, you will be sure to enjoy your time as Bayonetta in her original adventure before Bayonetta 3 releases.