Bayonetta 3

Review: Bayonetta 3

It’s been nearly a decade wait for fans of Bayonetta. Now, all that patience will be rewarded as PlatinumGames returns with another excellent entry into the franchise that delivers some incredible moments filled with action and witchcraft. Bayonetta 3 continues the trend of throwing players into some of the most off-kilter situations at the titular heroine my time over the last week solidifies the third entry as the most chaotic.

To keep this recap brief, Bayonetta began as a multiplatform title that never hit the sales high of Devil May Cry. PlatinumGames, the developer of the series never let that stop them as it moved to be a Nintendo exclusive. While I’ve never been a diehard fan of the series but have played them as a casual fan of the genre, I am more than ready to see how the developer does right by the most devoted fans, the character, and the genre. And what I’ve been able to gauge is that PlatinumGames has done just that and more.

Bayonetta 3 Is A Witchin’ Good Time

I’ve never played the Bayonetta series for its plot and quite frankly, the story has never been the main selling point of these titles. The minute you start as the Umbran Witch, you’re thrust into action and it doesn’t stop until credits roll — the adrenaline of playing a fast-paced title like this is all you need to worry about, landing beautiful combos and annihilating the forces of Homunculi in stylish set-pieces. It’s a ballet and you’re the star of this show, and the constant feeling of satisfaction you get from nailing attacks to timing dodges is indulgent on its own.


Homunculi are the newest threat you’ll face off against and they are some of the most intimidating enemies we’ve seen so far. Each interaction is a step up in Bayonetta 3 as things tend to take the go big or go home approach to set pieces. Instead of a fictional world previous entries featured, Bayonetta 3 kicks off with a multiverse version of the titular character taking on a new enemy that quickly lays waste to our heroine. Not long after, we see another version of Bayonetta in New as Enzo chauffeurs her around the city as she completes errands.

Within minutes, a wave of Homunculi lay waste in the city with a massive cruise liner and tsunami leading the charge. It isn’t long before we’re given a basic rundown of the mechanics including Infernal Demons, Witch Time, and the new Demon Masquerade mechanic. Out of the features added to Bayonetta 3, being able to transform into a demon and traverse the world or use their abilities in combat opens up a wealth of options for players.


Despite all the improvements, certain summoning sessions across locations like New York and Tokyo become an on-rail experience. Watching Gomorrah smash into a skyscraper at full speed before sliding down the side of another building would be near-impossible to control. Instead, you make do with controlling his movements and sometimes smacking away smaller Homunculi like a fly in your face. The sheer size of the Demons you summon as they mow through trains, segments of Shibuya, and several other locations as the camera follows feels reminds me of watching Cloverfield and trying to keep up with the monster in the movie. Miraculously all of this comes together and never feels out of place or too hard to follow.


Don’t Mess With a Witch

Colour My World for example allows you to fuse with Madama Butterfly and area-of-effect moves in combat or use Madama Butterfly’s wings to glide and overcome gaps. Alternatively, Phantasmaraneae returns and combines into a massive spider-like creature while allowing you to use webs to immobilize Homunculi. Equipping the massive hammer G-Pillar trades the speed of your pistols for raw power. Your weapon resembles Gomorrah and includes a powerful pulse rifle too. As fun as it is to use these moves, you’re not allowed to activate some of their power indoors and in closed spaces.


Furthermore, a most welcome addition to the core revolves around Demon Slaves. If you’ve played Astral Chain from PlatinumGames then you might see the connection I’m going to make. In Astral Chain, your character used Legions in battle. These Legions offer their fighting style and specialty and can be controlled by your character. In Bayonetta 3, Demon slaves can be brought into battle to tackle enemies while you freely move around the environment. The evolution of the Beast Within mechanic is one thing I’m glad was brought over. By holding the ZL button and using the face buttons, use your demon companions to deliver a devastating assault on the Homunculi.

Each Demon Slave not only comes with several moves to fend off enemies but they also have special moves you can chain into Witch Time. Gomorrah bites enemies for big damage when you hold the R button, for example, but doing this drains your new magic metre. Thankfully, some areas offer an Umbra summoning circle where you have access to unlimited magic but only when you’re standing on it. But these circles mean your movement is also limited.


Combat feels incredible, coming off as finely tuned and responsive. In short, fighting is the best it has ever been at the expense of a few welcome changes to the formula. For starters, you no longer need to equip weapons but now can equip sets for quick swapping. It’s a smart change to the formula I think because it’s easily one less thing to worry about. Accessories return with some of them enraging enemies or increasing magic recovery or preventing Infernal Demons from becoming enraged. Being able to mix and match these between sets opens up your choices in battles giving you the freedom to make flashy and precise movements against the various Homunculi.

In a first for the series, Bayonetta 3 introduces skill trees. Instead of saving all currency for Rodin’s Shop, you now unlock a set of skill trees in the first chapter. Your demons come with their skills as well and there’s a lot of freedom to how you equip skills. There’s also a new currency called Embryos the Homunculi drop when defeated and these are used for purchasing lollipops and various consumables.


Everything Everywhere, All At Once

Another shakeup is the inclusion of Viola, a witch in training from another universe. Her inclusion feels in line with how Nero was introduced in Devil May Cry 4. Unlike the titular Bayonetta, Viola uses a katana and darts to battle enemies and summons a Cheshire demon. Playing as Viola is noticeably different because she’s not a full-fledged Umbra Witch. Her demon companion Cheshire acts indecently from her so it makes for unpredictable encounters against the Homunculi.


From the earliest moments, Viola has a lot to learn and that is shown through the way Viola plays as a newcomer. A good example is how Witch Time is used when playing as her. Whereas Bayonetta dodges to slow down time, Viola must block instead. As you play through the campaign, her character grows into a powerful ally, one that is so much fun to control.

Whereas I felt previous Bayonetta games had a story hard to explain, that isn’t the case any longer. Newcomers should have an easier time acclimating to the events unfolding from the start. Viola’s sent to a new reality looking to find a man named Sigurd and the Chaos Gates. With the help of Bayonetta, Viola must find the Chaos Gates to help stop the multiverse from being destroyed by Singularity, the main antagonist who seemingly wants to make its universe the only universe in existence.


With some guidance from Rodin, you’re sent to the island of Thule, a point in time connecting the multiverse. Thule offers many secrets and challenges for those who are brave enough to venture deep into the island.

New Game, New Voice

Regarding the current issues surrounding former Bayonetta voice actress Hellena Taylor and PlatinumGames, the situation is explained in full here. After things didn’t work out between Taylor and the studio, Jennifer Hale was brought on as the new lead for Bayonetta 3. Losing Taylor is undoubtedly a big loss for many people. She brought a unique voice to the character for years and I fully agree she should be paid a living wage (all voice actors should). Hale’s take on the character is unique but familiar, offering a fine middle ground for everyone to enjoy the story. For myself, the punchiness of Taylor’s voice is what made her take on the Umbra Witch so iconic and I would love to find this relationship between VA and the studio mended.


For a title running on the Switch’s going-on five-year hardware, PlatinumGames goes above and beyond at delivering an experience that runs at a consistent framerate. I rarely saw anything below 60 FPS in docked and handheld modes. The character models and environments also make a great case for picking up the Switch OLED Model. PlatinumGames knows how to make the Switch hardware sing.


Bayonetta 3 delivers the most chaotic, luminous, and enthralling sequel filled with quality-of-life improvements that make this an immensely satisfying adventure. By building off the already finely-tuned mechanics, nearly perfecting them in the process, Bayonetta 3 could end here and go out in a satisfying fashion. Between the bigger worlds, variety of options in combat, and high-octane humour, I had a hard time putting my Switch down.

[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]

Reviewed on: Switch

Bayonetta 3
Bayonetta 3 delivers the most chaotic, luminous, and enthralling sequel filled with quality-of-life improvements that make this an immensely satisfying adventure.
Quality of life changes make this an incredible glow up for the series
Viola is a welcome addition to the Bayonetta lore
Tons of freedom in battle, skilled players will have a blast
Didn't Like
Load times can be a bit long