Bayonetta 3 review: An updated, over-the-top spectacle

Enlarge / Did you miss me?

Jump between worlds, master new powers, add unique and powerful weapons to your arsenal, and realize that true strength comes from your connections to others…Bayonet 3 proposes a formula that would seem familiar to all Kingdom Hearts fan, which is somewhat fitting given that both series have a nearly ten-year gap between their second and third releases.

In his third entry, the Bayonet the series sees a real forward momentum that the second lacked, especially in terms of story. The first one Bayonet was a flashy introduction to our titular hero and his crew of vaguely disreputable friends and acquaintances, setting a precedent for time travel and other instances of reality-bending in his world. Its sequel focused more on the bonds between Bayonetta and those close to her, with a narrative that focused too much on explaining the first game. Eight years later, Bayonet 3 takes a bold step forward while keeping all the sexy swagger we’ve come to expect from the giant Umbra Witch.

A spectacular fantasy, emphasizing the “spectacle”

We open on Bayonetta and Enzo (a stereotypical Italian gangster turned family man) on a shopping spree in New York. Unsurprisingly, the witch dragged him to carry her bags in exchange for a former pro bono job. We have our first glimpse of Jennifer Hale voicing this role, and despite all the recent controversy, she offers a quality interpretation of the character. I was expecting “British Commander Shepard”, but Hale lived up to her iconic status, managing to deliver her own take on the witch that felt true to the character.

Shortly after Jeanne reappears, sporting an updated look and a sick motorcycle, her entrance is quickly overshadowed by a giant wave that quickly begins to completely overwhelm the city. The witches, along with Rodin – who now has a pizza side gig in addition to running The Gates of Hell – attempt to determine the cause of the disaster and soon encounter new slimy green enemies who aren’t from Paradiso (Heaven) or Hell. (Hell). This is a bit of a problem for Bayonetta, as her demonic contracts require her to provide angels for food, and those creatures don’t seem to count. But as an ancient and powerful witch, Bayonetta still has a few tricks up her sleeve.

The witch Umbra always pulls off many impressive stunts.
Enlarge / The witch Umbra always pulls off many impressive stunts.

We quickly discover the first of the new mechanics of this game: demonic slaves. By doing an extended dance and ripping her own heart out of her chest, Bayonetta is able to push the boundaries of her usual deals with contracted demons (go ahead). It also makes demons more powerful, allowing them to fully manifest to fight alongside him during the game’s combat sequences.

Eventually, Bayonetta encounters a new villain, simply called Virgo, who has the same glowing green energy as those grunts and seemingly jumps through different realities and destroys them in order to make theirs the only one that exists. The only way to stop the destruction of all but one reality is to collect five Chaos Gears.

A young woman named Viola knows these items are essential to saving their worlds, but she doesn’t quite know how to use them. The only one who does is Dr. Sigurd, who has disappeared. So Bayonetta takes Viola to collect the Chaos Gears while Jeanne fetches the doctor. From there, the game is divided into main and secondary chapters. In the main chapters, you play out the journey of Bayonetta and Viola, while the side chapters follow Jeanne as she infiltrates an enemy facility in search of Dr. Sigurd.

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