Developer: Platinum Games
If you are anything like me you were both shocked and incredibly excited to hear about the launch of Bayonetta on the PC recently. Sega teased an announcement, and then out of left field here is Bayonetta, in 4K no less, on the PC. Bayonetta originally released on the Xbox 360 and PS3 back in late 2009/early 2010 depending on which part of the globe you call home. It received critical acclaim and pretty solid commercial success. The sequel, Bayonetta 2 was interestingly enough published exclusively for the Wii U which was a huge let down to anyone that enjoyed the first one but skipped out on that console, and despite the great reviews and stellar looking gameplay, it was not a console selling game.
Bayonetta is built on a very simple, highly polished combat system. Controls are easy to grasp and intuitive, movement is something that just happens and doesn’t require a lot of thought and everything feels seamless. At its core, Bayonetta is about a lady wearing her hair as an outfit and using it as a weapon fighting angels. There is a decent story here, but it ultimately takes a back seat to the action in front of you. Bayonetta takes cues from Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry and several other great hack and slash titles and puts them to devastating effect. Combat is fast and brutal from start to finish. Enemies aren’t tanks that require you to beat on them with combo after combo, but they are also no scrubs. It feels like you are always just strong enough to take everything they throw at you, but never so much that you get complacent. Every encounter requires you to be on your toes, but pay attention and focus and you will get through it.
Fluidity and rhythm are the key components to the combat in Bayonetta. Chaining together combos is less about how fast you press buttons and more about the timing of the presses. Different enemies will require you to fight differently and use different patterns and rhythms. Fighting in Bayonetta is an art, and mastery of its systems can make you feel like an artist. Learning how to bounce between enemies at the right times and when to target which opponents on the fly is exhilarating.
Dodging is another mechanic that you will want to become more than familiar with. You are able to dodge out of danger at any point during a fight, including mid combo. Time it right, and “Witch time” kicks in, allowing you precious seconds to slaughter angels while they can’t really fight back. Bayonetta is all about dodging and managing the field in front of you, because while Bayonetta may not be terribly difficult, enemies can bring your game to a crashing halt of you aren’t careful and try to go toe to toe with too many of them.
Boss fights are intense sequences of spectacle and flair, with a good bit of awe and wonder thrown in for good measure. Every encounter is unique and each one teaches you something about the game, both in how it plays and the lore. I found myself always looking forward to the next big encounter eagerly, anxious to continue on and learn more. These fights range from huge sprawling fields against monsters to tight spaces against humanoids, and all of them are great.
This PC release brings with it a gorgeous graphic update, with smooth 60fps and 4K visuals you can see every detail the development team created for you. This is truly the definitive edition of this game, and one that you have to pick up if you are a PC gamer, whether you played Bayonetta when it launched originally or not. Bayonetta is a great hack and slash that takes what works in other games and adds its own unique flair and style, which pays off handsomely.