Bayonetta 3: PlatinumGames' iconic witch is back and more destructive than ever
With launch coming soon, we've already been hands-on with a bunch of the long-awaited threequel.
A colossal threat is approaching our poor world and it's none other than the gaming world's most cocky witch who, using magical weapons, dark powers, enslaved demons and an otherworldly attitude, stands between us and the danger. Bayonetta 3 is just over two weeks away, but before it arrives we've been given a glimpse of what's to come as black magic is interspersed with challenging camera angles and an unbridled amount of action.
Because action it is. If you've played any of the previous instalments in the series, you'll recognise again that a lot of the foundation of Bayonetta 3 revolves around dealing as much punishment as you possibly can to any poor enemies that stand in your way. This is done with a solid gallery of special attacks and combos that are introduced over the course of the adventure. In addition, by investing magical orbs in a classic skill tree, you can evolve Bayonetta into a human buzz saw of sorts, with each upgrade offering a greater and fiercer demonic overkill than the last. You'll just have to trust your muscle memory because when the Switch controller's array of buttons no longer suffices, Bayonetta 3 compensates with a plethora of button combinations that get more intricate the more extensive the attack. Remembering which pattern does what becomes a challenge for those who want to fully master Bayonetta's art of combat.
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The arsenal of skills is further broadened by the ability to switch between different weapons during combat. Up to two tools can be activated at the same time, and you switch between them with a simple press of a button on the controller. Each weapon has its own skill tree, and from what we've seen so far, we can look forward to dishing out magical blasts with attachments like; a large demonic club called the G-Pillar, Bayonetta's four signature pistols (one on each arm and ankle), or a speedy fire yo-yo. Each weapon also comes with a new demonic form that Bayonetta can use to deal out a little extra punishment at the end of a battle sequence or to aid in exploring the levels.
The new weapons and forms are also directly linked to Bayonetta's giant enslaved demons, which can be summoned in the heat of battle and are useful for a limited time when you're facing an extra tough group of enemies. However, you can quickly recharge your magical ability and summon Bayonetta's demonic minions again after only a few seconds, meaning the limited magic meter is rarely a hindrance. Using the demons can be a risky proposition, however, because while you're given full control of your monster, Bayonetta herself is left on the ground, defenceless and exposed, dancing a dance of sin to keep her connection with the demon intact. Gomorrah and Madama Butterfly are two familiar names to Bayonetta fans and both are back to cause more mayhem whenever you summon them, as long as it's not too crowded - because they're both very big.
After each completed clash, your points are added up and you're graded on how well you've performed across a range of sub-goals, and in addition to the classic gold, silver and bronze medals, you can also be awarded a stone if your effort was really weak or platinum if you do incredibly well. If you're feeling particularly pleased with the result or are simply socially inclined, you're also encouraged to upload your results to the internet to be compared with like-minded players around the world.
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Although you'll mainly be playing as Bayonetta, you'll also occasionally get to know and control the enigmatic witch Viola, who mysteriously appears at the start of the game and plays a key role in the story. As Viola, you have access to a magical katana that comes with its own unique abilities and a separate skill tree. She too has the power to summon a dark champion who fights in her name but unlike Bayonetta who is left vulnerable when monster action ensues, you get to continue roaming around unarmed as Viola while your demon takes over the sword and goes rogue on the environment on its own.
In between your battles, it might be worth taking an extra look around the various environments as there's often some hidden treasure to be had for the keen-eyed. Sometimes these are classic collectibles, but often you'll stumble across puzzles that pay valuable dividends in the form of increased health or available magic. In between turns, you'd also do well to visit the Gates of Hell nightclub, where you can buy supplies like magic replenishers and upgrades of various kinds for currency collected by slaying enemies.
It's been a whopping eight years since we last saw Bayonetta shine in her own title and since Bayonetta 2 released in 2014 we've only seen her as a guest appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but soon she'll be back in full force and we at the editorial team are filled with anticipation to see more of what the gaming world's most fashion-conscious witch has to offer when she arrives on Nintendo Switch on October 28th. Our review of the adventure will, of course, be available to read here on the site a few days before then.