If you're still looking for a fast-paced, bloody reason to pick up the Nintendo Switch, this is the game that just might get you off the fence.
Nintendo's newest console has seen a steady stream of quality games since its release early last year, but there's been one major gap: A bloody, mature beat-em-up. With the arrival of the Bayonetta franchise on the Nintendo Switch, that void is filled.
If you're unfamiliar with Bayonetta, here's your quick recap: Our heroine burst onto the scene way back in 2009, delivering one of the finest action games of the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 era.
Bayonetta is a witch who fights at a pace that would leave Devil May Cry's Dante in the dust, and she does it with plenty of attitude and an empowered awareness of her own sex appeal. She does it with unique abilities, too; there's Witch Time, which rewards your well-timed enemy dodges by slowing the world so Bayonetta can unleash terrific attacks, with guns that fire from her stilettos, and with oodles of flair.
Five years later, Bayonetta 2 was a Nintendo Wii U exclusive, delivering even more explosive combat and a stronger story. A video game hack-and-slash superstar was born, and the timing couldn't have been any better; the Ninja Gaiden franchise has experienced a stunning falloff in recent years, and all is quiet on the Devil May Cry front.
There's a Bayonetta 3 on the distant horizon, but Nintendo couldn't wait for Switch gamers to get a piece of the witch's action. So we get these two classic games, both tweaked to perfection and packaged into a Switch bargain: A physical copy of Bayonetta 2 with a download code for the original game will run you $59.99.
That's a strong price for two games that stand the test of time. The common issue with fast-paced battlers (and with both Bayonetta titles on the last generation of consoles) was framerate, but that's largely smoothed out on the Switch. Both games run at 720p whether you're docked or undocked, but both run far more fluidly; only the largest encounters in Bayonetta 2 delivered slight slowdown.
Neither game shows much age, which makes the franchise perfect for gamers new to the series (but prepping for Bayonetta 3) or vets who just want to take the action on the go. Bayonetta 2 is easily the stronger title, with more lustrous story cutscenes, and faster action. The original title does have slight pacing issues with its story; the storytelling lacks creativity, and, especially early on, you spend too much of the game watching instead of playing. But once it settles in, it's a terrific ride.
Nintendo bundles in some touchscreen controls, but you'll want to avoid these. They're perfectly functional, but nothing quite beats precise button controls, especially on higher difficulties. There's some fun amiibo stuff to unlock, too, in the way of extra Bayonetta costumes that come with new powers. These Nintendo-themed costumes add a little flair to the game, but Nintendo smartly doesn't force you to have amiibo to get them; you can also purchase these costumes with halos from the game.
It all adds up to one of the must-have games on the Switch, alongside Super Mario Odyssey, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Skyrim. Still need a reason to buy a Switch?
You're all out of them.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
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