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Bayonetta 1 & 2 DoubleTake review


 
Mollie L Patterson

With the release of Bayonetta 1 & 2 on Nintendo Switch this week, we decided to do something a little different for our review of the combo pack: my fellow EGM staffer Evan dove into Bayonetta 2, while I gave the original another run-through. I first played Bayonetta 1 back on the Xbox 360, and then did our review for Bayonetta 2 when it hit the Wii U—but what is your history with Platinum’s Umbran Witch, Evan? What was your Bayonetta experience up until now, and what were your general feelings toward the series?

My experience with the Bayonetta series is brief, but my love has always been strong. I played the original on PlayStation 3 back during its release in 2009, and for someone like me who was immersed in survival horror games at the time, the first Bayo was a breath of fresh air. I was blown away by the tight controls and over-the-top visuals, but more importantly, I was pulled in by Cereza herself. Strangely, though—and I don’t really have a great reason for this—the second game fell through the cracks. I’m pretty sure I was just finishing college and didn’t touch many games, so even though I had a Wii U, it never made it into my library. Fast forward to now, and when I heard both games were coming to Switch, I was extremely excited to get to finally continue on with the franchise.

Evan Slead
Mollie

I came to Bayonetta both as a fan of the Platinum staff due to being a splinter group from Capcom, and for having really loved what Hideki Kamiya and team had put together in the game’s predecessor, Devil May Cry. It’s funny, because Capcom had given birth to the term—and, really, genre—of “survival horror,” and then with DMC, “stylish action.” What drew me to both, but especially Bayonetta, was just how much of a power fantasy they were. When you’re controlling Bayonetta herself, you feel like you can do or overcome anything. Speaking of her though, before we talk about her move to the Switch, what did—and do—you think of her as a character? She’s been someone who has received very strong opinions on many sides, and given we come from quite different perspectives, I’m curious what you think of her.

 

That’s a really great point about Capcom’s influence on both genres. Of course, a majority of my love for survival horror came from Resident Evil, another baby of the company, so it wasn’t farfetched for me to already know Platinum’s work could be just as influential on me. I hate to admit this, but the Devil May Cry series is one I never tried; thankfully, I’m planning on jumping into that with the upcoming HD remaster collection.

Back to Bayonetta, I completely agree on the power fantasy it provides, as both games do a great job of making it clear how masterful Bayo is with her Umbran Witch abilities. While I would never say the game is easy because of this, it definitely makes the more difficult challenges in both entries seem manageable. Essentially, if Bayo’s been given a challenge, she can overcome it.

Interestingly, as you brought up, outside of the game she’s undergone a lot of controversy for how she’s portrayed in the series. Without getting too political, I’ll say I can understand both sides of the argument, but I fall in line with the thinking that she’s very much in control of every part of herself. I do—and always have—seen her as a positive representation of women. She’s witty, intelligent, fearless, and owns her sexuality. As far as how she’s sexualized in the games, I can say as an openly gay man, I don’t like her because I can oggle her, which is an argument that I understand can be made against others. For me, though, I love how unabashedly confident she is in every regard. Those are just my feelings, though. What do you think?

Evan
Mollie

Many of the arguments against her are rather unfair. Now, that’s not to say she isn’t overly sexualized at times—going back through the original Bayonetta, I did have at least a few occasions where I could only laugh when being reminded of just how over-the-top things can get, and I do think there’s a questionable moment here or there. But, as someone whose sexual preference is women, what’s interesting for me is that I’m not attracted to Bayo on that kind of level. Instead, I’m attracted to her because she’s a female character I’d love to be—and, for me, that’s kind of always been a good test for if I think a character’s design works or not. I’d absolutely want to be in her place, looking like her, being able to do the things she can do, taking charge the way she does. I really think there’s an underlying depth to her that can easily be overlooked, especially from critics who clearly have never actually played the games and only know her from artwork or videos.

I agree with you on her unfair perception. For the same reasons, I find her personality and layered traits to be the real draw—and hopefully, with her blasting onto the hottest console out right now, more people will come to realize that, too.

Evan
Mollie

But, really, we’re here for the games themselves—and I’ve got to say, I’ve come away impressed. On the Wii U, there was just something about how that system worked that felt like the games were being put somewhere that they didn’t belong, while the Switch feels like a perfect new home to me. There is one aspect that I ended up having a problem with, but before I ask you about that, how in general did Bayonetta 2 feel playing it on the Switch?

 

My time with Bayonetta 2 has been a blast. I’ll be honest that I was slightly concerned it wouldn’t perform well on the console, but thankfully, my fears were quickly dashed. I swapped back and forth between mobile and docked to see what types of performance differences I could notice, which ended up being an interesting experiment. While docked, I didn’t notice many issues, and it seemed to be running the 60fps it boasts—or at least close to it—leading me to believe that mobile would be a step down in quality. Surprisingly, I didn’t see a huge difference in the portable mode, even during the more graphic-heavy sequences. There were a few stutters here and there when the game was trying to render out enemies coming at Bayo, but it never took me out of the experience. As both modes of play are meant to run in native 720p, it seems like Platinum succeeded in making that possible on the platform. On top of that, I love knowing I can take these games wherever I want, which makes me curious if I would’ve hoped for that back when it was a Wii U exclusive. What was your gripe with it, though? It might be one of the same ones I had. Did you find the first Bayonetta to be properly integrated onto the Switch?

Evan
Mollie

So, yeah, I basically had the same experience that you did on a technical level. My main memory of the original Bayonetta was from the Xbox 360 version, and thankfully I never even attempted to play it on PS3. On Wii U, the games weren’t terrible, but it did seem like the hardware just wasn’t always keeping up. Now, on Switch, they do feel much more solid and stable in terms of things like framerate, to the point that I could probably retire my 360 copy and have the Switch be my main Bayo-playing platform. To be clear, though, that’s without bringing Xbox One backward compatibility into the equation, which I haven’t tried yet.

My problem, however, was playing it undocked. I think this might be a different case for Bayonetta 2, since I remember it being a bit more colorful, but this was the first time that I ended up feeling like I wanted to spend most of my time playing with the Switch attached to my TV. The first Bayonetta’s visuals and textures are often darker, with more muted colors, and there’s a lot of dull shades like brown used, so there were times when I felt like the game was just muddying together on the smaller screen. Especially in the early going, the various elements were blending together too much for a game that requires a lot of knowing what’s where mixed with precision timing. And, really, that was another thing: just from the physical size of the screen period, I think it can be hard to fully keep up with the action, and notice small details such as incoming attacks. It sounds like you didn’t have the same concerns I did, though.

Right, I tried to think of how it would be playing this on the Wii U and I had a feeling it probably experienced more issues. One of my questions for you was if you could see this combo pack being the definitive version of the Bayonetta series, but I could see Xbox One backward compatibility stepping in to take that place. The point in the Switch’s court against Xbox would’ve been the ability to play on the go, but from your experience with the first game, that might be a major reason Nintendo’s platform won’t be the end all, be all.

That’s sad to hear about the color mixture. I will say, in Bayo 2, I had that experience only a few times, but I wouldn’t blame the Switch on that as much as I would the design of certain areas. The Gates of Hell portion, for example, is mainly composed of browns and reds, so it did morph into a glob of muted colors at times. However, Bayo’s signature “Love is Blue” weapon really pops, so even when I was embroiled in a fight, I could easily pick out where she was landing her hits because of that neon blue color.

My biggest problem, and it’s not really an overwhelming issue as much as its a nitpick, is that Platinum didn’t offer more online content with the new releases. Since these games are now able to be fully portable, it’s the perfect chance to bring new and old players of the series together. Since one of the Switch’s biggest selling points is that it can be played anywhere, it would’ve been great to see an expanded co-op mode introduced. Tag Climax is still here, but it would’ve been interesting to have a full version of the campaign in co-op. I might be shooting for the stars here, but it was a thought that came to my mind more than once. Again, though, it’s more of a frustration born out of how much I enjoyed playing it and wanting more than an actual problem.

Evan
Mollie

I think you’re hitting on what might be one of the complaints of the Switch versions of Bayonetta 1 & 2: they’re basically just straight ports. To be clear, though, that isn’t a Bayonetta conversation, it’s a video game porting conversation. Like, it makes me think of Hamster’s Neo Geo releases on the Switch, which are literally dumping the arcade versions of those games into a Switch wrapper, adding a few display options or game type choices, and calling it a day. There’s no online, none of the niceties that were added to home releases, none of the tweaks or updates those got in other console versions along the way.

Personally, I don’t care about the lack of anything new to the Bayonetta games—that’s not what I was wanting from them in getting them from the Switch. And, I mean, if you look at what they could add, you get—for example—the touchscreen controls that were ported over from the Wii U releases, which are laughably awful. I think it would have been neat to see more work put into these ports, but I don’t know that we would ever have gotten something worth that effort—I think any hopes for that should instead lie on Bayonetta 3.

Were there any mechanics in the first Bayonetta that you thought needed an update?

Evan
Mollie

For me, this is about having both games in one place where they’re more accessible to a wider variety of players, and I really think that having both together in one package is a good thing—which gets to your question. I think it’s easy to see these two games as an original and a sequel, but going back to play the first again, I was reminded of how different they can be in little ways. To me, the first Bayonetta was more about each individual fight, the score you got, the skill you put into that combat, it cared a bit more about the technical side. Meanwhile, the second to me felt more about the adventure, the scale and spectacle of it all, and more about making combat flashy and fun. Again, I don’t think the differences are huge, but they’re there enough to make these two sides of the same coin, two different experiences where it’s hard to say one is better than the other.

I think Bayonetta 2 provided a variety depth to combat, with things like the Umbra Climaxes, that maybe the original lacked. Otherwise, going back, there were a few points to the game that hadn’t aged as well as I had hoped. The vehicle segments of the game really did go on for too long, which was corrected in the sequel. I also found myself getting frustrated by the placement of certain checkpoints, and how much cutscene repetition the game enjoys forcing on you—but I can’t recall if that was better or the same in Bayonetta 2.

 

You bring up a lot of fair points. You’re right that the point of these Switch versions is to pull in a new collection of fans, which I think will definitely happen with how popular the console is right now. Not to mention, you’re getting two games for the price of one that will lead into Bayonetta 3. As you said, it’ll be interesting to see where Platinum takes the series with a new game on the platform—maybe we’ll see more of the online functionality implemented then.

Coming from having played the original game back when it came out, I can vaguely remember the segments you’re talking about, with the vehicles standing out the most. In Bayonetta 2, I personally didn’t feel the fatigue of cutscenes or vehicle segments. It’s always nice to have the option to skip cutscenes, granted the story is interesting, so I don’t advise it on a first playthrough—but having the option is welcome either way.

With that said, I think one of the best things Platinum did between Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 was expanding the combat in small ways that feel significant. It would’ve been too much to see what made the first Bayo great thrown out the window for Bayo 2 just for the sake of an update. As you mentioned, the Umbran Climaxes are a perfect example of how gameplay has been enhanced without throwing in a feature that doesn’t fit. In turn, I could see newcomers go from Bayo to Bayo 2, enjoying the small upgrades, but still wanting to go back and play the first game again.

Evan
Mollie

I really do think Bayonetta 2 is the more polished and perfected game—as I said back when I reviewed it on the Wii U—and I think that if you’re only going to play one of them, that’s the way to go. Still, the original Bayonetta holds a special place in my heart, and there’s just something about the overall package that’s a bit more endearing to me, flaws and all. But, that’s the great part if you buy these games at retail: you get both, you can try both, and you don’t really have to pick which one is “better.”

We seem to both be in agreement here: the Bayonetta games are great, and having them on the Switch is nothing but a good thing. So, who would you recommend them to? Everyone? Certain types of players? Only people new to the games, or those who have played the games already?

For me, as that longtime fan, I’d have bought these even if I didn’t get them as part of doing this review. Yeah, I’ve already played through both, but like I said earlier, it’s nice to have both in one place—with a third soon—on a system I legitimately love. The Bayonetta games were one of the few reasons I considered getting a Wii U, and thankfully I never had to do so. Sure, there’s nothing different about them, but it’s more about having them there for you in the years ahead. For newer players, I think the games are a great slice of variety for Nintendo platforms, which I’ve always felt can fall into certain ruts at times. It’s funny, but with both the Bayonetta duo and now Dark Souls coming this year, it’s like the Switch wants to break certain stereotypes as quickly as it can.

Just, consider getting a Pro controller if you want to seriously delve into these two games. The Joy-Cons handled the action better than I was afraid they might, but at the end of the day, I think both would benefit from the better buttons and analog sticks of a proper controller.

I would have to agree on most of your points of recommendation. From my experience with the series, I remembered really enjoying the first, so having the chance to play the sequel was a no-brainer, making the new collection for Switch an instant buy. As a proud Switch owner, I tend to choose to play most of the multiplatform titles on it, with a few exceptions, of course. But as you said, both games are not only fantastic action-adventure experiences, but they fill in a gap in the platform’s current library. It’s great to see a more mature series be embraced by Nintendo finally, and I think both games were a perfect choice to get the ball rolling faster on expanding the Switch’s offerings.

As for the games themselves, gameplay is easy to pick up and fairly addicting, so it’s an easy recommend in that regard. Like you said, too, the collection comes with both games, so if you’re wanting just the most polished version, it’s still worth picking up even just for Bayonetta 2. In turn, I believe both newcomers and seasoned fans of the series should pick them up on Switch, because it’s nice to have them in a neat package that can be played on the go or at home.

My only hesitation with recommending it to everyone is the storytelling. It can be pretty over-the-top at times, which won’t sit well with certain types of players. Granted, the cutscenes can be skipped if it feels too out of the ordinary for them. And I’ll back up your favoring of the Pro controller. I tried every controller setup available on the Switch, from docked Joy-Cons to detached Joy-Cons in each hand, and I typically played with the Pro controller. However, I never felt like I needed to use the Pro over another option, as everything worked fine across the board. It just came down to personal preference for this type of game. As an added final note, I’ll say the diverse amount of controller setups is a strength for the Switch, which is an even better reason to pick this up on Nintendo’s console.

Evan
Mollie

Finally, the most important part of this review: Bayonetta with long hair, or with short?

Oh god. Mollie, I can’t.

Evan
Mollie

DO IT!

Honestly, I think she looks great both ways….but maybe shorter? SHE CAN DO IT ALL THOUGH!

Evan
Mollie

Don’t worry, it’s okay to be wrong.

Publisher: Nintendo • Developer: PlatinumGames • ESRB: M – Mature • Release Date: 02.16.2018
9.0
The queen of stylish action has now made her way to the Nintendo Switch, and along with Bayonetta herself comes two of the best action adventures money can buy. While both games have minor nitpicks and there, overall they’re fantastic experiences enjoyable by casual and hardcore players alike, giving form to quality re-releases on Nintendo’s latest platform.
The Good Combat is engaging and easy to pick up while also offering complexity when desired; improved technical aspects over the Wii U versions; Bayonetta herself is a fantastic heroine, surrounded by some interesting supporting characters.
The Bad Some of the lesser enemy encounters can get slightly repetitive, especially compared the the diverse and interesting bosses, with too much enemy reuse at times; once again we’re denied a physical copy of Bayonetta.
The Ugly The way characters in both games treat Enzo—bullying is bad, Bayonetta!
Bayonetta 1 and Bayonetta 2 are now available on Nintendo Switch. Review code was provided by Nintendo for the benefit of this review. EGM reviews games on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 5.0 being average.

Bayonetta 1 & 2 DoubleTake review

Bayonetta's on Her Switch, All's right with the world

By EGM Staff | 02/15/2018 11:56 AM PT | Updated 02/15/2018 12:41 PM PT

Reviews
Mollie L Patterson

With the release of Bayonetta 1 & 2 on Nintendo Switch this week, we decided to do something a little different for our review of the combo pack: my fellow EGM staffer Evan dove into Bayonetta 2, while I gave the original another run-through. I first played Bayonetta 1 back on the Xbox 360, and then did our review for Bayonetta 2 when it hit the Wii U—but what is your history with Platinum’s Umbran Witch, Evan? What was your Bayonetta experience up until now, and what were your general feelings toward the series?

My experience with the Bayonetta series is brief, but my love has always been strong. I played the original on PlayStation 3 back during its release in 2009, and for someone like me who was immersed in survival horror games at the time, the first Bayo was a breath of fresh air. I was blown away by the tight controls and over-the-top visuals, but more importantly, I was pulled in by Cereza herself. Strangely, though—and I don’t really have a great reason for this—the second game fell through the cracks. I’m pretty sure I was just finishing college and didn’t touch many games, so even though I had a Wii U, it never made it into my library. Fast forward to now, and when I heard both games were coming to Switch, I was extremely excited to get to finally continue on with the franchise.

Evan Slead
Mollie

I came to Bayonetta both as a fan of the Platinum staff due to being a splinter group from Capcom, and for having really loved what Hideki Kamiya and team had put together in the game’s predecessor, Devil May Cry. It’s funny, because Capcom had given birth to the term—and, really, genre—of “survival horror,” and then with DMC, “stylish action.” What drew me to both, but especially Bayonetta, was just how much of a power fantasy they were. When you’re controlling Bayonetta herself, you feel like you can do or overcome anything. Speaking of her though, before we talk about her move to the Switch, what did—and do—you think of her as a character? She’s been someone who has received very strong opinions on many sides, and given we come from quite different perspectives, I’m curious what you think of her.

 

That’s a really great point about Capcom’s influence on both genres. Of course, a majority of my love for survival horror came from Resident Evil, another baby of the company, so it wasn’t farfetched for me to already know Platinum’s work could be just as influential on me. I hate to admit this, but the Devil May Cry series is one I never tried; thankfully, I’m planning on jumping into that with the upcoming HD remaster collection.

Back to Bayonetta, I completely agree on the power fantasy it provides, as both games do a great job of making it clear how masterful Bayo is with her Umbran Witch abilities. While I would never say the game is easy because of this, it definitely makes the more difficult challenges in both entries seem manageable. Essentially, if Bayo’s been given a challenge, she can overcome it.

Interestingly, as you brought up, outside of the game she’s undergone a lot of controversy for how she’s portrayed in the series. Without getting too political, I’ll say I can understand both sides of the argument, but I fall in line with the thinking that she’s very much in control of every part of herself. I do—and always have—seen her as a positive representation of women. She’s witty, intelligent, fearless, and owns her sexuality. As far as how she’s sexualized in the games, I can say as an openly gay man, I don’t like her because I can oggle her, which is an argument that I understand can be made against others. For me, though, I love how unabashedly confident she is in every regard. Those are just my feelings, though. What do you think?

Evan
Mollie

Many of the arguments against her are rather unfair. Now, that’s not to say she isn’t overly sexualized at times—going back through the original Bayonetta, I did have at least a few occasions where I could only laugh when being reminded of just how over-the-top things can get, and I do think there’s a questionable moment here or there. But, as someone whose sexual preference is women, what’s interesting for me is that I’m not attracted to Bayo on that kind of level. Instead, I’m attracted to her because she’s a female character I’d love to be—and, for me, that’s kind of always been a good test for if I think a character’s design works or not. I’d absolutely want to be in her place, looking like her, being able to do the things she can do, taking charge the way she does. I really think there’s an underlying depth to her that can easily be overlooked, especially from critics who clearly have never actually played the games and only know her from artwork or videos.

I agree with you on her unfair perception. For the same reasons, I find her personality and layered traits to be the real draw—and hopefully, with her blasting onto the hottest console out right now, more people will come to realize that, too.

Evan
Mollie

But, really, we’re here for the games themselves—and I’ve got to say, I’ve come away impressed. On the Wii U, there was just something about how that system worked that felt like the games were being put somewhere that they didn’t belong, while the Switch feels like a perfect new home to me. There is one aspect that I ended up having a problem with, but before I ask you about that, how in general did Bayonetta 2 feel playing it on the Switch?

 

My time with Bayonetta 2 has been a blast. I’ll be honest that I was slightly concerned it wouldn’t perform well on the console, but thankfully, my fears were quickly dashed. I swapped back and forth between mobile and docked to see what types of performance differences I could notice, which ended up being an interesting experiment. While docked, I didn’t notice many issues, and it seemed to be running the 60fps it boasts—or at least close to it—leading me to believe that mobile would be a step down in quality. Surprisingly, I didn’t see a huge difference in the portable mode, even during the more graphic-heavy sequences. There were a few stutters here and there when the game was trying to render out enemies coming at Bayo, but it never took me out of the experience. As both modes of play are meant to run in native 720p, it seems like Platinum succeeded in making that possible on the platform. On top of that, I love knowing I can take these games wherever I want, which makes me curious if I would’ve hoped for that back when it was a Wii U exclusive. What was your gripe with it, though? It might be one of the same ones I had. Did you find the first Bayonetta to be properly integrated onto the Switch?

Evan
Mollie

So, yeah, I basically had the same experience that you did on a technical level. My main memory of the original Bayonetta was from the Xbox 360 version, and thankfully I never even attempted to play it on PS3. On Wii U, the games weren’t terrible, but it did seem like the hardware just wasn’t always keeping up. Now, on Switch, they do feel much more solid and stable in terms of things like framerate, to the point that I could probably retire my 360 copy and have the Switch be my main Bayo-playing platform. To be clear, though, that’s without bringing Xbox One backward compatibility into the equation, which I haven’t tried yet.

My problem, however, was playing it undocked. I think this might be a different case for Bayonetta 2, since I remember it being a bit more colorful, but this was the first time that I ended up feeling like I wanted to spend most of my time playing with the Switch attached to my TV. The first Bayonetta’s visuals and textures are often darker, with more muted colors, and there’s a lot of dull shades like brown used, so there were times when I felt like the game was just muddying together on the smaller screen. Especially in the early going, the various elements were blending together too much for a game that requires a lot of knowing what’s where mixed with precision timing. And, really, that was another thing: just from the physical size of the screen period, I think it can be hard to fully keep up with the action, and notice small details such as incoming attacks. It sounds like you didn’t have the same concerns I did, though.

Right, I tried to think of how it would be playing this on the Wii U and I had a feeling it probably experienced more issues. One of my questions for you was if you could see this combo pack being the definitive version of the Bayonetta series, but I could see Xbox One backward compatibility stepping in to take that place. The point in the Switch’s court against Xbox would’ve been the ability to play on the go, but from your experience with the first game, that might be a major reason Nintendo’s platform won’t be the end all, be all.

That’s sad to hear about the color mixture. I will say, in Bayo 2, I had that experience only a few times, but I wouldn’t blame the Switch on that as much as I would the design of certain areas. The Gates of Hell portion, for example, is mainly composed of browns and reds, so it did morph into a glob of muted colors at times. However, Bayo’s signature “Love is Blue” weapon really pops, so even when I was embroiled in a fight, I could easily pick out where she was landing her hits because of that neon blue color.

My biggest problem, and it’s not really an overwhelming issue as much as its a nitpick, is that Platinum didn’t offer more online content with the new releases. Since these games are now able to be fully portable, it’s the perfect chance to bring new and old players of the series together. Since one of the Switch’s biggest selling points is that it can be played anywhere, it would’ve been great to see an expanded co-op mode introduced. Tag Climax is still here, but it would’ve been interesting to have a full version of the campaign in co-op. I might be shooting for the stars here, but it was a thought that came to my mind more than once. Again, though, it’s more of a frustration born out of how much I enjoyed playing it and wanting more than an actual problem.

Evan
Mollie

I think you’re hitting on what might be one of the complaints of the Switch versions of Bayonetta 1 & 2: they’re basically just straight ports. To be clear, though, that isn’t a Bayonetta conversation, it’s a video game porting conversation. Like, it makes me think of Hamster’s Neo Geo releases on the Switch, which are literally dumping the arcade versions of those games into a Switch wrapper, adding a few display options or game type choices, and calling it a day. There’s no online, none of the niceties that were added to home releases, none of the tweaks or updates those got in other console versions along the way.

Personally, I don’t care about the lack of anything new to the Bayonetta games—that’s not what I was wanting from them in getting them from the Switch. And, I mean, if you look at what they could add, you get—for example—the touchscreen controls that were ported over from the Wii U releases, which are laughably awful. I think it would have been neat to see more work put into these ports, but I don’t know that we would ever have gotten something worth that effort—I think any hopes for that should instead lie on Bayonetta 3.

Were there any mechanics in the first Bayonetta that you thought needed an update?

Evan
Mollie

For me, this is about having both games in one place where they’re more accessible to a wider variety of players, and I really think that having both together in one package is a good thing—which gets to your question. I think it’s easy to see these two games as an original and a sequel, but going back to play the first again, I was reminded of how different they can be in little ways. To me, the first Bayonetta was more about each individual fight, the score you got, the skill you put into that combat, it cared a bit more about the technical side. Meanwhile, the second to me felt more about the adventure, the scale and spectacle of it all, and more about making combat flashy and fun. Again, I don’t think the differences are huge, but they’re there enough to make these two sides of the same coin, two different experiences where it’s hard to say one is better than the other.

I think Bayonetta 2 provided a variety depth to combat, with things like the Umbra Climaxes, that maybe the original lacked. Otherwise, going back, there were a few points to the game that hadn’t aged as well as I had hoped. The vehicle segments of the game really did go on for too long, which was corrected in the sequel. I also found myself getting frustrated by the placement of certain checkpoints, and how much cutscene repetition the game enjoys forcing on you—but I can’t recall if that was better or the same in Bayonetta 2.

 

You bring up a lot of fair points. You’re right that the point of these Switch versions is to pull in a new collection of fans, which I think will definitely happen with how popular the console is right now. Not to mention, you’re getting two games for the price of one that will lead into Bayonetta 3. As you said, it’ll be interesting to see where Platinum takes the series with a new game on the platform—maybe we’ll see more of the online functionality implemented then.

Coming from having played the original game back when it came out, I can vaguely remember the segments you’re talking about, with the vehicles standing out the most. In Bayonetta 2, I personally didn’t feel the fatigue of cutscenes or vehicle segments. It’s always nice to have the option to skip cutscenes, granted the story is interesting, so I don’t advise it on a first playthrough—but having the option is welcome either way.

With that said, I think one of the best things Platinum did between Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 was expanding the combat in small ways that feel significant. It would’ve been too much to see what made the first Bayo great thrown out the window for Bayo 2 just for the sake of an update. As you mentioned, the Umbran Climaxes are a perfect example of how gameplay has been enhanced without throwing in a feature that doesn’t fit. In turn, I could see newcomers go from Bayo to Bayo 2, enjoying the small upgrades, but still wanting to go back and play the first game again.

Evan
Mollie

I really do think Bayonetta 2 is the more polished and perfected game—as I said back when I reviewed it on the Wii U—and I think that if you’re only going to play one of them, that’s the way to go. Still, the original Bayonetta holds a special place in my heart, and there’s just something about the overall package that’s a bit more endearing to me, flaws and all. But, that’s the great part if you buy these games at retail: you get both, you can try both, and you don’t really have to pick which one is “better.”

We seem to both be in agreement here: the Bayonetta games are great, and having them on the Switch is nothing but a good thing. So, who would you recommend them to? Everyone? Certain types of players? Only people new to the games, or those who have played the games already?

For me, as that longtime fan, I’d have bought these even if I didn’t get them as part of doing this review. Yeah, I’ve already played through both, but like I said earlier, it’s nice to have both in one place—with a third soon—on a system I legitimately love. The Bayonetta games were one of the few reasons I considered getting a Wii U, and thankfully I never had to do so. Sure, there’s nothing different about them, but it’s more about having them there for you in the years ahead. For newer players, I think the games are a great slice of variety for Nintendo platforms, which I’ve always felt can fall into certain ruts at times. It’s funny, but with both the Bayonetta duo and now Dark Souls coming this year, it’s like the Switch wants to break certain stereotypes as quickly as it can.

Just, consider getting a Pro controller if you want to seriously delve into these two games. The Joy-Cons handled the action better than I was afraid they might, but at the end of the day, I think both would benefit from the better buttons and analog sticks of a proper controller.

I would have to agree on most of your points of recommendation. From my experience with the series, I remembered really enjoying the first, so having the chance to play the sequel was a no-brainer, making the new collection for Switch an instant buy. As a proud Switch owner, I tend to choose to play most of the multiplatform titles on it, with a few exceptions, of course. But as you said, both games are not only fantastic action-adventure experiences, but they fill in a gap in the platform’s current library. It’s great to see a more mature series be embraced by Nintendo finally, and I think both games were a perfect choice to get the ball rolling faster on expanding the Switch’s offerings.

As for the games themselves, gameplay is easy to pick up and fairly addicting, so it’s an easy recommend in that regard. Like you said, too, the collection comes with both games, so if you’re wanting just the most polished version, it’s still worth picking up even just for Bayonetta 2. In turn, I believe both newcomers and seasoned fans of the series should pick them up on Switch, because it’s nice to have them in a neat package that can be played on the go or at home.

My only hesitation with recommending it to everyone is the storytelling. It can be pretty over-the-top at times, which won’t sit well with certain types of players. Granted, the cutscenes can be skipped if it feels too out of the ordinary for them. And I’ll back up your favoring of the Pro controller. I tried every controller setup available on the Switch, from docked Joy-Cons to detached Joy-Cons in each hand, and I typically played with the Pro controller. However, I never felt like I needed to use the Pro over another option, as everything worked fine across the board. It just came down to personal preference for this type of game. As an added final note, I’ll say the diverse amount of controller setups is a strength for the Switch, which is an even better reason to pick this up on Nintendo’s console.

Evan
Mollie

Finally, the most important part of this review: Bayonetta with long hair, or with short?

Oh god. Mollie, I can’t.

Evan
Mollie

DO IT!

Honestly, I think she looks great both ways….but maybe shorter? SHE CAN DO IT ALL THOUGH!

Evan
Mollie

Don’t worry, it’s okay to be wrong.

Publisher: Nintendo • Developer: PlatinumGames • ESRB: M – Mature • Release Date: 02.16.2018
9.0
The queen of stylish action has now made her way to the Nintendo Switch, and along with Bayonetta herself comes two of the best action adventures money can buy. While both games have minor nitpicks and there, overall they’re fantastic experiences enjoyable by casual and hardcore players alike, giving form to quality re-releases on Nintendo’s latest platform.
The Good Combat is engaging and easy to pick up while also offering complexity when desired; improved technical aspects over the Wii U versions; Bayonetta herself is a fantastic heroine, surrounded by some interesting supporting characters.
The Bad Some of the lesser enemy encounters can get slightly repetitive, especially compared the the diverse and interesting bosses, with too much enemy reuse at times; once again we’re denied a physical copy of Bayonetta.
The Ugly The way characters in both games treat Enzo—bullying is bad, Bayonetta!
Bayonetta 1 and Bayonetta 2 are now available on Nintendo Switch. Review code was provided by Nintendo for the benefit of this review. EGM reviews games on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 5.0 being average.
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