Bayonetta 3 Review: A Master in Masquerade and Style!

Explore, shoot, masquerade and command your way to the end of the world!!

Bayonetta is a series that’s littered in references, wackiness and sensuality. Ever since the first game, this has been the case, and the third installment doesn’t pull its punches this time either.

The characters are charming, the weapons are crazy and the “torture attacks,” which are this series’ finishing moves for naughty enemies that dare cross blades with our titular protag (more on this later).

This time around, there are a lot more things that have changed for players to explore and have fun with.

More Action! More Chaos! More Demons!

Bayonetta 3 has a very refined combat mechanic this time around. Albeit there have been a lot of changes to how you utilize your weapons and magic.

In Bayonetta 1 and 2, you had the ability to mix and match different weapons by attaching them to your legs and arms to min/max your combo potential. Some weapons could be used in one part alone and others you could use on both parts.

In Bayonetta 3, however, that option is entirely gone. Now, you can only use one weapon per set—this means that you can only use one weapon and one weapon alone that you alternate between sets A and B.

You start off with the basic guns (which are called “Colour My World” in this one), they work the same as always, the same basic combos that you are given in every installment.

You obtain more weapons as you progress through the story (you no longer must find Angelic Hymns to give to Rodin). You upgrade your weapons skills via the inventory and a special "Skills" menu.

The weapons slots no longer contain a special menu to mix and match.

Bayonetta plays the same as she always does but with a couple of new mechanics. For starters, you can now utilize demons to their full potential by summoning them via “Slave Summon”.

With this, you can control the demon you have selected (using the D-pad to select them) and use their unique combos. In this state, Bayonetta is completely vulnerable to attacks from all enemies. This can be undone by unsummoning the demon (by letting go of ZL/L2) or by dodging (which immediately unsummons the demon).

Torture attacks are no longer done with Umbran Climax/Serious Mode, you perform them by “breaking” the enemies' “shell” utilizing Demon Slave or, alternatively, Slave Wink (which is an extra attack using the contracted demon you have selected once you finish a combo).

Viola and Cheshire—A Match Made in... Inferno?

Hack, Slash and Parry against all odds!!

Viola is the new kid on the block, she plays a lot more differently than Bayonetta does in almost every aspect. The only defining similarity between them is Slave Wink and Demon Slave (which work the same except with one clear difference that I’ll touch upon soon).

Viola has 2 weapons, her Mab Adachi and the Bull Darts (her ranged weapon). Her combos are handy in both close and mid ranges while her Bull Darts are arguably her long ranged weapons (I say arguably since I rarely find any situation where I gotta use them at all).

There are a lot of traits to Viola that make her a very fun character to play, but she has several flaws that make her insanely tricky to play.

For starters, she doesn’t activate Witch Time by dodging (a very important mechanic to not only avoid taking damage, but nullifying attacks entirely), rather she uses a “parry” mechanic to activate Witch Time.

The parry function barely works at times and is very clunky as it is a block button that also functions as your “lock-on”, it is plenty tough to connect a parry (even for seasoned players) as you have to time these very carefully. It functions the same as dodge Witch Time, where the closer you are to taking damage, the longer the Witch Time lasts.

Again, it’ll rarely happen that you get a longer Witch Time that lasts more than a second since the block is hard to use. When done correctly, however, it is very satisfying and fun to connect.

Witch time being activated after a successful parry

Viola has a partner demon by the name of Cheshire and he’s a big cat that you don’t control. That’s right, unlike Bayonetta’s Demon Slaves, Cheshire controls himself.

Viola gets a new set of combos made specifically for defending herself from enemies without using her sword. You are unable to utilize Witch Time since blocking without the sword results in a guard break. Slave Wink works the same as Bayonetta’s Slave wink, as a bonus attack for finishing a combo.

Movement Issues

Seemingly perfect combat, same slippery movement controls.

Bayonetta 3 is not without its issues. As mentioned before, Viola has a lot of flaws with her mechanics that are essential in utilizing her (a clunky parry and little to no use for her ranged attacks).

But these issues also extend to Bayonetta herself, these mainly come in the form of her movement. Dashing in Bayonetta 3 is now differentiated with what weapon you are using; each one has its own unique Demon Masquerade, which is what you will see Bayonetta transform into every now and then when you finish a combo, each one has a separate dash.

However, these dashes have problems as some of them will go too far when jumping or outright bug out and stop entirely while colliding with anything that registers as a “wall”.

Final Thoughts

A fabulous game for the naïve angels at home

Bayonetta 3 is a wonderful game, even with its various issues here and there, that is fun to play. With 13 hours under my belt on the hardest difficulty, it’s been a blast to play every level and unravel the mysteries in the story.

Newer players are welcome to play this game as it’s unique and has a great story. The lower difficulties are welcoming towards the newbies. The story isn’t a continuation of previous installments, so newer players can hop into the game without knowing the story at all.

Older players will be rewarded with weapons from the first and second game if they have save files from them. Elle was unsure how crazy the game would get, so she asked me to play it to test the waters. Gotta say, I enjoyed it. Definitely buy it when you get the chance, you will not regret it.

Paradiso/Inferno: The Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The combat system is great and very fluent with its options for combos
  • The demons are very responsive with their attacks
  • Everything flows perfectly, even if it’s on the switch I’ve rarely found much drops in frames
  • The jokes land and it’s very charming, the references are a huge bonus

Cons

  • Game throws a lot of enemies at you at once (when playing on the hardest difficulty) that range between big that are hard to flinch coupled with smaller enemies that are a nuisance when paired with the big ones.
  • The giant enemies are ABUNDANT in this one, some are even treated as regular enemies
  • The movement is slippery and can mess you up big time, sometimes killing you
  • Some enemies can drop a fog that’s a stage hazard that can cause insane damage or outright “kill” you

Photos taken from the game's Photo Mode on Nintendo Switch