Bayonetta 3: A Thrilling Ride Marred by Storytelling Missteps

PlatinumGames’ latest entry in the beloved Bayonetta series delivers the signature over-the-top action fans crave. Yet, a convoluted storyline, repetitive level design, and questionable character choices dampen the overall experience.

Gameplay: Bayonetta Unleashed, But the Battleground Gets Dull

Bayonetta 3 delivers that classic combo-heavy, witch-time-fueled mayhem fans adore. The ability to summon gigantic demons, control them on the battlefield, and then fuse with them for supercharged attacks is a power trip! These new mechanics expand your offensive capabilities beautifully, creating some of the most jaw-dropping action set pieces in the entire series.

Sadly, while your move set gets bigger and bolder, the enemies you fight haven’t evolved in the same way. Those Homunculi…they’re just bland. They lack the visual punch of the demons and angels we used to tangle with, and they rarely offer a significant challenge. It’s like the game wants you to unleash hell, but only gives you a few mildly irritating pigeons to unleash it on.

Structure: Trapped in a Predictable Loop

While previous Bayonetta games reveled in varied and unpredictable set pieces, Bayonetta 3 adopts a surprisingly formulaic structure. The core gameplay loop of “visit a parallel universe, snag a new power, repeat” quickly grows repetitive. Exploration, while encouraged, often feels unrewarding due to a lack of compelling side quests or meaningful loot.

Graphics & Performance: A Flashy, but Flawed Spectacle

A screen shot from Bayonetta from Nintendo Switch

Bayonetta 3 pushes the visual boundaries for the series, with over-the-top demon transformations and large-scale battles. However, this ambition comes at a cost. Textures lack the sharpness found in previous installments, and maintaining a smooth framerate, especially during chaotic moments, remains a struggle for the Switch. While the new additions offer a visual feast, they can ultimately detract from the polished presentation that previous Bayonetta games delivered.

The Narrative Stumbles

Bayonetta 3 offers a more straightforward plot compared to the time-bending narratives of its predecessors. However, it sacrifices coherence for shock value, relying on contrived plot devices and the unceremonious deaths of beloved characters. The treatment of Jeanne and the shoehorning of Luka as Bayonetta’s romantic interest undermines the powerful themes of female agency and camaraderie the series had previously cultivated.

Viola: A Much-Needed Spark

Viola, the new playable character, injects a fresh and endearing energy into the game. Her brash personality and parry-focused playstyle offer a welcome change of pace from Bayonetta’s established combat flow. Sadly, her presence is somewhat underutilized compared to the more problematic aspects of the main storyline.

Final Verdict: Conflicted Excellence

Bayonetta 3 is ultimately a frustrating experience. It delivers the core, chaotic combat fans love and expands the toolset in spectacular ways. However, repetitive level design, technical shortcomings, and a disappointing story severely undercut the experience. While diehard fans will still find moments of brilliance, Bayonetta 3 is a missed opportunity to deliver a truly definitive entry in the series.

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