Bayonetta 3: Nintendo’s Midnight Video Game

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I realized that maybe I’m not the Bayonetta type. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the completely bizarre vibe of the Bayonetta series, which now has a so anticipated third entry available on the Nintendo Switch. This is the first Bayonetta game made for Switch; Bayonetta 2 was a Wii U port. Worth the wait? Sure. I just don’t know what’s going on at all.

Again, that’s kind of the point.

Bayonetta 3 might feel totally out of place among the rest of Nintendo’s catalog and spirit of games: the series has always felt more like a classic Sega experience in many ways. Chaotic action, swearing, very long cutscenes, weird sexually suggestive outfits…this is not a game that holds your hand.

If you have a Switch and are dying for an intense combat spectacle of the kind you’re more likely to get on Xbox or PlayStation, however, you’ve come to the right place.

Bayonetta fans, it’s okay if you stop reading here. I write this for parents and newcomers. It’s a great game in the series, though it sadly lacks the excellent vocal talent of Hellena Taylor. Bayonetta 3’s challenges, its unlockable extras and hidden surprises (of which I tried to find a few), and the challenge of trying to score better on any stage give it replay value despite its linear story.

The game’s spectacle is completely insane, frequently aiming for God of War-level action even though it’s running on a less powerful Switch CPU. It’s still super fun to figure out. I have no idea what’s going on: homunculi, towering demons, a multiverse…just run with it. It’s like watching a cult movie at midnight.

Bayonetta 3 mixes fast-paced combat with expansive, non-interactive cutscenes in a way that might bore anyone looking for more fluidity. It was fine with me, but sometimes I needed a rest. There are plenty of specific combat tactics, but I tended to mash the buttons (which can get you surprisingly far).

Two giant shiny enemies are fighting in Bayonetta 3 game

Battles with massive beasts are everywhere. The scale becomes more and more absurd.

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Bayonetta 3 is a single player game, best played on a big screen with headphones. It’s fine on the go, too (although I mashed the buttons so hard I was afraid to pop the Joy-Cons out of the sides of my Switch).

I guess what I love about it so far, though I have no idea what’s going on most of the time, are its fast, fast, crazy battles. They stress me out, but they’re not brutally harsh. And beating the crap out of massively weird demons is a pretty good way to escape the stresses of a relentlessly weird world.

I’m not sure I personally crave Bayonetta every day, but it’s fine to dive in for half an hour at a time…which is roughly how long each chapter is until here. How much Bayonetta 3 you need probably depends. But in my life, sometimes a little goes a long way.

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