Bayonetta Review (Switch)

I’ve got a fever, and the only cure is more dead angels.

Released: October 29, 2009/February 16, 2018
Available on: Switch/Steam/Consoles
Genre: Hack and Slash Adventure
Developer: PlatinumGames
Publisher: Nintendo

I’m not sure how I came to know about Bayonetta. I know I didn’t know about it when it was first released, as if I did I would have been all over it, but I did end up asking and getting it for my birthday almost seven years ago. Maybe it’s because I saw how cool it looked, how loved it was by a lot of people, and seeing how people say it’s like the Devil May Cry series (which I also love). Though, I didn’t end up playing it and here we are, before Bayonetta 3 releases and I finally get my butt into gear to play Bayonetta. I did start on the PS3 for the first two chapters, but then I ended up moving to the Switch version half because I have to play Bayonetta 2 on the Switch anyway and half because I heard the performance tanks on the later chapters. So how’s Bayonetta since I finally got around to playing it?

The story of Bayonetta is one that you can really only understand once you play more and reach the ending, and even then you can still be lost on the story. Nonetheless though, the story here is great. You play as a witch named Bayonetta who was sealed for 500 years until she was finally awakened (accidentally on purpose). We do get introduced to two clans, the Umbra Witches and the Lumen Sages. Bayonetta herself is an offspring from both clans, breaking a sacred law and causing unrest down the line. Bayonetta became the black sheep and kept away from Umbran teachings, with her parents either exiled or imprisoned. And later, a war broke out between the Umbra and Lumen causing only but three survivors combined to still be alive. Bayonetta herself seemed to have been stabbed during a massive attack and then hidden in a lake for 500 years.

While Bayonetta is now awake she sadly has no memories and the only thing she knows about her past is that she is one of, if not the last, of the Umbra Witches. For the next 20 years she dedicated herself to killing angels and finding a way to regain her memories. Throughout the years, she came into contact with Enzo and Rodin who became her informants and even allies. And of course, there’s Luka who has dedicated most of his life following Bayonetta as he believes she killed his father shortly after releasing her. He shows up quite a bit and even is helpful in his own way.

Of course, we come into the story right on time. Not only has Enzo come with information on a jewel that is part of a pair with the one she has, but also comes into contact with someone from her past named Jeanne and angels that references her past and something to come. As well as a cute little girl name Cereza that mistakes Bayonetta as her mother and tags along.

If there’s one thing you need to know about Bayonetta, and one thing you can see easily from her cutscenes, is that she is a total badass that styles all over the angels she battles against. And when it comes time for you to control Bayonetta during battles, the game takes every opportunity to make you feel the same way with it’s superb combat. It gets some getting used to, as with combat that focuses on combos and timing, but once you do it is a lot of fun.

To bring in more challenge, there are a variety of angels you’ll be battling. You have a basic punch and kick attack which you can string together in various ways to form into combos, as well as giving you various ways of shooting from Bayonetta’s guns. Certain combos even have a finisher which is called Wicked Weave which uses Bayonetta’s hair to manifest Madama Butterfly’s hands or heels (depending on what the combo ended on) to punch or kick the shit out of the angel. And let me tell you, it sure is satisfying, especially when you see the angel just fly across the area. There’s also a magic gauge that fills up as you attack and dodge attacks, and depletes if you get hit, which opens up the ability to do a Torture Attack. Activating it on an enemy will summon an ancient torture device and after mashing a button (or spinning the stick) will deal major damage to the angel. There’s also Punish Attacks which can activate on certain stunned angels, though other angels are open to attacking you to disrupt this, but I never could find a way to activate it consistently.

Oh and let’s not forget Bayonetta’s dodge ability (which from what I understand is infamous in the Smash 4 community). Dodging away from enemy attacks is very important, especially when health regen is rare during chapters, but if you manage to dodge right before an attack would hit you, you’ll activate Witch Time. Witch Time slows down time for just a couple of seconds, but oh man is this enough for you to set up a combo against your enemy without having to worry about being attacked…until it ends of course.

Each angel, including the bosses and mini-bosses, has their own attack style, pattern, and speed they attack that you’ll have to learn and take into account if you want to survive. There are some fast enemies in Bayonetta, but I did find that they have enough of a tell once you learn how they move. By the end, I could hold my own to all the angel types, with the rare encounters with angels that you can’t activate Witch Time towards giving me the most trouble.

You also will be able to run through the various locations Bayonetta is visiting between fights as well, with there being some areas that test your dodging skills, platforming, and a few puzzles. There are even two chapters that mix things up, though it really depends on the person if they would like it, like the motorcycle section where you’re racing down a highway shooting down angels.

Though, there are a handful of QTEs here which, while I don’t mind them normally, they are punishing here. Failing a QTE is often an instant kill situation and you can easily hit it a second too late or too fast for a particular one. I even once had the game act like I got it, but it counted as me failing it anyway from what I assume is because I was a split second off. I also didn’t like how there was a tendency for enemies to attack right when a cutscene ended.

Bayonetta is separated into Chapters, with each battle being labeled as Verses. Each Verse you’ll be ranked on how well you did, with the overall ranking being on that Chapter once you finish. Which, if you want, you can go back to try and get a better ranking or go for the Platinum. Though, your rank is affected with every hit, death, and (sadly) every item you use.

Personally, I do recommend starting on Normal and seeing how you fair. If you don’t like being beat down constantly and feeling like you’re not really having fun, switch to Easy. I probably would recommend playing on Easy for the first couple chapters to get into the grove of things and then go back to play on Normal. Or have the Normal playthrough be your next if you want. Personally, I was not doing well on Normal in the beginning when I was still playing this on the PS3 and once I got the Switch version I started it on Easy. After I got five chapters in, I ended up taking a break from the game accidentally and when I went back I decided to switch to Normal before I replayed the chapters so the story so far could be fresh in my mind again and to remember the controls. I’m glad I did this as I did feel I was doing better, whether it’s because I had weapons from the other chapters early on or because I actually had grips on the combat and timing, even if I still died quite a bit. I even felt I was doing better once I went on to the new chapters.

There is a bunch of replayability here as well. If you played on Easy or Very Easy you are actually missing quite a bit and even if you’re playing on Normal you are most likely missing a couple things. There are various weapons which you can unlock, some are based on certain conditions, but most are unlocked by collecting their corresponding Golden LP which may have been broken into multiple pieces. Some are hidden pretty well and I myself missed on two Golden LP weapons. You can find these Notes scattered around that gives you more lore if you want to read them as well on any difficulty. There are also broken Witch Hearts and Moon Pearls which will form into a complete Witch Heart/Moon Pearl to increase your health or magic gauge. There are complete ones you can buy in Rodin’s shop, but the pieces you find in chapters are only available on Normal and up. You can also find secret rooms called Alfheims which gives you a challenge for you to complete, like only being able to damage enemies with Wicked Weaves, to be rewarded with broken Witch Hearts/Moon Pearls. Alfheims do often have you backtracking or having a curious eye out while playing. And lastly, Umbrean Tears of Blood which are on crows and you need to be quick to grab them. Luckily the crows do respawn if you miss it.

Though, it does seem you have to remember the collectibles you already have as the game doesn’t seem to keep track of what you already got from a chapter. If you’re missing say a piece of a Witch Heart, you’ll either have to search for it or hope that you figure it out from a guide showing where all of them are.

Not to mention that the higher difficulties, Hard and Infinite Climax, aren’t available from the get go. You have to complete all chapters on Normal to unlock Hard and all chapters on Hard to unlock Infinite Climax (which actually takes away Witch Time in addition of increasing enemy speed and health from what I understand). There is also a secret boss that gets unlocked after collecting a ton of halos throughout your save file as well as being able to unlock Jeanne as a playable character if you platinum every chapter.

As for performance, it plays really well on the Switch. I didn’t get that far on the PS3 version as I switched to the Switch after buying the duo pack, but the game loads pretty quick. Where I could practice combos on the PS3, I couldn’t even finish one combo on the Switch. There are two areas that did cause some slowdown while running around, but it was never during combat.

Oh and if you play mainly in handheld mode, you need to check your console’s sound settings before starting the game. Make sure your console sound is set to Mono, not Stereo, as you will not be able to hear dialogue if it’s set to Stereo. I’m not too sure why this is the only game I’ve encountered with this problem, I actually didn’t know my Switch has been set to Stereo for all these years, but this fixes the problem of not being able to hear the dialogue in handheld mode.


I can’t believe it took me this long to play Bayonetta as I absolutely loved the game (as well as Bayonetta herself). There are certainly aspects that I didn’t like, including the punishing QTEs and enemies attacking right after a cutscene, but I enjoyed every second I played Bayonetta. The combat is so satisfying and fun to play once you get the hang of it, the story is interesting as more is revealed, and I really enjoyed the characters that you meet. If you haven’t played Bayonetta already, and this maybe falls into games that you enjoy, I highly recommend picking this up.

Now it’s time to dive into Bayonetta 2.


♡ ♡ ♡ A witch that goes for anything that peaks her interest no matter the genre. Currently obsessed with the Persona series and trying to make a dent in my backlog. ♡ ♡ ♡

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