Bayonetta is back. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in wanting, nay craving, an updated release of Hideki Kamiya’s eponymous epic. Even those like myself, who have fully experienced the breakneck, often subtly carnal, often definitely violent mystical action-adventure. And now, thanks to its delightful folk at Sega and developer PlatinumGames, everyone’s favourite umbran witch looks to finally get the Playstation release she deserves. As Bayonetta herself would put it: “I’m sure you will be more than hospitable to me this time around.”
From the official website, the story is detailed thusly: “Twenty years ago, from a coffin submerged beneath a gloomy lake, a mysterious woman awoke. Unable to recall her past or even her own name, only a single memory of her unknown origin was left impressed upon her: the horrifying “witches’ power” to summon forth ferocious demons and annihilate the servants of heaven.” The titular character is indeed a witch, who exists in a different plane of existence to the real world. For the benefit of the uninitiated, the story is as completely crazy as it sounds. It might not read like it, but it is the synopsis of one of the purest action games of the last decade. In short, Bayonetta is a game any, or indeed every fan of Devil May Cry, Nier: Automata and God of War should jump on immediately.
The Shadow Remains Cast
The history between Playstation and Bayonetta has been a complicated one. With its original release in 2009, PlatinumGames had developed the Xbox 360 version directly. However, they chose a Sega in-house developer team to handle the PS3 version. PlatinumGames producer Atsushi Inaba called that decision the “biggest failure for Platinum so far”, citing uncertainty around developing for Sony’s last-generation gaming platform. It was a lesson learned and vowed never to be repeated with future titles, such as Vanquish (also getting much-deserved remaster) being developed in-house ever since. 10 years on, can PlatinumGames seek redemption for arguably their greatest title, on the most successful platform today?
After just a few minutes in, with an introduction of masterfully crisp, cryptic and intriguing quality, the answer appears to be a resounding “yes.” Even the title screen looks truly stunning in full 4K. And that only shows the game’s title. Yes, even a title I have already played on four different platforms already gave me my very own Millhouse/Bonestorm moment. The cut scenes, presented as both full-motion movies and filmstrip stills, both with the original voiceovers, are a striking upgrade.
“Now it’s time to be naughty”
The genre-descriptive ‘hack and slash’ is the basis of this gothic-style action-adventure. But that description alone is just the tip of the iceberg. Which brings us nicely onto the action itself. After just a few minutes of action, the promised uplift appears to have been delivered. The original PS3 release reportedly often ran at half the speed of the Xbox 360 version. Here it has clearly been restored (remastered, obviously) to what it always could be. And with a game of such quality that Bayonetta is, deserves no less than that.
I for one am incredibly excited to once again get my hands on Bayonetta, so to speak. But, for the Playstation market alone, ten years should be well worth the wait. Hopefully, Bayonetta may become your favourite umbran witch, too.
The Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle launches February 18th for PS4 and Xbox One in North America and Europe.