Bayonetta 3 and the first steps into a new world | Tried

Bayonetta 3 and the first steps into a new world | Tried

Bayonetta 3 made us wait, as good manners are for every third chapter of a self-respecting series: rumors, announcement with great fanfare during an important event (The Game Awards 2017, when Reggie was still of ours) and then a nice holiday made of deafening silences and declarations that invited the players to forget the title - which, sooner or later, would come.

But it is difficult to keep the handbrake on while you are on the 'hype train of a franchise among the few to still represent something unique, original and exclusive on a platform as successful as Nintendo Switch, even more so if we think that with the first release of 2009/10 PlatinumGames literally gave shape to action game fans dreams, creating a game that is nothing short of iconic - as is its protagonist.

Bayonetta has conveyed over the years a digital escapism worthy of the experiences of her fathers, far from the simple transposition of reality as if they were refractory to it. Clover, Seeds Inc. and finally PlatinumGames are the banner under which Japanese development has been able to express itself without brakes and reservations, for the sole purpose of giving shape to the vision of pioneers such as Shinji Mikami or Ideki Kamiya. And Bayonetta 3, in 2022, represents the litmus test for a team characterized by many ups and downs, but also by a huge desire to amaze, bending conventions and rules at will.

So I arrive to get my hands on this third chapter with some enthusiasm, having followed the series from day one on Xbox 360 and then falling back into the purchase of the second chapter (with port of the first) on Wii U, as well as the revival of the package with the first two games on Nintendo Switch in 2017. It's a bit like our witch had actually frozen in time for 8 years and she needed something to get herself and the universe back in motion. revolves around it.

Feeling at home is normal when after a few hits you feel like you have only put down the controller yesterday, because Bayonetta is as fast, powerful and responsive as I remembered it. Just enough time to settle into my muscle memory and I realize that something has changed: leaving aside for a moment the enemies, who seem to telegraph their attacks in a very different way, because I can never equip only one weapon, and not one respectively for arms and legs?

This is the game's turning point, its irrepressible desire to make the scenes spectacular by altering the scale of the fighting by introducing Bayonetta's demons to the field at every possible opportunity. Perhaps (but also without perhaps) a decision born of the love of Kamiya and the team towards the superhero genre Super Sentai and for the oversize fights against the colossal Kaiju.

Let's talk first of Mimesis Demonic, new ability that allows our favorite dark heroine to assimilate the abilities of equipped weapons (and the demon associated with them) to obtain new skills in battle. Wielding the "Color My World" guns, for example, you get the powers of Madama Butterfly, with which I fluttered with a certain grace around the enemies to then unleash the devastating combos that end with the evocation of a punch or a kick of the demon.

The final effect on the shots is the same, for those who remember them, of the Wicked Weaves of Bayonetta 1 and 2, thus maintaining that sense of familiarity for the returning players, but the possibility of jousting between the various demons and exploiting the peculiarities offered by the Demonic Mimicry allowed me to approach many challenges and exploration in search of collectibles and secrets in a whole new way - flying, climbing and jumping with a lot of Spider-Man swing when necessary .

The other great novelty introduced in the combat system is the possibility of summoning in the field - literally - the gigantic creatures that in the previous chapters dined with the bodies of nems. there the Bayonettas only at the end of the fighting. Thanks to the technique of the Succubus Demon, we can in fact use the magical power of the witch to directly control Madama Butterfly, Gomorrah and Phantasmaraneae (and many new arrivals), to balance battles against large opponents or inflict extremely high damage when necessary.

Although in the throes of enthusiasm, I could not let my guard down, because during the summoning the witch is extremely vulnerable, being engaged in a frenzied ritual dance with which she maintains control of the creatures. Although I felt a little awkward at first, I learned that the demons in their arsenal have shots that are useful to ward off annoying enemies, thus focusing on the attack and worrying about canceling the summoning and dodging attacks only when strictly necessary. And beware: if they take too many hits the demons can turn against us, forcing us to stay on the defensive until they have calmed down.

The management of demons is an intriguing novelty, sure, that I admit, however, that I took advantage of it in a contained way, relying rather on central dynamics such as the Temporal Sabbath and the Wicked Weaves and then calling them back to the field suddenly, to wreak havoc and interrupt enemy actions - all the more so when the evocation can be actively inserted at the end of the combo or used as a counter.

The use of demonic energy for summons has the side effect of transforming or completely abandoning some historical skills: Torturing Attacks, for example, are now activated at the same time when an enemy is put in difficulty (by stunning him or by breaking his armor), without magical cost. Instead, the Umbran Climax disappears completely, a devastating enhanced mode that in Bayonetta 2 allowed the player to tinker a bit at random and inflict extreme damage - for me always odi et amo - easily getting out of complex situations simply by accumulating objects to restore the magical power.

Bayonetta 3 changes, indeed, also and above all due to the introduction of Viola, the young rebellious punk rocker who finds herself catapulted into a multidimensional battle, destined to put a hard test his sword skills and his synergy with the funny cat Cheshire. This is neither the time nor the place to deepen the genesis and identity of the character, but it is undeniable that it is a different complementary figure compared to the mature and charismatic Bayonetta: a bit clumsy, touchy and in constant need of being recognized as an independent figure and capable.

Pad in hand to guide Viola, I felt positive sensations, also because for reactivity to the commands and speed of execution, we are not too far from the systems set up to manage the protagonist. However, I had to work a little to get carried away with the activation of the Temporal Sabbath, which in the case of the young woman is not connected to the dodge on ZR, but to the execution of a parry at the right time, by pressing the R key. >

Years of dodging are hard to forget, so I found myself having to realign the synapses for the new character before I could really feel confident using him. Once you've mastered the basics of parrying, figured out how charged shots work and learned how to manage distance with her magical darts, it's time to give space to Cheshire, the demon who follows Viola and who can be summoned in battle just like Gomorrah. and similar in the case of Bayonetta.

Here we find another small divergence: during the evocation of the cat, we have control of Viola, who will fight with her bare hands, and not of the demon, mixing again the cards on the table. Even more than before, I found Cheshire to be very effective as a final blow to combos, as it executes pretty powerful finishers that tend to cover a wide range - a bit like wiping out all enemies.

Basically, therefore, the Bayonetta 3 experience can be defined as multifaceted, multiform, capable of combining tradition with many novelties, then shaking the foundations with the introduction of a second character significantly different from the main one . With Bayonetta I felt at home and found the intriguing news, while with Viola I felt a little pressure, but also the euphoria of having to learn many new things. Overall, however, all extremely fun.

Not to mention the willingness of the developers to offer many gameplay alternatives, with verses dedicated to phenomenal set pieces such as the ride on the back of Gomorrah that does tricks worthy of Tony Hawk as the city of Tokyo falls apart under enemy attacks. Adrenaline, chaos, fantasy: nothing is missing from a product that is a video game in the purest sense of the word.

It's time to reassure all those players fearful of the capabilities of Nintendo Switch, worried that these can't do justice to PlatinumGames' out-of-scale staging. Well, know that we have in our hands one of the best titles ever for the console (if not the best) from a technical point of view, capable of maintaining a high framerate when needed - the uncertainties are there, mind you, but they are painless. - with an always adequate video cleaning.

I even find the way in which the programmers have pushed some scenes to the limit, as if they wanted to bring the horses to the limit under the console engine and still demonstrate that they can manage them properly, at the face doubters. The video / audio synergy is then as always impeccable, with every topical moment emphasized by a screaming soundtrack, showing off among the many tracks a brilliant cover of Moonlight Serenade capable of giving the right grace to our powerful and brutal demonic beats.

There is so much more I would like to say about Bayonetta 3, having completed the main storyline and started sifting through extras and secrets, but now is not the right time to do it. The approach to the release (and our review) must be as gradual and neutral as possible, allowing you to enjoy the best of a title that dances between familiarity and amazement.

PlatinumGames and Nintendo, together, are a certainty, and even the first part of the experience alone is enough to wipe out any doubts about the goodness of production that may have caught those who have passed from the heights of NieR: Automata to the profound darkness of Babylon's Fall, or have lived with fear the long silence that settled on the project from 2017 until last year's trailer. Polish your weapons and put on your best dress, the time of the witches awaits us!

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