Hurrah, Bayonetta has finally arrived on PC

Bayonetta [Steam page] just arrived on PC and though she’s late to the party, in some ways the timing couldn’t be more perfect. The game’s creators, PlatinumGames, are amazing when at their best, but have released a few disappointing duffers over the years. Bayonetta is not a duffer and might be my favourite of their games.

This belated PC release comes hot on the heels of NieR: Automata, another game that showed Platinum at their best. It’s a mini golden age for stylish third-person action over on the PC right now and I’m here to tell you why you might just fall in love with Bayonetta.

Primarily, it’s the combat. It usually is when it comes to PlatinumGames. That they marry their combat to inventive world and enemy design is like finding a fuckton of cherries on top of an already delicious cake. As far as Bayonetta is concerned, we’re in Devil May Cry territory. That’s no surprise given that the two games share a director, Hideki Kamiya, and though I enjoy that series too, I reckon Bayonetta is the best of his work.

That’s partly because the scale of environments, flitting between a ruined future and realms of gods and demons, perfectly suits the action. Smaller combat sequences are excuses to show off, Bayonetta pirouetting and somersaulting around streets and squares while dispatching enemies with ease. That’s where you learn just how stylish you can be, combining the art of violence with the art of dance. Occasionally the game is pretty much a musical, shrugging off whatever concerns the end of the world and a war between demons and angels might seem to necessitate, and just getting down in its own saucy, silly groove instead.

The most tremendous setpieces take place during boss fights. At first, you’ll struggle to survive, attempting to perfect every technique you’ve learned along the way, but as your skills improve, you’ll find room to break out the style here as well. And you’ll be doing it against the backdrop of truly gargantuan battles, where entire realms of existence appear to be peeling away as one last disco inferno burns reality down.

Throughout it all, Bayonetta dances, rarely ever losing her smile. As Alice just said to me in chat, if NieR broke your heart, Bayonetta will unbreak it. The combat might be demanding, and you’ll almost certainly need a controller (we haven’t been able to test the game yet; I’m on it right now), but the entire design is one of almost overwhelming glee. Where it is hard, that is only to bring the best out of you and if you’re willing to play along, you’ll almost certainly be able to ‘git gud’, as the internet likes to say.

It looks great too, and should be at its best on PC, with 4k and 60fps play a possibility. Again, more on the port shortly, once I’ve had a good look.

What does a demon look like? What does an angel look like? What does the witchy star of the world’s most stylish and surreal action game look like? Bayonetta rarely does the expected thing when it comes to visual design. The titular witch dances and slaughters her way through the game with guns at her heels and making ribbons of enemies with her hair. It’s a weapon, the hair, and twists and curls to wrap around Bayonetta’s skin, forming a kinky covering.

I remember a bit of a fuss around release, related to the skintight ‘clothing’ and the fact that special attacks required more hair to execute. Hair that, during the attack, wouldn’t be available to cover Bayonetta’s bits. When I played the game, I had about as much time to focus on any glimpses of nudity as I would during a high-speed car chase in a thunderstorm during rush hour. It’s a gratuitous game but it’s far more interested in giving you a good view of the action than nudging you in the ribs and going ‘fnaarr’. I don’t have time to dig into the detail of my thinking on this right now, but Bayonetta’s sexiness is fetishistic rather than pervy, and the character is owning and participating in the fetish rather than being an object of it. That’s how I say it anyway and I’m pretty sure I’m not just making excuses for my magical-hair-witch, gun-heel-goth-with-glasses fantasies.

Bayonetta is certainly the star of her own game but the best of the rest of the cast are the bosses. They’re giant, weird things, but rather than being an incomprehensible mess of parts, they’re a recognisable blend of monstrous elements, and the abstractions often used to describe celestial and infernal beings in theological discourse and old-school Christian poetry.

These angels aren’t golden-haired muscular men with flaming swords, and robes or stray ribbons conveniently covering the delicate bits that they almost certainly don’t have. Think less Angel of the X-Men and more “creature so incomprehensibly odd that you might go a bit funny if you look at it for too long”. The one physical description of a seraphim in the Christian Bible comes in Isaiah:

“Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying”

These winged confusions spend their entire existence hovering around God’s throne singing glories in His name. Then there are Cherubs, which you might think of as plump babies that sort of hover around the place, perhaps plucking a harp or firing an arrow that explodes into a cloud of emojis on impact. Except, no. Cherubs are more like those muscular sword-wielding warriors you were thinking about earlier. With loads of wings and faces on every side of their head, each resembling a different creature.

These otherworldly creatures, whether they’re celestial or infernal, are impossible things that occasionally take on forms that are at least slightly tolerable to the human eye. Bayonetta is one of the few pop culture depictions that leans hard into the oddity in a way that recognises that they can be more architectural than biological and more science fiction than fantasy – constructs of an imagination without bounds.

We’re unlikely to see Bayonetta 2 on PC because it was published by Nintendo rather than Sega. Bear in mind I’d have said the same thing about Sega’s back catalogue at one point though, and they’ve not only come across but built a new home for themselves in these parts. Maybe we’ll finally get a port of Mario Galaxy (and Bayonetta 2) in a few years.

You won’t miss the sequel though. It’s more Bayonetta but it’s not an essential part of the package. The package itself is essential though because this is about as good as it gets when it comes to Platinum games. They’re the masters of this particular form of third-person action and this might well be their masterpiece. It’s nonsense, but it’s glorious nonsense, and it feels like the natural result of a studio cut loose to do whatever feels right. Critically acclaimed, it didn’t live up to the commercial potential Sega had pinned on it, and while it’s unlikely to get a powerful new life on PC years after release, along with the strong sales of NieR: Automata it might help to convince whatever powers be that stylish Japanese action games are more than welcome on Windows. Vanquish me, please, Platinum.

NieR: Automata is the better game in many ways but it’s an RPG and a bullet hell shooter and all kinds of other things. A complex conundrum, in many ways, in which the combat is diluted to an extent. Bayonetta is a shot of the pure stuff, and it’s best taken neat, on the highest difficulty setting where the discovery of flow and technique is as satisfying and fulfilling as anything you can do with a joypad.

Bayonetta is available now via Steam, for £14.99. We’re taking a close look at the port right now.

79 Comments

  1. Ysellian says:

    Only 20 euros, this is a no brainer.

  2. golem09 says:

    I’m gonna replay this so hard, my hair is gonna fall out and strangle my cat.

  3. Kamestos says:

    Totally did not expect that. Auto-buy.

  4. Da5e says:

    Anyone who does that weird BOOO CONSOLES thing – buy this on PC *immediately.* You’ve been missing out on a game clearly made by people who live and breathe the love of video games. It’s the closest thing to perfect I’ve ever played and I envy you for getting to experience it for the first time with (I hope) decent v-sync that works (it bloody didn’t on Xbox.)

    • Zephro says:

      The PS3 frame rate was a horror show, so I heard. So 60fps seems like it’ll be mind blowing compared to the screen tearing mess on 360.

  5. SigmaCAT says:

    Oh cripes, I’ve got it coming in the mail on wii U for my birthday which was yesterday, and now this. More of my money for Platinum, okay, okay…

  6. pekingduckman says:

    Something interesting to note: the Steam release of Bayonetta comes with the Japanese dub, which was only released with the Wii U version, which Nintendo apparently paid for. Signs of a Bayonetta 2 port?

  7. Drib says:

    This is one of those games, like Lollipop Chainsaw, that I would be a bit embarrassed to buy in a physical store.

    But hey, online purchases! Relative anonymity!

    Now to find a way to hide it from my steam friends.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thulsa Hex says:

      Bayonetta is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about.

      • April March says:

        Neither is Lollipop Chainsaw, which (apparently) is a deconstruction of genre and gender. And if the storeclerk looks at you funny for buying it, just say “you don’t reaaaaaaally get it, maaaaaaan”.

  8. BadManiac says:

    Watched some gameplay on youtube, looks like another dumb console button masher, what’s the big deal?

    • Kamestos says:

      If all button mashers could be a 90 metacritic…

      • Banks says:

        Most 90+ metas are dumb console games though.

        Bayonetta is pretty fun despite the piss filter.

        • UncleLou says:

          What, like Zelda BotW, Persona 5 and Shovel Knight, to name the three 90+ games of 2017?

    • Pich says:

      If you button mash on anything above Normal you’re gonna get you butt spanked.

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        Can I put it on “Easy” and button mash? I’m terrible at combos and timing.

        • Pich says:

          Yup, if i remember right it has the “easy automatic” mode, which does combos for you

          • Ghostwise says:

            Ha. Then I might actually be able to play this… Interesting.

        • Rack says:

          The way it travels up from button mashing to knowing the game is one of its cleverest tricks. On Normal you can absolutely button mash your way through the game, check points are ludicrously generous and return the entirety of your massive lifebar. On top of that you can use items to extend that even further.

          But Bayonetta is a score attack game at heart and if you let it lure you into wanting to do better then you will do, but by bit till you’re getting those True Platinum trophies.

  9. Kefren says:

    People raving over it makes me interested, but I have never enjoyed a third person combat game. I played quite a few on consoles, Devil May Cry-type things, and others on PC (Darksiders and so on) and always got bored very quickly. I really can’t see this being any different. Maybe because I don’t like games with double jumps, or silly big weapons, or having to learn “combos”. I dunno. Is it prejudice, or just personal taste that determines these things?

    • RuySan says:

      I also thought I didn’t like 3d brawlers until I played Metal Gear Reveangance. Since this is also a platinum game, there’s an high chance I’ll enjoy it.

    • Kefren says:

      Maybe I’ll do what I often do in these cases, and just watch the cutscenes as a film with popcorn. link to youtube.com

      • Rack says:

        Darksiders is a sort of fine-ish game but it skipping Bayonetta because you didn’t like it feels a bit like saying you won’t buy Half Life 3 because you didn’t like Battlefield 4s campaign. Bayonetta is a very different and very very much better beast.

        • Kefren says:

          It’s more like saying you’ll skip Half Life because you have never enjoyed a first-person shooter.

        • Kefren says:

          Hey, are you officially announcing HL3? Awesome! :-)

          • Rack says:

            Well, I expect it will come out eventually but eventually in Valve Time might not be for several iterations of the universe expanding and contracting.

            I don’t know what other action games you played but you only name dropped Darksiders. The PC hasn’t been blessed with many great ones so it’s not that unlikely you’ll see what you’re missing by playing a complete classic of the genre.

          • Kefren says:

            You may be right. :-)
            I’m trying to think of others I’ve played on PC. The problem is, if they were demos I’ll have no record of them. Some of these are not exactly the same genre, but are 3rd person with some fighting.
            Various Batman games (and the ilk e.g. Mad Max)
            Dark Souls
            Earth Defence Force
            Just Cause 2
            Lugaru HD
            Remember Me
            Beyond Good And Evil
            Jade Empire
            Strike Suit Zero
            Witcher games (though I did complete them)
            Quite a lot of consoles – they seemed to be common on my PS1, Xbox, Xbox 360 etc (and always bored me)
            I think I have a problem with 3rd person games, compounded by combos and double jumps. :-)

          • Rack says:

            Hmm. That’s a diverse spread of games none of which are really anything like Bayonetta. If you haven’t liked any 3rd person game then it’s reasonable to say they’re not for you even if it’s a massive percentage of gaming. And one that would definitely cover Bayonetta. If there are some other 3rd person games you have enjoyed the gameplay of it might be worth a go.

            Not sure I could recommend watching the cutscenes. They’re fun in a way but also completely insane.

          • welverin says:

            Yeah, Remember Me is the only thing in there that even comes close to Bayonetta.

            Kefren, unless you’ve played one of the Devil May Cry games or Metal Gear Revengeance I don’t think there’s really anything else on PC like Bayonetta (well, Platinum’s licensed games, but they’re not doing them any favors).

    • Honsou says:

      I bought Yakuza 0 on a whim, never really played a game like it in many years and I love it. I’m considering Bayonetta as well from my experiences from Yakuza, its good to try something new.

  10. dystome says:

    Apparently it needs a faster CPU than NieR:Automata. System requirements, eh? They may as well just write in that shrug emoji.

    • Pich says:

      According to Digital foundry you get 60 FPS 1080p with no AA on a Radeon HD 7700 1GB, so it sounds pretty well optimized

    • haldolium says:

      Runs exactly as it should for what it is. NieR has a wide array of issues and problems at my PC (aka gamebreaking crashes, so it’s on ice), Bayonetta runs out of the box in 4k, 60FPS, proper fullscreen support. No 21:9 support though.

      SEGA 1, SQE 0, Platinum $$$

  11. Stone_Crow says:

    Cool. Will wait on your port report but if there was one game of this sort to pick up it would be this one, so this is a good thing.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    Never did complete this on the 360 when it was released, but I’ll happily pick it up on Steam.
    But yeah, what I really want is Vanquish.

    I also have a wild dream that Capcom get around to letting the Clover guys at Platinum release Viewtiful Joe and Okami on PC, but that’s just a pipe dream.

  13. Michael Fogg says:

    Played the 360 version, barely made it to the end getting F scores, it’s completely not my thing, with a special-move based combat system and hyperactive screen action which is hard to make out. Bayo might be a good character but the overall story was bollocks too.

  14. noodlecake says:

    I enjoyed it but some aspects made me pretty uncomfortable. I liked that they made the damsel male, I don’t like how horrendously she treats him. She goes further than the most despicable abuse of damsels I’ve seen in any film ever made (The transporter movies are the worst examples I can think of). It just kind of highlights, to me, the kind of sexism we’re okay with. Vulnerable, fragile, awkward males are always depicted as completely undesirable and pathetic, yet put that exact personality into a female body and suddenly we feel this need to protect, and find that person suddenly desirable and not pathetic and comedic at all seemingly just because they’re physically a bit smaller and have lady bits.

    It definitely mirrors how those personality types are treated in real life depending on their sex, but I don’t think they were making a point about that kind of sexism. I think it was more about empowering Bayonetta as a strong female lead, which makes the whole thing incredibly troubling. Not the fact that they have a strong female lead at all, but their seeming obliviousness to the message they’re sending out.

    • Zephro says:

      Vulnerable and fragile? He’s useless but he’s also permenantly convinced that he’s the one saving Bayonetta. Without even getting started on the potential room for nice guys general groaning.

      • noodlecake says:

        And yeah./ I agree with your point! That just emphasises my point more. They can’t just have a male damsel that’s weak and vulnerable but a good person like they do with female damsels. They have to make him as pathetic as possible, because men should be emotionally stable, stoic, brave… etc, and not flaky, emotionally unpredictable and other qualities that are socially acceptable for women but not for men.

        • Zephro says:

          Yeah that makes absolutely no sense.

          The character in question isn’t any of these things. He’s an overly confident blowhard who keeps turning up to save someone who really doesn’t need saving and ends up needing saving himself. It’s the exact inversion of a trope, to make a point and for humour; and not some reverse sexism.

    • noodlecake says:

      There you go. There are women with the exact personalities of “nice guys”, except they never get to the point of desperation that “nice guys” get to because there’s a constant influx of potential suitors doing all the work. While that might be annoying at times, they are never driven to being the self pitying, vulnerable, socially clumsy messes that “nice guys” tend to be because they don’t suffer the same isolation that “nice girls” do.

      There are SO many gender hypocrisies, and so many of them are propagated even more so by self identifying feminists than by sexist men.

      • April March says:

        except they never get to the point of desperation that “nice guys” get to because there’s a constant influx of potential suitors doing all the work

        *points to stadium floodlights*
        *pulls giant lever*
        *spark flies, light floods the room*
        *as your vision adjust you realize the floodlights spell out words:*
        [citation needed]

    • Assirra says:

      Aren’t you majorly overthinking this? You are searching a “message” that is not there. The character in question is a bumbling idiot who thinks he somehow has the power to save a centuries old witch that fights with angels. He is a portrayed exactly like that. Nowhere he is s completely undesirable and pathetic. Hell his bumbling and lack of danger is what gets him somehow out of the crazy situations he is. Hell Bayonyatta actually likes him, just as some kind of pet instead of a lover which he seems to think.

  15. sleepisthebrotherofdeath says:

    Only 60FPS? what is this 2012?

    What about those of us with 120Hz and 144Hz monitors?

  16. Zephro says:

    Ah part of my console free dream has come true (The other was Marvel vs Capcom 3). Thank you Nintendo!

    Please note this has little to do with the PC master race and more to my hatred of having shit plugged into the TV which only has 2 HDMI sockets.

  17. Dudeist says:

    Hurrah, Bayonetta has finally arrived on PC

    PC gamers community going to crap

  18. Kodaemon says:

    “rather than being an incomprehensible mess of parts, they’re a recognisable blend of monstrous elements”

    Next paragraph:

    “creature so incomprehensibly odd that you might go a bit funny if you look at it for too long”

    OK.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thulsa Hex says:

      Something can look incomprehensibly odd without being an incomprehensible aesthetic mess.

      • Kodaemon says:

        I know, it’s just a stylistically unfortunate choice to use the same word that way.

    • IbisMummy says:

      The first quote refers to the depiction of angels (bosses) in the game. The second refers to the way in which angels are described in the Judeo-Christian Tanakah/Bible.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Thulsa Hex says:

    Ahhh I’m delighted it’s on PC, and am very tempted to buy despite already owning both Xbox 360 aaaand Wii U versions. I’m almost ashamed to say that I haven’t even finished it on either console (or started Bayo 2, for that matter) but I do love the game and the 1080p(+) prospect is quite inviting.

    Either way, it’s been really great to see more these sorts of games make it to PC—both old and new!

  20. colw00t says:

    I will personally unleash a Wicked Weave upon the person who thinks that this game is crap because it wasn’t designed for a mouse and keyboard.

    Platinum does the best third person action combat in the world, and it’s a pleasure to see this come to the PC at last – and at such a reasonable price, too!

  21. Premium User Badge

    boundless08 says:

    I never played this on the last console generation as looking at it I thought it was just another one of those overly sexualized japanese anime games, and not the very good overly sexualized game it actually is! Will definitely be picking this up, for 20 quid it’s a no brainer(looking at you bulletstorm).

    I would also very much like to be Vanquished.

  22. hoho0482 says:

    Oh cock. Thought today’s announcement was to be bayonetta 2 on switch. First Nintendo owned in 20 years. Please bring it out…. :-(

  23. hoho0482 says:

    Hmm. Doesn’t play at ultra wide and msaa not working.

  24. E_FD says:

    Question from someone who’s never played any of Platinum’s games, but who’s looking to give one a try after the positive buzz they’ve been getting: Which is better, Bayonetta or NieR?

    • Assirra says:

      If you want what Platinum does best, Bayonetta no doubt. They are the sole developer of the series and it shows in all the insane combat moves you can, crazy setpieces and just all around feeling of the game.

      Nier is a collaboration of Platinum and Yoko Taro where they only the combat parts feel Platinum even there they couldn’t go batshit insane to keep in fit right storywise.

    • haldolium says:

      They are different. Bayonetta is much more a 3D fighting game like DmC and NieR more on the open world RPG side of things. Both are very extreme on the anime-style though and have interesting elements to them.

      Best to go watch some uncommented gameplay of both, should give you a proper impression.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thulsa Hex says:

      NieR relies heavily on narrative and is without a doubt the more emotional experience. It also mashes other genres into the action (bullet hell, platforming), and the more you play it, the more it cleverly deconstructs is own mechanics and narrative themes. It’s a wonderful oddity.

      Bayonetta, on the other hand, is a joyous, straight-forward celebration of the genre. It’s story can be fun, but it’s nowhere near as important as the action itself. Crushing angelic beings under stiletto heels does not get old.

      Both games are stylish, have great art direction, and offer tight combat that makes you feel like a badass. Only NieR made me cry.

    • Alexander Chatziioannou says:

      Concurring with Thulsa Hex: if you’re going for the sheer kinetic pleasure of it and pitch perfect mechanics, it’s Bayonetta. If you want to become invested in what is probably the most emotional story I’ve experienced in the last few years go for NieR. I absolutely adore the former but I think it has just been replaced by the latter as my favourite Platinum title.

  25. liquidsoap89 says:

    THIS COULD MEAN THERE’S HOPE FOR VANQUISH!

    • welverin says:

      Not only were both developed by Platinum, both were published by Sega, so yes we can hope!

  26. Tom Servo says:

    Had no idea this was coming to PC, I’ll be glad to buy it again! I finished the game on PS3 and it was such a joy to play, I even played halfway through it again which I usually never do. Bayonetta has extremely fluid combat was pretty good even at 30fps but should be outstanding at 60.

  27. ffordesoon says:

    Bayonetta’s opening set piece is one of my favorite things in all of videogames. Like, if you’re not giggling in blissful incredulity by the time “Fly Me To The Moon” kicks in, you may – may! – be dead inside.

  28. Dilapinated says:

    I love Bayonetta, but to review it (and with a lot of emphasis on the boss fights) without mention of the copious use of QTEs is a bit of an ommission, I think? They’re almost always there at the peak of the bosses. Otherwise an excellent review.

    I’m a big Platinum fan, but this is really Bayonetta’s slip-up for me. If I wanted to mash B a thousand times a minute to get a cyclop’s eye to fall out I’d be playing God of War. I really play these games for, as you say, the beautiful combat that rewards skillful mastery of its systems, and “now break your thumb mashing B” just feels like the antithesis of that.

    ..Unless they removed that from the PC version, in which case I am so very onboard with that idea gosh.

  29. Archelon says:

    “Bayonetta is a shot of the pure stuff, and it’s best taken neat, on the highest difficulty setting where the discovery of flow and technique is as satisfying and fulfilling as anything you can do with a joypad.”

    I’m not sure that this is entirely true. I think a few of the design choices in the core gameplay (QTEs, mashing) are mistakes as Dilapinated said above.

    Secondly, the mini-games (outrun etc) were absolutely horrific. Crushingly boring, and if you wanted to do stuff like unlocking Jeanne, you had to Platinum them (iirc), and they weren’t even short or particularly easy.

    Lastly, the final difficulty setting was bogus, being exactly the same as the second-highest, just taking out Witch Time. Maximum difficulty settings should add (i.e. DMC’s DMD mode) rather than take elements away.

  30. ironman Tetsuo says:

    I loved Bayonetta on the 360 so much it dethroned Ninja Gaiden Black as my all time favourite brawler. I will always remember the time I managed to complete the first level using one unbroken combo, never have I felt so god-like in a game before.

  31. Premium User Badge

    AutonomyLost says:

    I had no idea this was even supposedly a thing for PC. And it’s just… here?? Fuck yes, downloading it when I get home without thought. Thanks for the announcement!

  32. corinoco says:

    Why has she forgotten most of her clothes? Won’t that be… awkward?

  33. Kinsky says:

    I remember when Bayonetta was originally released in 2010, one of the main complaints was loading times, especially in the shoddy PS3 port (which got farmed out to a third party studio for some reason). Having played both PS3 and X360 versions approximately around the launch time, and having beaten the game around five times, I never thought much of it… until I bought the Steam version and played it off my NVMe drive and watched the loading minigame disappear too fast for the game to even bother loading Bayonetta’s model. It’s a weird feeling. It makes me wish for an alternate universe where a well-optimized port of Metal Gear Solid 4 was possible.

  34. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Well I’ve got enough to play right now but thankfully this should be 50% off once the summer sale rolls out.

    • hoho0482 says:

      It’s £15 you tight sod / unethically low paid sod (in which case I apologise)…

  35. Shinard says:

    I’ll wait for a port report, but that aside I’ll happily put £15 down on this. Loved MGR, and if this is even better… well, I know what I’m playing this weekend.