Katharine: PlatinumGames may have made its name on console, but golly, what a treat it is to finally have Bayonetta on PC – and the best version of it as well. Whatever your feelings are about the titular witch herself, this outrageously camp action brawler is an absolute delight. Its combat is second to none, and slipping past enemies in slow motion before laying gigatons worth of damage on them is just immensely satisfying. There’s also nothing quite like its larger-than- life boss fights and (literally) hair-raising finishers. It’s so ridiculous, in fact, that it’s just got to be played to be believed.
If you haven’t kicked an angel in the face with a six-foot- high stiletto heel, ripped off a god’s arm with a fist made from your own hair, or motorbiked your way up the side of a rocket while fighting off hordes of seraphim with nothing but a pair of guns, you simply haven’t lived.
Adam: I love Bayonetta. Creator Hideki Kamiya was also responsible for the original Devil May Cry, a game that made me feel like I wasn’t cut out for this kind of super-stylish action hack ‘n’ slashing. It was tough and I never felt like I was doing anything more than stumbling around and embarrassing myself. When I watched other people play, they made Dante look like a super-agile monster-slayer. When I played, he was like a drunk with his shoelaces tied together.
Bayonetta, by design both visual and mechanical, makes me feel like the best witch ever and that is a wonderful thing to be.
Graham: Adam hits on something important. I think people assume that Platinum action-combat games are about beat-’em-up-levels of button dexterity. They can be, if you want them to be, but they scale so well to even people with fat, brittle fingers like mine. Bayonetta includes an “automatic” mode in easier difficulty levels that handles positioning and allows you to perform an array of attacks by pressing only a single button. If you just want to experience the games absurd spectacle, then you can do so and be entertained without being challenged.
If you feel ready for more, you can turn off the automatic mode and continue to play on Easy or Very Easy difficulties, and it’s a great on-ramp to getting better at the game’s combat. These modes make enemy attacks slower, making it easier for you to time your blocks and dodges, and on Very Easy your health will regenerate over time. They create a space for you to experiment and, little by little, you’ll learn how to not just beat enemies but to do so with greater degrees of flair.
I think it’s worth taking that journey of self-improvement, but ultimately, Bayonetta is worth playing even if you’re bad at it and planning on staying that way.