Jumping between worlds, mastering new powers, adding unique and powerful weapons to your arsenal, and realizing that true strength comes from your bonds with others—Bayonetta 3 boasts a formula that would sound familiar to any Kingdom Hearts fan, which is somewhat appropriate considering both series have an almost decade-long gap between their second and third releases.
In its third entry, the Bayonetta series sees some real forward momentum that was missing from the second, especially in terms of its story. The first Bayonetta was a flashy introduction to our titular hero and her crew of vaguely unsavory friends and acquaintances, setting a precedent for time travel and other instances of reality-bending within its world. Its sequel was more focused on the bonds between Bayonetta and her loved ones, with a narrative that focused too much on explaining the first game. Eight years later, Bayonetta 3 takes some bold steps forward while keeping all the sexy swagger we’ve come to expect from the giant Umbra Witch.
A spectacular fantasy, emphasis on “spectacle”
We open on Bayonetta and Enzo (a stereotypical Italian gangster gone family man) on a shopping spree in New York City. Unsurprisingly, the witch has dragged him along to carry her bags in return for a past pro bono job. We get our first taste of Jennifer Hale voicing this role, and despite all of the recent controversy, she offers a quality interpretation of the character. I was expecting “British Commander Shepard,” but Hale lived up to her iconic status, managing to give her own take on the witch that felt true to the character.
Shortly after Jeanne reappears, sporting an updated look and a sick motorcycle, her entrance is quickly overshadowed by a giant wave that quickly starts to completely submerge the city. The witches, along with Rodin—who now has a pizza side gig in addition to managing The Gates of Hell—try to determine the cause of the disaster and soon encounter new, gooey, green enemies that aren’t from Paradiso (Heaven) or Inferno (Hell). This poses a bit of a problem for Bayonetta, as her demonic contracts require her to provide angels for feeding, and these creatures don’t seem to count. But as an ancient and powerful witch, Bayonetta still has a few tricks up her sleeve.