To this day, Bayonetta feels like the most out-of-place IP among Nintendo’s roster of exclusives. Place her next to the pantheon of mascots like Mario, Link, and Samus, and she’ll stand out like a sore thumb. But if anything, standing out in a crowd is what she does best, and our time with the Bayonetta 3 preview demo has only further proven that she’s ready for showtime once again.
Fans of the series since its initial launch in 2009 will have a lot to look forward to in her third installment. There’s a very similar baseline of knowledge that easily transfers over, but the shiny new bells and whistles expand your combo options more than ever before. The mechanics are all easy to pick up, but there’s a level of depth that only some of the best in the hack-and-slash genre have.
If you enjoyed Bayonetta 2 or Devil May Cry 5 (our 2019 game of the year), then you’re in for a treat with Bayonetta 3.
Bayonetta 3 Pulls out the (Really) Big Guns
Bayonetta 3 preview demo opened with a bombastic, city-leveling, monster-chasing set piece. Early on, Bayonetta summons a huge, quadrupedal demon called Gomorrah and rides on its back, racing across rooftops and sliding down crumbling buildings. When it crashes onto a river, it lands perfectly on four boats and uses them as shoes, gliding across the water with aplomb.
Already, Bayonetta 3 cleanly sits in that perfect sweet spot between ridiculously insane and ridiculously cool, but it only gets better once you gain control of her while she’s on her own two feet. This demo gave us two weapons: Colour My World, her iconic four-piece gun set, and a gigantic club that also doubles as an insanely high-caliber rifle.
Combat plays out similarly compared to previous installments. Mixes of light and heavy attacks create different combos, and mashing or holding buttons at different times lead to area-clearing Wicked Weave combos. Dodging at the right time activates Witch Time, where you can dish out more damage while moving faster. When an enemy is stunned or worn down, you can pull off an execution.