Japanese games are being released on Steam in the West! It’s fantastic! If you’ve got a nice, beefy PC it’s even more fantastic, since they’ll almost certainly run better than they did on their original platforms. Case in point: Platinum Games’ classic brawler Bayonetta, the game that launched an entire pseudo-franchise that continues to span licenses and impress gamers. It’s finally available on PC, via Steam. It’s great. Let’s go ahead and talk about why just to get that out of the way before you run off to buy it.
You’ve probably played Bayonetta in one of its various incarnations by now if you care enough about video games to be reading reviews, but just in case you haven’t, it’s the template upon which Platinum Games’ library is built. If you’ve played anything they’ve produced in the past few years, you’ve probably got an idea of what it’s like to play Bayonetta. You control the titular gun-wielding witch as she explores the holy city of Vigrid, a place so close to God that angels are known to appear there. That’s not especially good news for our heroine, since she’s on God’s bad side and angels aren’t her friends.
In other words, you control a scantily-clad, entirely unapologetic witch roaming around not-Vatican City beating up angels. I’m not sure there’s a concept that reaches a higher level of Video Games than that, so you shouldn’t be surprised at how well it works in practice. Bayonetta is all about combat; turns out witches are also accomplished martial artists and gunfighters, so the leading lady augments her magic by using up to four guns simultaneously in both her hands and feet.
Along with firearms, Bayonetta has access to swords, whips, deadly ice skates and more; her most significant power, though, is Witch Time, a technique that allows her to slow down time when she narrowly dodges an attack. Balancing deadly combos with precise dodges that activate Witch Time forms the core of Bayonetta’s combat. You can tell it’s great since plenty of Platinum’s following games have used a similar mechanic, up to and including the Transformers having the ability to go into Witch Time.
There’s not a lot else to say about Bayonetta that hasn’t been said, so let’s talk about the PC port instead. That’s actually pretty easy, since it’s great. I need to point out, as I will likely need to point out in future PC game reviews, that my system is a little excessive and I’m bound to get good results in most games as a result. On the other hand, that means if a game runs poorly despite having access to a 7700K, Titan X Pascal and 32GB DDR4 RAM, it’s probably got some optimization issues.
That’s not the case with Bayonetta, which runs like a dream. It’s got plenty of graphical options, from AA to filtering, that you can tweak to your liking. Given that you’re able to customize the game’s visual quality to your system’s level of performance, you shouldn’t have any trouble playing and enjoying this edition.
You probably should, too. Bayonetta has enjoyed universal acclaim for a reason, and it led to Platinum Games making a range of games based on various licenses that play a whole lot like it. If you’ve played and enjoyed any of those games, or even if you haven’t, then chances are you’ll have a good time with Bayonetta and you just might want to strap on your gun-heels given this is the definitive version of the game. Watch out, though, those heels are a pain to walk around in.