Bayonetta 1+2 Switch Collection Is Still Pure Platinum
Bayonetta 1+2 Switch Collection is a recently released collection of the first two Bayonetta games, developed by Platinum Games, gussied up just slightly and re-released on the Nintendo Switch. The game comes with a physical card for Bayonetta 2, the sequel that improved basically everything slightly wrong with the original, as well as a digital download code for the first Bayonetta, the still-great game that started it all. That description may seem to have given my opinion away on these games a bit early on, but stick with me -- there's more to this.
With Bayonetta 3 announced late last year as a Nintendo Switch exclusive, as well as Bayonetta 2 previously being exclusive to the under-performing Wii U (rest its soul), it only made sense to introduce the new, massive Switch audience to the joys of Platinum's hottest IP with this collection.
So, is this collection worth it? Should you buy into Bayonetta now if you have a Switch and missed out on it before? Is it a purchase that's worthwhile for people who already own both games? I feel like most people already know the answer, but let's discuss these games in greater detail regardless.
The Original Bayonetta
I'm going to keep my discussion about the first Bayonetta relatively short, as most of my points about it will actually be more relevant in my discussion on the sequel and what it changed and improved upon from the original. Any major differences with the Switch ports of these two games I will also save for the end, in its own section. That being said, let's discuss the original Bayo.
The first Bayonetta was and still is a great and creative action game. It's a title loaded with bombastic spectacle, oodles of content and replay value, and a skillful and intense combat system loaded with style and challenge that is guaranteed to entertain and engage nearly any player -- even if you'll probably suck at it.
Its biggest setbacks come in the form of its somewhat confusing and disjointedly presented plot, which is still confusing in many ways to even veterans of the game, and in its fairly steep difficulty curve and high barrier to entry. There are a lot of little design quirks that Platinum thankfully ironed out in the sequel, as well as in their other future projects, that unfortunately halt the flow from time to time.
The frequently discussed quick time events that barely give you enough time to react, the fact that you lose built magic meter when you get hit (which essentially gives you a second, less traditional health bar), and the fact that acquired temporary weapons don't have a dedicated button of their own are some of the larger quirks with the game, but none of them ruin the experience by any stretch. These are all just faults in the design that Platinum corrected later on as they learned and grew as a developer.
While these shortcomings do hinder the game at times, it's saved by everything else it does so well, from the handcrafted cut-scenes dripping with character and assisted by witty dialogue to the ludicrous scale of the conflict to the wonderfully designed and enjoyable characters and enemies. Bayonetta is a little rough around the edges when compared to more recent Platinum games, and its graphics are starting to show their age just a bit, but the game still remains one of the best of its kind and is absolutely still worth playing today.
Bayonetta 2 -- The Sequel From Paradiso
I'll just say it now: This collection would still have been worth full price for me even if it had just been Bayonetta 2. I adore this game through and through, and as a sequel, while it definitely leans on the original a bit too often for reference (sometimes literally), it is such a wonderful refinement of the first game that I'm easily willing to forgive that.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that nearly every single issue I had with the first Bayonetta is fixed by Bayonetta 2. Lots of other people have said this in the past, but it really bears repeating.
Honestly, you could reasonably describe Bayonetta 2 as just "Bayonetta 1 but better in nearly every way" and not be that far off, but it isn't just that. It's a high-quality game that is generous with its fun elements and always has another reward or surprise around the corner.
The plot -- while it carries on right after the first Bayo and may confuse you somewhat if you haven't played through it already -- is much more cohesively presented and character driven, allowing for more emotion and fewer confusing threads now that Bayonetta herself no longer has amnesia. There are tons of memorable moments in both story and action sequences, the setting is constantly changing and leading to more diversity in both gameplay and world-building, and Bayonetta really shines as a protagonist in both some of her coolest and most vulnerable moments as a character.
In terms of aesthetics, it's all great stuff too. Everything from the graphics to the art design and color palette have held up well since the transitions made in tech in the least 3+ years since its original release, and it looks just as wonderful now as it did then.
There were many, MANY screenshots I could have picked to show off the game's aesthetics. Hopefully just this one will give you some idea.
Animations are all extremely detailed, character designs are excellent, and they manage to make the most enormous and dynamic actions look completely natural and like extended acts of the player effortlessly. A lot of these things apply to the first game as well, but here it's especially true.
I also have to mention how much I love the facial animations in this game. They are so wonderfully expressive -- especially in Bayonetta's case, where she can make you smile and cheer by barely moving her face -- and the characters feel so emotive and realized that you feel like you know them before they've even spent a minute on screen.
This is the kind of quality you should be expecting constantly.
If you played through the first Bayonetta, then you already know what to expect from the combat, more or less, but it too has been lovingly streamlined and refined without sacrificing its depth. There are still hundreds of different combos that usually require no more than skillful dodging and two attack buttons, but now, thanks to expanded and wonderfully diverse and succulent weapon variety, there are dozens and dozens more ways to approach combat situations.
This happened in an optional Muspelheim challenge. By the standards of this game, this fight is typical, but no less satisfying.
The normal difficulty this time around is much more forgiving in general. Enemies more clearly telegraph their attacks, you no longer lose magic meter when struck, you can dodge an attack mid-combo, and the game no longer penalizes your score at the end of levels for using basic healing items. Add to all of this the wonderfully varied enemy designs, all of different sizes and strengths with different moves and attack patterns, all found in encounters spread through wonderfully varied and well-designed levels that encourage exploration, and you've got something truly joyous at your fingertips.
I could go on for quite a while about Bayonetta 2, but at that point, I'd really just be gushing (even more than I already am). While the first Bayonetta is still a very good game, Bayonetta 2 is such a simple and yet truly refined improvement on the original that I will not hesitate for a second to call it the better game of the two. It's absolutely joyfully fun and bursting with charm and visible effort from start to finish, and honestly I feel lucky that I had the privilege to play a game this good. It isn't every day I get to share a treat like this with people.
Differences Between the Switch Ports and Other Versions
There are actually a lot of small changes in the Switch versions of the games, but the key word here is "small." While the resolution for Bayonetta 2 hasn't changed from the Wii U -- and the game actually runs at the same resolution whether it's docked or handheld -- the game has slightly improved texture loading and the like. Bayonetta 2's co-op mode, "Tag Climax," can also now be played both online and offline with a friend or CPU, which is a nice change from the online-only option of the Wii U version.
Both games also feature the touch controls introduced in their respective Wii U ports when played in handheld mode, though now you're expected to input them by hand rather than with a stylus. Both games also bring back the Nintendo-themed costumes from the Wii U versions, and they've added exclusively to Bayo 2 a new way to unlock costumes through amiibo support. Just head to Rodin's shop and tap any of the supported amiibo on the NFC pad in order to get your hands on some costumes early, or even daily doses of halos and other in-game goodies.
Most of these changes and enhancements are relatively minor, but they do add somewhat to the experience as a whole, and it's clear they've made an effort to enhance the Switch port beyond just the newfound portability.
Here's the Sitch With the Witch on Switch
Bayonetta 1+2 Switch Collection is exactly what it says on the tin. These are still some of the best action games that money can buy, and if you've never had the pleasure of waltzing through them, I would say that the Switch collection presents the perfect opportunity for new players to jump on board. This collection hosts what is easily the best version of Bayonetta 2 and what very well may be the best version of the first Bayonetta.
There's honestly a lot more I could discuss regarding both games, from the excellent soundtracks to the epic scale and witty dialogue, but for the sake of time, I'll just say this: if you love action games, and you haven't played these yet, go buy them right now. These titles -- especially the second one -- are truly best experienced for yourself. This collection isn't just pure gold -- it's pure platinum.
Bayonetta 1+2 Switch Collection is available now for the Nintendo Switch, and both games are available for individual download on the Switch eShop, with a discount applied to either the first game or the sequel depending on which one you pick up first. You can watch a trailer for the collection below.