Playing Bayonetta on my Switch while waiting for a bus, I felt that I was finally enjoying the experience I had been promised by Sony with the PS Vita in 2011. Bayonetta was released within a year of the PS Vita, and was the kind of AAA action game that I and many other gamers thought they would be enjoying with the handheld. We did get some attempts at this, with games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss, but they felt like the lesser counterparts of their console entries.
What we wanted was to feel like we could have the power of the PS3 on the go, and now, eight years later, we can – but on a different console, from a very different company.
But, just because it is an old dream, that doesn’t make its realisation any less satisfying. It is equally rewarding to have a PS3-era game on the go now as it was to have a PS2-era game on the Vita five years ago. It is almost becoming a gaming tradition to revisit our favourite games of the past generation on a handheld device.
Of the games you could revisit from the past generation, Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 are both good and bad picks. On the bad end, these games contain some of the more juvenile and tasteless characteristics of gaming culture: over-sexualised women, ridiculous and poorly written characters, borderline nonsensical story and lore.
Thankfully, we have seen the games industry mature over the decade since the first entry in this series was released, but that makes it a bit of a shock to go back and realise how immature some games used to be. Bayonetta 2 makes some progress in these areas, but it still feels like it too is from a bygone era of gaming.
On the good end, these games contain some of the most satisfying action mechanics ever made. The combo system is consistently satisfying, as you effortlessly pull off hyper-stylised attacks in quick succession. As with competitive fighting games, there is a lot of enjoyment to be gained from playing these games as a button-masher, but there is a wealth of challenge and reward there for the players who want to dedicate themselves to learning and perfecting combos.
The Switch offers the convenience and pleasure of being able to take these games with you anywhere, and also runs each better than any other platform. In handheld and docked mode, the performance is silky smooth. Though the game is only 720p in both modes, the real success of these ports is the locked 60fps at which they both run.
For games as fast-paced as these two, consistent frames per second are much more important than resolution. I distinctly remember feeling frustrated by choppy framerates when playing Bayonetta on the 360 and Bayonetta 2 on the Wii U, so being able to play with locked frame rates instantly makes the experience better.
Each also boasts much faster loading times than prior versions, making the repeated retries of an area as you try to lock down those Platinums much easier and more appealing.
The Bayonetta titles remain two of the most fun action games ever made, and so the chance to revisit them is a treat – especially as you can now play them anywhere and in their most technically reliable form. Don’t feel bad for skipping the cut scenes though – you’re not missing much.