Believe it or not, Bayonetta and Vanquish are a decade old and now they're finally available for Xbox One and PS4 in a cool new bundle.
Before getting to the specific games, allow me to say that I'm very impressed with how well they run. For the record, I played them on Xbox One X with a 65" OLED TV. Although the graphics are merely sharper and smoother and not a complete overhaul of the originals, it still looks and sounds flashy and exciting. In fact, I wish more modern games were this visceral and thrilling to take in. Anyway, you won't find any substantial additions to these games aside from their improved visuals so don't expect the whole museum treatment.
Bayonetta Xbox One ★★★★☆
I haven't played Bayonetta for a very long time and after diving back in via this bundle, I was surprised how similar it is to Devil May Cry which is something that didn't strike me as obviously back in 2010 when I first played it. I mean, that makes sense because both games were directed by Hideki Kamiya. As a result, you're left with an action-intense and supremely challenging campaign. Plus, it's probably the most stylishly designed action game ever made with its over-the-top protagonist, imaginative enemies, and noir-style cutscenes.
Stringing together combos as you dodge around and slow down time is such a blast once you get into the rhythm of combat and doing so is extremely rewarding when it all clicks. However, if you're not willing to put in the effort to learn how to play effectively then you'll likely have a frustrating time with Bayonetta as some segments can be downright brutal if you don't execute dodges and combos in a timely manner. In fact, I personally find Bayonetta to be more difficult than the notoriously challenging Devil May Cry games. Thankfully, there's a difficulty select for less skilled gamers although I prefer playing on normal. That being said, some parts can be tricky to get past simply because you may have missed something so no matter which difficulty you play on, you'll probably resort to using a guide at least a few times. In the end, it's an incredible game yet one that less patient gamers need to be wary of before taking the plunge.Bayonetta gameplay video →
Vanquish Xbox One ★★★★☆
10 years ago, the gaming community was graced with one of the best action games ever. Vanquish will have you sliding for cover, outrunning tricky bosses, and blasting a flurry of bullets almost constantly. You play as Sam Gideon, a DARPA agent who's outfitted head-to-toe in an Augmented Reality suit that allows him to slow down time and perform evasive maneuvers. Vanquish barely lets you take a breather within its intense evaluated missions that have you helping out the Marines as they fight hordes of enemy robots. It's one of those games that will make your eyes red when you finally put the controller down and blink.
The graphics looked pretty great back in 2010 and they're just as polished in this re-release even though there isn't really a ton of visual variety. Meanwhile, the sound effects are perfect, reflecting the thousands of bullets whizzing by you mixed with the noises of deadly robots and the giant machinery that they bring in to fight. You'll end up facing huge tanks, giant droids with weapons that cut through cover, and even bigger bosses with multiple weak spots that you have to aim for as you dodge their attacks.
You traverse stages by running or sliding between cover while healing fellow fighters and opening item boxes to upgrade weapons. Plus, there's a great selection of weaponry; something akin to the average Ratchet & Clank game so the gameplay never becomes stale. The enemies are just as interesting with their ability to use moving barricades and turret guns and they even come running right for you with a kamikaze move when they're almost dead. The controls are super-tight, too, and when you manage to finish an area, you get a score and stats such as how much ammunition you used, the time you took, and the number of times you died. Vanquish almost flawlessly delivers relentless action, awesome weaponry, and tight and varied gameplay with a solid amount of challenge to boot.Vanquish gameplay video →
If you have a fondness for no-holds-barred action games then playing Bayonetta and Vanquish is a must. These suckers may be 10 years old but they hold up beautifully and even rival most modern AAA games.
- + Both games look and perform great
- + Bayonetta is a fantastic action game in the same vein as Devil May Cry
- + Vanquish is a superb third-person shooter
- - No substantial additions
- - Bayonetta can be pretty frustrating
- - Vanquish lacks visual variety