Platinum Games is one of my favorite developers at the moment, so although I know both games from the reviewed package inside out, it didn’t take long to persuade me to enter the same river again.
This is not a Resident Evil 2 refresh. These are “ordinary” remasters, in which loading times have been improved, the resolution has been increased and 60 frames per second have been guaranteed on PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. You won’t find any additional content, levels, playable here characters or even bonuses like artwork or backstage videos. Yet it was enough to pin me to the screen once more.
A witch from hell
Bayonetta is one of the best action games in recent years. Although it gives way to even better two, the title has aged beautifully and in 60 frames and higher resolution on PS4 Pro and X One X it looks phenomenal. As well noted – the gameplay does not offer native 4K. Elements such as the logo and interface are displayed in 4K, while the game is rendered at 1440p and then scaled to 4k. Of course, you also need to take a bearing on the fact that this is only a remaster, so the geometry of objects or character animation have not been improved and it can be seen perfectly in cutscenes, which are inferior to those of the current generation of consoles and may seem archaic. The gameplay itself, however, is pure gold.
The first Bayonetta has a slightly darker tone than the two, which is also reflected in the appropriate colors and history. We play the role of the title Witch, who, after years of sleep, must regain her memory and save our world, hitting the very center of the war between Darkness and Light. It takes about 10-12 hours to complete the story, filled to the brim with absurd action, fights with huge bosses and scenes straight from Dante’s Divine Comedy. This is a very specific artistic style, sometimes even close to kitsch, which may not be appreciated by people who do not like Japanese style, but it is worth giving the title a chance. Especially that the combat system focused on timing, slowing down time, bringing out successive chains of blows and killing enemies with effective actions using the Witch’s hair turning into demons, still looks impressive. Well, there have been few games in recent years that have reached this level. Juggling your opponents in the air with melee weapons and pistols is a death ballet. Of course, each level is a rating, so just like we have in the Devil May Cry series, Bayonetta encourages you to practice your skills and break new records by making pate out of demonic carcass.
PlayStation fans should be particularly pleased with Bayonetta. The port on PS3 was very weak, as even Sega herself later admitted. Animation drops, long loading, bugs – now you can forget about all these handicaps, and 60 frames per second during fights with opponents larger than the entire screen gives this title a second life. I mentioned the loading, which previously irritated and now allow you to jump to the next levels in no time. The only disadvantage of this solution is that on these screens you could train your hits while waiting for the progress bar to load, but somehow you will survive it, right? Thus, we get the best version of the first Bayonetta that was created and if after completing Devil May Cry 5 you feel unhappy, I recommend you fall into the arms of the alluring Bayonetta. Even if you already know this taste.
God Bless America
The second title in the package is not a flesh and blood slasher but a TPP shootout. And what! The plot is deliberately styled as a C-class movie. So we have a regime represented by the Order of the Russian Star, which takes control of the American space station and destroys San Francisco by using solar energy. A moment later, the bald “hangover” gives the USA an ultimatum – either they will sign a surrender or more cities will be destroyed. America cannot allow this. So we quickly get to know the main character, a member of the DARPA organization, equipped with a combat suit, which, together with the Marines, is to retake the station and show the enemy where the crayfish winter! The story about good Americans and bad Russians, written for about 6 hours, is only the background for the game. And the one in 60 cages – like Bayonetta – shines. Higher resolution and smooth animation let you see even flying bullets.
While the dynamic shambles have some annoying jumps in the difficulty level, just controlling a guy in a combat suit is pretty damn fun. We can make quick slides between covers, jumps, turn on the AR mode that allows you to slow down time, or attack the enemy using assisted physical attacks. Swapping quickly between the three weapons also does the job, and the guns are a real arsenal of destruction with rocket launchers and power saws at the forefront. In this element, the game has not aged much and is not disturbed by even the not very impressive destruction of the elements of the environment. A small DLC has also been added to the game in the package, which adds to the already large arsenal three more weapons, including the laser cannon. You can complain a bit about jumping cutscenes or not very transparent scoring and weapon upgrading system, but the futuristic views of the space station, the possibility of taking over the enemy’s walking machine or the feeling straight from arcade salons allow you to turn a blind eye.
Both productions offer the original Japanese soundtrack, which will probably be a priority for all purists. Both Bayonetta and Vanquish, despite a few archaisms, have aged really well, and if you haven’t had the opportunity to play both productions before – you will not find better versions.