Of the many series which deserve better sales numbers than they currently have, Bayonetta sits near the top.
One of the stranger entries in Nintendo’s catalogue, Bayonetta is a far cry from the family friendly offerings the company is known for. Violent, frenetic and, by director and Devil May Cry creator Hideki Kamiya’s own words, based around a theme of “sexiness,” it isn’t the series most would place in the same stable as Mario and The Legend of Zelda, and would have been right at home on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
And yet, for those who have played the series’ two games, it couldn’t be clearer why Nintendo would want to hold onto the franchise exclusively. The games bleed style and creativity with a wisecracking lead character who tears through angelic enemies via pistols attached to each limb and supernatural attacks conjured using her hair. Its set pieces range from riding a motorcycle up a skyscraper to summoning otherworldly beings to punch celestial forces into the sun.
It’s a tour de force of the hack-and-slash genre, and one that deserves the praise critics and fans heap on it whenever they get the chance.
Unfortunately, its sales don’t reflect this in any way.
While the first has sold several million copies over its lifetime, Bayonetta 2 flagged behind considerably in its initial launch and has slowly tried to make up for it since its release. Considering its exclusivity to the Wii U, which had its fair share of sales issues, there wasn’t much that could have been done on the developer’s side, leaving the series to struggle where it could have shined.
It’s a heartbreaking truth for fans not only because the series deserves better, but because of the implications it could have for the series moving forward. As much as some might try to say otherwise, video games are a business, and sales determine what does and doesn’t continue to see releases. Even if the poor sales aren’t the fault of the series itself, it is a possibility the series could be stowed away in favor of other IPs which could perform better and ensure more profitability.
That’s why the announcement of Bayonetta’s Switch ports, as well as the news that a third installment is on the way, is so exciting. Not only is the series set to continue, but its first two entries can now be played by a much wider number of the fans as well as new players with a love for the hack-and-slash genre.
There’s also the benefits afforded by the Switch’s hardware. Thanks to the console’s portable play option, players can take the style and flair of both games on the go. Making a commute to school or work? Bring out Bayonetta and rip through a few waves of angelic enemies. Need to get some fresh air but don’t want to leave during a bonkers cut scene? Bring the action with you outside and enjoy some sunlight while you watch.
To be fair, the series still won’t be for everyone. It’s a fast paced hack-and-slasher through and through, and those who didn’t like the genre before probably won’t be swayed by a game that revels in these elements. Likewise, the original criticisms of the first two games hold over, with a convoluted story butting in on the fun at inopportune moments. And yet, with this re-release, it has the chance to show that it can be a profitable series worth future investments and support for new entries.
So, if you enjoy titles that are full to bursting with originality; if you’re all for games that take action to a new level, propelling you up buildings with a motorcycle before taking you into the atmosphere with a missile; if you’re looking for games with characters who are so over the top you can’t help but crack up; and if you want more titles that break new ground in terms of how fun they are to play, pick up Bayonetta on Switch. It’s a series more than worthy of being seen and enjoyed by a wider player base, and buying the latest re-release of the first two titles is the surest way to work toward achieving that goal.