Developer: Platinum Games
Official Site: Bayonettavanquish.sega.com
Release Date: February 18, 2020
Version Tested: Xbox One
When it comes to this generation of consoles, every old is new again. When this era started out, we thought the remasters and rereleases were just going to be for the select few games that arrived just months ahead of the PS4 and Xbox One. The further we got into this age, the more games got rereleases, and the further back in the video game history we went. Eventually, we got the ability to play a remastered version of Bayonetta and Vanquish on the current consoles, and all was right with the world. At the very least, all was right with people who had thought they would get to play these classic games unless they kept their rather old consoles.
While Vanquish is a game that was original enough to be loved, but not loved enough to get a sequel, Bayonetta has had not one sequel but a second supposedly on the way. Bayonetta 2 is a massive success for the Wii U showed just how popular the titular character is. When fans have this much of a love affair with a character, the remaster doesn’t need to be perfect; it’s just gotta be playable and modernized enough to make people want to come back. Some are “coming back” for the first time to both games. They might have heard about them, but never got their hands on them. There’s plenty of style in both games to reel in a new generation of fans.
Welcome Back Bayonetta!
It’s hard to know if Platinum Games realized the kind of character it had on its hands when Bayonetta was first released. A woman that went into some kind of hibernation, only to find herself waking to a world where she has to hack, slash and shoot her way through hordes of angels caught on big time, even though it’s definitely a little quirky. Of course, the fact that this kind of character wasn’t exactly mainstream probably actually helped its popularity.
Sadly, the fact that quirky has been something embraced by gamers more in the last decade, the character is still unique, but not nearly as standout as it was when Bayonetta and Vanquish were brand new to the gaming public. The good news is that if you’re someone who absolutely loved the original, but was annoyed at how clunky it could get on the PS3, then you’re going to love what this game can accomplish on the PS4 absolutely.
People take for granted that remasters aren’t just about making it so that an older game can be played on a newer system. Some of the more load massive games in the previous generations not only had some “looks” issues at times but simply couldn’t load all that well on the less powerful consoles. Not only does the newest iteration of Bayonetta look a bit better, but it’s also running quite a bit smoother.
There is a caveat here as well, though. The game doesn’t have some of the framerate drops you saw in the original game, but this appears to have been a game that was up rezzed more than redesigned. To some people, that’s a pretty small difference. There’s just a different look when the game is basically the same but slightly sharper and something like what Resident Evil 2 devs did. Of course, Bayonetta and Vanquish were never billed as a complete reimagining, but RE2 set the bar higher for games that are releasing remasters this late in the generation.
Gideon On the Warpath Again
If fighting angels with weapons that are grafted to your feet aren’t your thing, this remaster bundle will give you something completely different. Vanquish is one of those games that didn’t catch on the same way Bayonetta did, but it did do some things that set it apart from the sci-fi shooter genre, and the plot of the game was just whacky enough to win over players.
This is also the kind of game I absolutely love because it encourages just gunning down everything and everyone you run across as fast as you can. While I love some of the new Assassins’ Creed games, that series was never able to capture my full attention because I get bored when it’s time to try and sneak around. Vanquish never asks you to do that. Instead, it encourages you to bumrush your enemies and take down as many as possible as quickly as possible. The firefights in this game, as it was in Bayonetta are definitely helped by the souped-up engine of the Xbox One.
The death and destruction you wreak could cause framerates to drop rather precipitously on the last generations. This time around, there’s no worry about that.
Verdict: The launch of the Bayonetta and Vanquish remaster bundle really did feel like saying hello to old friends. The problem is that these are not the kinds of friends who always look the same age whenever you see them. While they still look pretty good, there’s some aging around the temples. That’s when talking about the look of the graphics, as well as the gameplay and its mechanics. In some areas, the games actually feel a bit older than they really are. This is one of those that is going to be loved by people who loved the originals but won’t blow away those new to either game.
- Great to play these games on current consoles
- They stand the test of time for the most part
- They still don't look great
- While still very good, the story beats can feel a bit dated.