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Review: Bayonetta and Vanquish 10th Anniversary Collection (PS4)

Oh Platinum. Feels like just yesterday that we were witnessing the untimely death of Clover Studios, wondering what would come next for the people behind some of Capcom’s most beloved niche classics. What ended up happening was one of the greatest “rise from the ashes” stories in the industry’s history. Platinum Games arrived on the scene, and quickly developed a reputation for some of the slickest, most stylish character action titles ever made.

Games like Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, NiER Automata, Madworld and most recently, Astral Chain have propelled them to legendary heights, but with their 10th anniversary fast approaching, Platinum is taking us all back to where it began, with a double pack featuring their first two games, Bayonetta and Vanquish. Just how well do these two legends stack up in 2020?

Must be the season of the witch

Let’s start with the most famous of the two games. Bayonetta was one of the first games I bought for my PlayStation 3 back in the day. Titled after the main character, her slick moves, surplus of style, and of course, the marriage of the former Clover Studios with my beloved SEGA had me hooked from the first moment I saw her. 

However, while the Xbox 360 version of the game came out alright, the PS3 version didn’t exactly, shall we say … show our girl in the best light. It suffered horrible load times, bad framerate, subpar textures … it was a mess, yet the quality of the game still shone through despite its issues. Bayonetta ended up becoming a personal favorite and filled the Devil May Cry shaped void in my life for a little while. I cherished my time with it and regularly cite it as one of my favorite SEGA titles.

Up until this opportunity came along though, I hadn’t touched Bayonetta in about nine years. I never revisted the game after losing my first PS3, nor did I try the PC or Nintendo ports that came along later. This was my first chance to really experience Bayonetta as it was meant to be experienced, and my word, it was worth the wait. The Anniversary remaster is simply wonderful, and especially a godsend for those who stuck to Sony’s console lineage.

The game is gorgeous to look at today, especially with the upgraded main character and location textures. Most importantly, Bayonetta‘s combat has never felt better to play. Playing on a base PS4 console, I experienced no dips below 60FPS, a far cry from the inconsistent sub-30FPS the PS3 version had. Fights that were an absolute pain in the original game are now up to par with the best in the game.

Vanquishing Without Peril

And that brings us to the second half of this doubleheader. Platinum’s second outing, Vanquish, got a bit less attention upon its 2010 release. Whether it was its lack of a bombastic main character like Bayonetta or the tendency to see it as nothing more than a Gears of War clone, Vanquish stayed mostly niche up until its 2017 PC port. 

Truth be told, Vanquish definitely wasn’t my thing back then. Third-person shooters in general don’t normally do it for me, and my time with the demo was not pleasant. I wrote it off entirely, but having grown older, and also watching other people I trust play the game, I was ready to take it on with fresh eyes. While packing more niche titles in with a bigger name usually doesn’t go well, I have to say it’s a very smart decision here.

Vanquish is a much better game than I remember, and I have to believe again that being on systems that can properly handle it is the biggest reason. Being able to consistently pull off stylish shots and, again, play the game as it was meant to be experienced is a huge deal. It does have a tad more framerate fluctuation on a base PS4 than Bayonetta but nothing that ruins the experience.

The most important thing is that Vanquish does its job of convincing those who slept on it in the past to give it another go. I can’t say I was super excited about having to play it, but I’m glad I did. Vanquish isn’t a perfect game like I’d consider Bayonetta to be, but it’s damn good. If you didn’t give it a go before, take this opportunity to fix that.

In conclusion

If I have any complaints about this package, it’s that there weren’t any little extra bonuses added into the games. This isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker by any means. The traditional Bayonetta experience is worth your time no matter what, and Vanquish is certainly worth the price of admission. But it would’ve been nice to see a few little extras like, maybe, Bayo’s Bayonetta 2 design as a secret costume or some additional story content for Vanquish. Also, Quick Time Events are still the literal devil, and I wish they’d considered removing them from these ports.

But all in all, the Bayonetta/Vanquish 10th Anniversary package is a must have for any Platinum or SEGA fan. Both games have aged like a fine wine, and there’s no better, nor cheaper, way to experience them.

Who knows what the next 10 years for Platinum holds, but if they’re anything like the first, we’re all in for a treat, and this is the perfect appetizer for whatever comes next.

Shine on, you madmen.

Pros:

  • Both games stay around a consistent 60FPS even on base consoles
  • Bayonetta is especially a spectacle with new textures
  • If you slept on Vanquish before, there’s no better time than now to give it a fair share
  • Two quality games for a pretty decent price is a steal

Cons:

  • No additional content for either game
  • QTEs still suck, more at 11.
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Brett Hatfield

Former showrunner at Sega Addicts, current writer for MegaVisions. Semi-competitive Tekken player and lore nerd. World Record holding Final Fantasy Type-0 speedrunner. Hockey and Japanese pro-wrestling nerd.

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