Remasters and ports typically center on two types of games. Either the title is so massively popular bringing it back is a win for most people or it’s viewed as a second chance for success. Seeing Bayonetta return is far from surprising. All things considered, it sold fairly well, got ported to the Wii U, Switch, made it to PC and is back on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but the real win is getting Vanquish. The fast-paced shooter has a cult following that never leads to the same level of success many other titles from PlatinumGames were able to find. And, now that titles are back in the Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle, will they remind fans of why people love PlatinumGames or are they dated by today’s standards? Here’s our Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle Review.
Having played through Bayonetta no less than four times in the past, this time through I found myself admiring the presentation of the story, over the story itself. If you’re unfamiliar with it, Bayonetta is centered around two different but related stories. One is about preventing imminent doom and stopping angelic forces, but between these climactic battles, Bayonetta tries to remember her past. Neither story is particularly amazing, though there is enough to enjoy the ride, a lot of the charm comes from how over the top it is.
Nothing in Bayonetta’s universe is simple or bland, which results in a fascinating ride. You don’t just fight horrific angels that want to kill you, this occurs on top of a plane or on part of a broken clocktower that is falling over the cliffside. Most games and really experiences would get lost in this never-ending quest for style, but what has allowed Bayonetta to stand the test of time is the overall substance.
Between multiple weapons, various combos and several finishing attacks, there is a good amount of diversity to her attacks. This is furthered by a dodging system that rewards good timing with increased speed to maximize damage or get in a more advantageous position. It might take some time to master but it rewards anyone willing to try with an amazing experience. Those who rather enjoy the ride have lower difficulties with preset combos to make things easier.
Since this is a port, it will look a bit rough around the edges. Normally this might be a concern, especially if graphics are extremely important to you, but it works fairly well for Bayonetta. It goes well with the initially dated look at certain parts and adds a gritty charm that might not add anything but it certainly doesn’t take away from it either.
On the other end, we have Vanquish, which was always a rather divisive title. Part of the problem was always the story. Here you play as Sam Gideon stuck in the middle of a battle for the few remaining resources in a rather bleak future. There is a foul play from governments, backstabbing and plenty of robots to kill, yet it is often more complicated than it needed to be, without offering enough to make it remotely satisfying. Despite this, Vanquish manages to be one of the most engaging third-person shooters I’ve ever played.
Parts of this is thanks to the rather intuitive controls. Unless you take the time to do the tutorial, there is a certain sense of trial and error, with most of the mechanics making sense once you know they actually exist. Part of the fun is having something like the disc gun, going behind one of the larger enemies and instead of doing your melee attack, you start trying to saw through its back.
Much of what allows Vanquish to stand the test of time is the infamous tactical challenges. One concern with story mode was many of the deeper mechanics and elements aren’t required unless you play at the absolute highest difficulty. If you want any hope of finishing a good number of the challenges, you need to know when to slow down time, swap weapons, how to quickly dispatch each obstacle and manage multiple threats at once. At no point is there a wrong way, though there is always the best way. In some cases, it’s almost impossible to win unless you get positioning and weapons just right. And, when everything comes together, it’s one of the most satisfying and fun looking games around.
Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle Verdict
Given Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle is based on two fairly well-known games from about a decade ago, there is only so much you can say. Both remain extremely engaging and I instantly found myself remembering why I loved both of these games. Even if the story is a bit of a weak point, both titles remain extremely engaging and still better than a fair number of games that release today. The only real downside to the collection is, again, the dated look. But, at roughly $20 apiece, it’s easy to justify this ride regardless of this being your first or fifth run.
[Editor’s Note: Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle was reviewed on the PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]