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Bayonetta 3: Nintendo's Midnight Movie Game

Just go with the craziness.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
2 min read
Bayonetta 3 screenshot, facing a mysterious demon

Bayonetta 3 is wild and weird at every turn, with tons of fighting. And cutscenes.


I have realized that maybe I'm not a Bayonetta person. That's not to say I don't appreciate the utterly bizarre vibe of the Bayonetta series, which now has a long-awaited third entry available on the Nintendo Switch. This is the Switch's first made-for-Switch Bayonetta game; Bayonetta 2 was a Wii U port. Worth the wait? Sure. It's just that I'm not sure what's going on at all.

Then again, that's kind of the point.

Bayonetta 3 may seem totally out of place among the rest of Nintendo's game catalog and spirit: The series has always felt more like a classic Sega experience in a lot of ways. Chaotic action, cursing, very extended cutscenes, weird sexually suggestive outfits… this isn't a game that holds you by the hand.

If you have a Switch and are dying for an intense fighting spectacle of the sort you're more likely to get on Xbox or PlayStation, however, you've come to the right place.

Bayonetta fans, it's OK if you stop reading here. I'm writing this for the parents and the newcomers. This is a great game in the series, even if it's unfortunately lacking the excellent voice talent of Hellena Taylor. Bayonetta 3's challenges, its unlockable extras and hidden surprises (of which I've been trying to find a few), and the challenge of trying to score better on any stage give it replay value in spite of its linear story. 

The spectacle of the game is utterly madcap, frequently aiming for God of War-level action even though it's running on a less powerful Switch processor. It's still super fun to take in. I have no idea what's going on: homunculi, hulking demons, a multiverse… just run with it. It's like watching a cult film at midnight.

Bayonetta 3 mixes fast-moving fights with extended non-interactive cutscenes in a way that could annoy anyone looking for more flow. I was fine with it, but sometimes I needed a rest. There are lots of specific fighting tactics, but I tended to button-mash (which can get you surprisingly far).

Two giant glowing enemies fighting in Bayonetta 3 game

Battles with massive beasts are everywhere. The scale keeps getting more absurd.


Bayonetta 3 is a one-player game, best played on a big screen with headphones on. It's fine on the go, too (although I've been button-mashing so hard I've been worried I'll snap the Joy-Cons out of the sides of my Switch).

I guess what I love about it so far, despite having no clue what's going on a lot of the time, is its in-your-face, satisfyingly quick and crazy battles. They stress me out, but they're not brutally hard. And beating the crap out of massively weird demons is a pretty good way to escape the stress of a relentlessly weird world.

I'm not sure I personally crave Bayonetta every day, but it's a good thing to jump into for a half-hour at a time… which is about how long each chapter seems to be so far. How much you need Bayonetta 3 probably depends. But in my life, sometimes a little goes a long way.