Sunday, February 23, 2020

"Bayonetta & Vanquish: 10th Anniversary" Review

With two stunning releases in the span of a few months in late 2009 and early 2019, PlatinumGames redefined the action genre.

The games were the stylized proto-feminist hack-and-slash romp "Bayonetta" and the kinetic shooter "Vanquish." The last-gen gems topped out the pinnacle of what was possible with the Xbox 360/PS3 generation's hardware, and were memorable enough to sporadically cross over into current-gen hardware.

The newly-released bundle that combines both games into a budget-priced $40 price point is not only a welcome leap into yesteryear, but a surprising sign of what many modern games in the genre lacked.

Released in a time before microstransactions and games-as-service trappings became en vogue, both games stand as unadulterated, full-featured experiences that tell a complete tale from the get-go, leaving you satisfied rather than stranded. Both are polished, visually stunning achievements that show few signs of negative aging.

"Bayonetta," in particular, feels ahead of its time. While some of its sexual humor may be dated, its pre-Black Widow and Scarlet Witch heroinism was a harbinger of a brave new world of death-dealing females.

"Vanquish" is a bit of a relic, but its forward momentum-based attack style still rings out as distinctive. Building upon the likes of "Devil May Cry" and "God of War" -- with plenty of "Halo" flavor sprinkled in -- the cyberpunk action still jumps to life.

Both "Bayonetta" and "Vanquish" remain compellingly playable and invigoratingly enchanting. Fire them up if you're looking for fever-pitched combat the way it was done a decade ago.

Publisher provided review code.

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