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Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle - Review

Updated: Feb 18, 2020

Classic, fast paced, singleplayer action, remastered for a new generation of gamers.

When I found out that i'd been selected to review Bayonetta and Vanquish, both celebrating their 10th Anniversary with a 4K 60fps remaster release on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro! I was instantly returned to my teen years playing both of these gaming gems and eager to have this opportunity to showcase 2 of my favourite ps3 games for a new generation, who may never have had the chance to play either of these critically acclaimed titles.

A date with Bayonetta

(image credit: Sega Games)

Bayonetta took centre stage first with her signature strut & seductive presence. Bayonetta is a sultry witch stricken with amnesia, and seeking the truth of her past. Throughout the game you will unlock her memories through a combination of flashbacks & events that will appear rather vague until the storyline begins weaving together.

The brilliant mind of Hideki Kamiya - director of the first ‘Devil May Cry’ – is to thank for adding his personal flavour to the evolving story, alongside PlatinumGames, culminating in a piece of action game mastery that doesn’t fall flat on the narrative.

If you have never tried Bayonetta before, boy does the adage “they don’t make them like they used to” relate to the unrelenting level of action filtered into this game.

You’re barely seconds beyond the introduction screen before Bayonetta is pitted against the divines of ‘Paradiso’ – one pillar of the Trinity of Realities, atop a plummeting cathedral clock tower, fighting for survival against an endless wave of heavens angels – which are much more grotesque than Sunday school led you to believe.

During the entire descent you are free to battle till your hearts content with Bayonetta’s signature quad pistols at hand – and foot as it were. Though button mashing without a clue is a much more accurate account of my first play-through in years.

The combat tutorial does an excellent job of explaining the basics of combat with simple move sets, combos & even provides a virtual training ground outside of the action to hone some of your skills all to a Jazzy soundtrack and some intense cutscene action.

The improvements in graphical quality were most noticeable around this point - the sheer smoothness of the animations, both in game and cutscenes, were flawless. Load screens too have almost become a thing of the past thanks to the upgrade in hardware that sees the game now run at up to 4K 60fps on the PlayStation 4 Pro!

“Non-Stop Climax Action” was repeatedly touted by Sega and PlatinumGames at the original release of this title, and it is undoubtedly a central focus of this game – how could it not be with an attractive quad-pistol-packing heroine at the helm? But it doesn’t just end at high-calibre heels and fancy punches, no, there’s much more to the game Bayonetta, and her arsenal of abilities than what she fits into her catsuit.

Puzzle Solving sections of increasing difficulty, provide some mental strain outside of memorizing perfect combo’s – just don’t be tempted to google it before at least giving it a solid try using the in-game hints.

‘Witch time’ is an ability granted for a successful last second dodge, in which all time slows for enemies for a brief period.

Medieval torture devices, can be summoned using magic points you receive for chaining attacks and not taking damage.

Bayonetta’s own magical hair can be used to summon monsters from the hellish realm of inferno – although the summoning does leave her a little ‘exposed’ for a short time.

If it seems like so much has already been spoilt for you already, this has been but a small tasting up to the end of Chapter 1 of some of the amazing abilities, weapons, upgrades, concoctions, special abilities and flirtatious moves you will unlock while playing Bayonetta, the rest, I’ll leave for you to discover and enjoy.

Getting my Vanquish on.

(image credit: Sega Games)

Vanquish is fast-paced fun in a battle-suit, that sees you power-sliding beyond the enemy line to blow the heads off some tin-cans fighting for a Russian separatist - and looking slick while doing it! Shinji Mikami is the creative mind behind this 3rd person cover shooter, working with Sega and PlatinumGames to bring his vision to life through crisp animation work, massive robot v marine battles, difficult boss clashes and some campy humour to break up dialog.

You play as Sam Gideon, the a researcher & pilot in the DARPA: ARS program, working on an experimental advanced mobility suit running on a miniature reactor. With your experimental suit equipped, you are tasked with aiding US Marines as they wage an all-out assault against a shadowy group of Russian separatists in a desperate bid to stop a war of catastrophic proportions - but covertly, your true motive is recusing a kidnapped colleague of the ARS project.

Gideon is for all intents, a 90’s action movie protagonist, spitting off the occasional one-liner between opening his ARS helmet for a post-battle cigarette, and putting his life – and multibillion dollar suit - on the line to save battle bruised marines aboard the ‘Providence’ – the near-earth colony ship where Vanquish takes place.

Like Bayonetta, Vanquish has benefited both in function and visually from this remaster for Playstation 4, now sporting improvements in animation smoothness thanks to the 4K 60fps framerate on the Playstation 4 Pro. Load screen times and cutscenes have also been slashed compared to its PlayStation 3 debut in 2010. What hasn’t changed though - is the action!

Action is what this game is all about, and there’s plenty of it across the multiple Acts of Russian robot wrecking destruction. The skeleton of Vanquish’s combat is similar to other cover shooters; lots of waist-height cover that you can use to pop out and manually press an enemies “end task” button from range – conveniently located in the head, enemies also using said cover to flank or reposition, these usual cover & vault mechanics are here and they are good.

But where Vanquish differs greatly is in active discouragement to cover-crawling by granting you the gift of increased rapid mobility & immediate response to hazards, all thanks to your ARS suit.

The ARS suit is equipped with multiple boosters, getting you from A to Russian Bots – not the internet kind - faster than they have time to realise they’re about to experience a hard-reset. Add to this the ‘AR mode’ – a bullet-time like safety setting when Gideons health drops, that can also be activated manually – allowing you to quickly dispatch multiple foes in mere moments of actual time, and it all starts to sound too overpowered, right?

Well to balance it they’ve included a limited power supply for any of these actions, this also means that using the suit to maximum output, and the subsequent cooldown phase, leaves Gideon more vulnerable to enemy fire and much less mobile should you need to get away from an enemy – always remember to spend your suit energy wisely.

Weapons in game are handled a little differently, you are given three slots for main weapons and have two grenade types you can switch between taking up the fourth slot on the D-Pad. There’s an arsenal of weapons to be found in the world of Vanquish, either through crates, enemy death drops, or even by helping up injured marines during battle.

Your available arsenal includes everything from standard issue assault rifles to rocket launchers, and even some experimental stuff - which I’ll leave you to find and try for yourself. Upgrading weapons is also a great way to increase the usefulness of some weapons you may find dull upon swapping to their level one variant, and the upgrade process is as simple as collecting upgrade tokens or another of the same weapon from the ground – provided yours is already filled on ammo.

The Weapon selection & the advancement tree, mean there’s no shortage of variation in ways to do battle. But don’t be discouraged from duking it out either as the ARS suit also includes some impressive melee capability - just be sure whatever you’re pummelling into scrap metal is dead before your suit overheats or you might find yourself on the end of a Russian robots shishkebab.

Now don’t go feeling like this is all there is to be found Vanquish, there is an evolving narrative to enjoy, as mentioned; many more guns to be found, lots of varied enemy types to melt into slag, and endless surprising moments – it was even awarded ‘Most "Oh Shit" Moments Per Minute’ by GamesRadar. But don’t just take my word for it, and start your own adventure power sliding through ‘Providence’ today!

I’ve really enjoyed this flying-pistol-heel-kick-cross-robot-crunching-powerslide down memory lane with the Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle. Featuring these 2 games that had each left their individual marks on me as a gamer of some 20 years, I was pleasantly surprised to find these titles aged like a great wine and are just as good as I remember them a decade on from their original release, the same cannot be said for many remasters of older action titles due to ever changing trends in gaming - these titles have withstood the test of time.

Thank you Sega & PlatinumGames for bringing these gems of gaming back for another generation to enjoy.

So, Why haven’t you bought your copy yet!? the Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle releases on 18/02/2020 with a special steelbook edition available at EB Games, JB Hi-Fi, Amazon Australia and Big W for a recommended retail price of $59.95 AUD

To learn more about ordering your copy, click here

Luke Nixon

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