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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
There's a message here suggesting that you can be strong and smart while also expressing femininity, but there are also sequences that sexualize and objectify the game's hero.
Positive Role Models
Bayonetta never seems all that concerned that presumably millions of people are dying in catastrophes on her world and that billions more are perishing as other worlds are obliterated. She just wants to destroy her enemies, protect her friends, and look fantastic while doing it.
Main characters include a mix of light-skinned women, light-skinned men, and a Black man. Background characters span a mix of races and genders.
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Ease of Play
Three difficulty levels allow players to adjust challenge to their abilities (the easiest setting is very easy). Controls for specific moves and abilities are gradually introduced via in-game tutorials, and players are usually given a chance to practice them both in the story as well as during side challenges.
Violence & Scariness
Viewed from a third-person perspective, Bayonetta uses swords, guns, magic, and summoned demons to battle fantastical creatures of various shapes and sizes, from humanoids to towering monsters, often tearing them apart in bursts of colorful aqua and purple blood. Red blood and viscera appears on human allies when they get injured, including a character who is impaled through the chest. Massive catastrophes -- such as tidal waves and collapsing skyscrapers -- presumably kill millions of people, though few bodies are shown.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Bayonetta is frequently depicted in various states of undress, sometimes with hair being the only thing obscuring her breasts and genitals. Several outfits worn by Bayonetta and one of her demon slaves have only very small bits of clothing -- such as a body thong -- or armor covering their bodies. One scene in a side-scrolling level shows a silhouette of Jeanne taking a shower before a monster wanders in, causing her to gasp in outrage before killing it. Characters use words and phrases like "short and curlies," "size isn't everything," and "climax."
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Dialogue -- both spoken and text -- contains very strong language, including several instances of "f--k" and "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
Players will be able to purchase additional content within the game. This is the latest chapter in the Bayonetta franchise.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Bottles of alcohol can be seen in a bar that serves as the game's store. A character is frequently seen smoking a cigar. A summoned cat demon smokes from what appears to be a crack pipe.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bayonetta 3 is a third-person action game for Switch. It tells the story of a witch fighting an entity known as the Singularity who's intent on destroying the multiverse. She uses swords, guns, magic, and summoned demons to destroy her fantastical foes, which range in size and shape from humanoid to skyscraper-sized monsters. Enemies frequently explode into bits with splashes of aqua and purple blood, and human allies are sometimes injured, showing red blood and viscera. Bayonetta is a sexualized character, frequently changing into extremely revealing outfits such as a body thong and sometimes appears completely naked, save for pieces of hair strategically covering her breasts and genitals. There's also some crass and suggestive dialogue, including phrases like "short and curlies" and "size isn't everything." That said, Bayonetta also sends the message that you can be strong and smart -- she's basically the most powerful person in all the multiverse -- while also proudly expressing feminine qualities. Additional mature content includes strong language throughout -- including "f--k" and "s--t" -- as well as cigar smoking, apparent drug use (a giant cat demon appears to smoke a crack pipe), and rows of alcohol bottles in a bar that serves as the game's store.
Is It Any Good?
It's pretty hard to get bored playing this one. Bayonetta 3 is an over-the-top assault on the senses, stuffed to the gills with bonkers battles, imaginative visuals, and scene-stealing one-liners from a parade of memorable characters. The action sequences steadily grow in dazzle and fervor throughout the game, reaching multiple crescendos that involve such spectacles as tidal waves crushing cities and towering kaiju monsters battling each other in Street Fighter-style battles. It's kind of a throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach -- the 2D stealth platforming levels featuring Jeanne are at odds with the rest of the game's pacing, and some of the non-combat exploration and traversal can get a little frustrating -- but overall, it's a blast. Bayonetta's evolving collection of weapons and moves provide plenty of opportunity for action fans to strategize, and the controls are responsive and satisfying. Plus, players uninterested in spending time to master combat can just set the difficulty to casual, mash buttons, and watch as Bayonetta and her friends lay waste to their enemies with eye-popping demon summons and wonderfully inventive magic attacks.
The overblown multiverse story might be a little hard to make sense of in places, but it can be gulped down easily enough if you just go with it. Don't ask questions that begin with "why" and you'll be fine. But what does require a little closer examination is how Bayonetta 3 deals with its titular character, who has become iconic amongst cosplayers and drag queens. She's a celebration of femininity, proof positive that you can be strong, smart, and successful while also expressing yourself in unabashedly feminine ways. That said, there are also scenes where the camera hovers over parts of her body a touch too long, and changing into a body thong for certain moves just seems a bit gratuitous. But this is a game meant for older gamers who, hopefully, will be able to maintain a critical eye while playing and form their own opinions about both its feminism and objectification. There's no denying Bayonetta 3 delivers spectacular action and sassy wit. Just keep in mind this one's not for kids.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.