Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle Review

Player(s): 1
Extra Features: N/A

Vanquish is a third-person action shooter developed by Platinum Games and published by Sega. If you didn't get a chance to play Vanquish back when it first released, you have another chance with the recently released HD version on Xbox One and PS4. Vanquish is definitely a hidden gem and has gained a cult classic status. The game is a fast-paced cover-based shooter that never lets up when it comes to action.

Vanquish starts in the future with an overpopulated Earth where countries fight for scarce resources. The United States has recently launched Providence (a space colony) that works off an alternative source of power. A terrorist military group seizes control of the colony and uses its microwave transmitter to burn San Francisco in a demonstration and plans to target New York City unless their demands are met. Enter Sam Gideon and his squad of space marines, who look to overthrow this terrorist group.

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Players take on the role of Sam, who is armed with the Battlefield Logic Adaptable Electronic Weapon System (BLADE) which can scan weapons and transform into them. It can only store three weapons at a time. Weapons can be picked up in the environment for ammo and upgrades to each type - upgrades carry over even if you change your weapon. The game has tons of weapons to choose from. It has your usual machine gun and assault rifle along with a rocket launcher, but also has unique weapons such as a disc launcher, homing laser, and a laser cannon just to name a few. Sam's suit is designed with an Augmented Reaction (AR) mode that allows players to slow down time while aiming precisely. It's activated whenever you aim while performing certain actions (rolling, vaulting, or sliding). AR also allows Sam to slide in order to move fast across the battlefield. This mode overheats the suit when used too much and must enter a cooldown state if you allow its charge to go all the way down.

Vanquish emphasizes cover, and you can move in and out of cover quickly thanks to your suit's sliding ability. Your character can actually slide in and out of cover areas. Many of the enemies in the game are a type of robot, and all enemies have some sort of weak point. You can shoot off heads and watch the body walk around for a few seconds before falling and exploding. The game has a nice variety of enemies. Enemy AI is quite good in Vanquish - they will flank you at times and totally destroy you if you move away from your squad or fail in seeking cover. Grenades can be used to both damage (frag) and stun enemies (EMP), which is really helpful for getting to some of their weak spots.

Boss fights are often fast-paced and make you scrap for ammo and cover areas. Bosses have a good bit of health and take quite a bit of firepower to take down. The game has mini bosses and bigger bosses as you advance. Each mission has several parts that have checkpoints in between. You are basically in a long mission throughout the entire game that always moves forward with where the action ends from the previous part. The game's characters emphasize a macho attitude - it's nearly like a joke with how scruffy they are, but it fits the game well. All characters are likeable and the story moves along rather well. The voice acting is quite good and so is the music!

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The framerate has been upgraded from the last generation systems to where it looks to be 60fps during gameplay. The new framerate REALLY helps this game out with the amount of action that takes place most of the time. Even though the framerate is upgraded, cutscenes suffer from some unusual slowdown. Whenever the game has to scroll the camera, the cutscenes seem to get some minor or major slowdown in them. It's similar to playing a game on your PC and then having a download happening in the background. The slowdown is not constant, but it always appears eventually. The cutscenes are not unwatchable, but the new slowdown can be quite annoying when it comes to focusing on watching them.

Besides the random framerate drops during cutscenes, the HD version of Vanquish is better than the original. The game has multiple difficulties to beat and collectibles to find in the environment so there is a good bit of replay there. This game needs to be played if you enjoyed previous Platinum Games titles. I really feel that Vanquish is easily their best game that I have played so far. The gameplay setup and overall feel is very unique and doesn't feel like a clone of other shooters. Vanquish is indeed worthy of its cult classic status and deserves this second chance for audiences that may have overlooked it to discover what they missed.

The Good:
+ Consistent high framerate during gameplay
+ Fantastic shooter gameplay
+ An overall gem of a game

The Bad:
- The cutscenes often have slowdown that comes and goes

Vanquish was good back then and it's even better now, aside from some minor issues - 75% for this game.

Player(s): 1
Extra Features: N/A

Bayonetta is a third-person action hack and slash game developed by Platinum Games and published by SEGA. I've constantly had Bayonetta recommended to me because of my love of the Devil May Cry games and this is my first time experiencing Bayonetta. Bayonetta may play similar to the DMC games but it definitely has a style all its own. The game emphasizes sexiness and partial nudity and does a good job blending it in with the action to match the main character. I very rarely see games where everything just "works" like I see with Bayonetta.

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The game takes place in a fictional city in Europe called "Vigrid". Bayonetta is a witch, capable of using firearms and her hair as a weapon to summon forth demons. She practices magic and mixes this in with her fighting style. After awakening from her 500-year slumber, she awakens to an unfamiliar world and, along with her friends, seeks to regain the memories from several years back. Along with the style of the game, all the characters possess a unique style of their own. The characters are all full of personality thanks to their great voice actors. Bayonetta herself is a total blast of personality. It's amazing how over-the-top this game can get.

Bayonetta uses both her melee attacks and guns during battle. You have a normal attack button, a kick button, and then a button for shooting guns. Like DMC, you can mix up your attacks to perform combos and other stylish moves. As your magic meter increases, your attacks become more powerful, up to the point where you can unleash a super attack that will do major damage to your enemies. You can also perform special attacks such as torture attacks that will heavily damage or kill the enemy and grant you bonus points. The main currency in the game is rings that you can use to upgrade Bayonetta's abilities and purchase extra items.

Along with the other attacks, Bayonetta has a dodge button which is highly useful. Dodging enemy attacks at the precise moment before the attack hits will send Bayonetta into "Witch Time" which will slow the action around her and allow her to get in hits that will take major damage from her enemies. Learning enemy attacks plays a HUGE roll in learning the game overall since you can gain such an upper hand during Witch Time. Witch Time is also used to solve some puzzles such as running on water or slowing down time to get through a hazard area. Bayonetta offers more platforming elements compared to DMC, but the game never does let down on the action.

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The overall best part about Bayonetta is that it has such a unique style all its own. This game is FAR from your usual DMC clone. It uses ideas from DMC and then builds upon them quite well. The game does take more of a casual approach to its action compared to DMC games. Bayonetta is more powerful than your standard DMC character, but that is not to say that the game is easy. The main challenging part of Bayonetta is learning how to dodge enemy attacks to get into Witch Time. I died quite a bit in Bayonetta before learning the proper timing to dodge enemy attacks. Bayonetta has a learning curve, but it's more focused on dodging rather than finding out the most damaging attacks that you have. Basically, Witch Time = High Damage.

The enemies in the game are mainly some form of demon. All enemies are added to a Bestiary when they first appear. Each enemy has a variety of quick and slow attacks that you'll need to learn. Enemies will often attack from behind while you are engaged in combat, so you'll have to keep a sharp eye on the action and dodge appropriately. Bayonetta can use her environment to attack enemies at times (such as tossing cars at enemies). The game also has many big bosses with heavily damaging attacks (similar to DMC). Each boss battle ends with a special climax attack where Bayonetta unleashes her demon hair to finish off the boss - the climax attacks are often a sight to behold as Bayonetta goes nearly full nude while her hair and clothes move off her to form a huge demon.

It's amazing how a 2009 game can look so good as Bayonetta does. The game truly passes the test of time, and the upgraded framerate makes it move silky smooth. The cutscenes are some of the best parts of the game and seeing them move so well adds a lot to the overall experience. Bayonetta doesn't seem to have any problems with it when compared to Vanquish. The games moves at a silky smooth 60fps at all times, even during its most intense action sequences. Bayonetta is easily the best part of this collection.

The Good:
+ Smooth visuals and gameplay
+ Unique style that matches the character well
+ An absolute beautiful game

The Bad:
- The camera sometimes doesn't show the action well and leads to off-screen damage

From head to toe, Bayonetta is an unstoppable machine ready to stomp out the demon plague in the sexiest way possible! 80% for this game.

Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle Overall

These are two very fantastic games that need to be played by action fans. Bayonetta is the star of the show with its flawless execution and Vanquish is a damn good game, but its slowdown in its cutscenes keep it from being a flawless upgrade. Either way, this collection is a great representation of the best that Platinum Games has developed. If you want to see their best work, then look no further!

Final Rating: 80% - One game is balls-to-the-wall action and the other game is pure sex. What's not to enjoy here?


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