Both Bayonetta and Vanquish are among the most beloved entries from the rich back-catalogue of the Platinum Games library, yet despite releasing on multiple platforms (especially Bayonetta); they both seem to have been played by nowhere near enough of the gaming community.  Bayonetta itself has already seen releases on PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii U, Nintendo Switch and now more recently, PS4 and Xbox One since the game initially launched in 2009.  Vanquish on the other hand has been far more subtle, only seeing releases on PS3, Xbox 360, PC, as well as PS4 and Xbox One since its release in 2010.

To add, not only do both games have the backing of a top studio such as Platinum Games, but Bayonetta also had Hideki Kamiya (Resident Evil 2, Devil May Cry and Viewtiful Joe), while Vanquish had survival horror great, Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil, Dino Crisis and The Evil Within).  So it remains a mystery that despite being held in such high acclaim, neither perhaps sold as well as they should have.  So here we are in 2020 with both games receiving the remaster treatment and even a good ten years on, both Bayonetta and Vanquish have aged remarkably well in almost every way.

Let’s begin with Bayonetta, a game considered to be one of Platinum Games’ finest, well in truth; I could say the same about both games in this review.  Bayonetta takes place in the fictional European city of Vigrid and our heroine (Bayonetta) awakens from a 500 year-old sleep with little memory of her existence and other then a few flashbacks of apparent memories here and there, all Bayonetta really knows is that she is a powerful, shape-shifting witch, and there is a war raging between Heaven and Hell, and she is stuck right in the middle of it all.

In terms of gameplay, Bayonetta plays very similar to that of the Devil May Cry series and as you progress during the story, fighting against some truly unique enemies and big bad bosses, Bayonetta will grow ever-more powerful as you upgrade her abilities and her skills become slicker.  Visually, even with more than 10 years of passing, the game still looks great, which is added by the modern-day resolution.  Yes some textures can look a little less detailed at closer inspection, but it not only still looks great, but the framerate is super slick and is still one of the best hack and slash games that you’ll ever be able to play.

Vanquish, even by Platinum Games standards, is a fast and frantic affair.  Set in the future where the human race has been forced to live their lives in an O’Neil Cylinder space colony, perhaps similar to that of some of the space stations that we’ve seen in Mass Effect, at least that’s what they remind me of.  However, as mankind searches for valuable and scarce resources in order to maintain our existence, a Russian government, known as The Order of the Russian Star also want to claim the resources for their own power gain and they will stop at nothing in order to acquire the means to be the power organisation that holds all the bargaining chips, even if that means obliterating entire civilisations.

Thankfully, the United States have called upon a cocky hero, who is certainly an acquired taste for those that are reluctant to consider him a brother in arms.  Our protagonist, Sam Gideon is with DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and he is equipped with one badass Augmented Reaction Suit (ARS), which comes with a wealth of awesome abilities, such as damage protection, an advanced targeting system, provides Intel and maybe above all else, has a speed boost, sliding mechanic, that not only is handy getting from A to B, but it’s also incredibly handy during the heat of battle.  When Vanquish released in 2010, I thought of this ‘sliding mechanic’ as just a gimmick and in most part it is, but as I’ve found out playing this game for the first time in 2020, it’s also incredibly fun, as well as having a genuine purpose to the gameplay.

Being new to this game, it also took me by surprise to the well thought out level design that caters perfectly to the frantic gameplay and it also brings forth some truly epic boss battles.  However, I must say that while Vanquish still looks fantastic at a smooth framerate during gameplay, the framerate oddly stutters during cut-scenes involving Elena Ivanova, who is Sam Gideon’s tactical support in his ear.  This is a small gripe that doesn’t affect gameplay, but hopefully it can be patched out with a patch in the near future.

That all said, neither of these games feels like that they are ten years old, they still look great and largely perform well, but where it really counts with gameplay, for which they have aged remarkably well, even a decade on.  Each game digitally costs £19.99 at the time of writing or you can purchase them as a bundle for £34.99, which is maybe a few quid above what I believe they should be priced at individually, but these are launch prices and there will be the inevitable sales.  However, even after all this time and if you picked them up right now, it’s a purchase I doubt you’d regret as the Bayonetta and Vanquish Anniversary Collection offers two games at the peak of their genre’s and whether you’re a new or returning fan, this is arguably the best way to experience two of Platinum Games finest.

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