[Review] Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon
Posted on April 15, 2023 by Dennis Gagliardotto(@LyonHart_) in Reviews, Switch, Switch eShop
Release Date: March 22, 2023
With Bayonetta 3 having just released last October, it was unexpected, to say the least, when a new game in the form of Cereza and the Lost Demon was revealed so soon after. However, it was clear from the get-go that this wouldn’t be the typical experience fans have grown to know and love, and would instead delve into a more relaxed but still engaging tale of the character’s upbringing. Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is a game that is surprising in more ways than one but is a pleasant gift to longtime fans of the franchise that gives Bayonetta a different, charming perspective with a gorgeous art direction and not once overstays its welcome. In some cases, despite being a spinoff, it could arguably be the best title the series has seen to date, and it’s a perfect place to jump into for those that have been hesitant to get acquainted with the Umbran Witch.
Similar to Okami fashion, Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon features an almost sumi-ink art style that’s presented in a storybook-esque format. The visuals pop on both a television screen and especially an OLED Switch, and with such fluidity and sharpness, the game has all the features perfectly balanced in what’s needed for an authentic fairytale story. From the voiceover work to the pastels, art renders in the menus, sound design, and music, everything that makes the colorful and magical DNA of Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon from bottom to top feels like a cohesive journey of Cereza’s upbringing told in a beautiful format fit for all ages – something that the core Bayonetta series is not.
While the combat in the game isn’t anywhere near as intense as Okami or traditional as Bayonetta is, Bayonetta Origins still sports a layer that, interestingly, at points, can feel like if PlatinumGames did their own take on Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Traversing the world and handling puzzles within dedicates each stick to either Bayonetta or Cheshire, with both often needing to be controlled at the same time for a variety of tasks and quest. While Cereza has a lot more interactivity with the world compared to her Bayonetta persona as an adult, Cheshire feels like the real star of the show as they swap between multiple forms to help a naïve and inexperienced Cereza stay protected – even against their will – as to see her journey through.
Aside from fighting alongside Cereza, Cheshire can create paths, uncover things, grab onto objects to help with traversal, and much more, giving another layer of depth to Cereza and the Lost Demon to infuse much more to the gameplay rather than waves of enemies from room to room. All of it feels organic as well, keeping the game feeling consistently fluid even when going off the beaten path to discover hidden areas, Easter eggs, and secrets to help fill a compendium of art, lore, and more.
Because of the natural flow of the game, Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon on a first playthrough will rarely feel like it’s doing much more than it needs to or bore the player. Even with a $59.99 price tag considering it’s such a surprise release so soon after Bayonetta 3, it’s still very much worth the price of admission for Bayonetta fans and those looking for a game that’s different and a bit more relaxed among the current schedule of releases from Nintendo and beyond. Though some could easily run through it in a little over 10 hours, the average player will likely see a 15-20 hour playthrough, which is fairly on par with Bayonetta 2 and Bayonetta 3.
Though there have been releases in recent years that take a fairy tale and storybook approach on Switch, seeing a big budget approach done with such finesse and quality really helps Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon stand out as a unique and enjoyable title. It’s a constant visual feast from start to finish and there was rarely a moment where I didn’t feel like I wasn’t going through an art museum with a constant rush of serotonin as my eyes filled with a color palette that was both gothic and innocent. It’s an amalgam of flavors within its art that’s rarely twisted and flexed otherwise, and seeing it done in such a tasteful and elegant way is outstanding.
Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is one of those games that comes out within a series that is so different that you’re not so sure if it’ll work, but then are surprised to find that it didn’t take long to fall in love within moments, becoming arguably a favorite within a series despite being so different. While Bayonetta 3 was a great game in its own right, it had its ups and downs that were clearly marred by aged hardware that couldn’t give it the same panache as Bayonetta 2 did earlier in Switch’s lifecycle. However, Bayonetta Origins is a bundle of fairytale goodness that excels on the platform in just about every aspect of game design and shows once again why PlatinumGames is a force to be reckoned with in the industry. It’s captivating, has charm, and it’s incredible to go a bit more in-depth with the Bayonetta lore and how everyone’s favorite witch came to be.
Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon copy provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.