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Review: Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle (PlayStation 4)By Insanoflex At 18.03.2020 12:41

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Everyone knows about Bayonetta and how the PlayStation 3 port was extremely rough. Despite the poor quality of SEGA's efforts to bring Platinum Games' most important title to Sony's third console, it was the highest selling version. Bayonetta has managed to get so many ports across various platforms since then, and all of them are worthwhile except for that one time. Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle finally shows Sony fans just what they have been missing for the past decade. Bayonetta is a 3D beat 'em up with a very high skill ceiling, that is peppered with extravagant set-pieces and entertaining cut-scenes. Even after all these years, this is still one of the best of its kind, and is only eclipsed by the likes of Devil May Cry V. A self-indulgent story that is overly complex yet full of heart, serves its role as window dressing as a framing device.

Bayonetta in this compilation is the same game as it has always been. There is just not much to say since there is hardly much that can be further enhanced. It was already running 60 frames per second on every platform with the exception of the PlayStation 3, and the textures and assets remain the same as they have always been. There is nothing in terms of extra features; no extra costumes or weapons from Bayonetta 2. There aren't even any new difficulty modes. The most noticeable change is the improvement to image quality, much faster load times, and a frame rate that is made even more stable during stressing sequences.

The real winner in the bundle is, undeniably, Vanquish. This third-person shooter pushed last generation consoles hard. It had a very distinct look, dazzling and gritty, with jaw-dropping vistas and enormous bosses. Naturally, this came at a price on the performances at the time. The 10th Anniversary Bundle addresses most of the disappointing qualities from last generation, but not all. Vanquish was a very fast game in its day, and still is one of the most kinetically charged shooters around. The appeal of the experience was to look insanely cool while smashing goofy Russian robots into shrapnel, while the characters spout one-liners. There was always a very self-aware silliness to the sardonic dialogue and the amusing plot of a very Hilary Clinton-like U.S. President, who conspires with a Russian to stage a robot attack on San Francisco. The ensuing events play out in a similar tone to the Paul Verhoeven masterpiece; Starship Troopers.

Shinji Mikami was truly ahead of his time when he directed Vanquish. He infused such masterful witty commentary on shooters at the time, and even somehow predicted what the political climate would be like in the coming years. It is not exactly a smart game, but Vanquish is not trying to be - it simply is. The action in the bundle is top notch, even if both titles are a decade old. Vanquish is the embodiment of the best aspects of a linear shooter from the 2010s; bombastic, extravagant, indulgent, and entertaining. The utter focus on the combat's systems of managing the cool down for the slow motion and jet thrusters is like a sublime meta-game that is always being played in the back of the player's mind as they boost around on the battlefield dispatching droids and avoiding fire.

Taking down these metal commies is always satisfying, because it is more than just an act of shooting at the thing till it dies. Vanquish lets Sam indulge in accurate dismantling and pin-point precision destruction of the reds into a flurry of metallic shards and particles. The effect is still convincing today and only the likes of Horizon: Zero Dawn have managed to supersede the level of mechanical mayhem that Shinji Mikami was able to orchestrate.

Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle is a worthy package of two of the greatest action titles from the seventh console generation. It is not perfect; Vanquish's cut-scenes are presented as pre-rendered videos (like they have always been) and they have not been updated. There are some spotty frame rates in many of the scenes, and the in-game shadows look very rough and pixelated. Both titles have not been given any substantial extras either. Vanquish especially was always very light on content being something that can be beaten in about five to six hours and only having bonus unlockable survival missions.

10th Anniversary Bundle could have been the opportunity to include some bonus costumes, or even a New Game Plus, but regretfully, Vanquish on PlayStation 4 is a bare bones port at best. Bayonetta is no better with it being almost 1:1 port of the Xbox 360 version running on Xbox One X. Those who are not sensitive to the resolution upgrade might not be able to tell the difference.

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Final Score
Aside from lacking any new content and the slightly roughness of [i]Vanquish[/i]'s presentation, Platinum Games [i]10th Anniversary Bundle[/i] is well worth the purchase for those who missed either of these classics. Returning fans will be undoubtedly disappointed by the bare minimum that has been given to both games, but that should not deter those who have not experienced the splendour of two of the most energetic and invigorating 3D action titles of all time.



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