Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle Review — Not Very Bewitching
Other than a nice, steelbook case for the physical edition, the Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle doesn't have much else to offer.
Arguably no types of video games vary more wildly in quality than that of remasters. Sometimes you’ll have games that have received quality touch-ups, but don’t really include anything else in the larger package to really make it worth a purchase. In other instances, the remastering job itself will almost make the visuals worse than they were before (looking at you, Batman: Return to Arkham). And in the absolute best cases, you’ll get games that are stellar ports to new platforms and also include bonus features galore. It’s really hard to ever know what you’re going to get when publishers decide to slap a fresh coat of paint on games from the past and bring them to modern consoles.
For the Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle, this remastered collection tends to sit in the first camp. Even though it was great for Sega and PlatinumGames to bring back both of these beloved action titles to celebrate each game’s 10-year anniversary, I’m also hard-pressed to wonder why they did so in the first place. Other than something nice for collectors in the way of the physical version, Sega didn’t opt to include anything else of note in this Bayonetta & Vanquish bundle which seems like quite a missed opportunity.
Let’s get the biggest detail out of the way up front: both Bayonetta and Vanquish generally look solid in each of their respected remastered iterations. Considering both games are action titles, the boost to a stable 60 frames-per-second is quite nice, especially when it comes to gameplay. And if you have a PS4 Pro or Xbox One X at your disposal, the increase to 4K resolution is also a welcome one. If you’re always begging for developers to hit these benchmarks with their video games, then congratulations, because both Bayonetta and Vanquish run very stable at 4K/60fps which tends to be a huge benefit overall for these two fast-paced games.
I also feel like I’m bringing up the same complaints here as I have in many of my other reviews of remasters, but simply upgrading Bayonetta & Vanquish to 4K and 60fps still doesn’t rectify some of the issues that each has visually in this modern age. Many times nowadays, developers or studios working on ports will increase a game’s resolution to 4K but then won’t bother touching up many of the textures at the same time. This seems to be the case here with both Bayonetta & Vanquish. Despite having a better resolution, this newfound clarity also makes you more aware of the 10-year-old textures that each game is still boasting. I know that drastically fixing or improving textures would tend to be what we’d consider a full-on “remake” rather than a remaster, it still doesn’t prevent these games from looking somewhat ugly at times.
As for how each game fares in 2020, Bayonetta & Vanquish still hold up quite well compared to more recent action titles. Bayonetta contains some of the smoothest controls of any action game over the past few years and is a joy to play. Vanquish, on the other hand, is still one of the more unique third-person shooters of the past 10 years. It took a lot of the mechanics that franchises like Gears of War had popularized at the time and added a whole new element of speed.
When it comes to Vanquish specifically, this was a game that I had actually never played before (and I don’t think many have) and I’m really glad that Sega brought it back for this collection. It’s a title that friends have told me over the years was one of the more slept-on games of last generation and I don’t think they were wrong. The plot is pretty hilarious and the gameplay is snappy and enjoyable. If, like me, this is a game that has escaped your grasp for years, you’ll be encouraged to know that it’s still a lot of fun to play for the first time in 2020.
My biggest complaint about this entire bundle is that Sega and PlatinumGames didn’t opt to include anything new of note in either game. There are no special features or any additional pieces of bonus content to find in Vanquish or Bayonetta. This is quite literally just two games that have now been remastered and brought to new consoles. I’m always one that is looking for some sort of additional content in these packages whether it be developer commentary tracks, behind the scenes videos, or anything else of a similar ilk. New achievements/trophy lists are about the only things you’ll find here that are markedly different from the original versions on Xbox 360 and PS3, which is a huge bummer. I’m not even sure why Sega opted to bring either game back in the first place if all they were going to do was essentially the bare minimum.
Strangely, the single nicest thing about the entire Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle is the steelbook case that the physical version of the game comes in. Yes, while you can buy each title separately via the PlayStation or Xbox digital storefronts, every retail version of the collection comes packaged in a steelbook case that contains some new art for both Vanquish and Bayonetta. This case is actually one of the nicest steelbooks that I have ever seen before and is actually a really cool collector’s item to have if you’re a fan of either game. I’m usually not someone who likes steelbook cases that much, but this is definitely the coolest one that I now own.
The Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle isn’t a sexy release by any means. Besides the nice steelbook that the physical version of the game comes with, there’s not a lot else included in this package other than the expected slight boost in graphical prowess. This collection will surely please both longtime fans and new ones who have been looking to give both of these titles a shot, but it’s hard to say that there is anything else all that alluring included here. This is just your pretty standard, run of the mill remaster of two great games – nothing more, nothing less.