The latest Bayonetta 3 patch has just dropped, bringing a host of powerful gameplay improvements that should make the playable characters’ journey even more enjoyable.
Patch 1.2.0 for Bayonetta 3 has been released with the detailed patch notes, showing us the latest round of improvements PlatinumGames has made to the latest Nintendo Switch adventure from the Umbra Witch. The full notes can be read on Nintendo’s support site (Opens in a new tab).
The patch improvements for Bayonetta 3 are largely related to the gameplay, and mainly focus on modifications to the secondary character’s viola moveset. For example, Platinum has now relaxed conditions that allow her to activate Witch Time, an ability that slows time that makes it easier to unleash combos on enemies. Previously, Viola Witch Time’s activation was frustratingly inconsistent and felt a bit unnatural, so it’s nice to see the developers address this flaw relatively quickly.
Changes have also been made to some of Niflheim’s frustrating bounty challenges. These bite-sized missions task players to fulfill certain criteria, such as defeating a number of enemies within a set amount of time or taking the fewest number of hits possible. A handful of Niflheim’s particularly aggravating challenges have now had their requirements relaxed.
Unfortunately, not all news is good. The patch notes don’t mention Bayonetta 3’s shaky performance. This means that the game’s busiest combat sequences and stylized set pieces can still potentially show off their rock-solid framerate speed. Many of these drop Bayonetta 3’s framerate to an unstable 30fps, which takes away much of the satisfaction from the combat that could have been knocked down at 60fps.
I have previously made the case that Bayonetta 3 has been discontinued by Nintendo Switch. The console’s aging Tegra X1 mobile chip doesn’t do the game’s high-octane performance any favors. Of course, PlatinumGames isn’t entirely wrong about that, but it does mean that Bayonetta 3’s most ambitious moments are as memorable as they could be otherwise.
Bayonetta 3’s performance is an unfortunate blip in the company’s resume. Its games usually run as very stable frame rate targets. For example, Astral Chain keeps a locked 30fps for most of its runtime, and combat feels more satisfying because of this. Likewise, the Nintendo Switch ports of Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2 are capable of holding 60fps targets under great stress.
I don’t expect miracles here. Platinum isn’t likely to mitigate Bayonetta 3’s performance problems in one downfall patch. But I’d like to see the developer take small steps to improve performance throughout the year. Smaller tweaks here and there can add up to a more stable whole.
Of course, more powerful hardware like the Nintendo Switch Pro model can go a long way in improving performance for the best Nintendo Switch games across the board, but whether that materializes in the mid-gen or next-gen remains to be seen.