Bayonetta 3 caters to longtime fans by continuing the story of its charming cast but doesn’t bar beginners from enjoying it. After all, newcomers can still enjoy a kaiju joyride without knowing all the characters and their complicated, literally magic backstories. The Bayonetta franchise has always been a high-octane and irreverently titillating thrill ride, and this new game is no different. While it’s easy for just about anybody to pick up and have a good time thanks to the great action and visual delights, there are still several incredibly useful pointers that are worth knowing from the outset. So, particularly if you are a newcomer to Bayonetta, then pay close attention to these six tips for Bayonetta 3. And hey, maybe some of you oldtimers might benefit from this refresher.
1. Explore the entire map to find all the verses
Each chapter in Bayonetta 3 is split into different fights called “verses.” You can press L3 to summon a purple goal marker that marks the fastest path to finishing the story. However, not all verses are along that path. You might notice that the straight path skips a verse number, like only Verse 4 and 6 but not 5. That Verse 5 could’ve been hiding in a neglected corner of the map.
But you don’t need to fight all the verses if you don’t want to. In fact, I skipped many of the extra verses in my first playthrough because I didn’t want to spend too long grinding through the tough challenges. They do offer generous rewards, though, like more Witch Hearts.
2. Use lollipops to scrub through boss fights
Press the - button to access your inventory at any time, including when you’re getting your butt kicked in the middle of a boss battle. I found the Green Herb Lollipops the most useful, especially the Mega Green Herb Lollipop for restoring the most health. However, it doesn’t hurt to craft Red and Yellow Lollipops to boost attack or activate invincibility for a short time. You can even recover these items if you lose at the end of the boss battle! Lollipops are craftable items and don’t cost much money, so it’s not a huge loss, but just something to keep in mind. You should still try to use them as little as possible to save on cash and materials.
3. Take advantage of Witch Time
Witch Time has been a series staple since the first Bayonetta. If you dodge just a split second before an attack hits, then it freezes time and allows you to attack the enemy without repercussions. Some might frantically dodge when they see an incoming monster, but sometimes it’s more useful to sit tight, drink in the body language and sound cues from the enemy, and then wait for them to attack so that you can dodge just in time to gain a time advantage.
Of course, dodging is always helpful. Just keep in mind that you can also bait a monster into attacking so that you can dodge and then follow up with a counterattack during Witch Time so that they can’t retaliate. If you pull off a full combo, it’s certain to do significant damage. Heck, you can even get your demon to do the damage for you. It depends on how fast you expect the demon to retaliate after they break out of the time freeze.
4. Focus on only a few weapons and demons
By the end of this game, you will have many monsters and weapons with all their different skill trees. It’s a lot to take in. However, you don’t need to even use half of them if you don't want to. For example, Madama Butterfly and Gomorrah work as two foils that you can switch between depending on whether you want a demon that can quickly combo or a stronger demon that can rack up damage over time. It depends on whether the enemy can easily close in on you or if they leave you enough time to even combo with your demons.
Let’s just say I’m guilty of using Gomorrah to steamroll enemies that I could get away with avoiding from afar, and Madama Butterfly to stomp through enemies that barely pause between seconds of Witch Time.
5. You can shoot and dodge at the same time
Buttons X, A, and B will always need to be pressed in succession to combo enemies and can’t be used with the dodge button. Dodging while possessing a demon with ZL will also interrupt your control — unless you’re Viola since she doesn’t control her demon like Bayonetta does. However, you can hold down Y to use a long-range shooting attack and dodge with ZR without much interruption. After the dodge, you automatically keep shooting if Y is held down.
6. Magical circles usually mean you need a demon for a puzzle
Bayonetta 3 isn’t all combat — it’s also puzzles. You might need to work with your demons to progress to the next chapter. While navigating the map, Bayonetta or Viola might vocalize that something needs to be done without giving a clear direction as to what. If there’s a “magical circle” in the room, then the puzzle likely has to do with a recently recruited demon.
Magical circles typically come from blocky rocks with colorful gems sticking out of them, which Bayonetta or Viola need to bust open to activate. Once activated, the rock will shine a glowing purple summoning circle on the ground that automatically replenishes your magical energy. This is usually so that you can use your latest demon uninterrupted to solve a puzzle.