Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon review - A refreshing new start

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Cereza walking into the Avalon Forest in Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon.
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I wasn't the biggest fan of Bayonetta 3. Granted, it was my first foray into PlatinumGames' beloved action franchise, but the deluge of near-constant colour and action became tiresome after too long. To be fair, I should've expected that. The Bayonetta franchise is renowned for its bombastic approach to action gameplay, carrying the baton left by the Devil May Cry series.

My ambivalence to the trilogy-closer - a game almost a decade in the making - is part of the reason I was so intrigued by Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon. Coming just a few months after the aforementioned third entry, nobody could have foreseen a prequel so starkly different to the games it sits alongside.


Yet it's for those reasons that Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon vastly surpassed my expectations. It's a bold and creative step to change the franchise's DNA, easily becoming my favourite entry in the series.

Cheshire climbing an obstacle with Cereza in Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon.

Back in time

As touched upon in my preview of the game, Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is a far more laidback prequel than its action-gorging predecessors. Taking place long before Cereza is even known as Bayonetta, she treks across the vast and dangerous Avalon Forest in search of the powers that should help free her mother from captivity, thus tying into the 2007 original nicely.


Fortunately, it's one of those games where you don't really need to have played previous entries to understand. Given how starkly different the presentation is compared to other Bayonetta games, it doesn't take for granted that you know all three games worth of lore. There are plenty of tidbits here for fans of the series, with name-drops and the odd cameo, but broadly speaking it can stand nicely alone.

It's not as deep a plot as other games, including the multiverse-hopping escapades of Bayonetta 3, but it's a serviceable storybook setup that affords for the vast exploration and cutesy relationship between Cereza and her reluctant demon, Cheshire. Theirs is a bond that gradually develops as you play through the game, and plays into some surprisingly poignant moments.

Cereza casting a spell while Cheshire watches in Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon.

Two to tango

The main selling point of Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is its unique twin-stick control scheme. It's well-publicised that you use the left stick to control Cereza and the right stick to control Cheshire simultaneously, and it works really well to enhance the togetherness the pair forms over the ten-hour story.


It's less of an out-and-out action game and more of a platforming adventure game, as you explore the various biomes of the Avalon Forest using Cheshire's unique elemental abilities. This ensures the gameplay is always fresh, and there's constantly a new area to explore with secrets to uncover.

Some elements do get a little tedious, however. The combat simply isn't as engaging as other Bayonetta games, even if the dual-wielding of Cheshire's attacks and Cereza's spells is an innovative idea. There are times I was forced into combat when I was having much more fun just walking around the forest and getting past obstacles, which is never more grating than in the numerous Tír na nÓg levels. These are small dream-life labyrinths which combine puzzle-solving and arena combat, but the latter element ends up feeling like a slog to get through after doing it so many times.

Cheshire fighting fairy enemies in Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon.

The forest

Fortunately, Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is simply marvellous to look at. The decision to opt for a 2.5D hand-drawn style over the triple-A 3D models of core Bayonetta games is a great one. While Bayonetta 3 showed the limitations of the Nintendo Switch through its dense areas and detailed character models, this more artistic style perfectly suits the capabilities of the console. It looks stunning, with rich pastel colours and shimmering locales, making it the most visually textured Bayonetta game yet.


On top of that, it runs like an absolute dream. In my time with the game I never encountered any performance issues, leaving there nothing to complain about on a technical front. It's perfectly attuned and specialised to the Nintendo Switch hardware, and never once detracts from the novel design.

It isn't without faults, but Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is comfortably my favourite game in the series yet. All the big swings it takes in terms of gameplay and world design pay off, and it makes for an ethereal and visually intoxicating adventure that is quite unlike anything else the series has done before.

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon
Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is a fresh dawn for the franchise, spinning expectations on their head to great effect. It's a bright and charming storybook blast!
Nintendo Switch

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch. A code was provided by the publisher.


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