Devil May Cry and Bayonetta are arguably the most recognizable Japanese hack and slash franchises on the gaming market.
Capcom’s legendary series and PlatinumGames’ opus magnum have become the staples of quality action games focused on cutting down and shooting through hordes of monsters. Both series’ have been met with critical success and have loyal fans, but is there a chance that one is better than the other?
In our article, we’ll try to figure this out. Get ready for the Bayonetta vs Devil May Cry showdown.
Story & Setting
Japanese game developers are known to be creative in building worlds and stories for their titles. The creators of the DMC and Bayonetta series are no different. Both series are set in fantastical worlds, not so different from our own, where humans live in blissful ignorance of the demonic powers lurking under the surface of reality. Each world has a hero protecting it from the evil hiding in the shadows to keep that status quo.
In Devil May Cry, the hapless humans are protected by the demon hunter Dante, son of the legendary Sparda – a demon who decided to abandon his kind and side with humanity. Dante spends his days running the Devil May Cry store, where he accepts poor souls who ran afoul of demonic forces. Now and then, he clashes swords with his brother, Vergil, who holds a grudge against Dante. Throughout the series, Dante is joined by a cast of memorable characters: Trish and Lady, Dante’s fellow demon hunters, and Nero, a hotheaded young man who becomes Dante’s protege.
Bayonetta is set in a world where Umbra Witches, servants of darkness, fight a war against Lumen Sages, who hold the power of light. Both factions were entrusted with the Eyes of the World, which allowed them to control time flow. Five hundred years before the game’s story, the witches and the sages had disappeared, and the protagonist of the game, Bayonetta, who holds one of the Eyes, fell into a deep sleep. Twenty years after awakening at the bottom of a lake, she is informed that the other Eye was found in the European city of Vigrid and embarks on a quest to retrieve it, thus setting the events of the series into motion.
Both games offer a solid dose of lore for the fans of deep fantasy stories, but the often heavy plots don’t overshadow the gameplay. Considering that Bayonetta is a younger series and had less time to establish itself, Devil May Cry wins the first duel by the rule of seniority.
Bayonetta and Devil May Cry series feature similar gameplay styles. Both games are action/hack and slash titles that combine elements of gunplay and melee. Each game features a list of skills the player can acquire by collecting orbs scattered on the map and dropped by defeated enemies.
Both games are known for their ludicrous difficulty levels, ranging from a walk in a park to a trip to hell. However, there are certain differences that make it easier to differentiate between the two series.
Bayonetta features the mechanic called Witch Time. After a successful dodge, time slows down for a while, allowing the player to unleash a flurry of attacks, using a variety of weapons – including two pairs of pistols, one for each set of limbs. Due to the protagonist’s BDSM proclivities, the game features a system of finisher moves, which involve various forms of torturing the enemy. The player has to mash a button to fill the torture gauge – filling it yields more orbs to spend on weapons and upgrades.
Devil May Cry’s unique features are Dante’s fighting styles. There are four styles in total. Each gives the player different gameplay options. The Trickster style focuses on quick dodges. The Royal Guard, you guessed it, is all about defense. The Swordmaster amplifies Dante’s melee skills while Gunslinger buffs his gunplay. Each skill has a special move – dodging, guarding against attacks, unleashing a swift melee attack, or shooting in multiple directions. In later installments of the series, the styles can be changed on the fly, allowing mixing and matching different moves together.
Thanks to the fresh features that Bayonetta has brought to the table, PlatinumGames’ title secures the victory in the gameplay department.
Before we move to discuss the visuals of the games, a word of warning. The first Devil May Cry game was released on PlayStation 2, the first Bayonetta – on PlayStation 3. While both series have moved to the latest generations of consoles – PlayStation 4 and Switch, respectively – their earliest installments are nothing to write home about in terms of graphics.
Having said that, the latest games in the series – Devil May Cry 5 and Bayonetta 2 – are real feats for the eyes. The combination of neo-gothic and macabre works excellent in both titles, and the level and monster design is nothing to sneeze at.
That being said, Devil May Cry 5 did come out on the PS5. No matter how you look at it, it’s one of the most powerful consoles on the market. While doing a fine job for most games, Switch cannot compare to the performance of Sony’s console, and that means that in terms of visuals, Devil May Cry takes the first place.
Both Bayonetta and Devil May Cry have become household names and trademark titles for their developers. Bayonetta was the game that put PlatinumGames in the spotlight. Devil May Cry gave Capcom yet another highly recognizable character. On top of becoming critical successes, Bayonetta and DMC went on to become successful franchises.
Both games spawned a series of sequels, with the third Bayonetta game scheduled for release in 2022. Devil May Cry was given an anime series treatment by Madman Entertainment, Bayonetta was given an animated film from the same studio. Not to mention a DMC spinoff by Ninja Theory, countless comic book adaptations, etc. Both series can be proud of what they have managed to achieve.
However, all of Bayonetta’s success would not be possible if Devil May Cry hadn’t paved the way for stylish hack and slash action games. Since the first DMC game was released, countless “DMC clones” – games that featured similar gameplay concepts – have been released. And for that, Devil May Cry wins the battle of legacies.
Discussing every aspect of the Bayonetta and DMC series would take us forever, so let’s keep it brief. Both games feature great stories and settings, with memorable protagonists and lovable side characters (can my man Luca get a shoutout here?). Both series feature excellent, dare we say revolutionary, hack and slash mechanics, which will satisfy even the pickiest fans of the genre.
Both series’ latest installments are visual marvels that will keep the players glued to the screens for hours. So, which one is the best. From reading our article, you probably already know the answer.
The winner is Devil May Cry! The legendary demon hunter Dante triumphs once again thanks to his wisecracking charm and a series of excellent games spanning three generations of consoles.
While Bayonetta is also a great hack and slash with unique mechanics and, ahem, “intriguing” protagonist, Devil May Cry’s just a better game. However, that’s us talking. If you want to see if we were right, get yourself copies of the DMC and Bayonetta games and enjoy the action!