Bayonetta Must Be Stopped

Why the powerful character is ruining competitive Smash

With the announcement of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at E3 two weeks ago, fans have been riding high on emotions in anticipation of the new game. And rightly so given how ridiculously great the game truly looks and plays. In all the hype, though, there is this feeling of foreboding that I just can’t shake.

You see, with the game not coming out until December, I’ve been forced to turn back to Smash 4 in order to get my competitive fix. This led me to Hyrule Saga that took place in Long Beach, California this past weekend.

For the most part, the tournament was some of the best competitive Smash I’ve ever seen and I was glad to have watched it. There were plenty of close matches and surprising finishes all throughout the two-day competition. Until the grand finals, that is. The grand finals of Hyrule Saga was one of the most anticlimatic and unsatisfying finishes to a fighting game tournament that I have ever seen. And it was all because of one character.

Bayonetta.

I want to present two clips here and then we’ll come back and discuss.

Bayonetta is absolutely broken right now, y’all. The fact that in both of those KOs, her opponent was under 10% shows just how ridiculous her kill potential is. Most characters need to have their opponent in at least the high 80s in order to KO. Not Bayonetta, though.

Now, for those who may be uninitiated on how things work in Smash compared to typical fighting games, let me break it down for you. Whereas in games like Street Fighter or Dragon Ball FighterZ, the goal is to deplete your opponent’s health bar to zero, in Smash you objective is to get their damage percentage as high as possible in order to land a single killing blow. Hence why most characters in Smash need to get their opponents’ damage pretty high in order to kill. What Bayonetta does in those clips is the equivalent of punching your opponent twice in Street Fighter and depleting their entire bar. In short, it’s silly.

Rather than obeying the rules set forth by the game — that is, doing damage to your opponent before being able to KO — Bayonetta flies in the face of the main commandment of a fighting game with her ridiculousness. Not only is it frustrating from a player perspective going up against that, but it’s frustrating from a fan’s perspective, too. Just look at the tail end of the second clip above. When Tweek wins the grand finals of a major tournament, the crowd is completely silent. No one likes watching broken characters at work. From a competitive viability standpoint, Bayonetta has to be brought to justice. She simply can’t go untouched or else the competitive scene could be in for some rough times.

“But Wyatt, this is Smash 4. Why does this worry you when thinking about Ultimate?”

Well, person who somehow is speaking to me through a Medium article, let me present to you Exhibit C in my case against the wicked witch that is Bayonetta.

Your eyes do not deceive you, dear reader. That is Bayonetta in Ultimate during the Smash Ultimate Invitational up to the same Smash 4 shenanigans I was lamenting above. Despite Ultimate being a brand-new title with balance changes across the board, Bayonetta was still as broken as ever during the E3 build.

Are we going to be doomed to the same ridiculousness come December? Not if Masahiro Sakurai has anything to say about it.

After seeing Bayonetta’s combo, Sakurai was seen shaking his head at what he had witnessed. Once the Invitational was over, Sakurai gave a speech about the game and made sure to mention that this was not the final build, giving us hope that he will put a stop to the terrors of Bayonetta by December.

I truly hope that he’s able to bring this character in line with others on the roster because I’m hoping to actually get into Ultimate somewhat competitively. But if Bayonetta wreaks havoc on the competitive scene come December, it’s just going to be an exercise in frustrating futility.

So, Father Sakurai, if it’s the last thing you do, please nerf Bayonetta into the ground so that the rest of us can live in peace. You’re our only hope.

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