By Joe Sigadel / March 18th, 2016
|Title||The Witch and the Hundred Knight ~Revival Edition~|
|Developer||Nippon Ichi Software|
|Release Date||March 1, 2016|
|Age Rating||T (Teen)|
Who’s afraid of the wicked witch? As you’ll find over the course of The Witch and the Hundred Knight’s story, just about everyone. As the instrument of Swamp Witch Metallia’s wrath, the Hundred Knight, you’re tasked with cutting a swath of death and destruction in a top-down action RPG that should make players of Diablo and Ys games feel right at home. The Hundred Knight may be cute and adorable with his occasionally garbled speech, but only a fool would underestimate his potential for being an awesome killing machine. It definitely feels good to be bad in this game, that is until you remember you work for Metallia, who does some really cruel, selfish and outright evil things throughout the game. This is not a title for the goody two shoes out there. Witch’s plot is darker than your usual Nippon Ichi game, no doubt taking inspiration from classic Grimm fairy tales, while providing their own brand of humor which can get pretty dark. It’s also occasionally shocking and littered with profanity in a few scenes. Like I said, it’s not for the easily offended, and in fact, I could probably say the entire game is an acquired taste. Metallia is determined to go out, see the world, make her mark on it and curbstomp anyone who gets in her way through the violent actions of the Hundred Knight. She gets to be a bit more tsundere as time goes on, and gets a few allies in the process, but she is just not a very nice lady to work for.
The main gameplay has you going from dungeon to dungeon, exploring the areas thoroughly and opening up Pillars to gather checkpoints. Using the Pillar’s functions can enhance your abilities, and restore your constantly depleting Gigacals so that you can keep going until you reach the end, where you’ll usually fight a boss. You can also warp from Pillar to Pillar which saves you Gigacals and lets you get to where you need to go much faster. Managing Gigacals is the trickiest part of this game, and this is the gameplay aspect I disliked the most. As you progress through the story, the dungeons get larger and more complex, with multiple floors, teleporation doors and other tricks. A few times I found myself with zero Gigacals, about to die and frantically searching for the next Pillar so I could make a quick exit. You have a few options to deal with this — you can eat enemies, although only the larger ones will replenish your cals significantly, but this comes at the cost of filling your limited stomach inventory with garbage, which you can’t remove unless you have… a laxative. You can also eat cookies and bread, but these are hard to come by unless you get lucky with a treasure drop or raiding someone’s house in a village for one.
The combat is pretty fun and fast paced. You’re allowed three sets of weapons, and what I did was I grouped them by attack type (e.g. Slash/Blunt/Magic) rather than weapon type to maximize my effectiveness and take advantage of enemy weaknesses. It works out well for the most part, but the difficulty starts ramping up around Chapter 5 and by Chapter 8, that’s when things get really rough. Boss fights also start out with pretty simple patterns with an easily recognizable window of opportunity for you to attack, but that window gets smaller as you get into the late game. In those cases, you need to momentarily put yourself in harm’s way and dodge at the last moment to trigger a Mystical Dodge, giving you a 3 second invulnerability and chance to wail on your enemy. If all else fails, you can always trigger the Chaos Revelation to boost your stats drastically and hope that you beat your enemy in time before you die or your Gigacals run out. But your biggest enemy in this game is the camera. At times the environments are too cluttered with objects to see where enemies are, or you’re in a narrow hallway and you can’t turn it quite right to see what you’re doing. It gets pretty obnoxious.
New to The Witch and the Hundred Knight ~Revival Edition~ is the Tower of Illusion, a sort of parallel universe to the main story where you and Metallia’s friends ascend a randomized tower dungeon, collecting tons of loot and experience as you go. Every 10 floors or so you can expect to face a boss. Some are similar to what you faced in the main story but with new attack patterns. The catch here is that if you die, unlike the main game where you’d lose 10% of your items, in this mode you lose absolutely everything if you go down. So take care and remember to stop if you got yourself a particularly good weapon or defensive item if you don’t want to lose it. You can also temporarily play as Metallia, and she offers temporary invunerability as well as pretty good attack power, but sometimes you’re actually better off just staying in your Hundred Knight form to do more damage.
On the PlayStation 4, Witch’s framerate has been doubled from 30 to 60 FPS, although it does struggle with large amounts of enemies and effects on the screen. The UI appears much cleaner as well. However, the textures and models themselves have not been enhanced in any way, to the best of my knowledge. The music is whimsical and charming — pretty much what you can expect from a Nippon Ichi game, but strangely there are a couple of areas towards the end of the game which have no music playing whatsoever.
I have to admit, I really did not like this game at first, but that was because it has a bit of a learning curve and there were a couple of places where I got stuck until I figured out how to get past the puzzles. Once you have a handle on how everything works, it grows on you, but there are still places where the story and gameplay drags, it just gets dull and tedious. If you don’t own a PS3, and you’re looking for something different from the usual RPG fare, this might be it, but I don’t see much of a reason for previous Witch players to come back to this besides the Tower of Illusion content. The price is pretty good for what you’re getting, at $39.99 you’re looking at 30-40 hours of content overall, and completionists will want to get all the endings and get through the new content.
Review copy was provided by the publisher
Action RPGNippon Ichi SoftwareNIS AmericaPS4re-reviewReviewthe witch and the hundred knight: revival edition