Review: The Witch and The Hundred Knight: Revival Edition (PlayStation 4)
- Release Date (NA): February 23, 2016
- Release Date (EU): March 1, 2016
- Release Date (JP): September 25, 2015
- Publisher: NIS America
- Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
- Genres: Dungeon Crawler
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
I want to start off on the good note of The Witch and The Hundred Knight, by discussing its writing and story-telling, which is the game’s most charming factor. As I mentioned, this game is from the same writers of Disgaea, who write wonderfully dark and over the top stories that are incredibly fun and engaging.
Story and Role
You will take on the role of a small creature, named by your master as the, “Hundred Knight,” a being of legend said to lead 100 knights and be able to spit fire from his crotch and mouth. You are none of these as the lovely screenshot will point out, and are instead a small, black, adorable little critter that will be dolling out chaos to the land around you at the command of the witch Metallia.
Your ultimate goal is to create a swamp that covers the entire planet before your master perishes. Only then, will you be freed from your contract with Metallia. To do this is where the gameplay comes into play.
The Hundred Knight must traverse the land in a dungeon crawling style of gameplay and destroy pillars that contain disgusting swamps inside them to cover the land and allow Metallia to achieve her dream of traversing a swamp covered planet.
There are some quirks of course, such as being able to use an assertion system to choose whether you want to agree, question, deny, or remain silent during dialogue prompts. Doing so will net you some interesting reactions and even change up the game, for, or against you!
As you travel the lands you’ll find critters big and small that you will engage in hack and slash combat with, mostly just by button mashing the attack button. I found myself doing perfectly fine mashing the combat button and moving the stick around without much care in the beginning stages, leading me to get relatively bored very early in the game. It isn’t until much later when the combat system deepens into allowing you to further customize weapon sets against enemy abilities, that the depth of combat really starts to sink in.
The Hundred Knight is able to utilize up to five weapons at a time in a sort of chain attack. This begins with the first weapon he has in his first slot, which is what he will strike with first. When pressing the button again however, he will then swing whatever weapon is in his second slot, which could be anything from a mace, to a sword, to a staff, and so on. Each of these weapons has a specific class, such as blunt, magic, or slash which have differing effects on different enemies. Chaining these attacks will be key to quick kills, or surviving harder enemies as you progress.
These sets can be changed at any point through the inventory system, or by swapping out between sets using hotkeys you assign. The biggest perk of these sets is that by chaining differing weapons in a set in a row of five, (such as by beginning with sword, then spear, then mace, then axe, then staff for example,) you will get bonus damage added onto this weapon set for meeting a certain chain. There are multiple different chains you can create that have adverse effects, so this give you plenty of options to choose from in combat.
All of your attacks, as well as running and dodging, are tied to a stamina bar. You will have to continually monitor this bar in order to assure you don’t tire out, otherwise you will be stunned and be at the mercy of enemies around you.
Aside from these systems, the game plays mostly like a simplified Diablo dungeon crawler, but with its own added twists for making things dire and entertaining.
For example, every mission has a countdown timer, associated with a little flame on the Hundred Knights head known as the Gcal system. As the timer counts down, the flame will get smaller, and if it runs out your attacks will be weakened tremendously. It’s an interesting mechanic that forces you to focus a bit more on the mission at hand, but I found it took away opportunities for me to explore around the environments from time to time.
That being said, increasing your kill count and completing objectives faster will gain you rewards that can be bonuses for new runs of later dungeons or allowing you to begin the next map with GCal bonuses.
As with most NIS games you’ll continue to gain new abilities well into the first 10 hours of the game. Magic, known as Tochkas in game, are spells that can do anything from simple projectiles, to enemy decoys, and even trapping enemies. Personally this is when I finally stopped getting bored of the button mashy combat and felt a little more variety came in.
What makes PS4 different?
The biggest addition to Revival Edition is the added, “Tower of Illusions,” which is essentially the item world from Disgaea. By forfeiting a weapon to enter the tower you will climb multiple floors and fight enemies that have a similar strength to the level of the weapon you sacrificed. Loot is also scaled to the power of the item you decided to offer up, so offering up good weapons means better chances for finding cool stuff within the tower.
Aside from being able to grind out levels and find loot, you also gain the ability to summon and play as Metallia after filling up a summon bar by killing enemies.
Playing as the witch is just as easy as playing with Hundred Knight, and even simplifies spells for you by mapping them to the triangle button for powerful bursts of spam magic.
First off, exploring is not easy thanks to the terrible camera angles. The game is played with an overhead camera view, but the camera is a nightmare to focus onto your character. I found myself not being able to see myself sometime just by getting stuck on trees or garbage that was clogging up the game map, and it forced me to constantly be spinning the camera to attempt to somehow focus on what I was doing.
The game also suffers a lot from framerate issues. The more enemies on map and the bigger they are, the more I noticed the game chugging along to try and keep up. The loading screens are also incredibly long, which is odd for a game that I downloaded. I don’t particularly understand why the game takes so long to transition from relatively simple areas to the next with so much effort.
Oh, and of course I’d be loath to forget that fact that if you don’t already have your PS4’s controller speaker turned all the way down, you’re going to want to do it for this game. Imagine my surprise when my controller started making a squawk and battle cry with EVERY SINGLE PRESS of the attack button. As much as I find it cute to utilize the gimmicky feature of the PS4’s controller speaker, this got old so fast I turned it off within 5 minutes of playing the game.
Lastly, the game is graphically atmospheric and pretty but looks almost exactly the same as its predecessor. There are a couple noticeable upgrades in color variety and a few more things on screen but it certainly isn’t a big difference from the PS3 version.
+ Dark and entertaining story
+ Interesting combat mechanics
- Annoying camera
- Framerate problems
The presentation is the big high point of the game as NIS continues to deliver on dark storytelling with comedic elements sprinkled in all over the place.
The gameplay would have scored a bit higher if it wasn't so choppy at times and didn't bog the user down as the game progresses.
The game is certainly long, as most JRPG's tend to be, and the constant new abilities, loot, and missions will keep you going for a solid 30-50 hours.
out of 10
(not an average)
The Witch and The Hundred Knight was not a bad NIS game but certainly wasn't one of my favorites. As a huge Disagea fan I was left with some good and bad tastes in my mouth, mostly just relating to the quality of the port. I still think the game is worth checking out if you're looking to scratch the itch of a decent dungeon crawler, especially one that is so funny and dark like this game.