I was skeptical about this game, which is the main reason for this very delayed review of this game. The majority of the reviews from both sources (gaming websites / magazines, and the gamers themselves) have been giving it some criticism… fair to say, I can see where they are coming from.
From the general point of view it seems to be an Action JRPG where you control a little minion named The Hundred Knight and tackle on stages, usually fighting some sort of boss at the end of each, to advance through the storyline. Sounds simple enough right? Read on.
Before it was released I did had high expectations of the game, considering it was a big deal when it was first announced a few years ago if I recall correctly. It’s rare that NIS would work on an Action-type game where as the majority of their games are of the regular JRPG type or the strategy / tactics type of game. It was initially going to be an open-world game, similar to that of an MMORPG where you would be able to explore an entire world without much limitations. It didn’t succeed as they wanted to focus on the graphics and other aspects of the game instead. So they converted it to an Action RPG.
The gameplay is akin to an Action RPG but with its own elements:
– The Hundred Knight has an energy bar that drains as you explore the stages. If it goes down to 0, it becomes severely weakened, and you must find a way to refill the bar. A few ways to gain back energy includes eating enemies via Quick-time button mashing, and using certain items. Thankfully however you can abuse this with the pillars, mentioned below.
– Each stage has pillars which serves as checkpoints. You can spend points here to temporarily power up your knight or exit the stage and come back to that pillar.
– It can equip up to 5 different weapons at once, able to pull off fancy combos and tricks.
– Boss fights tend to focus on the hit and run tactic. When a boss lower its guard, it means it will unleash a powerful attack, but at the same time it is wide open.
– When visiting towns the Hundred Knight has the ability to raid buildings, stealing items if at a high level. Unfortunately, this just translates to opening treasure chests because there’s very little negative impact if you fail. You just lose some HP but that’s it.
– There are other factors in the game that can provide the Hundred Knight with different abilities. Unfortunately these abilities aren’t terribly too unique as to what you would expect from a game like this, and are hard to use them in combat effectively. Instead they are more often used to solve puzzles and destroy certain obstacles.
Overall, the game does have some neat ideas that makes the game stand out from other Action RPGs but for the most part you will end up just hacking and slashing (and dodging) your enemies away since it’s just that easy to do.
The graphics reminded me of the 3D cartoon games you would find back in the 2000’s on the PC, the PS2 and the Gamecube for example. The character models are not of the standard 3D models we would see in the majority of JRPGS today. They look very thick-layered, sort of like clay figures. The overall atmosphere is nice enough, taking emphasis of the whole forest / swamp theme the game is going for. The effects from hacking and slashing your enemies are pretty enough as well, with the enemies being all sort of demonic and forest creatures alike.
The story is simple enough. Basically there is war between Metallia the Swamp Witch and Malia the Forest Witch. Metallia wishes to expand her swamp lands by defeating Malia, while Malia wants to prevent her forest from becoming a swamp itself. Malia has many other witches and allies by her side, making Metallia’s task very difficult. To try and overcome this problem Metallia attempts to summon a legendary knight from another dimension… turns out to be our hero, The Hundred Knight, who is a tiny minion. Under her command, he is told to seek out Malia and her allies, and defeat them by exploring the vast swamps and forests.
In terms of dialogue and cutscenes… they tend to drag on LONGER than expected. And this is throughout the game, not just at the beginning. The problem is that the characters tend to repeat what they are talking about, just with different words in that 1 cutscene, such as jokes or exaggerations about something. It gets annoying to the point where you just don’t care anymore and want to skip them, even when voiced. And for some reason, NIS America thought it would be funny if Metallia swore on a regular basis. It is censored though, and is funny the first few times… but again, gets annoying very fast. Makes her somewhat of a b*tch in my opinion.
While I do like the idea that the Hundred Knight can either agree, ignore or talk back whenever it it asked certain questions (creating different dialogue choices), it makes very little impact to the overall game.
The music is… I’m not too sure how to describe it, but if you have played any of the Disgaea games, the music will sound familiar. It’s wacky, it’s random, it’s catchy actually, but I don’t really know how else I would describe it…
Conclusion: Honestly, The Witch and the Hundred Knight isn’t meant to be a bad game. It’s fun and it looks good but the inside problems such as the few gameplay functions that have little to no impact at all, and the long / boring cutscenes can affect the overall experience. The characters themselves aren’t too interesting as well, they’re pretty one-dimensional. When you find out who they are, that’s all they are. For example: Metallia is someone who thinks she’s high and mighty so she needs to swear, boss around and make exaggerations about stuff to assert that fact.
If you have the power to ignore such feats like those, it is worth the price. It may also be worth if you are a fan of Action RPGs or games where you control 1 character exploring different places
PS: Many players have reported their game freezing, lagging or even resetting (happened to me a few times) at random intervals during their gameplay. Consider that factor as well.