Brought to this world to help spread the sweet, sweet swamp, the Hundred Knight will travel across the land in order to fulfill his contract.
The Witch and the Hundred Knight is one of those games that I’ve been meaning to play for but never quite got around to it. Well, okay, I did play it for a bit on PS3, but it wasn’t for very long. With the release of The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition on PS4, I finally jumped on the opportunity to play through more of this crazy story.
In The Witch and The Hundred Knight, you play as the Hundred Knight. The Hundred Knight is a magical creature from legend that has been summoned to this world by the Swamp Witch, Metallia. Metallia has been confined within the swamp her entire life, and she has brought the Hundred Knight to bloom pillars (which release swamp mud when bloomed) found throughout the world so that she can go to the outside world. What starts out as a simple task will turn into a crazy quest involving multiple witches, beastmen, and dog princesses.
When looking at the story as a whole, I definitely enjoyed it. However, getting used to Metallia’s personality can be a hard pill to swallow. She’s selfish, demanding, and has quite the foul mouth (albeit censored). Despite that, once you start getting into the real heart of the story around the midpoint, the pieces start to fall into place as to why Metallia is the way she is. By the time I reached the end of the “True” ending, I didn’t want it to end and was extremely sad to see the Save Game Clear Data screen come up. So while the story can be a bit tough to get into at first, if you manage to stick through it, it starts to become extremely good (and Metallia’s character starts to make a lot more sense).
Gameplay in The Witch and The Hundred Knight will primarily consist of you running across the wide variety of maps, trying to fill them out, find all of the black chests, and find all of the pillars. The time you have on these maps is limited, and you’ll find that you have to do some micro managing in order to get the most from the time you have. The system limiting your time – GigaCals – is one I found both annoying and interesting. When you’re first trying to explore a map, your GigaCals count is going to decrease extremely fast. That’s because “defogging” the map is one of the largest drains on this number, with the other being taking damage and having it be healed over time. At first I was able to simply get through an entire area without needing to go back, but after a while I needed to start using some tricks to be able to to fully explore.
You have a few options to recover your GigaCals count. The first is to use food items (accessed through hitting the left side of the touchpad), however these food items can be extremely limited. You can also use grade points you’ve earned during your time in the area so far (obtained through killing enemies and harvesting items), but keep in mind that you can only earn 30 grade in a single visit. Finally, you can simply just leave the area, either by returning to the world map or to Metallia’s home. The final option is the one I ended up using the most later on in the story when the maps started to get far too large.
The heart of The Witch and the Hundred Knight lies within the battle system. As the Hundred Knight you’ll have access to an interesting, although a bit simple, battle system. Your primary attack method will come from the form of combos that you can make from a set of up to 5 weapons. These weapons each have a magic die associated with them, and the strength of your combo will depend on how you set them up. In order to get combo bonuses, you’ll need to order the weapons in sequential order (IE: 1 > 2 > 3 > 4 > 5). Do keep in mind that you don’t need to necessarily order it from 1 to 5, so long as the numbers are in order.
Along with the magic die number, you’ll also need to keep in mind the type of weapon that you’re using. There are three attack types on weapons available – slash, blunt, and magic – spread across three types of weapons – sword, spear, or staff. The enemies you battle will have various resistances to the different attack types, and I found my best course of action to be to have a setup that included each type.
The other primary combat system lies within the Tochka’s you can obtain. These Tochka’s can be exceptionally powerful, or they can simply just provide a distraction for the enemy you are fighting. Once I obtained them, I always started my boss fights by laying down the two main attacking Tochka’s until I couldn’t summon anymore. While they didn’t always do a lot of damage, there were also the times where they just absolutely destroyed the boss. I absolutely loved this system and often found myself using it to implement more strategy into the combat system.
Should you want to help the Hundred Knight power up even more, you can play around with the Facet Change system. While only adjustable within Metallia’s base, Facet’s can provide a wide variety of abilities and can help greatly influence your stats. While I spent most of the game rocking the Power Fortress Fact, I will admit that magic absolutely wrecked me (this Facet has a high weakness to magic). Each Facet definitely has a use, even if you do end up using the same general ones for most of the game.
One other notable thing about the gameplay is the stamina meter. This meter will determine how much you can do in a given period of time. Attacking, blocking, and dashing will all drain it, and you’ll need to find the delicate balance to keep from completely draining it. One of the Facets you can obtain will decrease the speed at which sprinting will decrease it, but up until you get that, you’ll find yourself running out and needing to fully recover quite often. As for attacking, I typically found that a single stamina gauge can usually handle 2 full combos before you need to let it recover some, though you can use a lowered gauge to more easily do incomplete combos.
Fresh to the PS4 version of The Witch and the Hundred Knight is the Tower of Illusion, which is available starting in Chapter 2. This massive tower comes complete with a new story. Lia has come to the tower in hopes of having her wish granted – something that only happens to those individuals who can make it to the top. Outside of the tower, she meets the Hundred Knight, and she quickly forms a contract with him. Within the tower you’ll meet a lot of familiar faces from the main story, and the allies you have in the main story will join up once again to travel up to the top of this tower.
I absolutely loved the Tower of Illusion. While you’re limited to how much you can climb at a time (the floor you can reach at any given time is (Story Chapterx10)-10), this is a fantastic place to level up your Facets and obtain equipment. The enemies you find within each block will generally correspond with the enemies you can find within that particular chapter. The drops will also generally correspond to the “Chapter” you’re in, at least they did from my experience (IE: the items you find on floors 80-90 will be the drops you get in Chapter 10).
Also new to the PS4 version is the Alchemy system. While I didn’t play with this very much, this system is a good way to condense down some of your older weapons. To perform Alchemy, you’ll need to find various Catalysts within the Tower of Illusion. When you have these Catalysts, you can head to the Alchemy shop, select one of your weapons (or pieces of armour), select what you want to fuse it with, and then choose the Catalyst. While this does require the generally precious resource of Mana, it’s a good way to get some additional power onto your equipment. Do keep in mind that you can only do this a limit amount of times – the amount depends on the rarity of the piece – but it can still be a handy way to help power yourself up.
Unfortunately, the game didn’t come over without some technical hiccups. If there was one takeaway I had from my short time on the PS3 version, it was the insane loading times (granted, loading times are generally not very good on PS3). On it’s way over to the PS4, it seems these loading times weren’t really fixed. I would spend quite a bit of time sitting in loading screens, something I hardly ever expect from a PS4 game at this point, especially something that is a port. I’m not sure what happened here, but the loading times are still pretty awful, considering this is a PS4 game now.
On top of the loading issues, quite a few issues still persist within the game, though they’re mainly contained within the Tower of Illusion. In the main story, several areas suffer from some flickering issues, causing some background effects (or effects on the walls) to flicker in and out decently often. Within the Tower of Illusion, I encountered three main issues. The first was an entire cutscene locking up on me, forcing me to skip it as otherwise I would not have been able to proceed. The second, while quite hilarious, had two tracks playing at once after the boss on floor 80 (if I remember correctly). I was able to fix the music one by going to an area which had no music at all, but it’s still something that shouldn’t have really happened at all. The final one I found was that if I got hit while I was trying to open up the Tochka menu, the game would exit out of it but would fail to remove the screen fade out that happens.
Speaking of the music, if you’re a fan of the Disgaea soundtrack, you’ll absolutely love the music within The Witch and the Hundred Knight. The same goes with the visuals. This makes sense too, considering this game is from the same team as Disgaea.
If you’re looking for a fun action RPG, give this game a look at. While The Witch and the Hundred Knight is slow to get started, it has an enjoyable combat system. The stamina meter may be something you curse out at times, but it’s also a way to help you work out your combos. The GigaCals system is the same way, especially since you may often find yourself retreating out of the maps a lot to recover them (note: the Tower of Illusion has no map to uncover, allowing you to stay in even longer). With all that said, the game is definitely not for everyone, so if you’re someone who is often frustrated by stuff like the systems mentioned, you’ll want to give this one a pass. Finally, while the game is overall enjoyable, there are some issues that exist within this version, and these can take away from the experience (even if the double audio track issue is quite hilarious).
The Witch and the Hundred Knight – Revival Edition Review Score
I would like to thank NIS America for providing me with a copy for review purposes.