Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Witch and the Hundred Knight (PS3) Review

The Witch and the Hundred Knight is a third person action RPG from NIS.  Players will guide the Hundred Knight, who was summoned by the very angry swamp witch Metallia, and carry out her will to spread the swamp throughout the world.

The graphics are decent, and the story scene character models look good.  Each different area is distinct from the previous one, and the enemy models all look nice.  The game is dual audio, and the English voices are pretty good.  Metallia does have a very foul mouth, which surprised me.  Suffice it to say I didn't play the story portions around impressionable young ears.  The music sounds like it belongs in the Disgaea games.  Upon first hearing it, my wife thought that the game was a Disgaea game until she saw it in action.

As mentioned before, the game starts with Metallia, the swamp witch, summoning the Hundred Knight to spread the swamp throughout the world, and with it, her power and influence.  The tutorial is pulled off really well, since you are a new creature and don't know what you are capable of until told to do things.  Metallia is a very unlikable character, but that's the point.  She is countered very well by her back-talking servant, Arlecchino.  The two make a very interesting duo, and there are even more strange characters to meet during the course of the game.

When I first saw the trailers for the game, I thought it was a mystery dungeon style game.  While it has very light elements of that, The Witch and the Hundred Knight is an action RPG.  The dungeons are not random, and there's not a massive amount of loot to gather in them.  Players control the Hundred Knight as he makes his way through each area, fighting monsters and making pillars bloom to spread the swamp.  You can set up to five weapons as your combo string.  It's helpful since you can cover all damage types, or just switch to take advantage of a particular enemy's weakness.  It's also fun since you can mix it up and make whatever combo you want.  Sure, you get bonus damage and grade for setting them in order of their damage die number (the weird symbol on their info page), but you don't have to.  While you can mash attack and make your way through a lot of the game, there is a lot of depth to the combat if you make use of it, and it makes the game easier.

One resource you have to manage while away from the swamp is Gigacals.  What are Gigacals?  Well, they represent the energy of the Hundred Knight, and are one of the elements borrowed from mystery dungeon style games.  Since he is a summoned familiar, he can only exist for so long away from Metallia's magic.  Uncovering the map, restoring HP and regaining stamina will all take Gigacals.  You will also lose a chunk if you run out of HP.  In that instance, you will be returned to the latest small pillar and lose some Gigacals and an item or two.  If you don't have Gigacals when you fall, you return to the witch's swamp and lose all items and 50% of the experience you gathered in the dungeon.  It's not the most strict, but it's another thing taken from mystery dungeon games to make the game more unique.  There's a few other things added, like facets, grade bonus, witch domination and mystical dodge to give the game more depth.  Facets are similar to job classes, and give different passive skills while grade can be used in a dungeon to increase different parameters.

There are a few different weapon types, like swords, magic staves and hammers, which have different damage types.  While you don't find massive amounts of loot during each trip, finding stuff and getting more from the bonuses will make the bulk of your item acquisition.  Stores sell things, but the price seemed absurdly high for what you get.  Some items sell for a lot too, so it's best to sell them off when near the limit.  Sadly, the limit of each usable item isn't that high, and you only know it when you hit it, and it's different for each item.  If you get one when at the limit, it is automatically discarded, which sucks since you just lose out on any money you would have gotten for selling it.  I'm not sure why that bothered me, since I didn't actually buy anything in the game, so I had no real use for the money.

Each different area is deceptively large.  At first it only takes a half hour to go through one, but it quickly starts taking much longer, especially when you take trips back to Metallia's hut to sell things or save your game.  With each chapter taking up to a few hours, the game is about 40-50 hours total in length.  I did have the game freeze on me twice, so taking the extra time in each dungeon to go back and save was well worth it.  At first I thought it was my system, since the install and loading of the game took longer than I would think, but it seems others have had the game lock up as well.  Hopefully it will get a patch like Disgaea D2 to fix it soon.

Trophies in The Witch and the Hundred Knight are pretty straightforward.  You get pretty much all of them just for making your way through the story.  There are three different ones for the three different endings, but creative use of saving can take a lot of the time out of those.  Unfortunately, the trophy list is hidden, but the only missable ones are for the endings.

The Witch and the Hundred Knight is a decent action RPG.  It borrows a few elements from mystery dungeon games to stand out.  It appears simple, but there is actually a lot more depth than one would think.  Very rarely there was a frustrating part, but overall the game was kinda fun and not too hard.  I'd keep impressionable young ones away from Metallia's mouth, though.

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