Monday, March 21, 2016

The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition (PS4) Review

Almost two years ago I reviewed a PS3 game called The Witch and the Hundred Knight.  Now the game has come over to the PS4 as the Revival Edition and boasts improved graphics, performance, a new area to explore and a new feature: the ability to play as the Swamp Witch Metallia in that new area.

Like most re-releases, I'll first give a quick recap of the game without too much detail.  If you want more, check out the full previous review here.  You control the Hundred Knight, who was summoned to this world by Metallia, the Swamp Witch.  She sends you to various locations to fight enemies and release special pillars that will spread her swamp (she cannot leave it, so expanding it is the way she can go elsewhere).  It is an action rpg with some mystery dungeon elements to the game.  You free run around each area (there is no grid), and have a stamina meter that drains when you attack, sprint or dodge.  It will quickly fill up if you have Gigacals left, which drain as you move around each dungeon.

This aspect is like systems found in many mystery dungeon style games.  You will refill your HP as long as you have Gigacals, but if you run out of both, you will return to Metallia's hut and lose many of the items you gained in the dungeon (the items are held in the Hundred Knight's stomach).  You can also activate a power-up mode, called Chaos Revelation, which increases your stats but burns through Gigacals much, much faster.

Combat is handled by equipping up to five weapons, which will be your combo.  You can get bonuses by equipping weapons in matching slots (there's a little die-like number on each weapon).  The Hundred Knight can also block and dodge.  If you dodge at the right time, you get a mystical dodge, which slows down time so you can counter attack.  Mastering it is really helpful on bosses, so you can inflict lots of damage when their defense is lowered.  The combat is pretty satisfying and fun, and the adoption of some mystery dungeon elements add a unique twist to the whole thing.

With that said, it is now time to check out the improvements.  The game does look better on the PS4, but it isn't that noticeable to me (maybe it has been too long since I played the original).  It loads a little faster, but again, not a whole lot of improvement.  The game is much more stable on the PS4, though.  Where the PS3 version had some random crashes, I have not encountered it or any other crashes while playing the Revival Edition.  This is great, but strange that "more stable" is a re-release bullet point.  The game felt a little easier than I remember as well, but I don't know if they balanced it more or if I somewhat remembered how to play.

Really, the biggest addition to this edition is the Tower of Illusion.  This dungeon opens up after completing the first 2 chapters of the story, and then you can freely travel to it from Metallia's home swamp.  To start a tower run, you must select a weapon you have to show it to the tower.  Your choice determines average enemy strength and things like drops and drop rates.  So thankfully it will be hard to bite off more than you can chew, since you shouldn't have weapons way above your level.

Once inside, you must complete a number of rooms and floors.  All monsters in a room must be defeated before you can move on to the next.  You still earn bonus ranks that you can cash in for stat boosts, but there is no bonus meter.  It's basically a random assortment of room of enemies you have to kill as you try to go to the top.  When you first load a room, it is loaded before it displays, and I've been hit with a few cheap shots when the enemy attacks before the game shows me the area.

The best part of the Tower of Illusion is the ability to play as Metallia.  When killing enemies, you collect Concentrated Mana that fills a meter.  As long as you have at least one full section, you can summon Metallia, which lets you play as her for a time.  She has a big and powerful sword for her attack, and three magic spells at her disposal.  Drop rates are also doubled while using her, but honestly, just using her is fun enough on its own.  To further entice you to go through the tower, enemies in the tower sometimes drop alchemy ingredients that the Hundred Knight can use outside to increase the stats of his equipment.

The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition is a reasonably fun game that combines action, rpg and mystery dungeon elements together into a cohesive package.  The added Tower of Illusion does actually feel like a significant addition to the game.  It's really cool that you can play as Metallia there, and being able to power up weapons with special drops makes it just a little better.  It might be enough to tempt fans of the original release to double dip.  It's a shame you can't import your data from that release, as it would make recommending it a no-brainer.  New people should definitely choose this edition over the previous one if at all possible.

(Review code for The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition was provided by the publisher.)


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