The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition is a PS4 remake of the original action RPG on PS3 with improved graphics and new features. Developed and published by Nippon Ichi Software it is set to land in the EU march 1st.
The title sees you take control of a magical creature by the name of The Hundred Knight, named so by your master the Great swamp Witch Lia… I mean Me-tal-Li-a, Metallia summons you and binds you to this world with the aim to use your power to spread her swamp across the whole world by releasing the pillars and the swamp mud they contain (anyone else get the feeling we are the bad guys?). As the legends go the Hundred knight is a fearsome beast with the wings of a phoenix a hundred arms and a thousand eyes to gaze in all directions. Metallia wishes to use this power, however the legends seem to have been slightly exaggerated.
The title uses good old visual novel style for story telling and there is a lot of it, even when avoiding optional dialogue you will still be stopping every 5 to 10 minutes (more so in the earlier stages) for story progression which is usually accompanied by a lot of cursing, talk of murder and quite often goes off on a random tangent or Matallia rage rant. While this can be wildly random and confusing, it mostly sticks true to the usual NIS style. During the course of your adventure you will encounter a varied cast each with differing personalities and stories with light hearted moments, some are just plain bizarre, but despite the seriousness of some of the events in the title such as death and murder there is always a humorous spin put on everything. Fans of titles such as Disgaea and Hyperdimension Neptunia will no doubt feel right at home however those new to this particular brand of humor will no likely be left wondering just what the hell is happening. Overall I found the story was able to hold me well enough to not skip through it all, but not quite interesting enough to rush back to when I had some time.
Gameplay in Hundred Knight, for the most part, takes place in 3D environments with each of areas maps being quite the contrast to the last from sprawling forests to bustling towns or mountainous peaks. They each offer up something new in terms of navigating them and the challenges you will face, the one constant in each area is that almost everything that moves will try to squash our hero. Fortunately despite his feeble appearance our humble little knight is far from powerless, utilizing multiple weapon types to chain his attacks to swiftly strike with a combination of sword, lance, magic attacks and more, making bringing down most foes only a minor inconvenience rather than an actual potential threat to your HP. Though you could just eat the enemies, this serves to refill your energy or Gigacals, while exploring maps covered in fog your energy which is the gauge of magic power you have remaining before your link with your master fades depletes. This depletes quickly limiting how much you can explore so eating enemies alive is a good mechanic to keep you thinking about your exploration and energy. To add to this there are also classes or jobs known as“faccets”that you unlock over the cores of the game with varying effects and stat changes, you can have a main and up to 4 sub classes equipped at any time which considerably boosting your odds of survival. These are just some of the systems in place to help you progress and customise your Knight, some others include weapon upgrades, digging for treasure and raiding homes all in an attempt to boost your arsenal,.while these systems work and individually are passable it can often come across as a bit too much as you try to make uses of enemy weakness, multiple load outs, each job, level ups and much more. I am simply reminded of the old saying that less is quite often more and in the case of this title dropping a system or two and refining another would have been a wise move.
This however brings me on to my next point, in this version of the game they did the complete opposite and actually added more features, with this version we see the introduction of a new area, the ability to play as Lia and a new type of weapon upgrade.
New area- The Tower of Illusion is a new feature in the Revival Edition of the game and sees you challenging enemies room floor by floor as you ascend to the top and get your wish granted. It contains a small side story with master Lia but is more of a stand alone side story for you to do at your own leisure. It requires you to sacrifice a weapon to the tower that will determine the enemy level and item drop rate with weaker weapons making the tower a walk in the park but lower reward to high tier weapons giving more risk but providing you with powerful equipment.
Playing as Lia- this is a feature inside the tower of illusion where you use your Mana gained by fighting foes to summon Lia into battle. Lia is incredibly powerful using both swords and high tier magic to fight as well as been able to fly around on her broom. She also doubles the item drop rate making her incredibly useful for this area of course this comes with the limitation of using mana which depletes over time.
Finally is another weapon power up- this allows you to use items such as concentrated mana pearls to upgrade weapons and “awaken” them making them even more powerful. Each weapon can be upgraded a set number of times depending on rarity and can each be“awakened”only once, this only serves to make the most basic part of any RPG your weapon even more complex than it needs to be and would have been quite happy without yet another way to strengthen a weapon in this title.
Visually the game has also received some updates with improved textures, lighting and models giving these anime styled characters a new lick of paint. This for the most part honestly does not effect the title all that much and I could have easily forgotten I was playing on PS4, I don’t mean to say it looks horrible by any measure as it was never bad in the first place when released on ps3 – however it remains clear it was originally a Ps3 title. The visual novel 2d and world exploring 3D characters are all well done and unique and what most players will be expecting.
The audio for this title in particular the BGM is somewhat typical of NIS games, however I have to admit that I personally hate that “La La La” that will play repeatedly during play – it is mind numbingly annoying and I ended up gettuing into the habit of actually muting it when it came on.
As a PS4 title I try every game via remote play and this is no exception, Witch and the Hundred Knight is yet another title that works brilliantly via remote play and posed very few issues in terms of game play and been more than playable via my Vita.
Finishing up The Witch and the Hundred knight is a interesting title from Nippon Ichi Software and fans will no doubt jumps for its take on the action RPG genre however its over-complication of game mechanics that could have been simplified and work just as well may put off a lot of potential fans. The story is also not the best I have seen from NIS but it is far from the worst. I have played both the PS3 and PS4 versions now and can say even with the updates I can honestly say it doesn’t bring enough to the table to be worth jumping at for people who previously played the PS4 version, though anyone that missed the trip to the swamp last time may be interested in visiting if not to see this take on action RPG genre.
Who should buy this
People who missed it on PS3
Series fans who want to play as Metallia (temporarily)