The Witch and The Hundred Knight (PS3) Review
Posted by Doug Yates on 04.07.2014
Is the new NIS action RPG a bewitching experience or is it all just hocus pocus?
Title: The Witch And The Hundred Knight Developer: Nippon Ichi Software Publisher: Namco Bandai Players: 1
Witch And The Hundred Knight is an action RPG from the creators of the fan favorite Disgaea. Given my experience with some of their other games, I was excited to jump in to this title and ultimately ended with mixed feelings.
Witch starts out with an overlong tutorial level that takes too much time holding the players hand through basic controls such as pulling a lever. Upon finishing the level you are introduced to Metalia, the swamp witch. Metallia is a foul-mouthed, angry teenage girl with a vendetta against the world, so she has summoned the powerful demon “Hundred Knight” to help her in her plan for world domination.
The pacing of the game takes a serious hit due to the massive amount of text that must be read throughout the story, often lasting upwards of 10 minutes. I found the story enjoyable overall, but in an action-based game it takes away from gameplay to have to stop so frequently.
The combo system present in the game is one of the more interesting elements. By equipping up to five different weapons—different weapons deal different kinds of damage—you can create a customized five-hit combo to fit whatever combat situation you come across. A bit of tactics comes through in this system as each weapon has a preferred location in your combo that boosts your bonuses.
Combat in the game works well, although it is standard hack-and-slash mechanics with a few interesting special abilities thrown in. The bossfights on the other hand have an interesting mechanic in the form of the defense meter. The meter raises and lowers depending on the action the enemy is doing. Larger attacks lower the meter further and allow you to do more damage, but at the risk of getting hit, thus requiring you to learn the enemies’ patterns in order to defeat them.
Facets—the games class system—can be equipped in groups of up to three and change basic stats. Unfortunately they do not change things up enough to really make a difference in gameplay and are mostly forgettable.
The biggest issue in the game for me was the Gigacal meter. The gigacal meter is basically a glorified level timer that upon reaching zero will detract from both your attack and defense, leaving you defenseless and trying to run to a fast travel station to leave the level, which you will then have to return to in order to finish. In a game that rewards you for exploration and combat it just seems like an annoyance more than a useful mechanic.
Due in part to the aforementioned gigacal meter, later levels in the game can become extremely grindy with the player having to leave and return multiple times in order to finish the level. Personally I expect a bit of grind in a JRPG, but it seems that some of this could have been removed with more solid mechanics.
The character and enemy designs are great; unfortunately the levels do not meet the same standards. The color palate in the levels is too bland, often sticking to just a few colors for an entire level and never using any bright colors to give them contrast. There are also often obstructions, especially in the first area which make it difficult to see your character, or if there are enemies in your vicinity.
The soundtrack for the game is fantastic and thematically in balance with the game’s art style. The English dubs are also surprisingly well done for a JRPG and give life to the characters; unfortunately the voice is under-utilized as many of the cutscenes are text only.
Pillars are one of your main objectives throughout the game as making them bloom (they look like giant flower buds) will spread the swampland. This endows Metallia with further power as well as give the player a checkpoint and fast travel station, which also allows you to level up your stats.
• Great soundtrack fits the theme of the game perfectly
• Fun hack-and-slash fighting with interesting combo mechanic.
• Nice character designs.
• Gigacal meter seems like an unneccesary constraint on exploration.
• Overly long and frequent text takes away from action-oriented game.
If you take it for what it is, Witch is a fun time killer in small doses. With an interesting story and plenty of fun hack-and-slash looting to be had, you would not be amiss picking up this tile if you don’t mind dealing with a few technical and visual issues.
Great character design is lessened by bland color palate in levels.
Fun hack-and-slash mechanic with not much else to back it up.
Fantastic musical score with underutilized voice work.
Plenty of loot to find and an interesting combo system will have you messing around for quite a while.
The gigacal meter seriously detracted from the overall game.