Review – The Witch and the Hundred Knight

By: Louis Edwards

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NIS America is bringing another Japanese RPG across the Pacific to the shores of North America. Will it make a successful transition, or should it have been left in the land of the rising sun?

Read our review to find out.

Fed up with being unable to travel beyond the borders of her swamp, the witch Metallia forges a contract with a demon she summoned and named the Hundred Knight to help her realize her ambition of spreading her swamp throughout all of Medea. The Hundred Knight’s mission is to do whatever his master commands. He must explore the world, destroy Pillars built to prevent her swamp from spreading, and wreak havoc wherever he goes. As his intelligence and ability to think grows, he begins to wonder what prevents Metallia from leaving the swamp, why do the other witches shun her, and how can she survive in a swamp that is notorious for how poisonous its fumes are? Is Metallia really a witch to respect, or is she one to fear?

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RPG’s are really only as strong as the story that drives it. While we found the story to be intriguing and entertaining, the method in which the story is told takes away from the overall experience. The dialogue boxes seem to never end at times and you may find yourself wanting to press circle to skip them just so you can get back to the action. The story may take some time to read or listen to, and it is worth it, it’s just that some folks want to play more than listen. The balance seems off and takes away from the overall experience somewhat.

The characters themselves are entertaining for the most part, with Metallia coming across as a bit immature with her out of place profanity at times. Her trusty servant Arlecchino makes for the perfect character to offset her rudeness with snarky and snide comments aimed at her. He has known and served her for well over one hundred years so he knows her all too well and knows how to deal with her. Metallia’s arch nemesis is the witch Mallia and she makes a perfect enemy for her, even though you may find yourself on Mallia’s side in your mind early on. Apart from the manner in which the story is told, the characters are developed nicely and complement each other in the game well.

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The game is stage-based. However, once a stage is cleared, the player can revisit and find paths to new stages and areas. The character’s main base of operations is Metallia’s house in Niblhenne Swamp. Once the player departs from the swamp, they will be allowed to explore a large, semi-open world, with a map that is hidden until you explore the area. As you explore you’ll come across Pillars which will need to be attacked in order to be activated. Once activated you’ll be able to warp between pillars within that stage. You can also select to exit the area you are in from a pillar or you can upgrade your self by distributing earned grade points in a variety of areas.

As you fight through each stage you’ll find items and store them in your stomach. If you are KO’ed while exploring you will will return to Metallia’s house and forfeit any items you had stored away since arriving. In addition to accepting quests from Metallia, players can encounter non-playable characters (NPC’s) while exploring and accept quests from them. The player can also attack and slay them or just piss them off and they have the ability to react to how you treat them; which can lead to NPC’s attacking you if they chose to antagonize them first. The player may also raid NPC villages to gain items. This is an interesting aspect of the game since you can choose to just visit someone’s hut, or raid it. Raiding isn’t always successful so be sure to pay attention to how tough the inhabitants are.

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The game is a hack-n’-slash played from a top-down isometric view (think Dead Nation or Diablo). The player character can equip up to 5 weapons which you’ll cycle through as you attack. Different enemy types are damaged differently by different weapon types, so pay attention to who you are attacking and what you are using. This doesn’t matter too much at the beginning, but as you progress along it will be paramount to your survival. You can also equip different “facets” which not only change the weapon’s appearance but alter their stats and weapon proficiencies. As the game progresses, you will gain access to special abilities and powers that can help you in battle and increase the bonus gauge, which leads to better rewards after clearing a stage.

While exploring the world, fighting enemies, and using special abilities, you consume Giga Calories, or Gcals for short. When you run out of Gcals, your HP begins to quickly and continuously deplete until you are KO’ed. You can restore Gcals by consuming food items or devouring weakened enemies in a short quick time event. However, it is important to note that consuming enemies also places stones in your stomach (which also serves as your item bag) that take up valuable space.

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The graphics for the game are what you would expect in this genre. The maps are laid out in your general dungeon crawling patters, with very little to really search or find. After a little bit of playing time you are given a sixth sense type of thing where you’ll be able to find areas needing to be searched, but these are usually right in front of you and not hard to find. The music for the game is excellent and really a shining part of the game. If you opted for the special edition of the game you’ll also get the full soundtrack included with your purchase.

The Witch and the Hundred Knight is a fun game, but the dialogues can be time consuming and do take away from the overall experience of it. Not exactly a deal breaker, but if you want to know the whole story, you’ll have to bring plenty of patience to sit through all of it.

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