An action RPG with the world’s most offensive witch.
NIS, known for the marvelous Disgaea series amongst other games, have taken an entirely different direction for their latest title to hit these shores, The Witch and the Hundred Knight on PS3. But whilst the narrative and gameplay in the game may stray from the formulas that NIS fans are comfortable with, one thing remains the same – there is so much to learn…
But before we get onto the myriad systems found in The Witch and the Hundred Knight, let’s first think about the one thing that will likely turn away the most players from this title – Metallia the Witch.
Metallia is an absolutely abhorrent swamp witch who just so happens to want the world covered in swamp. There may be reasons behind this extreme act, and they may be good reasons, but that doesn’t excuse here behavior towards almost everyone she comes across in the game. She is rude, cruel and utterly unlikeable. As the game progresses, there may be a glimpse into the reasons behind her cruelty, but that doesn’t prevent it from being incredibly unpalatable. A case could be made for the story offering a dark humour that will appeal to some players, but for the most part Metallia is just repulsive and goes too far for any humour to be found.
However, whilst the game may revolve around Metallia, the player actually takes on the role of the Hundred Knight, a legendary hero who has been summoned to activate pillars and spread the swamp across the world. It should be noted that, for a legendary hero, Hundred Knight starts out as the farthest thing from a legendary hero possible.
There is quite a lengthy introduction before the action gets moving, at which point the player will be treated to a heavy dose of hack ‘n slash action with ample loot to collect along the way. The briefest of tutorials explains only the very basics, then the rest is left up to the player to work out. That’s not strictly true, hints and tips are thrown at the player through the loading screens, but it does still leave a mass of confusion for the player to wade through.
Whilst at the very beginning, The Witch and the Hundred Knight may seem like a Diablo-style dungeon crawler, it quickly becomes apparent that there are a multitude of systems going on behind the scenes that will leave the player with a lot to learn.
Most importantly, the player will have to set weapons to create combos. There is a surprising amount of depth to even this simple task, as the order in which the weapons are set in relation to each other will have different effects, and there are plenty of different weapons to choose from, and the enemies will have different strengths and weaknesses against different things that will force the player to keep changing out combo sets. It really does leave a lot to think about.
Something else to think about are the GigaCals. This is the resource that keeps the Hundred Knight moving and will gradually deplete as the player performs actions with the knight, such as simply exploring. Zipping back to Metallia’s hut will allow the GCals to replenish, and there are other ways of filling up such as the questionable act of eating enemies, but being stuck in an area without any GCals is really something the player doesn’t want to do. It is an awkward system that limits the options for the player.
There are yet more intricacies to come in The Witch and the Hundred Knight, summonable minions (Tochkas), new classes for the Hundred Knight and leveling are probably the least of them, but can still be complex and sometimes confusing. Players who do push themselves to understand everything in the game will be presented with a huge number of options, but there is just too much going on here for the average gamer.
The huge amount of often confusing systems to learn only bring frustration of The Witch and the Hundred Knight. Add to these the obnoxious Swamp Witch and the repetitive nature of the game, and many gamers simply won’t bother past the first couple of hours. The story does reveal itself to be quite interesting as the game progresses, but many simply won’t last that long into the game. The Witch and the Hundred Knight is certainly one of the weaker titles from NIS and a departure from their usual fare.