The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition

Fairytales can come in all sorts of shapes, colors and flavors. Most common tales are based on true stories, while others are based on themes. However, their interpretations are all a matter of perception, at least thatís what most like to believe.

Nippon Ichi Software, in collaboration with NIS America, bring us the newest version of one of their most acclaimed and dark fantasy hack & slash games to the PS4; The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition, a story that is more than just a dark fairytale.

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A VEEERY WICKED STORY

In this game, you, the Hundred Knight, are a legendary familiar who was summoned by the Witch of the Swamp, Metallia, for a single purpose: To spread the swamp mud all over the world, destroying anyone and anything in both you and Metalliaís path.

In this game you face many foes, all which will do either little or a lot of effort to stop you and your devious plans. Spreading the swamp mud portrays the main objective, this will help Metallia travel across the land, lifting her from the shackles she had from the borders of her swamp.

An interesting element to this story is of course the characters by themselves, each generates a lot of intrigue as to who they are what are they actually doing. Metallia, who basically lives in a poisonous swamp that she canít escape from unless the Hundred Knight opens up swamp pillars, this whole matter seems both simple yet complex; why and how is she imprisoned in this specific manner? And why do the other witches treat her look down at her? I have to agree, that she might be more dangerous than what she looks.

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PERSONALITIES ARE ONE HECK OF A THING

Usually in games like this, thereís a big cast from which all characters have something unique to them but they tend to be either dull or slightly interesting. However, in this case the characters prove to show a lot of mystery with very less insight.

Metallia is definitely one of the darkest main characters Iíve seen; being as cruel and evil as she looks, and her actions are as precise and devious as you may believe. The whole fact that she summoned the Hundred Knight to do as she says is a pretty solid point already. The contrast between her and the Hundred Knight who only makes sounds makes for a very interesting duo. One giving orders, the other obeying them. This were a main game mechanic plays a huge role; the player can sometimes choose how the Hundred Knight will respond to something he is told, either affirming, denying, ignoring or question it, this allows for plot elements to progress in both significant and insignificant ways, yet very interesting to experiment.

There is a very clear mixture of two contrasting themes; the whole evil looking idea of conquering the lands by any means necessary, mixed with the humorous characters simply makes the imagery of the game stand out.

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HACK, SLASH, & WITCHERY

The game functions with many more gameplay mechanics. You play in third person mode with a very elevated camera view (that can be heavily affected by ambient elements, like trees per example). You travel across the land and enter ďdungeonsĒ which are filled with respawning monsters. The aim is to find small pillars that you can bloom and eventually find the last big pillar of the zone, which is usually guarded by a boss.

The small pillars grant you the ability to spend points on your different stats, either attack, defense, HP, etcÖ These points are gained by absorbing the power of defeated enemies. Notice that these points on your stats are temporary on the map youíre playing, so spend them wisely. After beating the stage you gain XP and level up the Hundred Knightís real overall stats.

Your character is allowed to use different weapons and equip up to 5 to perform different combos (as each weapon affects specific enemies in different ways on stunning and damage). This gives the game a bit of variety, given the fact that hack and slash games are mindless spamming adventures, but in this case itís a pretty decent addition.

The pacing of the game, specifically talking about beating a zone, is linked to the contract the Hundred Knight has with Metallia. The Witch basically has you tied to a timed flame on your helmet (Concentrated Mana) that will run out over time and eventually force you to beat the zone before itís out. What sort of benefits this gameplay mechanic has? It makes exploration of a zone faster, giving the game a hastier pace and help it be more dynamic in a sense. Fortunately, if youíre the type of game who likes exploring and discovering every inch of a map, you can replenish this flame by adding points to it in the small pillars, extending your gameplay time by bits. If thatís not enough, you can always consume an enemy when itís HP is around 20%, extending your Concentrated Mana but filling your equipment bag (or stomach rather) with garbage, once its full you canít consume again until everything is dumped.

Every zone has itís own gimmicks, whether you have to unlock doors by finding a hidden switch, or obtain a key item to progress. Another mechanic is the Witch Domination, were you can raid peopleís houses and obtain their treasure item. This item can either be a consumable, special item, or a progress key item, so it is advised to check on what every home has to offer. Success rate of the Witch Domination depends on the amount of current points you have added to Attack and HP, pretty straightforward deal.

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BUT WAIT, WHAT IS THIS ďREVIVAL EDITIONĒ SORCERY?

Ah, I see what you did there. Up to this point, my general impressions are of the original gameís taste, in the sense of what it offered back then on the PS3.

Well it so happens that the Revival Edition port for the PS4 has quite a few features that do make it worthy of the current gen roster. If you are familiar with this game, you would be a bit disappointed to only play as the Hundred Knight, fortunately you can now play as Metallia.

Donít get too excited, you canít play her in story mode as that would not have any sense at all (specifically talking about the un-mud swamped scenarios), but you can play as her in the Tower of Illusion. This place is a new addition that allows you to play dungeons with enemies that will become harder the more offerings you make to it. The more junk weapons you throw at it will make this challenge room harder yet more rewarding, and collecting Concentrated Mana will allow you to summon and play as Lia (as this is some sort of parallel universe?), enjoy an awesome move set and her evilest remarks and statements. Not only this but you can also upgrade your weapons using a catalyst from the Tower of Illusion, granting a whole new experience for this game and refreshing itís replayability factor, even though it looks like a grindfest.

LETíS TALK ABOUT THE SCENERY AND MUSIC

The Witch and the Hundred Knight is a dark fantasy world, filled with weird creatures, magic and a very evil tone. This whole idea on paper can sound very generic, but both the art style and music ambience give so much strength to this perception that truly make the game unique in itís own way.

The art is similar to other related titles like Disgaea or Mugen Souls, which is a very fierce looking manga style, and of course a lot of sexuality in the design of specially the female characters, something I honestly feel clichť but in this case very appropriate for the representation of witches and evil creatures. Not to mention the color palette used in the scenery bestows a whole ambience that helps characters feel like they are part of it. In terms of character designs, each one is unique in itís tone, charm, and colors.

For the music, itís a track filled with fantasy styled instrumentals that are contrasted with unsettling (yet amazing) high-toned vocals. The whole soundtrack feels like it gives a lot of life to this game, in every sense. You will immediately feel like youíre playing a story that is messed up and has a Witch who plays you with completely wicked ideals. Definitely one of the best OSTs Iíve had the pleasure of listening to.

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IMPRESSIONS AND OPINIONS

My experience with the game has been very satisfying, mostly because itís been a while since Iíve tried this sort of genre. At first, I was stunned by Metalliaís whole writing in terms of vocabulary, interactions and tone, given the fact that she could easily kill anyone in her way and has quite a temper. Later, I got used to it and enjoyed the characterís personality quite a bit as this sort of ďheroineĒ isnít very common on most JRPGs.

The game is very varied and has a lot of levels to enjoy. While at times the narration can drag a bit due to a lot of conversations, it proves to show different and fun mechanics that easily become intuitive and menu management becomes trivial.

As for the port itself, the game looks quite good with the improved graphics, however some models really need to stay away from the camera at times, and your usually clipping here and there.

Nevertheless, the gameís newest features allow it the chance to shine again on the PS4, coming back from the PS3 era, giving back their place to both the witchery of Metallia and the Hundred Knight, permitting them to contrast in the vast ocean of heavy AAA titles, showing them how important every factor of a game allows for great ambience.

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In Short

  • + Plentiful amount of game mechanics
    + Mysterious and intriguing plot
    + Variety of gameplay options and different ways to approach encounters
    + Unique and stylish character designs, a well implemented color palette and decent scenarios
    + Music is well mixed and appropriate for the whole game's thematic

  • - Pacing of the game can be heavily affected between quick dungeon crawling vs. long narration of the story

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