The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition (PlayStation 4) Review

By Az Elias 25.04.2016 1

Review for The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition on PlayStation 4

Nippon Ichi Software's break from Disgaea and foray into the action role-playing genre resulted in The Witch and the Hundred Knight - a loot-based hack and slash title that was in keeping with the company's lengthy story-driven games, featuring a wicked main character, but wasn't without its flaws. With Revival Edition on PS4, this overlooked adventure from last generation has a chance to put itself out there and sort out the sinkholes in Metallia's swamp.

The whole story and gameplay of The Witch and the Hundred Knight revolved around the idea of serving as Metallia's slave, so it was understandable why the Great Swamp Witch was never playable herself first time around. NIS has heard fans' pleas, though, and has worked a new mode into Revival Edition that allows her to be summoned and controlled manually. In a separate reality, the Tower of Illusion exists, and this is essentially the average RPG's tower of trials, with floors needing to be conquered by defeating all enemies before moving onto the next.

It is entered by submitting a weapon, and the strength of it determines the difficulty and rewards of the floors, where a stronger weapon being sacrificed leads to tougher enemies to defeat and more powerful weapons given as loot. With each chapter of the main story that is completed, more floors unlock in the tower, until it can eventually be completed and moved onto basement levels that strike up an incredible challenge. Through collection of Concentrated Mana, the mischievous witch, Metallia herself, can be summoned, switching places with the Hundred Knight, and is able to unleash mighty spells on her foes, zipping around at speed on her broomstick.

Although it is fantastic to control her, the time limit inflicted for her temporary use is a great shame, to say the least. Surely another mode could have been introduced, whereby only Metallia is used with no restrictions to tackle some of the most extreme baddies in the universe. Given the alternate dimension scenario the Tower of Illusion takes place in, it isn't that farfetched that something so unorthodox could exist. Regardless, although this new mode is a disappointment in terms of it not actually lending to unlimited control of Metallia, it is a reasonably decent time-waster outside of the central quest, and since the rewards can be so good as to provide an overpowered advantage for the stage of the game that is currently progressed to, this may please anyone that found certain areas difficult in the PS3 version. Catalysts can also be obtained here, letting current weapons be upgraded, adding to the lacking customisation options last time around.

Screenshot for The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition on PlayStation 4

A visual boost has been applied across the board, meaning levels themselves now look clearer, brighter and better than ever with new textures and lighting, as well as slicker character models. The higher frame rate of 60 fps also means gameplay flows much smoother, but one of the biggest concerns from the previous version still remains: that of a lack of x-ray vision when the Hundred Knight is obscured from view behind any sort of object, whether it is trees or walls. It doesn't usually result in deaths or major problematic situations, but it is a point of annoyance that really should have been fixed. Another pet peeve is how the camera stays too far zoomed out during dialogue scenes where 3D models are present; with the upgraded graphics, it would have made even more sense here to give players a chance to get a proper look at the characters - particularly Metallia, whose face is often hidden under that massive witch's hat of hers.

Of course, players of the original PS3 game will be eager to know whether the infamous crash bug has been fixed. Well, there is good and bad news. The bad news is that, whilst the game has yet to crash and reset back to the PS4 home screen for the playthrough of this review, there are reports from other owners that the bug still exists… albeit in a much reduced state. That's the good news; this seems to be a much less common occurrence in Revival Edition, with many having played the game to completion with no crashes whatsoever, whereas others only had one or two errors, which is far less than what was the case on PS3. Therefore, it looks like the bug hasn't been eradicated completely, but it now has a far rarer probability of happening. Playing for extended periods of time might be a factor, so it is best to take that into consideration.

The main game is unchanged, where it is your job as the Hundred Knight to do Metallia's bidding and spread her icky swamp mud around the world, allowing her to venture into pastures new, since she can only survive where her swamp is residing. The actual narrative and script is very much a matter of taste. A lot of negativity was thrown The Witch and the Hundred Knight's way upon its initial 2014 release, which was pretty unjustified.

Screenshot for The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition on PlayStation 4

Metallia is nasty, cheeky, and brutal, and doesn't give a crap what others think or whether they live or die. She says mean things, she says dirty things, she swears profusely, and she breaks the norm for the archetypical hero protagonist in any role-playing adventure game. She puts players into an uncomfortable position that they will have unlikely found themselves in before, and questions whether they have it in them to go along for the ride as the Hundred Knight, who is under her command with no escape, forcing them to decide if they want to help this evil piece of work with a crude and dastardly sense of humour.

Metallia won't rub everybody the right way, and clearly anyone that doesn't like strong language and uncalled for phrases and actions may have a hard time warming to her, but it is also important to remember that she is a witch, and witches do bloody wicked things. Metallia is exactly what it means to be a witch, and should the story be stuck with, it becomes clear that there are plenty of important reasons for why she acts the way she does. A bit of crude humour shouldn't be enough to dismiss this game, and nor should it be a justification for condemning it. The language spoken and acts performed by Metallia aren't there for the sake of it; she has a dark and deep history, and she deals with it in her own unique way.

Anyone with a penchant for dark comedy will get a thrill out of the dialogue and character of Metallia, but so much credit has to be given to her voice actress, Sarah Anne Williams, who brought her to life superbly, and was also given free roam when it came to some of the phrases and curse words she would use throughout the game. It has allowed Sarah to shape Metallia in a way she found humorous and distinctive; there is no question that the young witch wouldn't be the same if it wasn't for the fitting voice of Sarah, who nails her immorality perfectly.

Screenshot for The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition on PlayStation 4

It takes a little while to get to the centralised plot line, but this time is spent building Metallia and the characters around her - some great, and some not so great. A few iffy voices and clichés are commonplace in games like this, but can be dealt with easily enough. Achieving the best ending isn't really explained at all, and it is possible that saving past the point of no return will render a new file be started to earn it, which will come as a frustration.

The hack and slash nature of the gameplay can have a tendency to become tedious, but there is a bit of depth and variety in there with the use of tochkas - special summons that can be used to influence battles and reach new areas. Different types of weapons that include swords, hammers, staffs and spears have finer attributes - blunt, sharp and magic - and these all work in a rock-paper-scissors set-up to determine if and how much they damage enemies. Furthermore, a die-based system means placing weapons in order of their individually-assigned numbers in the five weapon slots available means extra damage can be dealt.

A small, but necessary, extra in this version is being able to organise three separate weapon sets, freely switchable mid-game with the L2 and R2 buttons, meaning specially-designed sets can be tailored and flicked between on the fly to tackle certain enemies. It is often the little things that make all the difference, and this does speed up gameplay and reduce the time spent in menus taking off and putting on equipment.

Screenshot for The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Don't overlook The Witch and the Hundred Knight. For a break from the norm of what it means to be the main characters in a video game; for a dark, apathetic and unapologetic protagonist, and, indeed, script as a whole; for a decent loot-based, role-playing hack-and-slash adventure that is far more accessible and improved with the changes made in this Revival Edition; and for fans of Nippon Ichi Software's previous works, this is a game that shouldn't be dismissed based on mere looks and strong language alone. It's crude, but it's humorous, and there is a deeper and more emotional plot under Metallia's swamp than is given credit for.

Developer

Nippon Ichi

Publisher

NIS America

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Well worth pointing out this is currently £11.99 on the PS Store in EU. Massive bargain and worth a go at that price.

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