The Witch and the Hundred Knight Review
A noble hero makes it their mission to fight for the greater good. To them, it’s all about saving the princess, purifying the land, and being a good ol’ fashioned Dudley Do-Right. NIS America thinks it’s time to shake up the formula: it’s time to pillage, destroy, and muck up our world into a swampy wasteland. Does their dastardly title The Witch and the Hundred Knight make villanry more appealing, or are you better off being a little goody two-shoes?
Taking place in the lovely swamp lands of Niblhenne, the titular witch (Metallia) summons the titular Hundred Knight (…Hundred Knight) to do her dirty work and spread her swampland far and wide. Told between levels and boss fights, it manages to be just deep enough without being intrusive. Both the Japanese and English voice acting are top-notch, and the script strikes a healthy balance between whimsical and blue-collar.
Yes, blue-collar. You’d think a title like The Witch and the Hundred Knight would be something akin to The Nightmare Before Christmas. Passerby would believe that too: the lighthearted music, talking lampposts, humble townsfolk, and copious amounts of bloom make a valid case. However, its swear filter, village raids, and mass destruction quickly shatters any delusions of wholesomeness. What really drives this point home is Metallia — her sinister actions and conceited attitude make you really hate this witch, but it is also oddly engaging to watch and serves as an interesting counter-balance to the otherwise cheerful surroundings.
But as the Hundred Knight, you are but a humble servant of Metallia, a cute, malleable little creature subservient to her will. However, The Witch and the Hundred Knight does offer some freedom of choice through its combo system. Through a number of different weapon loadouts, you can chain up to five attacks together for massive damage. While it is a welcome addition that gives it a touch of customization, it can be downright cumbersome to switch loadouts via a menu to take down one specific enemy. The Facet system is also a double-edged sword, allowing you to tweak your Hundred Knight at the expense of convenience.
However, the battles proper in The Witch and the Hundred Knight are what make the journey worth it. It’s top-down fighting harkens back to The Legend of Zelda, while its emphasis on loot and experience channels the best of Diablo. Battles move at a brisk pace, and later fights require more than a vigorous mashing of the attack button. Creating the perfect Hundred Knight might require a deal of grinding that can be a grind, but finding that “Rare Piñata” makes it all worth it.
Of course, The Witch and the Hundred Knight has a few wrinkles of its own. A rapidly dying “GigaCal” system gives time much-needed importance, while a Bonus system offers a great risk-reward system. Should you retire and claim your bounty, or should you press on for the chance to win that killer weapon? These factors all give each battle some much needed life and urgency.
It’s just a shame that The Witch and the Hundred Knight can’t always handle all of the action. Gameplay lags when there is too much happening, and voice samples drop out every now and again. A future patch will likely remedy these issues, but it’s something to keep in mind for the here and now.
The Witch and the Hundred Knight is brash, and is better because of it.The Hundred Knight’s foray isn’t flawless, but it is still a unique venture that shakes things up in both the gameplay and story departments.