A forced-friendship revolving around “Do as I say” by the hands of a chaotic and mischievous witch.
Known simply as the Hundred Knight and dragged out of the loneliest corners of darkness, your name is cast upon you by a spiteful young witch who later reveals herself to be Metallia, a lazy careless Swamp Witch with a desire for chaos. Mindless in your actions and following whatever she desires without a sense of guilt, passion or even happiness, you as the Hundred Knight are required to do her evil bidding and cause havoc within her name. Despite the Knight’s limited intelligence in being only able to respond with “Yes” “Ignore” and the occasional answer back, the multiple choice questions that the game presents to you in certain situations of the game will have you inevitably doing what Metallia demands from you anyway.
As Metallia points out while feeding you three week old chewing gum from the ground, “Yep. Dumb as a bag of hammers”. Now while this system of choice sounds contradictory on the surface of, it actually feeds the personality of the two character’s relationship towards each other, and despite the Witch’s evil intentions the Knight’s loyalty and fondness towards her, helps in developing his sense of character.
"Far too much help for simple mechanics and an introductory playthrough section laced in overly-explained tutorials, that could have been summed up in one short and simple sentence."
The emphasis on character development fails to reach its potential however, but the character dialogue and cut-scenes attempt to mend this. As it turns out during the first few initial cut-scenes of the game, Metallia’s only reason for bringing the Hundred Knight out of the darkness is due to the fact he may be a legendary demon of huge potential, who in is filled with immense power and might.
This childish and cheesy plot twist which is by no means a spoiler in comparison to the other events that take place within the game, is actually quite funny and carries an anime movie-like aesthetic to it, that’s quite funny in how the story plays out,and aids in presenting the personality of the characters. More specifically, that of Metallia and her self-centered devilish ways. One thing that’s key to the Knight’s development as the game goes on, is his level of intelligence and how it increases as he levels up within his skills and abilities, and it would have been good to see this reflected more and have more of an actual impact within gameplay.
More on to the actual gameplay, one thing stood out to me during the first ten minutes into the game, and it’s been a reoccurring factor for most titles released over the last two to six years, that I imagine doesn’t resonate so well with the majority of gamers, Hand Holding. Far too much help for simple mechanics and an introductory playthrough section laced in overly-explained tutorials, that could have been summed up in one short and simple sentence.
"A tutorial for activating switches which obviously opens the doors adjacent, then being rewarded with a platform specific achievement in this case PSN trophies, is insulting."
While some may argue its to help younger players get on-board, I imagine most of the game’s audience is derived from younger players to begin with, despite its visual aesthetics, which I’ll touch more upon later. A tutorial for activating switches which obviously opens the doors adjacent, then being rewarded with a platform specific achievement in this case PSN trophies, is insulting.
For achievement hunters this may be exciting but all it really demonstrates is a serious cry for help that is taking place, on how remarkably sad and retarded on just how much, the majority of games in recent years have become significantly easy. With no difficulty level present at the start of the game but rather a straight head-first dive in to its world, my stereotypical view point on the game kicked in and I immediately thought “Kick-yourself-easy gameplay and over complex menus”. Funny enough, I wasn’t far from the truth.
Once the tutorial levels are played out and the game really begins, only through exploring the game and talking to its strange inhabitants living in the game’s home base, will you have the option to adjust the difficulty level. The former problem swings back around however as you can only decrease the difficulty instead of raising it, again insulting.
"One thing of interest that The Witch and the Hundred Knight attempts to mold together is the inclusion of hack and slash-esque gameplay mechanics, with that of an RPG."
Playing through the game in a semi-top down field of view, you will be exploring small mythical lands and villages, populated by both humans and mystical creatures. Inanimate objects that actually prove to be alive, such as the “Lamptree” are both interactive in terms of talking with and drawing your sword upon to slash away for skill points. Your own sense of right and wrong is welcomed to take a seat and play no part whatsoever in how you feel about your actions. The game allows you to feel childish, mischievous, and make stupid decisions without feeling no way about it. While this isn’t emphasized as much as it could have been, the personal feeling of not having responsibility for what you do, and just being a run-around errand boy for a Witch brings about a sense of evil within your own way of thinking.
One thing of interest that The Witch and the Hundred Knight attempts to mold together is the inclusion of hack and slash-esque gameplay mechanics, with that of an RPG. RPG games by their very nature situate themselves in a case of Love it or Hate it, and this is partly due to its complexity of skill sets, menu navigation, and the player’s own attitude and patience. The throw-away method of turn-based attacks that most RPGs use as the basis of their enemy interactions and battles scenes, lends itself well to players,who may have interest in the game’s actually storyline and aesthetics, but despise the typical combat systems and would prefer to get straight to the point.
This isn’t to say the game is a dumbed-down RPG or is trying too hard at appealing to another audience, it’s just different in how it goes about certain elements of its gameplay and accessibility. As one who’s grown out of patience as well as devotion for sticking 15+ hours into a game of this nature, but on the other hand is still appealed by its visual qualities and playful narrative, I found it to be quite welcoming and enjoyable.
"Where the Hundred Knight's attacks and abilities are just about satisfactory for their use-case, meaning player enjoyability and Metallia's mischief, it feels unfinished."
Although the Hundred Knight carries a variety of weapons that all succeed at differing from each other in terms of how they can be used and favored by the player, there’s a lacking sense of the actual hack ‘N’ slash combat system that the game is going for. At most times it just felt as if the Hundred Knight was just swinging what ever weapon he happened to have equipped, rather than actually using it as a weapon for which he could do harm. It lacks actual combat per say, and the finesse of hacking and slashing.
Seeing as the game makes use be it not much, of a character class system, the combat aspects always felt as if it was trailing behind. The upgrade and skill set systems in the game run at a similar level to that of its combat in that it’s not fully fleshed out. On the face of it things appear to be much like your typical RPG system consisting of HP, Attack points, Defense, and other various forms of upgrading. But taking these features into account as to how it actually has an effect on the gameplay feels minor at best, and doesn’t feel like it’s hitting its full potential.
Where the Hundred Knight’s attacks and abilities are just about satisfactory for their use-case, meaning player enjoyability and Metallia’s mischief, it feels unfinished. Where the enjoyability factor does kick in however, is within its enemy battles and the raiding of homes. As said previously the hack “N” slash mechanics are pretty bare bone but invading the home of NPCs, in towns and villages never gets old. While it doesn’t change or differ in the way the sequence plays out, the basic premise for this is that the Hundred Knight can either invite himself into someone’s home with the intentions of doing good, which directly ties in with the game’s karma system.
"The visual aspects of the Witch and the Hundred Knight are where the game holds a large portion of its appeal. Creative and colorful characters set across the mythical setting of swamps, villages and other supernatural environments, all filled with life and movement encourage you to explore and roam."
Or he can invade it and assault the residents living there, and depending on his level of health and skill, will either successfully walk out with cookies and points, or get thrown out looking like a moron. This is both crazy-stupid to watch as it is ridiculously evil and I couldn’t get enough of it. Where it fails however is the option to do more with the feature, such as how you interact with whom may be living there and what your’e able to take from them.
The visual aspects of the Witch and the Hundred Knight are where the game holds a large portion of its appeal. Creative and colorful characters set across the mythical setting of swamps, villages and other supernatural environments, all filled with life and movement encourage you to explore and roam. With that being said, the amount of actual exploration the game offers you is again at a bare minimum, and this is a real shame since it’s something I would have liked to seen.
The in-game graphics take on a more traditional look of 3D models that contrast against that of its cut-scenes and while this is purely down to preference as to what said player prefers. It would have lent itself favors by following the same visual style of its static-2D anime cut-scenes. Since there’s alot of cut-scenes to begin with, in which it could have had significantly less of, moving back into its 3D visuals was a strange one.
"The Witch and the Hundred Knight does carry a charming yet maleficent vibe to it, and this is reflected in its audio department."
The Witch and the Hundred Knight does carry a charming yet maleficent vibe to it, and this is reflected in its audio department. From the get-go of the start screen, the ambient background music has the word “Witches” written all over it, metaphorically. While this sounds somewhat of an illogical thing to try and explain it’s best heard in person, this amazing use of audio is continued throughout the entire game, and where the Hundred Knight lacks the full ability to communicate verbally, the games creepy yet friendly soundtrack makes up for this.
Infact, if the Hundred Knight was able to properly speak it could very well kill his odd personality and witty character qualities. With no real replay-value to add to the game and a few elements of gameplay that some may not appreciate, the Witch and the Hundred Knight has it fair share of bad moments. Charming characters and a quirky art style coupled by action-like RPG mechanics do lend it some strength to being enjoyable.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.
A strange yet lovable protagonist and a colourful world.
Conflicting gameplay elements and failure to move beyond the basics.
The Witch and the Hundred Knight is an enjoyable experience up to a certain extent, but the need to flesh out more of its gameplay pulls it back.