This probably isn’t the best way to start out a review, but oh well’ “The Witch and The Hundred” is easily the most frustrating game that I’ve played in quite some time. I don’t mean it’s frustrating in terms of difficulty or controls, I mean it’s frustrating because it could have been so much better and every time I played it I got the feeling that so much potential was being wasted.
The Witch and The Hundred Knight is an action-RPG developed by Nippon Ichi Software, the same developers as the popular Disgaea series. Like the Disgaea games, you’re basically playing an “evil” character. In this case, you’re a small creature that is a legendary demon known as “Hundred Knight.” You’re summoned, as basically a slave, to do all the dirty work of the evil Swamp Witch known as Metallia. The game retains some of the humor of the Disgaea series to offset the evilness, but I found Metallia to be an ass at the beginning of the game to the point where the later humor wasn’t enough to salvage her. I pretty much ended up skipping over all the dialogue after the first couple of chapters just because I didn’t care anymore.
On that note, if you care about a games story but hate to read, then stay away from this game. There is some voice work done, and done pretty well at that, but a large portion of the game’s story is told through text that you’ll have to read if you want to follow the story. I didn’t care about the story, so I skipped it, but that entailed spamming X or O for what seemed like three minutes at least many times. There’s just so much dialogue; a lot of of the time I was just like “oh come on, I just want to PLAY the game.”
The Witch and The Hundred Knight has a interesting combat system. Unlike the Disgaea series, this game features real time combat which mostly amounts to smashing square repeatedly and occasionally triangle. It’s not complicated and it’s not hard. The interesting aspect of it is that you can equip five weapons at a time and use them one after the other in combat. There’s swords, axes, spears, and so on. Weapons have different properties, some may have magic attached t them, and are different levels and rarity. There is a sense of strategy involved in that while button mashing square to attack you’re going to need to be paying attention. Some weapons won’t have any affect on certain enemies, so there are times where you’ll need to adjust the order or types of weapons you have equipped.
What makes the game frustrating is a mixture of elements that combine to suck out most of the fun that can be had (generally in short bursts). It’s a fairly ugly game most of time; one level in particular is inside of a castle and looks especially awful. To make matters worse, you’re playing a small character with a bad half-way top down camera, and you have a circular stamina around your character… this all results in it often being difficult to see your character and enemies. It probably won’t result in a death, but it is highly annoying.
Speaking of the castle level, it displays poor design which carries over to other areas. It becomes a maze/puzzle, which generally might be acceptable except here you have a sort of time limit in the form of GigaCals. The great demon Hundred Knight can only be away from Metallia for so long before his GigaCals run out. Now I never had that happen, as I’d restore some at pillars or through potions, so I don’t know what exactly happens when you run out. I assume you start the level over or at the last pillar you unlocked. But the castle design had me running around for way too long, battling the same re-spawning enemies again and again as I tried to figure out where to go.
One cave based level did a similar thing. I made my way to the end of it, after the entrance had collapsed, and then didn’t know where to go. There was a giant rock that couldn’t be destroyed (similar ones could with a bomb). There was an exit, and I went out it. I took four steps and the game turned me around and walked my character back into the cave. I thought that was strange since I was suppose to be looking for a way out. So I ran all around the cave again, fighting the same enemies, and trying to destroy the rock some more. Nothing. Finally, I went back out that same exit and surprise, the game actually let me continue going to leave the level. Now what kind of cheap design is that?
Also note that within probably 10 hours of play, I experienced an issue four times where I was playing the game and then thrown back to the PS3 menu because the game just quick. Now my PS3 has been a little wonky as of late when playing disc based games (and I have the digital version of this game), but I know it isn’t my system that cause this because a quick Google search revealed multiple people who have had this happen to them. There’s also some frame-rate drops and some noticeable sluggish from time to time.
If you take The Witch and The Hundred Knight as a hack and slash action game then there’s quite a bit of fun that can be had (you probably won’t want to play for hours at a time though). The RPG mechanics involving different character classes (that you can switch between), the GigaCal system, and the overall look and feel of the game help weigh it down drastically. There’s good ideas all around, but unfortunately the game never rises above mediocre status. It’s forgettable and probably not something most gamers will care to see through to the end, and that’s too bad because there was potential here.
If you ever run across The Witch and the Hundred Knight in a bargain bin somewhere for $5-$10 then you maybe you should consider getting it. Otherwise, it’s probably best to ignore the game because the short burst of fun isn’t nearly enough to overcome the frustrations, poor design, or the tons of dialogue that prevent you from playing the game for large chunks of time.
The Witch and the Hundred Knight gets a two out of five: FORGETTABLE.
* A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review.