When we got the first The Witch and Hundred Knight no one on my team wanted to play it which was rare, because we had people at the time who’d basically leap at the opportunity to play anything on PlayStation. In the end I had to get a friend of the site to review the game, thanks Brad.
So with lack of interest for the first title, where does that leave it’s sequel?
I’ve taken on more of the review tasks on the site recently, and came to the realization that there was gonna be one of two outcomes for this game. Either we pretend it does exist and focus on other titles, or I was going to have to take it upon myself to get the review done. Seeing as we’re here it means that I’ve decided on the later. My justification to myself for doing so is that if the game is good I can help more players become aware of it, and if it’s bad I can help them avoid a purchase they may otherwise not enjoy. Now remember like all reviews this is an opinion, and like all of our reviews there is no score. What I’ll be giving you are the facts and a bit of my opinion on them. In the end you’ll need to decide for yourself if this is a game you want to get or avoid.
OK then, shall we get started?
The witch and hundred Knight 2 tells the tale of a two sisters, one of whom has become a witch thanks to the dreaded witch disease. Her name? Milm. One day Milm goes off into a forest near her town and returns with a mark on her forehead. At first this was thought to just be a cut, but further examination revealed it to be a closed third eye that when opened would turn Milm into a fully awaken witch and bring calamity to the small town. As the sisters only have each other the older of the two, Amalie decides that they should just leave the village in search of a cure.
Fast forward some time and we have a series of events which result in the awakening of Milm’s third eye and the birth of her witch form called Chelka. While Milm is an innocent oblivious little girl type character, who’s only ambition is to be by her sissy side, Chelka is a mean spirited yandere Lolita type character who dreams of world domination. So all in all a basic story of good vs evil and all the like. In effect you don’t play as either Chelka, Milm or Amalie. You play as hundred Knight. A doll brought to life by Chelka to serve her. Although for some reason hundred Knight ends up siding with Amalie in a quest to return Milm to normal, not serve Chelka. As hundred Knight you are sometimes asked questions by NPCs and must reply in one of three ways, the results of which don’t seem at all clear. In the early goings no matter how much I tried he always did whatever Chelka told him to do regardless of my choice, and therein lies the first issue I have with the game.
I don’t like Hundred Knight as the main character. He’s void of personality, and otherwise a boring lead player character. I’d much rather play as one of the sisters granted I didn’t like Amalie (worthless trash) or any of the other characters in the game. A character with personality, someone I could empathize, and relate to. As for the supporting cast it’s a mix bag, but mostly enjoyable characters. For the most part I liked the dialogue sequences a lot more than any other aspect of the game, especially when Huninnmuginn was involved. Man that is one interesting character… you know what forget what I said earlier. Let’s have Huninnmuginn be the lead playable character. ?
As you play you get these scenarios with the characters that are usually comical in nature, while hiding the otherwise darker plot around the humor. The voice acting helps because both the English and Japanese are pretty well done. I especially love Huninnmuginn’s English voice, and would totally have her as my buttler if she wanted the job.
The gameplay that holds this story together is a mix of action and RPG. As mentioned before you play as hundred knight, and he has a the ability to wield multiple weapons at once. Five to be exact. He can then combo these weapons in any order the player desires for devastating effect. These weapons come in a variety of forms and each are either effective or not against each enemy type. Hundred Knight also has different facets, or forms which allow for differing buffs that complement different play styles. For example there is one that favors magical attacks with low defense and another that supports heavy physical close range combat. You can have three of these equipped at once and cycle through them using the triggers on the controller. He is also able to use a quick time event style dodge if timed just before an enemy attacks as well as a few special moves mapped to the face buttons and R1. The special moves vary depending on the Facets in use which make for a wide variety of unique moves to use in combat.
Hundred Knight also has limitations on how long he can remain in dungeons by way of a system called gigacalories. Now this is a system that originated in the first game that seemed to be universally hated by all, but yet it’s here in the sequel. I personally didn’t hate it as much as I assumed I would, but I would much rather it wasn’t there, especially for boss fights. The addition of this, plus managing hundred knight’s health bar, AP, using the right weapons, and monitoring status effects all at the same time can and will begin to feel overwhelming. Particularly during boss encounters. The game also doesn’t have a lock on feature so you’ll also be struggling with the camera along with everything else that this game wants you to manage on the fly.
As for the visuals, well… the game makes me feel nauseous. It’s an isometric actions game that has a weird effect around the edges of the screen which made me feel sick while playing. I’m not quite sure why it was done this way but it’s certainly not appreciated. Other than that I do love the character design for all of the characters, excluding hundred knight. Most of the cast are female and they’re very well illustrated. Gabrielle is so waifu material, and Isabel got some really interesting scientific stuff going on with that outfit or lack thereof. Both the 2D and 3D sprites are well made and one of the highlights of this game. If it were done differently, you know without the nauseating effect and with more control of other characters excluding hundred knight then I’d be over the moon for this one. Sadly that’s not the case, and it gets worse.
The levels, though novel at first quickly become uninspired corridors of the same monsters over and over and over again. Similar to the likes of the Warriors games, this gets old fast. Eventually I found myself just running through whole sections in an effort to get to the next cutscene I craved, but unlike the warriors games levels do matter in this one, particularly hundred knight’s level which he gains by defeating enemies. In a way you’re forced to do something that after a few hours begins to feel more like a chore despite the otherwise decent combat system. Decent, not good. Good would mean being able to switch facets mid combo, good would mean no gigacalories during boss encounters, good would mean no hundred knight. Oh and save, save every chance you get, because if you die you’re gonna lose some for your loot stored in hundred knight’s stomach, a system which you need to check each time you level up because the game doesn’t update its size unless you open it’s menu, something that it does automatically.
It’s not necessarily a bad game, it’s just that there are better options for your dollars right now.
Other aspects of the game didn’t hold my interest, like the shop which I never used, the home base with very little to do and the dialogue with town’s folks. The music was great, but that’s to be expected. How often do we really have a game from NISA with horrible music.
This is a difficult game to recommend to anyone, even players who’ve played the first entry in this series. It’s got some good aspects of it like Huninnmuginn, the great character designs, infectious music, and Huninnmuginn, but that’s not enough to distract from its shortcomings. The game in essence feels tedious and that’s never a good thing, especially for an RPG, games where you’re expected to spend hundreds of hours in. The only way I can possibly in good conscience recommend this title as it is right now is if it’s on sale or at a vastly different price from it’s $50 USD price tag, and that’s simply because there are lots of better games out right now, and some of them happen to also be other NIS America games.
The copy of The Witch and Hundred Knight used for this review was provided to us by it’s Publisher, NIS America.