Sunday, 13 March 2016

The Witch and The Hundred Knight Revival Edition

The Witch and The Hundred Knight Revival Edition is a remaster of PlayStation 3 game by the developers behind the excellent Disgaea series. Having playing Disgaea games in the past, I was definitely intrigued by the team going in an Action Role Playing direction with this one. It takes the simple, fun gameplay of the Diablo series and adds complexity in terms of its systems and how equipment is used. 

Developed by Nippon Ichi and out now on PlayStation 4, The Witch and The Hundred Knight Revival Edition seems to not have enough confidence in its core gameplay. On top of the responsive and rather fun combat is an overly long and sometimes uncomfortable cut-scenes, with layer upon layer of gameplay complexity that gets as convoluted as this sentence. The core gameplay of Hundred Knight is an isometric Action Role Playing game with some loot aspects. 

The problem is not that there are too many layers on top of the gameplay that keeps it from being a fun pick up and play title but rather those systems are never explained well. There’s the gCal resource management system which is the gameplay’s most distinctive element and it isn’t explained very well. As long as your meter has any gCal or GigaCals, your character, the Hundred Knight can revive at the cost of some of this resource. Should you run out of it and die you will face reduced power as well as being kicked out of the dungeon and the loss of all the loot you’ve picked up since your last save.

Dungeons are massive and you’ll never feel like you can destroy everything within these dungeons on your first attempt. You also don’t get your EXP points to level up until you leave the dungeon warranting multiple tries in order to improve your strength before moving forward. You’ll also pick up a bunch of weapons and equipment on your travels. You can equipment multiple weapons that will have strike, blunt, and magical attacks that are used to be effective against different types of enemies. The game allows you to set up multiple weapon sets that will be more beneficial in different encounters but it also means more management and understanding of systems.

Looking at the user interface on the screen can be quite overwhelming on first glance. You have your health, AP meter, the gCal counter, a d-pad layout with different actions, your weapons sets, mini-map as well as your gauge meter which is another layer to the gameplay that isn’t that complicated but isn’t explained that well either. The Guage meter has ten levels that will reward you with loot upon completion. Using different weapons and killing many enemies, you will level up this meter and when you complete the dungeon you will get the rewards matched with the levels you’ve reached. There is also a facet system that isn’t explained well either in which you can essentially change classes that change your base stats also. 

All of these deep systems are brushed past in order to give you cut-scenes and deal with the character you do your bidding for: a dominatrix witch called Metallia who is just vile and not even in the humorously dark sense. She’s just horrible in every way with little redeeming qualities to her existence in the game. The scenes go on for too long, make you dislike why you’re doing anything even more and detracts from the actual fun of the game.

The gameplay and systems in The Witch and The Hundred Knight Revival Edition is pretty damn fun and it was the reason why I kept going no matter how much it felt like the cut-scenes were trying to make me stop. Thankfully they can be skipped completely and the story doesn’t really need to be followed in order to enjoy everything else.

The gameplay is the Hundred Knight in shining armour for this game but it all drags on for too long. 2/5.


Jason Redmond

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