We’re getting back into gaming season, folks, so it’s time to hit up some re-releases! We’ve got ports, we’ve got remasters, we’ve even got the odd HD upgrade. Today we’re going to look at The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition, a re-release of the original action-RPG from Nippon Ichi.
If you aren’t familiar with The Witch and the Hundred Knight, you’re not alone; the game was released to basically no fanfare back in 2014. It’s known largely for the fact that, for whatever reason, it was a surprisingly taxing game for the poor PS3; the original release had framerate issues, was known to crash often and was implicated in fan-related issues after the fact. I never ran into the latter myself, but it’s still a scary thought, and it doesn’t take long to find people complaining about their PS3s biting the dust while playing the original release.
But what is it? Well, The Witch and the Hundred Knight follows the titular Witch: Metallia the Swamp Witch. Metallia is a stunningly foul-mouthed mage who creates the also-titular Hundred Knight, the character that you’ll control during the game. Your job is to help Metallia do whatever she wishes, which largely revolves around spreading her swampy domain. You’ll do this through a fairly standard hack-and-slash RPG system involving equipping various weapons for customized combos. There’s the odd creative touch here and there, like raiding houses or managing the Knight’s nutrition to keep its energy up, but largely you’re going to be mashing that attack button.
It’s a pretty decent adventure all in all, but the really notable point of the game is how strikingly dark it is by NIS standards. Metallia is…uh, she’s not very nice. At all. She swears constantly, she does terrible things to her foes upon defeating them and she treats her allies like garbage. That’s your heroine, folks. Metallia lightens up a little toward the end of the game, and even when things go well, they tend to take pretty bleak turns. Either way, you spend a significant chunk of this one working for what is unequivocally the bad guy, which may or may not sit well with you.
New features in the PS4 release include a procedurally-generated dungeon that offers powerful loot and upgrade items. You can also play as Metallia herself at times, which is cute but not groundbreaking. Really, the best addition to the game is the fact that it’s not going to destroy your console, though it certainly tries – the PS4’s fans will hit full blast as the machine desperately tries to comprehend what’s being done to it.
That’s not because this is an especially impressive-looking game. It’s not bad, no, but this is pretty standard NIS fare. The character art is pretty striking, especially Metallia’s design, but there’s nothing going on that should make the system freak out this way. I’m not really sure what went on to make the PS3 and PS4 alike struggle so, but at least the game doesn’t seem to crash and burn anymore in my experience.
With that in mind, I can recommend The Witch and the Hundred Knight to any fans of action-RPGs or NIS’ particular style. As mentioned, the plot is a little more gloomy than your average NIS game, but it’s certainly different. This is a better and more stable edition than the PS3 original, and just the fact that it probably won’t make your PS4 explode is a plus. If you’re hungering for some number-crunching action – with some witches – check it out!