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The Witch and the Hundred Knight Review

NIS yet again put us on the side of the bad and mischievous, this time the Swamp Witch Metallia, who has been in a bitter rivalry with another witch, the gruesome Forest Witch for over 100 years. To finally get one over on her unfortunate neighbour and expand her swamp as far as the eye can see Metallia decides to summon the Hundred Knight, a demon of diminutive stature but possesses devastating destructive powers. Though begrudging of her request, the Hundred Knight is very quickly tricked into helping Metallia fulfilling her wishes, venturing out to destroy all that oppose.

As shown in other NIS titles (Disgaea), playing as the bad guys can be great fun, putting aside real life morals and rooting for the baddies can be refreshing; sadly in The Witch and the Hundred Knight even though you are playing a lackey of sorts, the main character Metallia turns out to be a massive A-hole rather than an evil mastermind, cussing, throwing tantrums and even casually turning her mother into a mouse and then setting a pack of male mice to rape her, maybe the punch line was lost in translation on that one. Anyway, shortly after that bombshell it turns out she only has 99 days to live, “so what” I hear you cry, she deserves it. Sadly for the benefit of the game though you have to play on, with Metallia’s contract being as crooked as her with all sorts of loopholes to avoid freeing you until her death or the entire world being covered in swampland.

The gameplay itself is a mixture of RPG elements and top down dungeon raiding action similar to the Diablo series. As the Hundred Knight you wander through the lands and towns surrounding the swampland, ransacking houses and killing all in your way as you release pillars that then spew forth the swamp from within, expanding Metallia’s powers even further. Though initially only a little squirt of a demon, you are able to carry a wealth of weaponry, with the Hundred Knight having quite a unique and interesting combo system. Being able to carry five weapons in total, with each successive hit the next weapon in the list will be used. With weapons ranging from axes, lances, swords and even ranged magical staffs, where you place them in the equipment list determines the sort of offensive combo you dish out. There is a lot of trial and error with in your set up, as with quite a lot of the game, there is little in the way of help and tutorials as to what everything does, which in true NIS form, there is loads to take into consideration.

Even through there is a relatively basic button bashing approach to fighting there is loads to keep track on the screen, with it being littered with gauges, meters and text logs; the main one being the Gigacalorie Meter. Just like the great quote states, “an army marches on its stomach”, the Hundred Knight is no different, with every movement causing it to count down from 100%. Initially this feels like some kind of leash, with you only being able to travel so far before having to head home but as you progress you learn some handy tricks, like consuming weak enemies to gain some vital Gcals or using the pillars that you unlock as quick travel points, avoiding re-treading old ground (though as with any NIS game, grinding does become a necessity). Add to this a health bar, special power bar and a stamina gauge that also reduces with every swing of your weapon and there is a lot to look out for.

With facets that change the class of the Hundred Knight, levelling up of each weapon and also increasing his stomach so he can carry more spoils of war found on the field, there are a lot of classic traits of a NIS game and fans of their style of action and grinding will feel in familiar territory here.

The majority of the visuals look good on the screen with plenty of gruesome creatures and monsters to battle against alongside quite a lot with talk heavy cut scenes. Even more annoying though is the art direction as for some strange reason the creative art team decided to throw an unusual spanner in the works. As this is a top down viewed title you would expect some foliage and other environments to block certain angles of view, however here, bird’s eye view has been taken literally, with you quite often seeing an overgrown mess of treetops and branches rather than the action hidden underneath. For a game where well timed dodge attacks are crucial, having a massive tree top block your view is not ideal and it is not a rare occurrence either as it felt like quite a bit of the game was played looking through gaps in the trees, thankfully things do get a little better when in the later lands but you do find yourself looking straight down on the action rather than the angled, more dynamic look.

Whilst the premise of The Witch and the Hundred Knight was something I thought would entertain me, the execution was sadly far off the mark with a humour that leaves your jaw hitting the floor at times and whist the action is fun when it works, from obscuring foregrounds and far too many intrusive cut scenes this is really for the NIS fans only.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: PS3)


+ Interesting and deep combo system.
+ Loads to unlock and level up.


- There is no love for the main character.
- Camera obscuring environments.

Edited On 21 Mar, 2014

( 1 )
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
So far I'm enjoying it but you are right Ash, Metallia is a giant evil bitch. Example 1: https://twitter.com/SaiyanNox/status/447878471868375040

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