The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 Review- Please, Let It End!

Posted April 16, 2018 by Thomas James Juretus in Video Games

Developer: Nippon Ichi Software

Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software (Japan), Sega (AS), NIS America (worldwide)

Release date: February 23, 2017 (Japan), May 27, 2017 (AS), March 27, 2018 (NA), March 30, 2018 (EU)

Available on: PS4

Some games should just be one-offs, but they get sequels anyway. The Witch and the Hundred Knight, first released on the PS3 in 2014 and then in an enhanced version for the PS4 in 2016, is such a game. The JRPG featured a witch named Metallia fighting her rival with Hundred Knight, a manania with multiple modes of battle. It had its moments and was even downright funny in spots, but it wasn’t anything that screamed to me, “Make a second game!” However, such things aren’t up to me, and so we get, built from the ground up for the PS4, the sequel, The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2.

This time around we get new characters on the world of Kevala. Amalie has a young sister named Milm, who suffers from Hexensyndrome, the “witch disease”. Amalie wants to cure Milm and becomes a Holy Valkyrie in the organization WR to find a cure. Before she can, Milm transforms into the witch Chelka, and things mushroom from there into a long, glacially told tale of Amalie trying to find a cure and a battle against witches for control of the world. And, of course, we have the head of the WR, Lord Theodore, who fancies himself a prophet, and has predicted the end of the world, and is adored by the masses. Naturally, things are not what they seem, but you may not care, even if you complete the 40 hour or so journey though the game’s nine chapters.

The problem is twofold. First, the story unfolds at a very slow pace, never truly building up your interest, only your impatience to get things moving along. Second, there are no really likeable characters (Milm comes closest, but just because she is the most innocent). Amalie’s an idiot, Chelka comes off as a lesser version of the first game’s Metallia, and the rest of the characters fall into assorted anime tropes, with some being a little amusing and others being outright annoying. Only Hundred Knight remains solid, and he does have a bit of a cute personality, though he can’t speak. But Hundred Knight is just a device to add gameplay outside of pressing X to advance dialogue in the static and slightly animated cut scenes.

The gameplay is typical hack and slash, with you being able to equip hundred Knight with up to five weapons, two pieces of armor, and two accessories that can help boost defense/offense. A meter builds up to launch a powerful blast by pressing Triangle, which is followed by a very brief moment of invulnerability. As long as you have AP (action points), you can use up to four different skills mapped to the face buttons and activated by holding down R1. As you proceed through the game, you’ll unlock up to six different Facets, which you can equip up to three at a time. Each Facet has their own advantages/disadvantages, with one being more magic based and another better suited for defense. Eventually, you’ll also get to unlock Tochkas, little minions that can be summoned to aid in battle. The Tochkas come in five varieties, from a swarm of knights to a large tower gun that fires magic-based bullets. You’ll need to play with each of the Facets and see what works best. There is some strategy in which ones you need to use.

Unfortunately, you can’t switch Facets in the field. That means warping back to your home base and swapping there. Fast travel is accomplished by activating Managlands, but there are long stretches in some areas where there are none to be found. Managlands also serve as your save points. Hundred Knight can regenerate health as long as he has Gigacalories (he uses these when you dodge attacks as well). When your Gigacalories hit zero and you’re out of healing items (of which you can only carry up to 10 of two types), you’re sent back to your last save point. Early on, this can get frustrating, as it’s easier to die. The game levels are not the best in design, as they often have convoluted paths from Point A to Point B. Add to that a poor map which can be hard to read (you can’t scan the full map or rotate it), and navigation can be a real chore.

You’ll also need to warp back to home base if you want to save any items you find in your journey. Items found by defeating enemies go into your stomach, with the exception of consumables. Die along the way and you can lose an item or two. Clearing a stage (done by warping from a Managland to home base) allows you to keep the items, which you can then equip, use for crafting, or sell for Shell, the game’s currency. Be warned you won’t get much for selling most items, and buying anything in the store is expensive (there is no way to make things cheaper). The costs are ridiculous when you compare similar items in other JRPGs, meaning you’re better off getting enemies to drop healing items instead of stocking up by shopping. The problem is, you never know what an enemy will drop, and most times it won’t be what you need.

You’ll eventually unlock Witch’s Petitions, which is how you get your assorted Tochkas. You can also change mana into Shell or vice versa, and even make life a little easier by lowering enemy levels (you can also make things harder by doing the reverse). Crafting is done at the Atelier located in your home base, where each item can be upgraded with various materials. Everything is all very typical of mechanics found in most JRPGs, with the exception that this game makes everything seem so tedious. Everything in your item list is listed on its own- there’s no combining like items, making it a pain to scroll through every single thing when you want to sell something at the store or find an item to use for crafting. Navigating through is made worse by the amount of clutter on your screen, and the fact edges are darkened so you can’t see what’s coming up. Some areas, like the Shulka Caves, can get very confusing to find your way through. It’s easy to get caught in a dead end or head in the wrong direction.

The game feels padded out because of this, as well as having the difficulty level being artificially raised. Of course, you can adopt my strategy- running for the exit point without fighting, and just grinding once you found a Managland. Even using this I found myself hitting dead ends and sometimes (especially early in the game) being on the receiving end of cheap deaths. It doesn’t help that you get locked into animations either- those too led to some cheap deaths. The camera is not always your friend, especially in boss battles, where the boss is offscreen and you can’t always see where their attacks are coming from. Most bosses may require a grinding session or two before taking them down, though late game bosses can be taken care of by good usage of your Tochkas, making them a bit easier than perhaps they should be. Adding to the padding is the slow way the story is told. There are three endings, if you end up caring to get them all (one even gets you to avoid final bosses by leaving when instructed).

On the bright side, the game is very colorful to look at, and there are a wide variety of enemy types. The music is also a highlight and fits the game well. Voice acting is serviceable for the main characters and downright awful for other characters like villagers and WR soldiers you encounter on your travels. I ended up speeding through the dialogue boxes just so I wouldn’t have to listen to the voice acting (plus, it moved the game along a little quicker). I had the game in English, so I don’t know if the Japanese voices were any better.

To be sure, this game will have its share of fans. If you highly enjoyed the first game, then The Witch and the hundred Knight 2 will be right up your alley. If you didn’t care for that one, this one won’t win you over. It’s both shorter and not as enjoyable to play as its predecessor. The host of problems, from poor story telling to poor level design to a bad camera, just weigh this game down. A few tweaks here and there might have made this worth your while. as it is, unless you’re a fan of the first one, you may want to stay away. It’s a game that seems to go on forever, and while for some games that’s a good thing, it’s not in this case. By the end of just under 40 hour playthrough, I just felt exhausted by the chore of getting though this. I just wanted it to end. For fans, this may be a fun time. For others, there are better choices out there.

About the Author

Thomas James Juretus