AWW, HOCUS POCUS
Do you have a thing for scantily-clad witches? What about strawberry blondes with bad tempers and abusive tendencies? Are you a small, vaguely blob-like creature who was plucked out of a dreamscape and forced to fight monsters? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, I have a game for you!
The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition dropped recently on PlayStation 4, bringing with it a promise of action, adventure, and humor. Played from a top-down perspective, you’ll take control of the aforementioned blob-like creature, known as the Hundred Knight, after being summoned and bound to Metallia, a scheming witch.
I’ll say this up front – the humor was top-notch, and I laughed (or cackled) aloud on many different occasions. Oftentimes this is enough to endear me to any game, as happened with Deadpool, no matter my complaints. Unfortunately, for every funny line you’ll also be spoon-fed long, drawn-out exposition and information you already have… though I’ll come back to that later.
The Witch and the Hundred Knight (WATHK) is a Diablo-style action RPG, boasting a large map and varied locales through which to maim, kill, and even eat your enemies. I’ve rarely delved into games such as this, with two exceptions being X-Men Legends and Marvel Ultimate Alliance – two series I loved dearly. With that said, the key to my enjoyment there was the large cast of spandex-clad characters, each with their own unique abilities… which WATHK lacks, though Metallia is also playable in short bursts.
This isn’t a bad game by any means. The combat is actually quite well done, allowing you to equip five different weapons at once, each of them tied to a specific place within your combo. Tapping square once slashed my sword, a second time stabbed with my lance, and so on. Add to that different combat styles (called Facets), the ability to sprint or dive, being able to consume your enemies once their health depletes… and you’ve got yourself a fun, engaging combat system…
For about nine hours.
In a game that will take a minimum of 40 hours to complete, the longevity of your playtime will depend entirely on your love of this particular genre. Finding the best loot and farming for a particular item to raise stats isn’t my cup of tea, and sudden difficulty spikes will try to force this upon you eventually. Mashing square for the equivalent of two days was never going to thrill me, though I do still appreciate what went into this game.
The characters are fantastic, which helped a lot. As the titular witch, Metallia takes up much of the screentime when it comes to cutscenes and conversations – and this lady is, without a doubt, one of the most unique characters I’ve come across in gaming. From the moment she bestows upon you the mythical Dumbass Sword in the tutorial, this character instantly served as an anchor for me during this experience.
Considering how despicable she is, that says a lot. Memorable though Metallia may be, much of that stems from her sadistic personality. Having summoned and forced the Hundred Knight into a contract, she’ll bark commands and generally insult you whenever she chooses to grace you with her presence. That happens surprisingly often, keeping in mind that she can only exist within her native swamps. In fact, it’s your job as the Hundred Knight to roam the world and destroy magical pillars, spewing swamp muck all across the globe so she may advance and conquer, laying waste to enemies all the while. Her motivations are later revealed, along with her backstory – and her actions may even seem justified to some.
The scenes during which she finally looms over her fallen adversaries, spouting imaginative curses and various other vulgarities, prove to be stand-out moments. Sarah Williams’ voice suits Metallia perfectly, infusing in her a barely-contained homicidal rage. Voice work isn’t provided for every single line of text, but it never fails to entertain.
The story itself is nothing overly complex. It starts right from the beginning as a tale of revenge, with the player being used as Metallia’s weapon of choice. Seemingly playing the role of a villain, you’ll see many horrific acts caused by your hand… and that in itself lends the game a unique flavor.
Taking part in conversations feels like a separate experience from the gameplay, where slightly animated 2D characters dominate the screen. From time to time you’ll be given a chance to speak up and affirm, deny, question, or ignore during these scenes, initially giving the sense that the whole game will be about maintaining free will under dire circumstances. While shades of that notion continue throughout, your options are cruelly limited far too often, leaving me to wonder why this mechanic was even included at all.
WATHK boasts a beautiful art style overall, extending into the pleasantly colorful scenery and monsters. Character models aren’t very intricate, but there’s something to be said about a more simplistic approach – much in the same way The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker has earned acclaim. Some environments blend together and leave you feeling lost, but on the whole there’s plenty of eye candy.
The Verdict: 7 out of 10
I’m not one to hate on a game just because my enjoyment was limited. There are some great ideas in play here, albeit with the occasional stumble. I could see lifelong loot hunters really getting into this, so if that title suits you, go for it. As for me, I still had a good time hanging out with Metallia and her butler, Arlecchino… even if I constantly feared for my life.
For more information about what the score means, check out our official review scale. This game was provided to us as a review copy.
Chris Cobb is an Associate Writer for MONG, and disappeared shortly after finishing this review. We tried to find him, but his apartment was empty except for a lone mouse. Reach out to him on Twitter and Youtube.