Review: The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition (PS4)

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Title: The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition
Format: PlayStation Network Download (3.3 GB)
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Original MSRP: $39.99
ESRB Rating: T
The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition is exclusive to PlayStation 4. The original game, The Witch and the Hundred Knight was exclusive to PlayStation 3.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Editor’s Note:
Portions of this review also appear in our PS3 coverage of The Witch and the Hundred Knight.

The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition is an Action Japanese RPG, where you play the role of the legendary Hundred Knight. You have been summoned by Metallia, the infamous Swamp Witch, to aid her in expanding her Swamp domain across the world and becoming the biggest baddest witch ever.

For such a seemingly simple game, there is an enormous amount of intricacies to the gameplay as well as an enormous amount of content. The game is chock-full of slapstick humor and eyeroll-inducing punchlines. However, if you’re a fan of the Disgaea series, you will know what to expect.

This version of the game as been revamped and brought to the PS4 so you can relive the entire thing over again.

… all of the battles …
Gameplay:
The game is divided into two distinct visual styles much like a Disgaea game. The first, and main battle portion of the game, is a three-quarter top-down isometric view with 3D character models. The second is a hand-drawn anime style which is slightly animated – i.e., mouths move when character is speaking, and characters will occasionally blink.

The 2D portions of the game are overlaid on top of the 3D isometric view and are where the majority of the plot and story is presented to you. The controls are very simple, consisting of a single button to attack, a button to dash, R1 to lock on, Left analog to move, Right analog to move the camera, and some various button combos for special attacks.

Once you have finished a lengthy tutorial, you walk through a portal into the swamp realm which becomes your main hub for the rest of the game. From this point, after a lengthy story section, you are taken to a world map where you can pick the location to which you wish to travel. As you progress through the story, new locations will be opened up and you are free to exit a location and enter a different one at any time.

Once you choose a destination on the world map, you will enter the main 3D isometric action portion of the game, referred to as a stage. This is where all of the battles and your character progression takes place.

The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition

Each area is an open 3D space with respawning enemies that freely move around. You have a mini map as well as a full sized map that shows your direction and position. When you enter a world for the first time, the entire map will be obscured by purple clouds. As you move around the area, the map clouds will disappear where you have already been.

The D-pad is used as a shortcut to four menu options, one of which allows you to open the map and see where you have explored. On the large map screen, you can move the cursor around and zoom in and out with the Left analog stick and the Square button, respectively.

The entire time you are in a stage, you have a large counter called your “GigaCal” that counts down from 99.99% and decreases with each step you take until it reaches zero. Once the GigaCal reaches zero, your attack and defenses will be reduced by 30%. If it’s at zero for too long, you will forfeit the stage, so you want to manage your time wisely.

Additionally, each time you get take damage from an enemy, or trap, you will lose health points. This is important because your health gauge will automatically replenish by using GigaCal points, so be careful!

… a Pillar of Temperance …
The GigaCal aspect of the game could cause one some concern, but don’t worry, you can leave the area and re-enter it at any time from a checkpoint and your GigaCal and health will be fully replenished.

The checkpoints you come across in each stage appear as large pillars. As you get close to them you will hear a large repeating gong-like sound which keeps growing louder the closer you get. Once you reach the checkpoint, you need to attack it repeatedly to activate it.

Once activated, a checkpoint blooms into a large green flower. From here you can hit the Circle button to perform several options, including leaving the stage (going back to base or world map), spending your grade points, turning the current checkpoint into your next spawn point, or warping between previously activated checkpoints.

Your end goal of most stages is a large pillar called a Pillar of Temperance, which you must destroy to complete the stage. Upon destroying the Pillar of Temperance, it releases the Swamp, which then expands Metallia’s domain.

The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition

It seems Metallia is trapped in her Swamp domain and must expand it to move about the world. As you may have guessed, each Pillar of Temperance is guarded by a boss that must be defeated before you can reveal the pillar.

As you progress through a stage, you will accumulate “grade” from battling enemies. Performing combos and damaging enemies will net you grade points. There is a visible gauge next to your GigaCal indicator that displays how much grade you have acquired and how much you must accumulate to earn the next grade point.

From here, you can go to the checkpoints, hit Circle to open a menu, and you will have an opportunity to spend/distribute your grade points in the grade menu. At the grade menu, you are presented with a dialog screen that shows HP, Attack, Defense, AP, and TP.

You can spend grade points attained on a particular stage to increase any of the aforementioned properties up to a set number of upgrades for each property. Once you buff your character using grade, it remains in effect until you leave the stage.

… a tank-like class that emphasizes defense and attack …
Additionally, you can spend grade points to refill your GigaCal gauge by 10% or to boost your bonus points by fifteen for one grade point apiece.

After you finish or leave a stage, you are then awarded all of the experience points that you have earned within that stage. You don’t have control over how your power-ups are applied, but later in the game you have different “facets” which can be equipped and swapped at will.

Facets are kind of like alternate player builds/classes that have different stats. For example, one facet is a tank-like class that emphasizes defense and attack, while another has an emphasis on magic attacks. You will unlock more facets as you progress through the game and they must be equipped back at Metallia’s house.

When you complete the level, your experience points earned in that level are distributed to each facet you have equipped. Your main facet will get 100% of the experience earned, and each sub-facet will get about 30% since experience is applied separately to each facet.

The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition

To save your progress, you must return to the swamp hub area where there is a single save point. Any time you die in a stage, you are taken back to the last checkpoint, where your health is fully recharged by your GigaCal.

Also, when you die in a stage you can lose some of the loot items that you’ve picked up. So if you find a very important drop, you have to balance between leaving the level prematurely to go save and staying in the level to gain more experience and bonus items.

Bonus items, which are awarded at the end of a stage (or if you leave the stage via a checkpoint), seem to be awarded for how many enemies you kill during the stage. I’m not quite sure about this, but it seems that I gain a bonus level each time I fight off a group of five enemies at once.

… put into your stomach until the end of the stage …
There are about twelve tiers of bonus points and each tier will award you with random weapons, armor, items, and consumables. Each time you enter a stage, new items are assigned to the bonus tiers. You can check what bonus tier you have attained, and also what the bonus items are at any time by pressing left on the D-pad.

I always do this when I start a level, because sometimes there are rare or legendary items that will be given to you. You may want to hang around and battle enemies to get these free items.

As if there aren’t enough things to do in each stage, one more thing that you can level up is your stomach. Each time you come across some loot in the game, the item you pick up is put into your stomach until the end of the stage.

The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition

You can check the contents of your stomach at any time by hitting up on the D-pad and you will be presented with a side view of a giant stomach filled with little slots. Some of the stomach slots are filled with a box, indicating that they cannot be used, and some are open.

As you progress through the various stages, you will come across black chests that will give you an item that will unlock a stomach slot. There are also items in the game that allow you to remove the common items in your stomach, leaving only rare and epic items, or to remove garbage from your stomach.

When you fight enemies and they get within about 10% of their health, you will see a triangle icon which goes into an eating sequence where you have to button-mash the Square button to fill up a gauge before time runs out.

After you fill up the gauge you are awarded a number of items, some of which include garbage, as well as a partial refill to your GigaCal. Garbage takes up stomach slots and once you are out of slots, any items you pick up after this will be forfeit.

… constantly in and out of your weapon configuration screen …
Just like the other special items mentioned before, you can find “bowel dump” items that clear out all of the garbage in your stomach, leaving all other non-garbage items.

The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition offers a surprising amount of customization options for your knight. You can equip up to five weapons at a time, plus two armors and two special items, all of which change your player stats (i.e., attack, defense, etc.)

There is an enormous amount of loot to pick up in each of the levels/stages, so you are constantly in and out of your weapon configuration screen equipping and moving around your newly acquired weapons and armor.

To attack, you press the Square button, and with each subsequent press of the button, Hundred Knight will use the next weapon in your five-weapon queue until your attack gauge is completely depleted. This is represented as a 355° semicircle that surrounds your character.

The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition

When the attack gauge is depleted, you will have to wait for approximately one to two seconds for it to refill, and from there you can begin a new attack.

As you attack monsters, some will drop loot in the form of items, weapons, armor, and special items. The loot drops will appear as little cubes and a text bubble will appear telling you the name of the item.

From there you need to press the Circle button to pick the item up and it will be placed in your stomach. Around the environment there are also wooden, silver, and special black chests that contain loot and power-ups which can be used/equipped immediately.

Weapons are divided into five different types: swords, hammers/axes, spears, magic staffs, and lances. Each individual weapon has its own unique number property, rarity, and attack power.

… mix and match different weapon combinations …
As you equip your weapons, you will notice a number that is represented by a small triangle icon, called a Magic Die, with one to five yellow circles on it.

If equip your weapons in a sequential die order, it will award each subsequent weapons slot a multiplier going from 1X, in 20% increments, to a maximum of 2X attack rate for your fifth weapon in sequence.

Along the way, you will pick up several of the same weapon. With each having different Magic Die numbers, this allows you to mix and match different weapon combinations to get the best multiplier for your equipped weapons.

The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition

As you use weapons, they level up, increasing the attack points as the level increases. You can also level up weapons manually at Metallia’s house using special items and Mana. A weapon’s rarity ranges between common, rare, epic, and legendary and each level of rarity has its own maximum level.

Common weapons can be leveled up to a maximum level of ten, rare weapons to level thirty, epic weapons to level fifty, and legendary weapons to level ninety-nine.

The Revival Edition of the game adds the ability to save three Weapon Sets, so you can now equip two additional sets of five weapons that you can quick-switch at any time while playing. This saved weapons load-out ability makes it very easy to have customized sets of weapons to tackle different types of enemies without having to go back to the menu to change your equipment every time.

… equip two pieces of armor and two special items …
When playing the original game, I found myself often conflicted by which awesome weapon to equip when I had two of the same Magic Die. It was a choice between equipping both weapons of the same die, foregoing the attack multiplier, or constantly swapping weapons in and out. Now, with this convenient Weapon Set feature, it saves you a ton of trouble, and you get to use more of your awesome weapons.

Armor and special items are obtained in the same way as weapons: as loot or from chests and they also have a rarity and level indicator.

You are able to equip two pieces of armor and two special items. Unlike weapons, armor and special equipment items do not have an ordering system or multiplier. The more rare an armor item is, the more defense or special condition property it will have. For example, some armors and items give you special defense against poison, sleep, curses, or other types of enemy attacks.

The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition

The armor and weapon stats are cumulatively stacked, so you can check out your character status in the menu screen to check how these attributes affect your character.

Upgrading weapons, accessories, and armor has also been revamped in the Revival Edition of the game. In the PS3 version, only weapons were upgradeable, and then only the level would be increased when upgrading.

Once you pass the first chapter or so, you will be able to go southwest from Metallia’s house to a new part of the Swamp. In this part, you will now have access to the Tower of Illusion, where you can climb floors to grind and get special materials.

… Each weapon also has a fixed number of times it can be upgraded …
These special materials, called catalysts, allow you to upgrade your weapons and now also your armor and accessories. There’s a little shop, to the lower right of the tower, called the Dojo where you can do the upgrades. The upgrades are great, because now you can improve the stats of the individual items.

The new upgrade feature requires that you select the item you wish to upgrade, a sacrifice item, and a catalyst which is only found in the Tower of Illusion. A portion of the sacrifice item’s stats will carry over, and the resulting item will also get the bonus upgrade from the catalyst.

Catalysts are specific to use with weapons or armor and accessories and provide increased attack power, increased healing rate, increased HP, and many other increases. Each weapon also has a fixed number of times it can be upgraded, so you’ll need to be mindful of this when upgrading an item special to you.

The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition

Regular weapon attacks are not the only type of attacks, there are also special attacks called “Tochkas”. Tochkas are used throughout the game to unlock puzzles and do other special maneuvers.

For example, there’s a bomb Tochka that blows up a large boulder and a special capture Tochka that captures and kills an enemy, leaving a special item that is only attainable by using this special attack.

Many times you will see different areas in a stage that are only accessible by use of one of these Tochkas so there is a lot of exploring that has to wait until later in the game when you obtain more of them.

… the gameplay is pretty repetitive …
There are more game elements that I cannot go into within this review, but as you can already tell, this game has so many features it’s almost excessive. However, even with all of the different facets of gameplay, you really are button mashing your way through each stage.

There are a few tricky parts where you have to figure out how to use your attacks to hit a switch or something, but aside from that, the gameplay is pretty repetitive. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you like that kind of game.

I happen to like the gameplay, but the game is just massive so if this is a problem for you, you might want to steer clear of this one or wait for a price drop.

The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition

Visuals:
The visuals in The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition have been vastly improved since the PS3 version. Not only are the graphics completely overhauled, the engine itself has been completely revamped and it runs buttery smooth on the PS4.

The textures and character models look clean and crisp in the Revival Edition, and I did not experience any slowdowns or game crashes like I did on the PS3 version.

The only negative thing that could be said for the graphics is that the lighting on the 3D character models is quite dim. On most character models, the models themselves look as if they’re in the shade. This makes it difficult to make out any features on the character’s faces.

… just so much content in the game …
I still had the issue from last time of not being able to zoom in or change the angle of view on the 3D map. I was constantly trying to move the camera vertically to see more ahead of the character. While you can decrease the angle of view to see more of the environment, it’s not really enough as I would have liked.

Overall though, the graphics in this version of the game are definitely the best, and it’s unfortunate that the PS3 version didn’t/couldn’t have these improvements to begin with.

Audio:
The music in the game is really good. I really like the soundtrack, but the use of surround sound for both the music and sound effects is average. Surround sound does come in handy for finding the checkpoints, since you can use the sound they make to locate them for the first time.

The issue still remains with the soundtrack looping a little too much during the gameplay. It would have been nice if this version had varied up the tracks or allowed you to switch the music on different levels.

The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition_20160301085710

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

Conclusion:
If you’re into cheesy, zany, one-dimensional plots and simple button-mashy action, then The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition is for you. There’s just so much content in the game that I think the price is about right. I found it humorous that after each and every Act the credits would roll.

This version is a vast improvement to the previous game, but still isn’t enough to make me want to play though the entire game again. So, if you’ve already played the game on PS3 and have had your fill of it, this version really isn’t going to offer much incentive to play it again.

If you’ve played the game and hated it the story on PS3, you’re probably going to want to let this one pass you by. However, if you have not played the game and like these sorts of third person dungeon crawlers, then you might enjoy this one.

The gameplay is really fun and engaging, however, the story itself was a big turnoff for me. I managed to finish the game with the True Ending on PS3 and really wished I could have lowered my score after the review was completed.

Overall though the The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition, with its improvements, now truly merits the score from the original review on the PS3.

Score:
7.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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