Developer: Nippon Ichi
Publisher: NIS America
Release Date: Out Now
Format(s): PlayStation 4
Whilst I never actually got around to playing the original The Witch and the Hundred Knight, there was something about the game that appealed to me. The silly fantasy setting looked like a lot of fun, whilst I’m a sucker for a good action-RPG too – naturally, it’d piqued my interest.
With the release of The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 I’ve finally had a chance to play through the Hundred Knight’s little adventure, but it’s hardly been a thrilling one. Don’t get me wrong, the game does nothing wrong and delivers a decent action-RPG experience, but it simply does nothing out of the ordinary.
The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 puts you in the shoes of the Hundred Knight, a strange little creature who is brought to life by the Witch Chelka. Chelka has taken over the body of a young girl named Milm, who just so happens to be the younger sister of a girl named Amelie – a Witch hunter. Naturally, chaos ensues which sees the characters head out on a journey full of twists and turns as they look to rid Milm of the Witch’s presence.
The story plays a pivotal role throughout, and there are a heck of a lot of conversations to get through. It’s entertaining enough and certainly embraces its silly side (what would you expect from NIS America?), though it can be a little bit guilty of dragging on at times. At least there’re some great visuals on display throughout these cutscenes and there’s some good voice work on show too, so those who like getting invested into a quirky little tale will be pleased with what’s on offer.
You’ll explore plenty of dungeons and take on a ton of enemies, with The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 utilising an action-RPG battle system that’ll see you mashing buttons as you unleash mixtures of combos upon enemies. You keep things varied when battling by using the different Facets, which essentially act as load-outs with different equipment and skills attached to them. You can switch between them with ease and thanks to their variations, they can be used to take advantage of enemies’ weaknesses. Weapons come in three different varieties (Blunt, Slash and Magic) so working out which one would work best against a particular foe and then switching between them is part of the fun.
It’s not just the Knight’s skills that you depend upon in battle though, with little creatures called Tochkas available to summon to support you. There’s a decent variety of them which are best used for different situations – they each have varying skills that can make a big difference in battle, whilst their cute presence adds a bit of personality to proceedings too. They’re certainly something you don’t want to ignore in the game, whilst collecting all of the different Tochkas feels rewarding in itself.
Whilst exploring dungeons and battling foes, you’ve got to keep an eye on your GigaCalories – an energy meter that drops over time and whenever you attack or dodge enemy attacks. When it runs out, you’re put in a weakened state where everything the Knight does just isn’t as effective.
Fortunately, you can build your GigaCalories back up by consuming enemies just before killing them, but it also pushes players to play in a specific way where they’ve got to be more careful in how they co-ordinate their attacks as opposed to just unleashing destruction. It adds an extra challenge to the game, but I actually found it more frustrating than anything – it acted as a hindrance that saw me worrying more about maintaining my character’s stamina as opposed to enjoying taking on enemies, whilst it also saw me rushing to warp points to recover instead of embracing a dungeon’s design.
There’s a strong focus on crafting your own equipment and items in the game, with plenty of different materials found scattered across the world that can be used to make your own inventory. Given the different setups you can use in combat, it really allows you to cater everything for your own liking. It’s certainly a fun system to potch around with and with plenty of diversity in your creations, it’s easy to find yourself hooked into concocting your own gear.
The main problem that The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 has is that it doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary. Almost all facets of its design play it safe, whether it be the competent battling, the somewhat dull randomly generated dungeons, and even the quirky story. There’s certainly plenty to like about the game and you won’t be bored playing it, but there’s nothing about it that really makes it stand out as a great action-RPG.
At least it looks pretty though, with both the environments and the characters looking impressively vibrant throughout. I was fortunate enough to play on the PlayStation 4 Pro, which offered a variety of settings which were based upon better visuals or a steady framerate. I tried them all out, and with the graphics prioritised The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 looked absolutely dazzling at times. It’s can definitely be an impressive game to look at.