Spreading the swamp land in the name of the witch.
More isn’t always better.
I think it’s a concept that eludes people, especially us Americans, where excess rules and there’s an all you can eat buffet of some sort in every other corner.
In terms of games, a title that overloads itself with different mechanics that don’t particularly complement each other well would be a prime example of this fault, and the Witch and the Hundred Knight fits this role to a ‘T’.
Before I get into the nitty gritty of the various mechanics surrounding the title, I want to focus on the story and characters present in the world of the Witch and the Hundred Knight, as I think it’s clearly the best part.
The Hundred Knight is summoned to the world under contract of one “Swamp Witch Metalia”, who commands the Hundred Knight to break open the sacred pillars around the world to spread the swamp lands.
Along with Metalia’s not so trusty and immensely sarcastic butler, Arlecchino, the Hundred Knight sets out into the world to generally be a dick to everyone he runs into under the orders of the witch.
While it seems like a simple enough story at first, Metalia’s origin remains a mystery, as past flashbacks reveal that not everything is exactly as it seems. However, the swamp witch shows herself to be a being of immense cruelty, without a single kind bone in her body.
She delights in the misery of others, and nothing makes her happier than seeing her enemies writhe in pain and beg for mercy. In one instance, she even puts a spell on her defeated foe to turn her into a mouse and summons a trio of horny little mice to chase after her.
That’s implied rape by a bunch of little mice- that’s bloody hardcore.
She’s a difficult character to like but for some reason, I found her rants filled with threats and curse words to be entertaining, and later, I would learn that there was more to her than just vile and evil intentions.
Her extreme antics might be a bit difficult to swallow for the squeamish, so if what I just described there seems like too much, it may very well be best if you don’t play this game.
For me, I was appalled to some degree, but also couldn’t look away as if it were a car accident, as I pondered just how far they would take things, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The excellent voice acting and an OST(original soundtrack) by the composer for the Disgaea series did their part in helping to bring this dark world to life, and I was always looking forward to finding out what might happen next.
The Hundred Knight is an odd little creature and he functions unlike any other character I’ve controlled in the past.
The almighty Gcal is the main crux of the game play, as a counter rapidly counts down from 100% and when that hits zero, the Hundred Knight is all but out of the fight.
There are a myriad of ways to replenish Gcal including using grade points earned from vanquishing foes at designated pillars, which also serve as checkpoints, as well as by consuming weakened enemies.
The consumption of enemies comes at the cost of adding garbage to the Hundred Knight’s stomach, which serves as a limited inventory space for items that can be brought back to base and sorted for use.
The grade points earned through combat can be used for adding temporary stats like HP/AP/ATK/DEF, and must be distributed with some strategy in mind as our little hero doesn’t actually level up until he goes back to base and tallies up his gained experience.
The attacks of the Hundred Knight are also far from standard, as he must assign a weapon to a sequence of attack presses, since he never swings with the same weapon twice in one combo.
So by setting up his weapons as sword, mace, magic tool, sword and spear, he would use those weapons in sequence with each button attack button press.
It’s an odd system to say the least, and it makes fighting enemies who are weak against certain types of weapons while rendering others completely ineffective into a huge hassle.
Having to swing a weapon three or four times just to get the swing of the weapon the enemy is weak to is quite annoying, and the thought of having to redo my weapons for every other type of enemy encountered is even more so.
Then, there’s the camera, which is constantly being blocked by walls and trees as the dense forests and cliff side became my worst enemy, as I was constantly fighting with the camera just to see what was attacking me time and time again.
Adding a transparency layer toggle on objects that would obscure the player’s vision would’ve solved this issue, but this is nowhere to be found.
If the way Gcal and weapons worked wasn’t silly enough, the game continues to add new mechanics with each chapter, many of them adding very little to the actual enjoyment of the title while adding to the complexity.
Adding more and more stuff on top of a foundation that isn’t exactly rock solid to begin with made for a rather shaky and frustrating experience.
The combat was at its best when I was simply managing my stamina, doing mythical dodges by evading at the last moment before an attack would connect and trying my best to keep my Gcal up, but even that got old rather quickly.
With multiple endings and a list of items and weapons that would even make Disgaea veterans raise their eyebrows, there is a lot of content to experience here.
However, while the story and characters succeed in drawing the player into the world, the game play does very little to keep them there.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.