The Witch and the Hundred Knight Review (PlayStation 3)Greg Srisavasdi |
The Witch and the Hundred Knight exists in a world of green, swamp infested evil. You start off as a minion who's doing the bidding of a bloodthirsty witch named Metallia, and unless you get in her good graces, you'll be added to her pile of victims. Breaking bad in an RPG universe isn't exactly a novel concept, but The Witch and the Hundred Night weaved a beguiling enough spell to keep me intrigued.
There are only so many ways one can imbue an RPG experience with a semblance of ingenuity, and on from a battle perspective, you're not seeing anything new with this PlayStation 3 release. Although you'll be able to equip your warrior with spears, hammers, swords and lances, the fighting exists as a straight hack and slasher. Even the game's top-down view aesthetic, a practice that's mastered with the Diablo franchise, isn't anything you haven't seen before.
More of the same, however, isn't such a bad thing for The Witch and the Hundred Knight, as furiously pressing PS3 buttons in hopes of creating a combo attack always manages to give me that shot of much needed adrenaline. The boss attacks, which require your fledgling knight to dodge and weave a much stronger adversary, also kept me completely engaged.
Still, this title attempts to lay out a storyline that will keep you glued to the screen, and if The Witch and the Hundred Knight were to succeed, it needs a compelling lead character and first rate narrative.
Although you will be asked to name your adventurer during the game's tutorial stage, the Hundred Knight is a near-faceless being from the get go. Serving as a minion and glorified pet to Metallia, his main task is to follow orders and continue to curry favor with his master. Metallia lives in the murky, lethal waters of the Niblhenne Swamp, and it's her dream to have the entire kingdom under her command.
The Hundred Knight gradually gains power with the multitudes of creatures he slays during his travels, and his main directive is to set off various pillars that will emit Metallia's swampy and disgusting aroma throughout the lands. These pillars, which actually shine a beautiful light once you smash them with your chosen weapon, emit a beautiful light. More importantly, they also serve as portals to various areas of the land.
Certain gamers may find Metallia's histrionics a bit too much to handle, as she constantly nags the Hundred Night throughout his journey. Having such an unlikable, and at times grating, presence throughout an RPG was actually a bold move for the developers, since The Witch and the Hundred Knight is bound to have its share of detractors. The cut scenes simply don't exist as visual window dressing, and if you don't want a healthy amount of dialogue between action sequences, then you may want to skip this adventure altogether.
I was immediately hooked with the Hundred Knight's dark and twisted mission. Although the game has the adventurer talking to his share of villagers, the eventual outcome of the exchange is to raid their homes and steal their long cherished items. He's also a one man wrecking crew of the environment, as he's ordered to obliterate everything one holds sacred with Mother Nature. Several hours into swinging my hammer and infesting the kingdom with Metallia's swamp drenched essence, I am still hoping that this knight finds a way out of all this darkness.
Although the hack and slash elements are understandably nothing out of the ordinary, keeping your knight alive does take a bit of thinking. If your enemies don't kill your anti-hero, then a lack of energy will. Giga-Calories, located on the left hand side of the screen, monitors your fighter's stamina, which will consistently be depleted through combat and traversing throughout the land. The most efficient manner in re-energizing the knight is to have him enter a pillar and find his way back to Metallia's residence.
Whether you die from battle or are just plain exhausted from a lack of Giga-Calories, The Witch and the Hundred Knight isn't the easiest game to play. If a boss pummels you to death, expect to lose some of your treasured items or experience points in the process. Even though your knight may bathe in evil waters, nothing is ever easy, no matter what side you choose.
Although it doesn't offer anything new from a battle standpoint, The Witch and the Hundred Knight offers up a layered storyline that also contains its share of twisted humor (offered up by the acerbic tongue of Metallia). I am still obsessed with finding out why the Hundred Knight is complicit in his fall from grace, and a part of me hopes he turns back to the light. The best RPG encounters shows us that there is a balance between what one deems as good and evil, and hopefully our Knight somehow finds his way within this lush, and morally intricate universe.
This review was completed with a review code of The Witch and the Hundred Knight provided by the publisher for the PlayStation 3.