Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Witch and the Hundred Knight Revival Edition (PS4)

Instead of rehashing everything from my PS3 review of "The Witch and the Hundred Knight" I will leave you with the following link (http://thegaminginferno.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-witch-and-hundred-knight-ps3.html), and spend this article discussing the new features as well as why it is I back this game with an enthusiastic recommendation. Please visit the provided link before reading any further as it will tell you all there is to know about the game's mechanics, and features ... outside of the new additions.

It's a rarity in this day, and age to see a niche JRPG developer step outside the box in regards to traditional gameplay elements in order to provide something as unique, and refreshing as "The Witch and the Hundred Knight" is. The game comes to the gamer with no f**ks given, and includes some of the most mature content ever provided by NISA even though it is partially censored at times. Along with the abrasive guidance of the main character that is Metallia comes a wide variety of mechanics that work together in perfect harmony to create an experience that is unlike any other. Things like a stacked weapon combo system, an assertion option menu that allows the Hundred Knight to disagree or agree with characters, a Gigacal meter that limits your outing times, village raids that offer up witch domination, and other deep seeded features set this game far apart from the traditional action RPG genre that it is akin to.

Not only is it different than any JRPG before it, but I liken the experience to being that of an interactive Tim Burton film. The claymation style character designs, the whimsical music, and the hilarious narratives between characters definitely makes it seem as if Tim Burton and NISA had gotten together to collaborate on the game's creative efforts. I know that's not the case, but the game definitely has that sort of charm about it. A charm that is as charming as a witch's spell. It's something I've missed dearly with the repeats of modern gaming experiences. To see 'The Witch and the Hundred Knight' return to the forefront of the current gaming generation in all it's former, and new founded glory on the PS4 in an upgraded "Revival Edition" is a truly welcome sight for a fan like me in that sense. I was anxious to get back in, and see for myself what the developer had in store for those willing to take a chance with something they may, or may not have yet played. In doing so I was not disappointed one bit.

If you took my advice, and read the previous review of the same base game you'll be glad to know that pretty much everything outside of the new "Tower of Illusion" stays the same. The only real differences being the "Tower of Illusion" itself, and the upgraded graphics presentation that has been revamped for the PS4. Even the censored text, and bleeped out voice-overs are the same from the PS3 version of the game. While I don't condone censorship it's handled rather well in that you can partially hear, and understand the cuss words Metallia speaks vocally. Along with the suggestive swearing also comes some slightly revealing character nudity. The naughty bits, while present are not a big enough deal to fret over, because there's not a lot of those instances to be found in-game. It's not like the game was focally sexualized past the occasional perverted innuendos.

Beyond the base game, and it's mechanics there is one unique stand out mode of play that is new to the mix. This new mode, or in-game alternate adventure is known as the "Tower of Illusion". When it comes to the "Tower of Illusion" you'll find that this grind, and looting heavy feature comes into play after you complete chapter one of act one. It's not a mandatory part of the game, and only serves as a sort of side option to experience something outside of the core story. It features it's own alternate mythology involving the witches of Mogalia, and an alternate version of Metallia (The Great Witch Lia) whom the Hundred Knight stumbles upon after getting sucked into a tornado (Think "The Wizard of Oz"). The lore in this particular side story revolves around a dark tower (Think the 'Tower of Babel') situated in the Black Forest. As the story is told through text, still images, and character conversation it is made clear that the mysterious tower is associated with a sort of witch hunt that has taken place in this alternate kingdom.

In the current predicament that revolves around the "Tower of Illusion" the witch Lia is unaware of the Hundred Knight's existence until he abruptly falls to the ground before her. She stands before the gated door of the massive tower prepared to enter, and brave it's perils until the unexpected guest drops in out of nowhere. During their chance meeting, and confusion therein the Hundred Knight once again becomes bound by the witch's contract. After having been bound to yet another contract, and named the "Hundred Knight" once again the playable protagonist is set free to traverse the floors of the "Tower of Illusion" along with his new master, Lia. While this secondary adventure is different from the core story the same mechanics as before still apply here. The use of the Gigacal counter is still in place as are the towers which allow for transport, and attribute upgrades. Even the AP, or revelation meter is in place, though using it would be pointless as it would use up your Gigacals, and cause you to lose all that you've looted.

Before entering into the tower, at base level or at a continued level from the base you will have to sacrifice a weapon. Depending on the rarity of the weapon you'll have the possibility to loot items of a similar rank. Once you've sacrificed a weapon, and are in your goal will be to clear out all of the enemies on each floor. The enemies become gradually stronger in level as you progress so using the mini-towers to upgrade your attributes will be in your best interest. Once you clear out a floor of it's enemies a spiral staircase will appear with which you can travel upwards to the next floor. Supposing you want to exit back to base camp you can do so via the current floor's flower tower as well.

New to the mechanics setup that was introduced in the core game is a meter that allows you to summon Lia as a playable character. Once the meter is built up to at least one of three bars via enemy kills you'll simply have to press the "Touch Pad", and then "X" to be able to play as Lia (Metallia). Lia operates a little differently from the Hundred Knight in that she can cast powerful spells which are cycled through, and selected using the "L2 & R2" shoulder buttons. Some of these spells are ranged while others are area, and projectile based. The spells are also tied to the weapon setup you currently have meaning that they are weapon specific. Lia can also dash using the 'X' button, and ride her broom if you hold down the 'X' button. Her melee attacks are basically the same as the Hundred Knight's, but she can charge her melee attack if you hold down the "SQUARE" button. The length of time you can use Lia on a floor depends on how much meter you have built up. If you have a full meter she'll obviously last longer, but if you have a single bar of meter her availability will be shorter lived. Lia acts as a more powerful option that is better utilized when up against more formidable foes.

Another thing I should mention is that the base camp at the foot of the "Tower of Illusion" contains three tent shops which give you access to item purchases, gameplay hints, and something that's not immediately available at the start of your playthrough. These options are in place in case you don't understand something, or if you wish to partake of certain shop offerings. In case you were wondering about how to get back to the main game there is a way. By crossing the bridge that got you to the Tower of Illusion in the first place you can go back to Metallia's swamp in Medea, and continue with your progress there. The new "Tower of Illusion" simply acts as an extension of gameplay, and a way to farm for better items, and gear. You can revisit it any time that you like.

Well, that about wraps up this review. I hope you took the time to read my PS3 review, and that you also read this follow-up review as well. This is a good, unique, and oddly impressive game that I feel is worth having on the PS4, especially if you've never played it before.

Going Deeper ...

I know I said that the additional "Tower of Illusion' was about all there was that's new in "The Witch and the Hundred Knight", but there are some interesting extras beside that, that also caught my attention. For one thing the Hundred Knight can now be heard making his odd vocal noises through the PS4's DualShock4 controller. It can become annoying at times especially since it is not part of the televised audio, but it is interesting nonetheless. Along with that audio tidbit comes the option to change the voice-over language back to the original Japanese setting. This is a feature that will appeal to all you hardcore Otaku out there who love your anime inspired games as close to the original state as they possibly can be. For those of you looking for DLC there is some, and upon launch NISA actually gifted game adopters a free Metallia sword for use in-game. To access this after the download you'll need to go into Metallia's swamp hut, and choose the "Bucket List" option that says "Metallia's Sword a". After doing so you can equip it as your die one weapon, and wreck all the little baddies that cross your path. I'm sure NISA will probably have more DLC available in the future as well.

Now the Verdict ...

I want to make something expressly clear about "The Witch and the Hundred Knight Revivial Ed.". It is NOT a kid's game. Even with the censoring of text, and spoken language the game has a vulgar tone about it which is brought to life by the main character, Metallia. There's everything from sexual innuendos to sadistic behavior that is not meant for younger gamers. Do not let this game fall into the hand of underage kids! With that having been said the game is good for adults, or legal teens who are into the more perverse side of gaming humor. The game has definitely got it's laughable moments in the form of character remarks as well as with the naming of certain weapons/items (Sh*t-bug Staff, Lmao!!!). There's not a dull moment to be found, for sure.

As far as gameplay is concerned it's something that's different. The mechanics are deeply involved, as my PS3 review so thoroughly explained. The mechanics are unique to this game, and will require some close attention to detail to learn, but they aren't hard to pick-up on. Functions, and features will work in harmony once you figure them out. As with any NISA game some grinding is also necessary during your playthrough, but it's not the type of grinding that takes up a huge portion of your time. In fact grinding in this game has it's perks, and the more time you invest in a 100% completion the more rewarding your efforts will be. 

I personally loved the story of Metallia, and the Hundred Knight. It ranks up there as one of my all time favorite NISA JRPG adventures. The character development through conversation, actions, and reactions is one that isn't easily forgotten. There are moments where you'll laugh hard, and even some moments where you won't believe what you just read, or saw unfold on your television screen. The gameplay is objectively in tune with the story being told. Both the story, and the gameplay elements are truly complimentary in that respect. The fact that NISA added in the new "Tower of Illusion" feature gives gamers like myself something new to do while revisiting the story. For those of you who have yet to play the game I cannot recommend it enough. It's a topsy-turvy change from NISA's usual happy-go-lucky games/anime, but it is good in it's own mature way. If you are looking for something different in the way of JRPGs this may very well be that sort of "different" that you are looking for!

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