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The Witch and the Hundred Knight Review

It would seem over the past three or four years my taste in games have changed. Now I have always been a hardcore RPG fan for most of my gaming life and over the past ten years I have really grown to love JRPG's. Sure I have played the Halo's, the Call of Duties and Battlefields but they never hold my interest. In fact I really end up playing them a few hours and never pick them up again. To be honest companies like NIS and Atlus have brought out some of my favorite games over the past few years and The Witch and the Hundred Knight i great example of this.

The story behind the game is a witch named Metallia (in the original Japanese version her name was Metallica) has lived her entire life in a swamp and has decided that she wants to the world but she can not leave the swamp so she recruits you. A tiny minion that can only speak in childish meeps that she has named the Hundred Knight and you are to go out and destroy the Pillars of Temperance that will allow Metallia swamp to cover the world. 

The story is a slow evolving and tends to drag sometimes. Why can't Metallia leave the swamp, why wont other witches respect her, why does she say she is going to die in a hundred days? These reason is why I kept playing the game, even in slow parts. NIS is known for turn based strategy games (Disgaea series) but this one is a real time hack and slash loot, collecting RPG that at first may seem simple, but it is very deep. You can equip up to five weapons at once, each with different effects blunt, magic or slash damage, and equipping them in an order according to the Magic Die symbol on them provides bonuses to them when using them as part of a combo. Some enemy types are weaker or stronger against particular attack types so you want to keep a good variety of weapons on hand. One flaw in the game is it can be a pain to swap weapons because there is no shortcut to quick equip a weapon, you have to pause and go into a menu.

You also unlock facets as you level, each has its own set of specific weapon proficiency. I say leveling and you do level but not in the usual RPG fashion. You do get xp for killing enemies but it is applied to your facets and that is done after you complete or leave an area after finding a checkpoint. You also earn grade points, earned through kills and combos,  that you can spend at a check point to temporarily buff your stats.  If all that wasn't enough for you Hundred Knight runs on magical energy called GigaCals. It drains all the time but you replenish by mapping unexplored areas or attacking or even eating enemies. Eating enemies will fill your inventory with garbage items that will reduce space.

Graphics are a mixed bag. The 2D art is very stylized and nice looking that pop in HD but the top down 3D sometime looked muddy. The music is very much in the Disgaea style and the English voice action is very well done (Japanese voice track with subs is an option). The game does throw a lot of info at you all at once and it can take time to get it all straight but when I did I found a enjoyable game that was sometimes challenging, but fun. If your a RPG player that wants instant gratification in your game don't look here, it is long and demanding, at least 40 hours and has three different endings. If you love JRPG's you can do no wrong with picking up this game. Its not NIS's best game and it is quirky and dark, but enjoyable. 

4 out of 5

The Witch and the Hundred Knight is available only on the PS3 system on PSN and in retail for $49.99. Thanks to NIS America for providing a copy for review.  

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