The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 Review (PS4)
Don’t worry if you’ve not played the first The Witch and the Hundred Knight. The “sequel” has nothing to do with the story of the original. It’s more like how Fallout: New Vegas refined and perfected the mechanics that Fallout 3 originated. If you’ve never played a Nippon Ichi Soft series before, they make some weird, fantastically niche games with a dedicated and vocal fanbase. With a little more development time and a less wordy title, The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 could have been another cult hit from Nippon Ichi.
The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 has some seriously meaty combat. You can equip up to five different weapons at once on the titual Hundred Knight. Each attack summons and swings those weapons in the order you equipped them. Each of the five weapon classes has unique moves for each slot you can equip them in. There are also further subclasses of weapons with their own unique animations to choose from. As you progress through the story you unlock new classes, or “facets”, with their own special attacks and stats. You can seamlessly swap between these on the fly during combat. Deftly weaving attacks, dodges, special attacks and switching between classes becomes second nature in no time.
There’s no shortage of loot to be picking up in The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 either. Each kind of weapon you find can have one of four rarities, one of several prefixes, and belongs to one of many subclasses. For those of us that love to try to find the perfect weapon to complement our characters, rest assured that there’s plenty of customization to dig into. Each facet adjusts the damage for each of the weapon classes. So working out not only what to equip but also which class to equip it onto can become a bit of a chore. There are also armour and accessories to choose, which can also change the way a class plays. You’ll pick up a large enough selection of weapons without too much grinding. So you can slot in the weapons you enjoy using and still defeat the majority of the game’s content without too much of an issue.
The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 starts to fall apart when you examine anything outside of combat. Going with a full english dub was a bold move that I didn’t expect from Nippon Ichi. The writing is so-so, and the cast of voice actors range from excellent, to plain irritating. You have some excellent characters like the deuteragonist Amalie and the always hilarious drag queen crow HunninMuginn. Chelka, the witch who brought Hundred Knight to life, switches between being hilariously evil and chewing on the scenery. And Hundred Knight himself manages to convey an excellent amount of emotion despite not speaking throughout the game. The dark and often absurd humour that Nippon Ichi is famous for feels restrained throughout The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2. It turns what would be enjoyable interludes between combat setpieces into a slog of excellent moments hidden in drudgery.
There’s so much potential in The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 that it’s a shame to see that Nippon Ichi were afraid, or unable, to push the boat out. The super vibrant environments are a joy to play through and the enemy design is stellar. Yet the bosses are introduced and defeated within minutes of meeting them, and there’s not a ton of enemy types to fight against that aren’t pallet swaps. Though there has been an improvement on the first Hundred Knight game, I can’t help feel disappointed that Nippon Ichi didn’t fix the mistakes that ruined the first game.
If you are a Nippon Ichi fan, and are looking for a hack and slash with some light RPG elements and a corny story, then The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 is well worth your time. For all of its frustrations and irritations I couldn’t bring myself to dislike the game for the many hours I put into it. The main characters won me over. The combat sucked me in and helped to paper over many of the issues that might have made a newcomer quit instead. If you’re not already a fan, or if you’ve played the first Witch and the Hundred Knight, then you might want to look elsewhere.
6 witty comments out of 10