With traditional beat ’em up games quickly becoming a thing of the past, it’s refreshing to see that they aren’t completely dead. The Witch and the Hundred Knight: Revival Edition is an enhanced PS4 port of a PS3 release from 2013. In the game you take control of the Hundred Knight, a magical familiar under the control of the Swamp Witch Metallia. You are charged with helping her achieve her ultimate goal of expanding her swampland to cover the entire world.
For those that haven’t played the original 2013 release, the game is a top down brawler akin to Diablo. Much of the draw to the game is exploration, as by defeating enemies and finding treasure chests, you will find additional gear to upgrade your Hundred Knight. The necessity of this is quickly made clear, as you need additional weapons equipped to complete longer combos. Different enemies are susceptible to different weapon types, so planning ahead makes for a much smoother gameplay experience. Time management is also a key factor, as you are limited by a countdown as you move through the levels. You start with 100 “Gigacals,” and by taking damage and attacking you will burn through them. After being reduced to zero, you suffer from a large reduction in attack and defense. However, you can unlock warp points in the stages to return to your home base, and then spawn back to upon re-entering the stage. By managing your time and defeating enemies, you will earn a “class rank” which will give you rewards based on performance upon exiting or completing a level. Additionally, you will not have access to items you’ve collected until you have returned to Metallia, so your inventory will be something to watch as well.
One of the more entertaining things about the game is the story and the dialogue. While most games place you in the shoes of a hero set about to save the world, in this one you are the servant of a being that thrives on destruction and mayhem. A relatively simple premise quickly gains a level of depth as you interact with characters and go through the story. While the game was extraordinarily entertaining, however, I found that an extraordinary use of foul language and some jokes made in bad taste ultimately leaves the dialogue feeling occasionally forced. That being said, the majority of the game left me in stitches when listening to Metallia’s interactions with other characters.
For those already familiar with the original game, this version is not without all new features. While the level design remains unchanged, updated textures and lighting effects were immediately noticeable. Aesthetic items such as vegetation and buildings are much more detailed, and really added to an already beautiful and detailed environment. The updated lighting effects added an additional pop, making the levels much more bright and vibrant. While these graphical changes are subtle, they nonetheless made an already detailed game much more immersive.
The second major change is the optional “Tower of Illusion” dungeon. This dungeon is 100 floors, requiring you to clear each floor of enemies before progressing. By sacrificing one of your inventory weapons, you can enter the dungeon, with the difficulty being based upon the stats of your sacrificed weapon. This ends up being an easy sacrifice, however, as you pick up some pretty good gear going through the dungeon. Additionally, after filling up a meter you are able to summon Metallia into battle for the first time. You are only able to summon her within the dungeon, but it is gratifying to be able to unleash her magic on enemies, albeit briefly, as you only have her for a limited time.
The final upgrade to the game is in the form of the new alchemy system. By picking up catalysts in the Tower of Illusion, you can use the alchemy system to upgrade weapons. Ultimately, this is a very simple crafting mechanic, that doesn’t add very much to the core of the game. It’s unfortunate that they didn’t utilize this mechanic in the core of the game, instead being limited to the Tower mode to utilize this feature.
While the new features in game are nice, they don’t really do much to enhance the experience for players who have already played the original game. It’s nice to have access to more powerful weapons, but it is frustrating to have to go so far out of the way to do so. Additionally, while the Tower of Illusion is a nice touch, it feels more like a time waster that takes away from the bulk of the gameplay.
Ultimately, the game itself was thoroughly entertaining, but it was just as entertaining in the original release. This version does little to truly draw seasoned players back to it, but has enough fresh paint on it to be the version of choice for new players. As an experienced player of the original, I wasn’t disappointed, the game was still just as fun as I remembered, but the new features just fell flat and felt tacked on.