The Witch and the Hundred Knights, one of Nippon Ichi Software’s most ambitious games yet, has just been released in Japan this past Thursday. I sat down and played about an hour or so of the newly-released game up to the entire first chapter and I’ve barely scratched the surface of The Witch and The Hundred Knights.
I’ll spare you the details that we’ve already covered here at Siliconera, and dive right into the parts that haven’t already been mentioned – most of it being the tutorial stage that happens before even the opening monologue for the game, which introduces the setting proper for the first time, plays.
Your point-of-view in this game is from the eyes of the legendary beast The Hundred Knights. At the beginning of the game, you find yourself asleep in a deep, dark abyss somewhere, when you’re suddenly awoken by the voice of Metallica the Marsh Witch.
Initially you can’t make sense of the voice, which is speaking to you in a language unfamiliar to you. But after Metallica casts a spell that automatically interprets the regular world’s spoken language into your native tongue, her words start making sense.
She wants to take you somewhere. But first things first: the voice wants to know if you’re understanding her correctly. So she asks for your name, which brings up the age-old "name your player character" alphabet/kana entry screen. I typed in Hyakki in English, a short form of sorts for Hyakkihei or "The Hundred Knights" in Japanese (but you can enter anything you want, in English letters or Japanese kana). Metallica seems to be pleased with the answer, that her words are getting through.
Then she completely disregards your input, tries to come up with a new name for you, fails to come up with anything cool-sounding, and decides to just call you Hyakkihei (literally "The Hundred Knights") anyway. It doesn’t matter what your name is!
Metallica tells you to remember Hyakkihei as your new name. Not entirely sure if you understand that, she yells at you to acknowledge her command if you comprehend. That’s where we’re introduced to the first time the game’s Self-assertion system, which lets you pick from four responses (agree, disagree, doubt or ignore) using a radial dialogue tree not unlike that in Mass Effect. Not all the responses are appropriate or selectable in every dialogue in the game. In this case, you can only pick from the "agree" or the "ignore" option. I picked to ignore Metallica to piss her off. Hyakki is a better name!
For the next 30 minutes or so, Metallica attempts to lead you to a gate where she can teleport you out of the magical realm you are trapped in, into the actual world. It would have taken less time for Metallica to teleport our hero out of the magical realm he’s stuck in. Unfortunately, there appears to be some sort of interference from an intruder other than Metallica herself so her teleport spells are not working correctly. Before long a giant chimera starts chasing The Hundred Knights around.
The tutorial introduces all of the basics of the game – locking on, dodging, sprinting, attacking, how to eat your enemies (they have to be at less than 25% health) to replenish your Gigacalorie meter (if it depletes, you take a -30% demerit to your attack strength and defense, plus you can no longer spring as that consumes stamina which requires Gigacalorie to refill), and the Witch Domination system.
Because the teleportation spell has gone haywire, The Hundred Knights finds himself in front of a small villa where a young girl and her grandma appears to reside in. The grandmother appears to be the one who narrates the story’s humble beginnings in the monologue after the tutorial.
This scene appears to bear no significance at first. The young girl is pestering her grandma to tell her a story. But a few more teleportations later, it is revealed that the realm has somehow gone haywire as well, and we’re brought back to the villa This time, however, the grandmother has gone evil and is trying to devour her granddaughter. Metallica orders The Hundred Knights to put a stop to this.
A few more detours later, and we finally reach a teleport gate from which Metallica can extract The Hundred Knights.Before we can escape, the annoying chimera who has been chasing our hero around manages to find his way to the gate as well, and stands in the way. Fortunately, since the gate allows more of Metallica’s magical powers to manifest, the chimera takes a punch in the face from a gigantic green arm that emerges from the gate, and quickly meets its untimely demise.
The Witch and the Hundred Knights is out in stores now in Japan. An English version has been confirmed by NIS America, but has not been dated yet.