To say that my opinion of The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 is conflicting would be a huge understatement. For everything I like, there is something else I dislike. This makes it very difficult to summarize my feelings for it. But I will try to vocalize those feelings and show what I like about it but also note where the game falls flat on its face.
To start off, the game’s story centralizes around two main characters. The first protagonist is a girl named Amalie who is a Holy Valkyrie in training. Her main goal throughout the story is to find a cure for the sickness called witch disease. It is an illness that happens to turn young girls into evil witches by growing a third eye on their head. And her younger sister happens to have it. Our second protagonist is Chelka. She is a witch that awakens from Milm when her third eye opens after a failed surgery. Then she brings her Hundred Knight doll to life as her servant.
You play as the Hundred Knight, punching through whatever Amalie or Chelka need. The characters are interesting. And the game has a colorful cast of supporting characters. From Amalie’s Holy Valkyries to Chelka’s crow servant there are lots of characters in this game. None of them were flat parodies of Japanese tropes. And I enjoyed a good number of them. The plot is there to drive you to the next boss fight. But as it kept adding more questions, it kept me invested. It talks about dark issues but also can be as lighthearted. The story stands well by itself and is what kept me going to the very end.
The graphics of Hundred Knight 2 aren’t bad. The 3d cartoony style in the game do well to complement Nippon Ichi’s signature style. But let’s be honest, the hand-drawn characters look better than their 3D models. Not that they are bad, but the detail on the hand-drawn characters shows the vast difference between the two. The enemies and aren’t badly designed either. But a lot them are pallets swaps of earlier enemies. The environments are the most impressive of the 3D elements. They are brightly colored and pop. They change enough that they don’t become boring.
The music in the game is upbeat and instrumental. Every track fits well with the environment. And there is even a little jingle at the end of every boss fight. Here Hundred Knight does a little dance. The soundtrack is very well orchestrated. And it helps complete the atmosphere of the game. Sound effects are passable and do their job. But they aren’t anything to write home about. The voice acting is great whether you choose to listen to the English voice actors or the Japanese ones. The sound quality of the voices is great, bringing the characters to life.
We come to the gameplay, unfortunately, Hundred Knight 2’s weakest bullet point. Before I get into the nitty-gritty of what doesn’t work, I want to get into what does. The controls are responsive and work well, which is crucial to a game based on a mythic dodge mechanic. Whenever you dodge an enemy’s attack right before it hits, you get a mythic dodge. This slows down all the enemies and allows you to attack them while they are in slow motion.
I will first go over specific mechanics then I can get into more detail on why they don’t work. The game has a basic combo system. You can press square up to five times in a combo after which the combo will reset and start over. You equip weapons, but each attack requires a different weapon. Weapons come in 5 different types: Swords, Spears, Staves, Hammers, and Lances. Each type of weapon has their own unique properties and attacks. Weapons are also either sharp, blunt, and magical. Enemies will usually resist one or two types of damage. This makes it impossible to rely on one type of damage. This makes sense, as the game is about using multiple tactics and switching between them.
Facets are costumes and armor. Hundred Knight can equip up to three and can switch between them during battles. Facets each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Each excels at using a different weapon. Facet abilities can be used with a mana bar. The bar slowly refills from hitting enemies in combat. But you can use the mana in exchange for high damaging skills.
The most important mechanic is the Giga Calorie mechanic. You start off your Giga Calories at 100 and they tick down until they hit zero. You can also lose them by dying. And if you die at zero you have to start the level over again. You can regain some by using special attacks. you gain from doing combo attacks which will also give you more mana.
Elite Enemies and Boss Battles
The whole game is present in a single world map. Different enemies are present in different areas. There are even elite variants that have different attributes. Strong elites do more damage. Hardy ones have a bigger health pool. And Mutants can resist the weapon type they are normally vulnerable to. Due to their difficulty elites drop better loot and provide more experience. At the end of each area, there is a boss battle. And with each boss having its own weakness they each require a new strategy.
Even though you get different weapons, you won’t use them as you’ll likely keep your facets the same. It makes no sense to use magic swords since the magic facet is frail and meant for staves so. This makes alternate weapons almost useless. Equipment is also really hard to upgrade effectively. You also have to switch it out constantly. Upgrading any early equipment a waste of resources. Any equipment that isn’t legendary and of a high grade is a waste. In addition, require five weapons for one facet rather than one makes it even hard to keep up with equipment.
Notorious Enemies and Boss Battles
Then there are Notorious enemies. The elite enemies I mentioned earlier that have more health and attributes. As you get to higher levels, it takes less than a combo to kill regular enemies which makes it hard to refill your Giga Calories. This makes the mechanic more like a timer. Even with fully upgraded equipment, I still found Notorious enemies taking almost no damage. And if I got hit even once, they could kill me from full health. This led me to flee from them and altogether avoid them. Bosses also have huge health bars that take that take so much time to widdle down. This wouldn’t be a problem if the Giga Calorie “timer” didn’t make death a full level restart. Battles feel like an ultimate test of patience.
These issues might not seem major at first glance. But they undermine the whole experience.Notorious enemies aren’t worth fighting because of the time limit. Bosses became frustrating time sinks that made me reload my saves. These two things, combined with the hard to upgrade weapon system stripped the enjoyment of the game. I found myself growling in frustration when I would be one shot by an enemy that I just spent around 5 minutes attacking.
However, all this doesn’t mean that The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 is a completely bad experience. The story is interesting enough that it made me endure the frustration. And the visuals only helped with that. The problems could easily be fixed by tuning down boss health amounts or tweaking numbers to make Notorious enemies less of a pain to deal with. But the end result is a game that’s held back with cracks in its foundation. This makes The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 a game that could be so much more if it weren’t for the few flaws it has. There is so much potential, but it’s held back by frustrating flaws. The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 is a game that will reward those looking for a good story, but will frustrate because of its potential to be so much better.