Sunday, September 18, 2016

Witch and Hero 1's Reputation

I figured out quite some time ago that if you want a legitimately trustworthy video game review, you’re going to have to do some searching. Official, mainstream reviewers of games, particularly RPGs, are thoroughly incompetent, and their write-ups on games are so ignorant that sometimes I have to wonder if they’ve even ever played a video game before. I think that some review sites are actually going back in time and hiring people from the 1800s to cut the cost of employee salaries.

And that’s not even talking about IGN, the game journalism corporation that makes Fox News look like a legitimate enterprise. I mean, are there still any living, conscious human beings left on planet Earth that actually believe that IGN scores measure the worth of the game, and not the worth of the bribe that the developer gave them? People living in mud huts for whom the concept of electricity sounds like the work of the gods know that IGN is shit. I think if you found a frozen, perfectly preserved caveman and thawed him out, even he’d be up to date enough to know that when you hear the name “IGN”, the socially acceptable reaction is to laugh.

So anyway, what I’m saying, in a roundabout way, is that there’s no easy, quick fix for when you want a video game review that you can trust. Sometimes one of those video review show guys will do the job adequately, like Angry Joe or Jontron, but there’s only so many games they can get to, so usually you’re digging around for that one customer review that actually sounds like he or she shares your values on what makes a good game, and also like he or she has maybe even played a game before. And this is why I really don’t know why I felt the slightest surprise at seeing the degree of negative reactions that ‘official’ reviewers give to the little 3DS RPG, Witch + Hero 1.

Don’t get me wrong, this game’s nothing special, and nor is its sequel. You’d have to labor long and hard on it to elevate it to even being worthy of the term “good.” But neither is it very bad, and certainly not to such a bitter extreme as most seem to attribute to it.

Witch + Hero 1 is a fairly cute, innocuous little game with a simple premise whose small plot is told through visuals alone. To the game’s strength, the overall mood that W+H goes for is lighthearted, rather than serious, and that’s a lot of why it gets a pass from me. It knows what it is, which is a short, pixelated little quest of finding and defeating Medusa,* with a gameplay style so simple that your only attack is to ram into your enemies face-first and try to get them to die from this before you do. It’s very limited, yes, but it works with those limitations as best it can, rather than trying to pass itself off as something more than it can be. I can appreciate that. Most of the time, what I want is powerful stories with great characters that explore the nature of the human condition, but I don’t mind a break every now and then for a little game out to make me lightly chuckle. Kind of reminds me of Alundra 2 in this regard. If you go into Witch + Hero 1 with the idea that it’s supposed to be something it’s not trying in the slightest to be, then yeah, you’ll probably hate it.

Or you might hate it because you’re a hypocritical idiot who’s so bad at video games that even I look masterful by comparison. I’ve seriously read more than 1 review of this game in which the reviewer complained loud and long about the simplistic, bland gameplay that’s about grinding, not strategy...and then turns around and spits fiery fury at the fact that there’s an inventive strategy for defeating the final boss. Some people, I swear.

Anyway, that’s about all I have to say on this subject. Sorry most of the rant was about the shitty state of affairs of professional reviews, and only marginally talked about the the actual game. Hey, I don’t claim to actually be good at this ranting thing. Final Verdict: Witch + Hero 1 isn’t good enough that I’d recommend playing it when there are so many more meaningful RPGs out there on the 3DS to experience. But it’s also not bad enough that I discourage you from playing it, either, and it definitely is not the monstrosity that other reviewers make it out to be.

* Fun Coincidence: I played this game the same year as I played Kid Icarus: Uprising, another game whose (supposed) main villain is Medusa. Always weird when that sort of thing happens. Like that year I played 2 entirely separate RPGs that featured Rasputin as an antagonist.


  1. I think most digital/eShop-exclusive 3DS RPGs have a pretty wide disparity in quality (ignoring VC releases like Earthbound, Lufia GBC and maybe Shining Force GG) compared to retail ones, but that might be because of the budget difference or the fact that most of them are brought over by Circle, whose translation style probably belongs in the NES era.

    You seemed to have a looser definition of RPGs than most others, so I would've expected Kid Icarus: Uprising to be classified as one by your blog because of hearts as currency, upgradeable weapons (stat management) and strong characters, but that migt be grasping at straws since other game genres include those as well.

    1. There are definitely some good RPGs to be found in the Eshop alone, such as Ash, Aeternoblade, and arguably the Dragon Fantasy titles. That said, you're right that most are mediocre at best.

      As for Kid Icarus: Uprising, I dunno. Just never really gave me the RPG feel, somehow. Don't get me wrong, I totally love the game, but it never gave me the RPG vibe.