I was shown the article a week ago. A gacha game called Witch Weapon, with a protagonist who gets magically (and permanently) changed into a woman and summons witches to assist her. Of course I was gonna play it. It didn’t matter if it actually sucked, the concept was so much trashy gender fun I could not possibly ignore it. I wondered if it would ever get a localization and my friend excitedly informed me that it was getting one. And it would be out in three days. Holy shit are you kidding me?
So, Witch Weapon is a gacha game (I know) with a focus on hack ‘n’ slash gameplay. From a video I watched beforehand I would’ve described it as like Dragalia but without party members, but it’s actually way more than that. Firstly, the game handles your basic attacks by itself. You can turn this off if you want to mash out your attacks but by taking that control out of your hands it then places more emphasis on more unique gameplay. The witches you summon from the gacha serve as your active abilities, and each witch has multiple weapons you can get from summoning them. The witches are all fairly unique gameplay-wise, with active skills from basic healing to single-target burst damage to summoning minions to fight alongside you. Each witch also has weapons for you to use directly, and most have multiple weapons to unlock. From there, the actual gameplay focuses on selecting the right witches and weapons (heh) for the missions. Enemies can be viewed before starting, so you can see if you’re up against someone with high physical defense or powerful spells that need interrupting. Weapons drain while you use them and recharge after you switch off of them, so you’re in a constant dance of changing weapons for the situation and making sure the resources you need are available when you need them.
To explain this practically, let’s talk about my current favorite setup. My first slot is Raphilia, a soft spoken healer. Her active skill is a wide-range, sustained heal that also heals any minions you have summoned, and the dual swords I have for her gradually drains enemy defense while boosting my own. After I soften an enemy with a few seconds of sustained attacking, I’ll switch to Anzu, a witch in a cat hoodie who can summon a husky to fight alongside you. Her crowbar(!) hits like a truck and ignores enemy shields, making it a great choice to quickly take down a tanky enemy. Or, if there’s a crowd of foes, I’ll switch to Rei, with her dual katanas that frequently automatically slash around me, gradually whittling down nearby enemies. Her active skill is a single, massive cut that can make short work of all but the game’s bosses. Also she’s voiced by Aya Hirano, who I’m overjoyed to hear getting voice work these days. Finally, I have Monica, a powerful knight with an ability that will pierce an enemy using a strong lance, stunning them out of any attacks they might be preparing. She came with a massive shield that reduces any incoming damage and builds up a magic burst as I take hits that I can unleash to stun enemies around me.
This isn’t even getting into the passive skills all of these characters have that you can unlock with some upgrading, and their other weapons, like Monica’s more directly offensive spear that you can wield yourself. Every witch and weapon (HEH) seems to be designed to be unique and useful, making it so that whatever you get from the gacha, alongside the characters you start with, you’ll feel equipped to deal with the situations the game throws at you. It’s way more smartly designed than I was expecting, considering on a surface level the game seems almost like a cheap cash grab.
Like I said before, I was gonna play this even if it wasn’t good, and was surprised it’s as good as it is. That’s because, well, it feels like it’s ripping some stuff off. Not even subtly! One of the first battle songs you’ll hear is such a blatant fake of Persona 5’s “Life Will Change” that I’m positive they’d lose in court if Atlus ever went for it. The shop music also sounds exactly like something you’d hear in a Persona game. On top of that, the game’s translation is really shoddy. It’s not inscrutable, but it’s riddled with typos and clunky writing, it feels like it didn’t get a single editing pass. And that’s a shame, because the actual story is pretty fun.
I won’t get too in the weeds with it, but it basically feels like the writers went, “what magical excuse can we use to justify the protagonist’s gender change,” and developed outward from there until they had a complex, bizarre world completely defined and controlled by mysterious SCP-like entities. The city it takes place in is administrated by a magical phenomenon that records the souls of everyone living inside it. And even though the genderbending stuff can be played pretty crassly, it’s also mindful in a way that I’m constantly like “why is this so relatable lol.” It’s also filled with cute art, and a lot of the loading screens (and there’s a lot of them) feature the protagonist and witches just casually and cutely going about their days or getting up to some really gay shit. The English game description promises “a yuri love story.” I’m psyched.
I’m only a short way into the game’s second chapter so I’m only scratching the surface myself, but just that much inspired me to write all this so I’m really excited to see where things go from here. What else can I say? It’s fuckin’ good.