Friday, December 11

Reloaded Review: Ninety-Nine Nights (Xbox 360)

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Designer: (s) Q Entertainment,
Player: (s) 1
Genre: Role-playing
Release Date: (U.S.) August 15, 2006 (Japan) April 20, 2006 (European) September 1, 2006
Rating: Mature

When Ninety-Nine Nights was first announced back in 2006, screenshots were released depicting massive armies ranging in numbers of up to 100 troops on-screen at the same time and let me tell you, I was pumped. Did it deliver on this promise however? Read on to find out.

The story revolves around the struggle between light and dark, a new order is created after a mysterious stone is destroyed. These two forces are destined to fight each other since the beginning of time, each one intending to retake control of everything. If light wins, the world will be saved, but if dark is the victor the world will be shrouded in 99 nights of darkness.

That sums up the story but what about the
gameplay? Well if you've played Dynasty Warriors then you have technically played N3 because they are almost the same game. You control a small army as you run across open yet linear maps (more on what I mean later) as you hack and slash your way through group after group of mindless sword fodder. Destroying enemies will sometimes award you with health and power up potions as well as equipment for your specific character. Also, scattered across the map as well are treasure chests that contain rarer equipment when you shatter them.

With each enemy you bring down, your character will absorb blue and red orbs. Red orbs charge up your special attack while the blue orbs give you back some health. The special attacks are kind of pointless and not worth the effort since you spend more time collecting the orbs then you do using the attacks which only last for about 10 seconds and then your energy meter drains. In battles with very large groups, these attacks will come in handy but since battles of this scale don't happen often, it's just sort of a waste.

At the end of every mission after you have completed the objectives for the map, you will be greeted by a results screen that rates you on how well you did with a letter grade, Typical stuff. Getting the high grades on levels will award you with powerful weapons and items you can use for the character you happen to be using at the time.

The saving system in this game is terrible, absolutely atrocious. Say you decide to play a specific character's story for about 3 hours and then you think to yourself, "hey I want to try another person." So you go and start up a new character and then save the game. When you try to go back to the previous story you were working on, you have to reset the whole campaign unless you saved into another slot. Are you kidding me? It's mandatory to create multiple save files just because the designers were too cheap to create a proper save function?

Some of the game's weaker points stem from it's terrible voice acting (typical among J-
Rpgs) and it's unbelievably repetitive gameplay. I have actually fallen asleep at night when playing this because the action got so monotonous so quickly. As far as the voice "talent" is concerned, every voice is bad and will make you question why you have the sound on in the first place. Also, for maps that seem to be pretty open, I sure did run into a lot of invisible walls and your character moves so slow that you could go make dinner in the amount of time it takes you to trek a map's full length. Another thing is that checkpoints are few and far between, if not completely absent and considering it takes a long time to go through each stage, this is a huge problem because it forces you to keep playing and only makes you realize just how redundant the gameplay actually is.

Ninety-Nine Nights had a lot of potential but it was wasted on some poor design choices. The
cutscenes are beautifully done when you actually see one and the fact that the game branches out into multiple stories gives it some replay value but honestly, you'll get too bored of it before you have a chance to play it again.

5 / 10

12/11/09 Colton West

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