Ninety-Nine Nights 2 Review
Ninety-Nine Nights 2 box art
System: X360 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Q Entertainment, Feelplus 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Konami 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: June 29, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Battle Fatigue
by Steve Haske

I hadn’t planned on playing N3II before I went to E3. Sitting in the audience at the Konami press conference, however, I saw the producer of the game, Tak Fujii, speak about it with a kind of enthusiasm that made me want to try it out (if you haven’t checked out the press highlights on Youtube, you should—for a fairly run-of-the-mill press event, there were some pretty ridiculous goings-on). In any case, I decided that N3II might actually be worth checking out, if only because Fujii himself had so much character.

Ninety-Nine Nights 2 screenshot

I wish I could say the same thing about his game.

Maybe the bar of expectations needs to be set just a little lower with a genre as simple (and let’s face it—derivative) as hack-and-slash, which N3II undoubtedly is (quite clearly, and never in deviation from). But even within the fairly stringent design tenet of “slashing the living hell out of anything that moves until everything on screen is dead,” there should be variety. N3II has your standard two-attack (light and strong) weapon hit combo system, and there are additional moves, weapons, and abilities to unlock and level up. But sadly, it’s also one of those games that basically gives you a feel for the entire experience in about ten minutes of gameplay. The first ten minutes.

Advertisement

In the game’s defense, within the very limited design confines of a hack-and-slash title, N3II isn’t that bad, in theory. There are five different characters to choose from, all of whom interact around the same storyline, filling in their respective parts. The framerate is consistent, you can run pretty fast (handy for the game’s fairly large maps), and the enemies aren’t too cheap (most of the time). The graphics and effects are pretty, if a little understated, and the number of enemies on screen is impressive. So, what happened? Simple: no gameplay variety. In the first mission of the game, the evil Lord of the Night (apparently they were all out of original evil names) has captured a substantial piece of N3II’s archetypal fantasy real estate. Your job is to clear the grounds surrounding Elfin castle so you can enter and to meet with those inside. Clearing the grounds requires—you guessed it—hacking and slashing the hell out of everything in sight until you’ve hewn your last foe in two.

Ninety-Nine Nights 2 screenshot

In the main protagonist’s second mission, you must recapture a keep that’s been overrun by the Lord of the Night’s minions. This requires getting through the keep and taking back some enemy monoliths that are giving your foes strength. Navigating the keep means killing everything in your way. Draining the enemy’s source of strength requires hitting markers until they turn blue. There isn’t really a single thing to do in this game that doesn’t either directly or indirectly involve using your weapon. In fact, and it pains me to type this, N3II might just be the most repetitive hack-and-slasher I’ve played in over a decade, since I slogged my way through Sword of the Beserk: Guts’ Rage for the Dreamcast. At least your weapons don’t get stuck on walls and edges in N3II.

Still, that’s hardly a glowing recommendation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the N3II is a terrible game, or that you won’t have any fun with it, particularly if you’re a fan of hack-and-slash titles. The design is serviceable (especially for the genre), it’s just that the differences—the things that lend the game variety and make it more interesting—are either buried deep in its design, only unlockable after hours and hours of performing the same handful of combo attacks and special moves, or they’re just few and far between. I understand the desire to distance oneself from a more technical hack-and-slasher that has a deep system of moves and combos to pull off through various button combinations. That type of design within the genre is few and far between, and makes it much harder to give a hack-and-slasher any pick-up-and-play (most notably in later stages when assumed mastery of the game’s combo system is vital for survival). But if you’re going to go with a simple control scheme, incentive is something that’s key. As it stands, you have to shed a reservoir of blood just to level up a weapon or a couple of abilities (all of which, of course, require exponential point values to continually level). Coupled with levels that routinely take 45 minutes to an hour to beat (yes, there really are that many enemies) and you’ve got a pretty tedious affair. N3II isn’t really trying to cater to anyone outside of fans of the hack-and-slash genre, so perhaps that would explain some its design shortcomings.

Ninety-Nine Nights 2 screenshot

Screenshots / Images
Ninety-Nine Nights 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Ninety-Nine Nights 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Ninety-Nine Nights 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Ninety-Nine Nights 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Ninety-Nine Nights 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Ninety-Nine Nights 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Ninety-Nine Nights 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Ninety-Nine Nights 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Ninety-Nine Nights 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Ninety-Nine Nights 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Ninety-Nine Nights 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Ninety-Nine Nights 2 screenshot - click to enlarge

X
"Like" CheatCC on Facebook