Throughout the current generation of consoles (aka: Xbox, PS2, Cube) there has been a string of games coming from Koei under the Dynasty Warriors franchise. These franchises has been considered the marquee franchise for all hack and slash action games, and in fact has gotten quite a big rep from it. Many of us have wanted more from the series, but have not yet seen anything aside from mere button mashing. So when I heard that Microsoft was coming out with Ninety-Nine Nights, an action game of the same breed I was really excited to see what they would do with it, especially on the Xbox 360. So the big question is how did the game end up doing? Did it revolutionize the genre? Read our full review to find out!
It has been a while since the initial wave of Xbox 360 games was first released with the console. In fact Microsoft hasn’t thrown any first party games at us since the initial launches, which as all of you know was November of 2005. So this being really the first game in a while from Microsoft, I was particularly interested to see how the game would manage to pan out.
Ninety-Nine Nights starts you off as one character, and as you progress throughout the game you will be able to take on the adventure as several others. The story in the game basically does the whole human versus monster bit that we have seen thousands of times before. What is different this time however is that you get to see the story in seven different perspectives. This idea is an interesting one and it sounds good on paper, but instead I think it just stretches this somewhat simple story a bit too thin.
The gameplay in Ninety-Nine Nights is what you would absolutely expect from the game and unfortunately nothing more than that. The gameplay is definitely very similar to what we have seen in the Dynasty Warriors series, and that is just a pure out action mayhem. Now one thing that Ninety-Nine Nights strives itself on is the combo system, which is one of the key gameplay elements of the game. It is the combo system that you will find the depth of the game in. From the start you are given only a few, and as you go through the game you will level up your character and receive new abilities accordingly. This is the small RPG element that is found in the game, and in my opinion it seems to work quite well.
So as I mentioned you progress through the game by leveling up your character and giving them new abilities, however there are some issues. First off, just like Dynasty Warriors, Ninety-Nine Nights struggles with the fact that there is not much else to do but run around just randomly throwing together combos killing hundreds if not thousands of enemies at a time. This is satisfying for a while, but the game just loses its flavor extremely quick. The new combos are nice, but some of them you will never use and for the most part you will stick with using the original combos throughout the game experience anyways.
As much as I wanted to see Ninety-Nine Nights succeed, it really struggles as you get into the meat of the game. It starts off strong with some great action, but as you get into this game you see how shallow and thin it is. In fact, the AI in the game is just plain dumb, as most of the enemies stand there like they are statues ready to be killed. To me I want some challenge and after a while this button mashing loses its flavor. The game is impressive in how many enemies it gets on screen, but it’s unfortunate to say that the game doesn’t do a whole lot with them.
Visually Ninety-Nine Nights is an impressive looking game, but not perfect. You have a lot of repetition in this game, with a lot of character models and environments being reused and at some points overused. The game itself for being as epic and massive as it is really looks quite good and moves at a good frame rate. There is a good amount of detail placed on the main characters, but you just wish that attention to detail made its way further into the game. In the end, the visuals do have a next gen feel to them, but still need some work to get further than they did.
I am a big fan of action games, in fact I have always liked the Dynasty Warriors series. However being a fan doesn’t mean you think they are great games because just like DW, Ninety-Nine Nights struggles with repetition. After a while doing the same thing over and over again just loses its appeal. I will gladly admit that at first glance this game was amazing, as the battles were gigantic, and the visuals had won me over. But as you get into the heart of the game, you find that the AI is just terrible and the lack of any originality is quite apparent.
As much good as the game does it backs it up with the same amount of bad and that is where the game really struggles. The game starts off extremely strong, but as you go through it you will see how the developers spread themselves too thin, and thus the game just feels like another action game. If you like mindless killing with little difficulty, and a repetitive nature then you might like this game, for everyone else I would imagine that most could just pass this game up or leave it as a rental.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.