Combination of Two Games, Less Than Half the Features
- Article originally published March 14th, 2010, Revised July, 28th 2022
It's safe to say pretty much everyone knows the series "Dynasty Warriors" developed by Koei and "Kingdom Under Fire" developed by Phantagram. Those series in their own right set the standard for games in their genre of hack 'n slash mixed with strategic elements. I bought this game because the demo gave a glimpse of something fresh, exciting & epic. Surprisingly Ninety-nine nights was developed by the creators of Kingdom Under Fire which confirmed my buying of this game. Once I got the full game that fresh, new, epic feeling left and it showed its true colors of old, shallow, and repetitive (I know it’s ironic considering Dynasty Warriors was mentioned.)
Looking at the achievements for the game you can already tell how much effort was put into Ninety-Nine Nights. There are about 10 or so achievements each ranging from about 50-200 points each and they're all basically "beat the game". For my first playthrough I chose Inphyy. Her level design was a simple field with a few buildings in the background. Throughout the game you'll notice that most levels are like this. I can accept this with dynasty warriors as it's based on a book and Koei has a strict "If it’s not in the book, it's not in the game" policy (trust me, 1000s have tried to persuade them), but this is a stand-alone game on next generation console!!! There's no excuse for such bland level design. Graphically it's average, but even the physics aren't up to par as when some of the characters talk their mouths don't move (a problem we thought was resolved mid-way through the last generation's lifespan). Lip movement also doesn't match with what people are saying sometimes, but that can be contributed to the developers using lip movement from the Asian language voice actors because Ninety-Nine Nights was originally released in Asia then imported.
Ninety-Nine Night’s gameplay is very shallow. There are numerous frustrating glitches and oddly placed items. To anyone buying this game I suggest you don't kill anyone near a wall or any other unbreakable physical object or you'll be furious when the enemy finally drops an item you need and you can't get to it because some invisible force is keeping you from getting it...even though it’s within a few feet of your grasp. Half of the pick-ups are just randomly scattered onto a map. You'll go way out of your way (I'm talking a 10-minute walk with no enemies for miles, through secret passages, hopping fences, destroying walls, etc) to find a lonesome treasure chest hoping to find a new weapon or other equipment… only for it to be a health or mana potion which you'll never need because if you keep tapping the ‘X’ to attack, you'll never get hit and even if you do you won't take damage because the game is glitchy between animations. You can’t help, but imagine that the developers are deliberately trying to mess with you...either that or extremely lazy.
"Occasionally you might find enemies that are either invisible or glitched..."
The playable characters are a mixture of terrible and gameplay breaking gods. Almost all of them have 5 basic moves, but when you level the last 3, it only upgrades those 5 or less basic moves meaning some characters won't even have combos. The simplest character has one useful move and that's...tap x. Yes, tap x... shallowness at its best (and this is the godlike character lol.) The rest of the characters have about 8 combos each, half of which you won't even touch since they are useless. Characters also have a power up bar that is slowly filled with each attack. Once that bar is filled, activating it sends them into a superpowered state with stronger attacks akin to the “Musou” bar in Dynasty Warriors.
There is hardly any sound other than your blade and death howls you hear during combat. I only heard 2 songs that played endlessly on a loop depending on the level. Some would say the lack of sound is more realistic, but since the enemies don’t make much noise… it is actually extremely dull. Occasionally you might find enemies that are either invisible or glitched (I had to restart certain levels several times due to glitched enemies until I figured out how to find them…if they are in a spot where you can kill them.) by listening to their footsteps or sound of their attack. At least with Dynasty warriors the battlefield is filled with crowd battle cries amongst other things. Other than that, it has one of the most epic main menu songs I've heard.
Plot? Copy and Paste Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes' story (yes, it's very obvious).
Less than half the features of either Dynasty Warriors & Kingdom Under Fire? No surprise here.
2 out of 5 stars
N3: Ninety-Nine Nights
Developer: Q Entertainment & Phantagram
Platforms: Xbox 360
Available Regions: NA, JP, PAL
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