N3: Ninety-Nine Nights

N3: Ninety-Nine Nights
Game: N3: Ninety-Nine Nights
Platform: Xbox 360
Studio: Sony
Rating: 6/10

GAME DESCRIPTION: From the collaboration between famed game developer Tetsuya Mizuguchi (Q Entertainment) and leading Korean developer Phantagram comes the Xbox 360-exclusive Ninety-Nine Nights, an epic fantasy-action game.

In a struggle between light and dark, a new world order is established after the destruction of the “mysterious power stone.” Warriors are destined to battle in a place far beyond their imagination, as a magnificent story spun of drama and emotion unfolds from multiple perspectives.

Brought to life by the creative energies of Phantagram’s Sang Youn Lee and Henry Lee, Ninety-Nine Nights ushers in a beautiful age of collaboration between Phantagram and Q Entertainment, combining large-scale combat and exhilarating action, all rendered in dramatic high definition to create the penultimate entertainment experience.

* Epic-scale combat and unmatched A.I.: Ninety-Nine Nights features combat on a level previously unimaginable, using the sophisticated hardware and technology of Xbox 360. With hundreds of combatants on screen at once, players must wield their armies with precision and skill against ever-evolving virtual opponents. Each virtual character on screen is a threat, as opponents react and attack of their own volition, testing the skills and fortitude of even the best gamers.
* Massive arsenal of weapons, magic, and spells: Players enjoy a full complement of more than 100 different weapons and fighting styles, in addition to a vast number of magic skills and spells. Each playable character features their own strengths and weaknesses, as players must choose the right combination of magic and might to overcome adversaries.
* Rich story and unparalleled depth: Multiple playable characters are available, each with their own dedicated plot line that ultimately intertwines with that of the larger story. Players are immersed in a rich fantasy world, as scores of unique characters contribute to the overall story that guides this epic tale.

PLAY: So far almost every Xbox 360 game has been fun. There haven’t been a lot of filler games. I really expected a lot out of this Microsoft game—particularly based upon their past releases such as Halo and God of War. The difference between N3 and those games is how rushed N3 feels. Sure other 360 games feel like quick ports, but not all of them come off as a pure waste of time and money like N3.

Ninety-Nine Nights’ plot doesn’t have to be great. There are plenty of good games with bad plotlines. What makes Ninety-Nine Nights even less tolerable is the poor game play. Each character comes with a piece of the plot—but you are ready to jump off out of the story plot well before you get the chance to play more the rest of the characters.

Game play isn’t much better. It’s purely button mashing as you hack and slash your way from beginning to end. There are combos but it doesn’t matter—what matters is how fast you can finger the buttons. Occasionally you might toss in another button or two but if you can smash the X button at the speed of light you will kill every enemy that dare stand in your path. Usually a game’s characters get more interesting as the game goes along—not with N3. One character sprays water as a weapon. It doesn’t make any sense how it actually hurts someone. The rest of the characters are fairly boring.

The A.I. isn’t very good. Enemies have a hard time fighting whether you are facing them or they are facing away from you. We found that enemies are virtually powerless if you come upon them from behind. You could find yourself in the middle of an army of bad guys and wack your way out. One problem, N3 has some issues with frame rates during these occasions. Another issue is how the cutscenes come in without any warning and interrupt the game.

GRAPHICS: The cutscenes are poor—and come in and hurt the game because they often interrupt gameplay. There are too many framerate slowdowns—even worse the environments are boring and the characters are nothing special to look at. That’s definitely a formula for failure on the 360.

SOUND: The soundtrack isn’t nearly as bad as the voice acting. How Sony got so many things wrong is beyond us.

FRANKLY: There are so many reasons not to forgive Ninety-Nine Nights. The finally deathblow against N3 is how short the game is overall. With seven characters, each with a mission lasting under a half-hour, the game doesn’t take long at all to finish.

+ Richie Wright






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