N3II: Ninety-Nine Nights
Much in the vein of the vastly superior Dynasty Warriors franchise, Ninety-Nine Nights II tells a story of a nation at war against an invading enemy force
- Stylish if unoriginal artwork and graphics, online multiplayer via Xbox Live momentarily breathes some much-needed life into the game
- Combat could have used a lot more polish and variety, boss battles suffer from extremely poor design, overall gameplay becomes tedious very quickly
Although it looks like a promising hack-and-slash sequel on the surface, Ninety-Nine Nights II is an overwhelmingly mediocre experience that offers very little beneath its stylish artwork and mildly interesting gameplay. While it may have been impressive to mow through hundreds among hundreds of enemies on-screen at once back in 2006, this title looks and feels years behind the times. Even if you're a fan of the first game, tedious grinds through lifeless levels may not hold your interest past the first few missions.
For all the genius that's been achieved in the hack-and-slash genre with games like Bayonetta, No More Heroes, and Devil May Cry, I'm always baffled to see games like Ninety-Nine Nights II. While other titles in this increasingly crowded category manage to innovate with unique artwork, memorable characters, or a catchy gameplay gimmick, Ninety-Nine Nights II (or N3II) fails to accomplish the first two, and flops disappointingly on the third. Overall, the result is a mindless game that, to quote The Onion's Chris Dahlen, feels less like extreme combat and more "like mowing the lawn."
Much in the vein of the vastly superior Dynasty Warriors franchise, Ninety-Nine Nights II tells a story of a nation at war against an invading enemy force. While Dynasty Warriors does this within the context of Ancient China, N3II tries a "God of War meets Lord of the Rings" approach, as a kingdom of elves battles for survival against an ominous evil force that looks and sounds just like the Army of Sauron. Main character Galen, your dashing, muscular protagonist, shows up in the midst of the war to defeat the Lord of the Night, carrying a pair of blades that would send Kratos running for a lawsuit. Along the way, Galen runs across a handful of archetypal companions that aid him in the war, including a beefy tank, a demure princess, and a prerequisite busty warrior babe.
Despite the fact that N3II gives you a few characters with varying missions to accomplish, the reality is that each warrior plays exactly the same, with slightly varying animations and attack ranges. As you cut and hack your way through each character's missions, you'll be able to upgrade your stats and weaponry, in addition to uncovering a few abilities that can be shared amongst your crew. None of this is really necessary, however, since you can pretty much use the "X" button to resolve every conflict.
Special attacks are very situational, and in most cases, serve no actual purpose in combat. For example, Galen's stab attack is only useful for destroying specially labelled towers to create jumping platforms -- and that's about it. Every other character's special move is a glorified "throw the switch" ability that advances you across the map in each level, which makes most missions a game of "find the brightly coloured thing to continue." Throw in a few thousand cookie-cutter enemies to battle, and you've essentially got a game with hours and hours of repetitive combat.
Now, this is usually the part of the review where I'd tell you what titles Ninety-Nine Nights II borrowed gameplay elements from, but it's almost offensive to mention them in the context of this review, as if the titles are related in any way beyond genre affiliation. N3II tries to style its combat after God of War, but does so without any flair. Eliminating enemies boils down to using the same single combo over and over, and defensive manoeuvres are all but non-existent. In most cases, you can't even block until your attack animation is over, which leaves you wide open to back attacks in every scenario.
More than anything, the boss battles suffer most from this poorly designed combat. An inability to block at will coupled with a pathetic rolling dodge makes you a prime target for soaking up damage in every conflict, and nothing that you do will interrupt a boss's attack pattern. Every time I got in one of these fights, I could do little else than run up and mash buttons, praying that my level was high enough to prevent me from getting killed.
Of course, there are huge maps to traverse in every level, but unlike Dynasty Warriors, you're just clearing a way to the finish line instead of trying to control parts of the conflict. It's especially aggravating when you're playing solo, and have no respite from the action. While Dynasty Warriors gives you lots of allied forces and sets certain victory conditions for each battle, N3II simply turns into a long-running gamble of "how long can I survive until my health meter runs out?" It's further exacerbated by the fact that power-ups and life boosts are ridiculously difficult to find, as the overly detailed (yet sparse) landscapes effectively camouflage every single thing that isn't trying to kill you.
Koei and Omega Force have done smart things with Dynasty Warriors by continually adding new elements to their games, and when that didn't work anymore, attaching the Gundam franchise to their product for all the otaku dollars it would attract. Q Entertainment, on the other hand, seems to have learned nothing from their last foray into the hack-and-slash genre, and Ninety-Nine Nights II greatly suffers for it. Changing development partners did nothing to evolve the experience here, and the battle fatigue you'll have after the game is over is definitely not worth the price of admission.
If you're looking for a mindless way to rack up Achievement Points, go ahead and rent Ninety-Nine Nights II, but be warned -- it's like watching the first 10 minutes of the Battle of Helm's Deep on repeat for 30 hours. After a while, you won't even care who's winning the fights, and only periodic bathroom breaks will break up the monotony.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Acer Swift 7
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- You can download Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android today
- Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes looks sharp, but will it survive the freemium transition?
- Nintendo's bringing Super Mario Run to Android in March, but Fire Emblem's coming first
- The Switch is a mix of Nintendo's past consoles
- Dead Rising 4 impressions: 'Tis the season to BBQ zombies with your flaming sword
GGG Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerQLD
- CCMidrange ProvisioningNSW
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Technical ArchitectQLD
- CCData Migration Consultant - LeadNSW
- FTSenior Network AdministratorNSW
- TPSenior Java Developer / DevOps - ContractQLD
- FTSecurity Solutions Architect - Consultancy - Permanent - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCSenior consultant/ Solution ArchitectNSW
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer -NetApp & TSMNSW
- TPSenior IT Business AnalystVIC
- CCDevops EngineerNSW
- FTLevel 3 EngineerNSW
- CCData ArchitectNSW
- TPInformation Management SpecialistVIC
- CCFirewall EngineerNSW
- FTSolutions Software DeveloperVIC
- CCLevel 2 Helpdesk Support (CISCO)QLD
- CCSenior Networks Specialist - DNS PlatformVIC
- CCSystems Engineer (Infra)NSW
- TPWinforms DevelopersWA
- CCSAP/ Nakisa Implementation ConsultantQLD
- CCData Analyst - AutoHaulWA
- TPOrganisational Change Manager | Enterprise Information SharingQLD
- FT.Net DeveloperVIC
- TPDigital Strategist - Newcastle BasedNSW