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Ninety-Nine Nights review

Mediocre

We had such high hopes for Ninety-Nine Nights, but sadly, this game bores us on an unacceptable number of levels. A tedious slog through an admittedly amazing number of on-screen foes, Ninety-Nine Nights lacks anything in the way of innovation or inspired design. Instead, you get a veritable Jessica Simpson of gameplay - a completely vacuous, albeit staggeringly beautiful game.

Who cares about the array of unlockable characters when they all basically handle the same? Press the X button and/or the Y button in some mashed up combinations and watch the senseless laser lightshow gush blood and body parts in glorious hi-definition. It all amounts to simply watching the game unfold before you instead of actually challenging your brain in any way at all. Even the challenge of twitching your fingers fast enough is bled of any significance as you'll frequently swing your sword (or double-bladed axe or spear...) and fail to damage bosses for no apparent reason. The difficulty of this game seems like the challenge of being mugged at gunpoint - the times you fail are always due to simply having the deck stacked unfairly against you.

Of course, you can always boost your character's "stats" (a weak attempt to add some role-playing character development) by going back through the same stale levels and beating them all over again. It's boring the first time through, but it's painfully mind-numbing the second time. Add to this the game's premise of showing one war from different angles and you end up playing through remarkably similar levels with different characters over and over again.

It's clear that renowned developer Tetsuya Mizuguchi (famous for his trippy puzzle games like Rez and Lumines) had little to do with the actual gameplay and focused mainly on the plot. Unfortunately, the shoddy voice acting saps any enjoyment you could get out of the story, which seems like it could've been deep and engaging if you weren't constantly sighing at the poorly delivered dialogue. Co-developer Phantagram's (Kingdom Under Fire) one-dimensional game design trots out a mundane array of combination attacks to substitute for giving players anything to do besides press the attack buttons ad nauseum.

Sure, Ninety-Nine Nights looks hot, but there's simply nothing there... and you'll undoubtedly tire of its frustrating mediocrity within minutes. A real shame, considering we'd been promised a rich and poignant tapestry of epic adventure

More Info

Available Platforms: Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Published by: Microsoft
Developed by: Q Entertainment, Phantagram
ESRB Rating:
Rating Pending

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