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Old 02-16-2008, 01:35 PM   #61
murray
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Good review seraph, even if you dont understand what irony is , imo MP3 is the best game on Wii.
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Old 02-22-2008, 04:32 AM   #62
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Nintendo Wii
1-2 Players
Developer - Sega Studio USA
Publisher - Sega

My Bias
-Was really hyped over trying Nights (never played Saturn version)

My Completion
Both children beaten with true ending unlocked

Story
Nights JoD is about two troubled British kids (Will and Helen) who journey to the land of dreams in their sleep. It’s there they meet with NiGHTS and try to save the dream world from evil nightmares.

The whole story comes off as childish. Were not talking “fun for the family” childish like your average Disney movie, were talking morning pre-school cartoon childish. There were many points that I felt embarrassed to play this game.

Most of the plot is the tried and true textbook childhood story. Main villain sends off minions to stop heroes, minions fail and come back saying “forgive me master”. This repeats until the villain finally deals with things himself, spouting lines like “So be it, your fate is sealed”. It’s not to be taken too seriously but if you view the story for what it is, directed at children, then it can still be enjoyable. Having not experienced a Nights game before, NiGHTS (the actual purple jesters name is spelt like this) is a very lively character. In this game most of the characters come off as bland but NiGHTS and Reala really stand out.

However if there is one thing Sega did right it’s the ending. I wont spoil it but it gives off that awesome “hell yes” feeling that the end of the Sonic Adventure games do. Being the emotional wuss that I am, I got all watery eyed.

Graphics
Supports 16:9 Widescreen and Progressive Scan

This game looks like a pretty Dreamcast game. The environments and the character models have a very blocky look and some pretty muddy textures. If this is supposed to be one of Sega’s big name games, then it’s a disappointment in this regard. It is nowhere near the graphical polish of games like Mario Galaxy.

Despite that it’s not up to par on a technical level, the art and design is very good. Areas don’t end up looking ugly because they are full of some great color work and dazzling effects. In addition to that, gameplay is made up mostly of fast constantly moving scenes which helps hide the blocky nature of everything.


Really blocky but still pretty


During cut scenes and occasionally during gameplay the frame rate will drop to disgusting levels. I have no idea why this happens because the game certainly isn’t pushing large polygonal counts. It comes off looking sloppy and like an unfinished project.

Music
Fan-freaking-tastic. This is definitely one of the best game soundtracks this generation. Sega has a reputation for making great game soundtracks and they did not slack off with Nights.

Each Nightopia world has a theme and every stage in the world remixes the theme a different way. So not only do you have a bunch of good BGM’s you get different versions of each one (Violin, Piano). The Nights theme is remixed a lot, but that’s totally acceptable as its one of the best video game themes of all time.

The soundtrack gives this game a lot of feeling or what I like to call “soul”. Many games nowadays feel empty but the wonderful soundtrack in Nights brings it to life. The music literally fuels this game and is one of the few soundtracks I want to buy from 2007.

Gameplay
Nights JoD at its core are a score attack game. The main game puts you in control of NiGHTS as he/she fly’s along a set path through the stage. The objective is to fly through the stage navigating rings (much like Star Fox) and collecting blue spheres to try and get the highest score possible.

The controls for this game are both fine and a disappointment. Let’s get the disappointment out of the way. As stated above in my bias, I was very hyped for this game. Pre-release Sega representatives kept saying that the reason Nights was finally making a re-appearance was because the Wii Remote was the kind of innovative control scheme they had been waiting for. But then the game came out and the Wii controls are absolutely terrible. Do yourself a favor and don’t try the Wii controls for this game.

On the other hand, connecting the Nunchuk and controlling the traditional way works great. Flying Nights around feels very tight and I was never frustrated with the controls using this method.

This isn’t a very hard game. The only times I died or got a bad score was because I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing (which happens a lot). However getting A grades on each stage is a tough task that requires a lot of practice by repetition.

The flying missions of Nights JoD are where the fun lies and what there should have been more of. You always start these modes off playing as one of the kids, which I don’t understand at all. There is nothing to do when you’re the kid and the container to transform into NiGHTS is always right in front of you. Once you transform into NiGHTS the fun begins. You guide him/her down a set 2D path and try to achieve the highest score possible while chasing this bird for its key to end the level. Since time is one of the things that affect your score it’s important to catch the bird fast. After each Ring/Sphere you collect, if you get to another one within 1-2 seconds it creates a chain combo. The higher your chains, the higher your score. A lot of the fun involves trying to figure out how to keep your chain going.


Best part of the game

Of course NiGHTS has some special abilities to help make chains easier to get. NiIGHTS can Drill Dash which makes him/her fly at about twice the speed but he/she’s unable to turn while doing so. At anytime you may Paraloop (just fly in a loop) and it will collect everything contained within that loop. There are also different masks NiGHTS can put on using the D-pad that will transform him/her into different things. These transformations have different strengths and weaknesses. For instance the Dolphin mask lets you swim but is terrible in the air and the Rocket mask lets you dash at high speeds but is horrible at turning.

At the end of each flying mission there is a boss. Some of the bosses are pretty clever and others are very frustrating. However once you figure out how to beat them they make a nice addition to the end of a flying run.


Most pathetic boss ever

When you get into the groove of these flying missions, start forming your own strategies for high-scores and pulling things off with expert precision this game is VERY fun. If the entire game was made up of nothing but these flying score attack missions it would be one of my favorite games on Wii.

The key word there is “if”. Unfortunately in typical modern Sega fashion they throw in a ton of forced, not-fun things to drag their great game down.

The first of which are the on foot missions with the Kids. These missions feel clunky, needless and I question how much time was even spent creating them. Even now after beating the entire game I don’t understand what the real point of them was. You play as either Will or Helen and simply have to walk them from point A to point B. There are barley any enemies across the way, and the few that there are cant even kill you (just knock 5 seconds off your time when you get hit). And don’t confuse this platforming with great platformers like Mario Galaxy, the Kids walk and jump stiffer than a character from Grand Theft Auto 3.


Oh please make it stop

Then there are the vehicle missions….. Remember when I said there were parts of this game that made me feel embarrassed to be playing it? These are it. First please look at this picture.


Words cannot express my disgust

That is not a joke, and yes NiGHTS really does turn himself into vehicles. Let me quote this picture for emphasis: “Use Coaster NiGHTS to chase after the Nightopians on the roller coaster!” Read that and think about it for a second. Have some dignity Sega. To go along with how retarded it all is, these modes don’t play very well either.

Nights JoD is full of fully voiced cut scenes. For some reason everyone in this game is British, which isn’t a problem I just found it strange. There are rumors circulating around this game that these cut scenes aren’t skippable and that’s partially correct. You can’t skip them the very first time you see them, but after completing the associated mission you can replay the stages without having to watch cut scenes again. The voice acting quality in these cut scenes depends on who’s talking. NiGHTS and Reala both sound pretty good, but the two kids sound horrible and their accents sound fake. The motion and chorography during these scenes is pretty bad. For instance the kids will stand 6 feet away from each other and make huge over-the-head arching waves goodbye as if they were 40 feet away.


Nights JoD: Serious Business

Remember Chaos in the Sonic Adventure games? This game has a similar mode where you take care of Nightopians. This one is even harder to figure out though, and I cared even less about it than I did for Chaos so I can’t tell you much about this mode. You will have to read some other review. I also can’t tell you anything about the games online modes since it seems I’m the only soul on the planet that bought this fun game.

However I dont want to end my gameplay impressions on a bad note as I feel it would do this game a diservice. It needs to be said agian that the flying missions in this game are really fun and I feel make the game worthwhile..

Lasting Appeal
It takes about 6 hours to beat both sides of the game. Nights is a score attack game so much of the replay value consists of going back and redoing stages for a better score.

Final Thoughts
Nights Journey of Dreams reminds me of most Sega games as of late. It’s like Sega paints beautiful masterpieces then punches holes straight through them.

This game isn’t for everyone and is definitely a niche game. If this games concept doesn’t interest you then chances are you won’t enjoy it. Unless you’re really hooked on the idea, rent this first. Personally I thought it was fun and worth the experience.

Gameplay Video

Last edited by Seraph; 08-04-2009 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 02-22-2008, 05:12 AM   #63
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This is why not even a Panzer Dragoon Saga sequel can save Sega. They seem to screw everything up now. Though I am not implying that Nights on the Saturn was anywhere near the level of PDS.
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Old 02-22-2008, 05:23 AM   #64
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Well in Segas defense, like I stated in my review the flying sections of game are really fun. Its just a shame you need to weed through so many un-fun parts to enjoy them.

Also, video finally finished and added to the review.
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Old 02-22-2008, 12:06 PM   #65
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Good review Seraph.

You're right that the flying sequences are the best part of the game. Fairly enjoyable. It seems a lot easier to get a good score on a level in the Wii game compared to the Saturn game which graded much more harsh. I'm using the classic controller and it feels good and I typically have no problems with the control.
I still haven't figured out exactly what the point of "My Dream" is. I do know that it is the only part of the game that uses real time weather. I was in My Dream when it was snowing outside and it was snowing in the game. I don't understand how that area gets populated with items. Do you know Seraph?

I bought this game used. After reading all the reviews and hearing all the hate on different forums I knew it wouldn't be long before a used version showed up at a local store. I'm not talking about Gamestop used where they hack a lousy $5 off but a true local game store that had it for $20 less then the new price. Anyways that's neither here nor there.
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Old 02-22-2008, 01:40 PM   #66
Seraph
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Originally Posted by Vicviper View Post
I still haven't figured out exactly what the point of "My Dream" is. I do know that it is the only part of the game that uses real time weather. I was in My Dream when it was snowing outside and it was snowing in the game. I don't understand how that area gets populated with items. Do you know Seraph?
It looks to me like a virtual pet simulator. Much like the Chao garden in the Sonic Adventure games. I also dont understand how it gets populated with items nor if there was any point to it outside of being a pet sim. With so many games to play, it didnt look worth my time.

I did go into the myDream world on christmas day and it played the Christmas Nights theme so that was cool.
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Old 02-22-2008, 03:54 PM   #67
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why oh WHY does NiGHTS talk in this game?! Shut up! You and Reala were far more endearing and enigmatic when you were mutes!


Also, as for the on-foot roaming, I think I can see why they wanted to put more of that in the sequel. In the original, they made all these levels that looked like they put some work into designing them, but the average player just flies right past them as NiGHTS. I know you have to walk on foot if you run out of time, but that's often not the case.

I guess they wanted to immerse players in the levels more and heighten the feeling of flying by grounding players for longer periods of time. But I've heard a lot of people complain about the on-foot stuff in this game, so I guess there is a disparity between what sounds ideal and how it actually works in a real game. I haven't played this sequel, so I dunno.


ALSO, this game seems more successful as a sequel to NiGHTS than most of the Sonic sequels in recent times. I wish Sonic Team could realize that nonstop speedruns and level gimmicks are a good thing for NiGHTS, not for Sonic.
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:13 PM   #68
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I've yet to play this game but I really want to get my hands on it eventually.

I tend to be overly optimistic about games lately and it seems that flaws tend to pass under my radar pretty easily. I have a feeling I'll really enjoy NiGHTS without getting caught up in any of the flaws along the way.

The gameplay videos look awesome, even the on-foot portions don't look half as grueling as people say they are.

The only thing I can really vouch for here is the awesome soundtrack, which I'm actually listening to as I type this (I've been listening to one track for the past three days. Obsessive much?).

Things that are just plain silly I tend to make light of. Like when you go see a movie like "Domino" and feel like you got your money's worth because you laughed at how ridiculous it was. I have a feeling that's how parts of the game like 'Coaster NiGHTS' will be with me. Make the bad feel comical. Make the good feel awesome.
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Old 02-23-2008, 02:42 AM   #69
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Great review. I'll pick this up for cheap sometime... I just ordered the Japanese PS2 special edition of the original game, which is enhanced with better textures and 16:9 display and includes a hardcover art book. Whoo!
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Old 02-23-2008, 02:58 AM   #70
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The Saturn version had 16:9, so the PS2 version is certainly not unique in that regard. However I think I'd probably rather play the PS2 remake than the new Wii version.
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Old 02-23-2008, 03:47 AM   #71
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Shocked

Really Joe? Doesn't 16:9 require component video cables or better?
I guess I have to bow to your retro gaming knowledge; I was a huge Saturn fanatic during its day, but mine isn't even hooked up any more. Still have a great collection of games for it though.

Edit:

Yep, checked online and you're right, of course. Learn something new about technology every day... But I found these impressions of Saturn Nights' widescreen mode:

NiGHTS I haven't tested, but I've been told that all sprite items will appear stretched in widescreen, while the polygonal items are proportionally correct.

Nights has a widescreen option but it really isn't that impressive due to the large amount of sprite based objects and enemies in the game.

We'll have to assume the PS2 version does it a little better. I'll post impressions when the game comes in about 2 weeks.
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Old 02-23-2008, 05:40 AM   #72
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16:9 is just a shape. RF can do it.
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Old 02-23-2008, 01:37 PM   #73
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The PS2 version of NiGHTS is pretty cool. It includes both the Saturn version and the reworked PS2 version, and your progress in the game is saved for both versions. The first time I played the PS2 version, I was pretty stunned by the new clarity and smoothness of the graphics. The game plays exactly the same, though (which is good).

Unfortunately, the extra stuff like the music mode and Sonic mode seem to be missing. There is one option on the main menu that you have to unlock, but I don't know if it's the 2 player mode or Christmas mode.
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Old 02-23-2008, 10:11 PM   #74
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I checked out videos of the remake but something bothered me. Was Nights always so big on the screen? It looks like its a lot harder to navigate through rings that way.

It's a shame we will never get the PS2 remake in America, I was looking forward to it.
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:52 PM   #75
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The PS2 version of NiGHTS is pretty cool. It includes both the Saturn version and the reworked PS2 version, and your progress in the game is saved for both versions. The first time I played the PS2 version, I was pretty stunned by the new clarity and smoothness of the graphics. The game plays exactly the same, though (which is good).

Unfortunately, the extra stuff like the music mode and Sonic mode seem to be missing. There is one option on the main menu that you have to unlock, but I don't know if it's the 2 player mode or Christmas mode.
I thought about importing it too, but instead I imported Nights Saturn version. It was only like $12 shipped off Ebay as the PS2 version was over $40 on play-asia so it was a no brainer. But one day I may get the remake.
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