Xbox 360
Games for Lunch: Ninety-Nine Nights II

Posted by Kyle Orland (September 22, 2010)

Games for Lunch chronicles the first hour of a different game every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Each hour ends with the answer to the only question that matters at that point: Do I want to keep playing? For more information, check out the Frequently Asked Questions.

Developers: Q Entertainment, Feelplus
Publisher: Konami
Release Date: June 29, 2010
System: Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: M
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Press X until everything is dead or you're bored, whichever comes first.

0:00 Can't say I'm really eager to try this one, given the generally negative reviews, but Konami sent it to me earlier this summer so it deserves at least an hour's fair attempt.

0:01 The title screen calls the game "N3II," as does the retail box. Ugh.

0:02 The options screen lets me change between UI Types A, B and C, but doesn't tell me what the difference between them is. Also, I can't seem to navigate the screen with the analog stick --- I need to use the d-pad for no apparent reason. These are small things, but they don't bode well.

0:03 I start a new game. A purplish lady's hand drops a purple gem into a shimmering armored chest. A large clawed hand reaches for the female hand. Fade to white and up to smoky battlefield. A guy with long flowing white hair kneels with a dead white-haired girl in his arms and screams. An old-fashioned map is engulfed in fire. Flaming meteors shoot down through an overcast sky. Armored goblin hordes are frozen mid-rush as the camera zooms by dramatically. A knight starts cutting through their ranks like a knife through blood-spurting butter. His helmet gets knocked off, showing long, flowing white hair, as he takes out a dozen or so goblins with a single energy slash, then stands for a dramatic pose. Then he slams his swords into the ground and summons some orange energy blades that explode to clear the area around him. What the hell is going on?

0:08 The gameplay starts on "Ninety Second Day, Orphea Castle Day." Like any game of this type, I start by just jamming the attack button, literally only moving when I run out of stuff to slash. I end up with a "569 combo," which I extended by slashing a dead goblin carcass at least a dozen times.

0:09 My wife: "So far this looks like a ĎJam A as much as you can' type of game." Me: "That's where you're wrong. I'm jamming the X button!"

0:10 My slashing is interrupted by an awkward cut scene. "Hold you ground, push them back" cries an Elf Captain as a meteor falls on the castle. The game asks me to destroy the "summoning towers" and enemies.

0:13 I literally spent the last three minutes doing nothing but hitting the X button. For my trouble, I earned a "2,000 combo," and have taken out over 100 enemies. A few enemies have managed to sneak up behind and poke me in the back, but they quickly retreat after this initial ingress. I'd hate to see how simple this would be on "Easy" difficulty.

0:15 My combo is at 2,989 hits, only because I'm running out of enemies to kill. It's not five seconds before a whole group of goblins runs right into the path of my huge swords, though. I've lost about 20% of my health to occasional poking. If I was bothering to use the thumbstick just to cover my flank occasionally, it would easily 0%.

0:16 On the plus side, the sheer scale of the enemy hordes is impressive, and they sure look purty when I slash them up. On the downside, they are dumber than a bag of rocks.

0:17 Despite not touching the control stick, my character's automatic re-orientation towards nearby enemies and slight steps forward during attacks have somehow taken me to the first summoning tower, which I promptly destroy with no trouble. I love how one button and literally NO strategy or timing has gotten me 1/3rd through the game's first major task. Let's go for three!

0:19 I fear I'll have to use the control stick when my slashing runs me straight into a wall, but luckily some enemies wedge themselves into my attack range, slowly pulling me back into the action.

0:22 I finally give up the ghost when my slashing takes me into a neglected corner of the battlefield, with no sign of any enemies to rescue me. I use the control stick to run towards the summoning towers and take them out in literally a minute. "Mission Complete," says a brief cut scene. I'm not given a new mission, as far as I can tell, but there's a flashing blue dot on the map, which is a pretty big hint in my book.

0:23 "Who is that warrior? I don't think he's with the enemy," says an Elf Captain. Gee, what was your first clue? Was it my slaughter of hundreds of "the enemy" perhaps?

0:26 "Break through calvalry units and enter the castle," says the game. The cavalry here is made up of some heavily armored centaurs. The silver ones are quite slashable, but the gold-armored one has this powerful blue-tinged charge attack that can knock me over seemingly at will. I repeatedly get knocked over just as I'm getting up, with no hope of escape. Itís not long before Iím down forthe count.

0:27 Starting way back at beginning of game gives me an excuse to actually learn how to play properly. Holding LB during my X bashing creates three circles of blue energy that emanate from my character to knock over the hordes around me. LB and Y gets a more directed energy attack that sends an arc of energy forward. Both powers seem to require quite a bit of time to recharge.

0:33 If I hold RB and wiggle the joystick I get those big, orange energy swords that I saw in the introductory movie, which do a great job of clearing out the surrounding area. I can't seem to tell when this attack is ready to use on the HUD, but it also seems to have a significant recharge time.

0:36 Simply hitting the B button to do a forward thrusting attack earns me 10 Gamerscore points for the "Respect for Individuality" achievement. Oh yeah... a thrusting attack... so original.

0:38 Back to the centaurs. I stay far away from the gold one this time, letting the silver ones follow me to the opposite end of the field so I can take them out easily. Once everyone else is dead, the computer-controlled Elf Warriors help distract the gold guy so I can get in some attacks without worrying about his charge over much. Interesting...

0:39 "You saved us. Thank you brave warrior. Report to Sir Zirrick at once. Come with us." How's that for gratitude?

0:40 I earned an A Rank and a score of 28,310 for my 317 kills and 915 max combo. In case you were curious.

0:42 My character walks down a calm castle hall, up to an empty throne. "Are you the one? The warrior who scattered the army of the night and walked into the castle through the front gates," asks a grey-bearded old sage. He's Chancellor Zirrick, and I tell him my name is Galen. "I've come to battle to Lord of the Night," I say. He finds it hard to believe I have the devotion to battle. Um, did you not just see me take out like hundreds of evil dudes?

0:43 Princess Sephia walks in. "You are telling us that you are not your enemy?" she asks "That's right," I reply. "SHOW SOME RESPECT!" cries the Chancellor. Um... was I being disrespectful?

0:45 After a whole lot of repetitive exposition about the Lord of the Night and his reign of terror, I'm asked to take an amulet to a Keep south of here and place it on an altar to "produce a shield of holy power." The shoddy writing and incomprehensible mythology is not exactly winning me over here.

0:46 I use the thousands of red orbs I've collected from dead goblins to level up twice, raising my HP, attack and speed. Then it's on to the Keep. "Come and get it," Galen says after lots of loading.

0:49 Instead of doing nothing but attacks, this time I try doing no attacks at all, simply running past the hordes of enemies gathered to greet me. This works remarkably well... they seem more than willing let let me speed by them, even turning to watch as I bump past them without bothering to attack.

0:51 I've had to attack a few times to activate some altars, and use my "unique character action" to break through some large walls. Other than that, though, my don't-attack strategy is working beautifully.

0:53 I run around a group of Elf Warriors battling some goblins hordes to get to a summoning tower. The few stragglers that escape the elves run right in to the path of my attacks. GOD are they dumb.

0:54 When I run to the next blue dot on the map, I'm told I've failed the "Rescue the Gate Guards" mission. No idea how that happened, but I can't say I really care.

0:55 The no-fighting strategy runs into a small snag when I stop to activate some sort of magic crystal and get hit by a group of far off archers. Luckily they offer almost no resistance as I run up and slaughter them mercilessly.

1:00 I spent the last five minutes figuring out that this goblin-filled dead end I ran into was not where I was supposed to be. Apparently I had to break through a wall to climb some stairs or something. Oh, has it been an hour already? I am so done.

Would I play this game for more than an hour? No.
Why? Despite some polished looks, the dumber-than-dirt AI, incoherent story and cliche environments have me eager to play anything else.

This review was based on a retail version of the game provided by the publisher.

Check out hundreds of archived Games for Lunch reviews on the official Games for Lunch blog.

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