N3II: Ninety-Nine Nights 2 Hands-On

We try out Konami's upcoming sequel to the Xbox 360 slashfest.

Konami had the upcoming sequel to 2006's dramatic Xbox 360 stabfest on display at its press event last night. N3II: Ninety-Nine Nights 2 is a "sequel" in the vein of the Final Fantasy games; it features a new cast but has a host of consistent elements. Therefore, N3 serves up another adventure that finds a disparate collection of fighters, including heroes, nobles, thieves, and some shady folks, fighting to save the land from the forces of darkness. We had the chance to try out two missions from the upcoming game that gave us an idea of what to expect from the ambitious sequel as well as the promised gameplay improvements and online modes.

N3II: Ninety-Nine Nights 2 offers a new dose of action centered on the clash between the forces of light and darkness. As in the original game, you'll eventually be able to play as different heroes from different walks of fantasy life. This time out the game will feature five heroes. Galen is a human soldier, Sephia is a female noble, Maggni is a massive brute, Zazi is another soldier, and Levv is a goblin assassin. The game's story will weave around the paths of each character as they engage the forces of dark and light--it seems like they're not all paragons of virtue.

The demo on hand offered two missions to try: Orphea Castle Gates and The Behemoth. Orphea Castle Gates was a straightforward rush that doles out various objectives as you accomplish certain tasks. The level kicked off at a drawbridge in front of the castle, which was under siege. You're initially sent in to drive off the evildoers and reach a waypoint shown on the map displayed in the upper right corner of the screen.

Once you reach it, you're tasked with destroying three mystic enemy generators that are summoning droves of beasties. Your targets are conveniently highlighted on your map, so finding them won't be much work, but dealing with the mobs of enemies will offer some challenge. Besides the hordes of cannon fodder clogging your route to the generators, each also has a particularly tough guardian, so we got to try out N3II's refined combat system, which expands on the original game.

You'll still have different attack strengths, grabs, and a jump mapped to the Xbox 360 face buttons. As well as that system, the aura spark attack, which is a super attack that expends the energy you collect from taking out enemies, is back; one thing that appears to be out is managing non-player character guards. A new wrinkle to the combat system is the ability to trigger four skills by holding the left trigger and hitting the A, B, X, or Y buttons.

Galen was able to trigger an earthquake that caused damage in a decent radius around him, perform a powerful charge that damaged anything in his way, perform a powerful slash at anything in front of him, and temporarily boost his attacks. The skills are part of the game's new enhanced customization system that will let you spend the experience you earn at the end of every level to unlock new skills you can equip.

While we didn't see exactly how the unlocking system is going to work, Konami reps stated that the system will feature a broad array of skills that fall into different categories, such as defense and offense. Apparently the system will let you mix skills to create an insane number of different combinations. Our time in the demo ended when, after taking out the generators and triggering another set of enemies, a massive golem came out and stomped us into a smear.

The Behemoth level was a considerably shorter experience and offered a taste of how hard the game is going to get and the scale of the ambitious bosses. The level was very straightforward: we just had to wade through mobs of enemies while making our way to the enormous creature, who was naturally spewing fire bolts at us the whole time.

Upon reaching the monster, we took to slashing its massive hands while avoiding fire, enemies, spells from two shaman types hanging out next to him, and physical swipes at us. It did not go so well. After getting fried to a crisp a few times by the massive, screen-filing Middle-earth balrog thing, we had a chat with reps on hand who helped our egos by letting us know we were actually playing a portion of the last level of the game and facing off against the game's final boss.

N3's thirst for blood remains unslaked.

While we didn't get a chance to try any of the game's online features, Konami reps outlined a solid assortment of cooperative and competitive online modes set to be included in the sequel. You'll be able to play cooperatively with friends in self-explanatory campaign, survival, and escort modes. In addition, race mode will offer a competitive challenge as you try to rack up more kills than your opponent on levels. The game will also feature online leaderboards that will let you see how you stack up against other players.

N3II's visuals are on par with the original game, although despite the demo's unfinished state, the game seems to run more smoothly. While this may not sound too dazzling initially, the sheer volume of stuff happening onscreen is pretty impressive. The various spells and attacks have flashy animations and special effects that are nicely done. From what we played, there didn't appear to be anything as insane as some of the screen-filling madness seen in the first game, but it still looked pretty sharp. We're hoping that we'll see some of this once we get our hands on a more complete version of the game that lets us try out all the characters.

So far, N3II: Ninety-Nine Nights 2 feels comfortably familiar in terms of gameplay. There don't seem to be any drastic tweaks to the core action controls from the original game. We're eager to see more of the customization elements and how they'll develop over the course of the game. More importantly, we're hungry to see how the game's online modes will handle--we're always up for some good online co-op experiences, and those in Ninety-Nine Nights 2 sound pretty appealing. N3II: Ninety-Nine Nights 2 is slated to ship this June exclusively for the Xbox 360.

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35 comments
xionomiaou
xionomiaou

the first was one of my favorites... ...the second looks even better.. no comparsion with dynasty warriors ect...its better by far....

i_love_my_ds
i_love_my_ds

Doesn't sound too exciting. The first one got boring after only a little while. I want it to be good for a few hours of hack n' slash, maybe for a rental only

armedvigilante
armedvigilante

i played the demo i think its actually kinda fun

bikerlover
bikerlover

Too bad Inphyy is not included in this new sequel. Why?? How i wish to use her again to kick some ass!!

MasterOfSprites
MasterOfSprites

It looks horrible, why can't they come up with some great fighting and intellegent AI to match. But no, lets just leave the AI stupid and keep our generic fighting. Brilliant!

DamnedApples
DamnedApples

As a player of both DW (3-->6) and L4D(1-2) i'd love to see a game that combined the hack n' slash warfare of DW and the AI quality found in L4D. I don't mind if the common foot soldiers have simply movements, but it wouldn't hurt to give the officers some intelligence and diversity--instead of where they (like in Lu Bu's case) run after me swinging wildly until a get within a specified distance of them and then retreat to their base.

JustWiicredible
JustWiicredible

It looks like a game i've probably played a million times before. *sighs*

grasshopper6
grasshopper6

oh man it's only on 360 it sounds interesting

ReaversRevenge
ReaversRevenge

i hated the first one based on the difficulty. this looks ....alright?

raith616
raith616

lol bout time the first ones nearly a distant memory

MrBubblezz
MrBubblezz

Well, this is 5000000000000000 x more better than dynasty warriors, which I have to say, is one of the most horrible games ever. If only Dynasty Warriors made their newer ones like their older ones... Anyway, I will keep my eye on this one. I played the 1st one awhile ago and I actually thought it was pretty challenging. Still, I will probably rent this and try it out first

Psy_m_on
Psy_m_on

acidrain1976, since N3 was released in 2006 you can't say they stole the hole orb collecting thing cause they used it then to ^_^

stevenrkorea
stevenrkorea

Just a short message to everyone that complains about the AI in games like this. The AI has to be stupid in a game where you fight thousands of enemies at the same time. If the AI was smart, 1000 guys would just surround you and murder you. Think about it.

acidrain1976
acidrain1976

Looks decent enough... but what's all the "orb absorbing" in games these days? Time to change that up, I think.

johny300
johny300

looks better than dinasty warriors .ai is weak i bet that only the boss battles are tough

fend_oblivion
fend_oblivion

"N3II: Ninety-Nine Nights 2 feels comfortably familiar in terms of gameplay. There don't seem to be any drastic tweaks to the core action controls from the original game." That doesn't sound good...

Twin-Blade
Twin-Blade

AI does look average, which I don't mind. N3 was a game I just played as a stress ball & I loved it. I don't like the dual weapons though. Inphyy & Aspharr were fun to play with their single weapons. The main character looks pretty solid, but the dual weapons will probably give off a feel like Dwingvatt, who is small & agile. That's what made N3 I think, the feel of the combat. Maybe we'll get to swap weapons out this time for a totally different setup. I still doubt this guy will be as cool as Inphyy though.

Psy_m_on
Psy_m_on

"there didn't appear to be anything as insane as some of the screen-filling madness seen in the first game" SigH* The more mobs the better, and yes if the graphics needs to get lowered by it, np. And your not gonna tell me these characters got these devastating full-blue-meter actions they got in the first, that was amazing bout N3 with the framerate that getted lower so you feeled you was like doiing a rly powerfull move ... now they just make it more a (commercial) simulair hack n slash game. and where's the pvp mode? Anyway, i'm still rly excited for this :)

Kaeban
Kaeban

I dont think we should judge the AI of the game so early, i mean, yeah, it looks a little dumb but the player got hit at least twice and maybe this is the first lvl and difficulty will grow later on...

ahpuck
ahpuck

woah, AI is a dumb as an anvil, they all stand around him waiting for their turn to get cut in half. wouldn't touch this game if it was free.

squidracerX
squidracerX

@TKO59 oh man he is a supper gay like he cooks meals for you? so this is just western dynasty warriors?

duwin2008
duwin2008

1 more must buy,must have,must play

TKO59
TKO59

it looks ok BUT did anyone notice that he was surrounded by a 100 enemies and got a 130 combo in 2 sec. but no one actually touched him, either the player is supper awsome or the game is supper easy :S cm on gimme a break all u do is clearing 100's of enemies in one blow ,whats the fun in that?? and YES roland123_basic Richardo does sound VERY supper gay :S

BFKZ
BFKZ

looks good :)

Roland123_basic
Roland123_basic

is it just me or does Richardo sound SUPER FLAMER gay in this video.... he has the lisp and everything. anyhow, game looks decent, atleast an improvement over the first.

Gamewako
Gamewako

There is a reason they call them Hack & Slash games. Though I'd much rather play Sengoku Basara 3 anyday...I'm still waiting for an English release Capcom. :(

alkaline_DnB
alkaline_DnB

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

socforlife
socforlife

those special moves look pro:P but it looks pretty simple

FaintRain
FaintRain

it might be good but it seems a bit repetitive

Hanzoadam
Hanzoadam

Looks good, the last one was very disapointing