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Q4 2007



- Looks and sounds nice

- The levels where you chase people are fun



- The other levels are not so fun

- Only classic controls work well; Wiimote controls are horrible

- Older gamers may have trouble getting into the story



Review: Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

Review: Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz (Wii)

Review: Psychonauts (XB)



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NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams

Score: 6.5 / 10


nights journey of dreams          nights journey of dreams preview


Since it first came out on the Saturn, quite a few gamers have clamored for a sequel to NiGHTS.  It took what seemed like an eternity for it to actually happen, but we’ve finally gotten that sequel.  The end result is game that is reasonably fun to play, with a nice aesthetic style.  However, the way in which it uses the Wiimote is clumsy and awkward, and some will feel that the game is directed too much toward a younger audience, making it difficult to relate to the events in NiGHTS.


Its funny how so many developers are starting to offer both a fancy way of controlling their games via the Wiimote that requires plenty of hand flailing and whatnot, while at the same time also including a more traditional control scheme.  This in and of itself may not seem that funny, but what does is how the vast majority of the time the traditional control scheme works much, much better.  This proves to be the case in NiGHTS.  With the fancy controls, everything is extremely unresponsive, and it becomes frustratingly difficult to perform many of the different maneuvers possible in the game.  Even a simple loop-dee-loop becomes a tremendous pain in the butt.  Note to developers: if your control scheme is so bad that you have to include some tradition style of controls, don’t bother with the fancy controls.  You’re just wasting both your time, and the time of those who are trying to play your game.





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As players figure out that they should stay with the classic controls in NiGHTS, they will follow the stories of a pair of pre-teen young’uns, Helen and Willian, who get sucked into the dream world of Nightopia so to escape some of the unpleasantness of the real world.  Sega put a lot of time into the story, but it’s hard to care


much about it because, for one, it feels geared a bit too much towards a younger audience, and also the way the story is told, it feels ham-fisted in the way it tries to emphasize some of its themes.  Moreover, there’s just so much talking.  The way the game flows, a more concise story would have been much more welcome.


The gameplay itself is usually pretty fun.  There is quite a bit of time dedicated to chasing down specific enemies to get keys off of them, while racing against the clock.  After chasing down all of these bad guys, one has to face off against a boss character.  Early on in the game, these boss fights are pretty neat, but the fun trails off a fair bit as one progresses further.  There are also some levels that offer other activities like collecting objects and what not, but they are not nearly as fun as the levels that have you chasing people around.  Worst of all are the parts of NiGHTS where one has to take control of Helen or William.  These stages are horrifically mundane platformer levels that should have been kept out of the game.  They are just so utterly pointless and boring compared to when one controls NiGHTS.


nights journey of dreams          nights journey of dreams


Style-wise, the worlds that one can explore in NiGHTS look quite nice.  They all have a nice, fantastical motif to them both in terms of environments, and those that inhabit them.  At the same time, the music does a good job of walking the line between ambient and cartoony, which as an interesting thing to hear.  There is a little bit slowdown at times when things get hectic, but it didn’t happen too terribly often.


As it stands, NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams has its moments, but the fun is way too inconsistent to make the game worth picking up unless you can find it at a substantial discount.  Flying around, chasing stuff is fun, but much of the other elements of the game only subtracts from this.  Save this one for a rental or the bargain bin.


Jeff Nash

March 25, 2008

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