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Nights into Dreams Review


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On 10/19/2012 at 03:30 PM by Nick DiMola

This gorgeous remake deserves better controls.
RECOMMENDATION:

For anyone that’s been interested to try out the game without access to a Saturn.

Nights Into Dreams has unquestionably been treated with love in its transformation into HD. The Japanese exclusive PlayStation 2 version of the game has been upscaled and displayed in wide screen, making the once blocky presentation smooth and vibrant. Even the sprites were upgraded to 3D objects, providing some extra visual flair. Heck, Sega even included a trimmed version of Christmas Nights for good measure. However, the port suffers from the same botched controls found in that PlayStation 2 version of the game and the rough patches of the experience persist despite the loving upgrade.

While Nights enjoys a cult status, many gamers still have no idea what the title is all about. Nights Into Dreams masquerades as a surreal racing game wherein the flying, titular Nights dashes around a 2D course (presented in 3D) collecting orbs and flying through rings. However, a race it is not, but rather a uniquely arranged score attack game that requires some well planned and executed strategies.

If it sounds confusing, it’s because it is, at least at first. Making matters worse, the original game and this remake explain absolutely none of this. 100% of your Nights experience is trial and error (or YouTube) until you understand the way it works. The boss fights that conclude each stage do offer some pointers… after you fail, making it somewhat easier to hop in and succeed the next time around. It’s a real shame that proper tutorials weren’t included, giving players the tools they need to score well.

Once you get the hang of the game, you’ll find yourself zipping and zooming from orb to ring to diamond in an attempt to keep your link going. If you take too long to hit the next item on the stage, your link will end and you’ll ultimately score less. The window to hit the next item to keep the link going is very small, so accurate control is absolutely crucial.

Control problems represent yet another misstep for Nights Into Dreams HD. Rather than the extremely smooth input offered by the Saturn’s 3D controller, the game interprets your inputs less gracefully causing Nights to make jerkier movements, making it very hard to successfully link many items.

Outside of these two issues, the HD port was done extremely well. The game looks fantastic and an original version of the game is included alongside the rare Christmas Nights bonus. It’s disappointing to see the Sonic Easter egg removed, but having the game available at all is a welcomed bonus.

If you are able to get a hang of the controls, building strategies to perform the greatest number of links in each leg of course within the time limit is extremely rewarding. With each pass through the game’s small set of levels you’ll grow more proficient at building links and more complex strategies to score higher and higher.

Diehard Nights fans may want to pass on this upgrade because of the aforementioned issues, but newcomers should absolutely check out this unique element of Sega’s history because it can be quite an engaging and entertaining experience when everything comes together. Should a patch be released to fix the control problems, everyone should give this beloved title a shot.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

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