Reviews// NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams

Posted 24 Dec 2007 13:31 by
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NiGHTS – it’s all in that lowercase ‘i’, you know. (Just like everything you need to know about SPOnG is found in the lowercase ‘n’.) I loved NiGHTS on the Saturn – it completely wrong footed everyone when it was released, and I must confess that I didn’t quite get it until a few weeks after first playing it. It was, in many ways, Yuji Naka’s challenger to Miyamoto’s Super Mario 64 (certainly much more so than the aborted Sonic Xtreme was ever going to be) – nothing like NiGHTS had even been attempted until the supremely talented Sonic Team set about making dreams playable. Even though the Saturn wasn’t designed to push polygons, NiGHTS presented a beautiful 3D world. Most important of all, it had a unique play style and a euphoric sense of freedom; and that music!

Anyway, I could talk about the original NiGHTS all day long, but that’s not the main topic here. The subject of this review is the controversial follow-up to NiGHTS on Nintendo’s Wii. Many of us had already resigned ourselves to the seemingly undeniable truth that we were never going to see a NiGHTS 2 (which is what Journey of Dreams is). Then the rumours began, and the rumours grew, and eventually Sega confirmed the rumours: incredibly, NiGHTS 2 was in development and destined for Nintendo’s wildly popular new console.

Well, now it’s here. And listen – we’ve played it enough to know that NiGHTS 2 was NOT worth waiting a decade for, and that the original is NEVER likely to be bettered. That’s the disappointing conclusion.


(Oh crap, was that some negative form of literary premature ejaculation? What are we going to talk about now?)

But don’t go away just yet. Journey of Dreams, in spite of this, is not a disaster. It’s just badly misguided in several areas.

For a start, the story: What is this? Not only are NiGHTS and Reala capable of speaking out loud, they also have annoying voices and talk way too much. Everyone in Journey of Dreams is suffering from verbal diarrhoea. The worst offender is a shitting owl that can’t stop saying “Hoo!”.

The game gets off to a particularly ignominious start by wasting ten minutes of your time with an unskippable broadcast of this crapfest. NiGHTS: Into Dreams was much quieter and more refined – it had class; Journey of Dreams just has a bad case of ‘games-can-be-like-Hollywood’-itis. There’s owl crap dropping all over the place, so you’d better watch your head.

Misstep no. 2: flying is limited. NiGHTS is about flying through dreams and paralooping and being free and collecting collectables; and flying to defeat big bad bosses. It is NOT about simulating the 3D platforming action of a first-generation PlayStation game. But Sonic Team USA seems to have thought it would be OK to tamper with the NiGHTS formula by introducing some horrible, ugly 3D platforming sections. Fortunately these stages don’t take up too much of the game, but there’s nothing joyful about them – they’re just unnecessary and offensive chores to work through between flying levels.
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Alexandre 24 Dec 2007 17:30
lol @ SPOnG reviews

I've been visiting the site for some time, and i find that is a shame to say things like this, "this game should not be in this console but in another one its better". "This console its best and bla bla". That is not a game review, its a sad comment by a reviewer and the game review loses all the credibility. Just an opinion...
DoctorDee 24 Dec 2007 20:05
How can you say what is, and what is not, a game review?

A review is the opinion of one person, and this person thinks that NiGHTS would be better on PS3 or 360 than on Wii. I am inclined to agree with him. Unless the developers make good use of the Wii's unique control interface, then what's the point?

You can't honestly believe that the game would not look better on PS3 or 360! Maybe you are a fan of the Wii... but you have got to admit that only when its unique qualities are used can it compare to the other two consoles. NiGHTS doesn't use those qualities.

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StevieP 24 Dec 2007 21:41
If the reviewer (and one of the commenters) had some background knowledge on this game that is being reviewed, they already know a couple things. First off, at its conceptual stage, Nights 2 WAS originally slated as a PS360 game, but that was dropped quickly after they realized the sheer cost of a PS360 project. Yes, the game could certainly "look" better on those platforms, but at a much higher cost. I mean, the game could certainly look a lot better on the Wii, too, but clearly there are sections that look sub-ps2 (alongside the decent, x-box looking sections) so do you honestly think that Sega gave this team enough time and budget to make even a decent looking Wii game, through and through? Nevermind the extra cost, time and resources it would require to go HD.

While it's quite obvious that the team couldn't get a decent Wii-exclusive control scheme together, it's also pretty obvious that if this game weren't on the Wii, it might not have existed in the first place. Having a lower cost-of-entry is definately the blessing or curse of the Wii. Can't wait to read this reviewer's "review" on the upcoming Samba De Amigo
ajmetz 24 Dec 2007 22:36
I had fears about this sequel. Sounds like most of my fears were well placed.
Was contemplating getting a Wii just for NiGHTS:JOD, but will probably wait for some other reasons to buy one, and go downstairs and switch my Saturn on, for another blast of Christmas NiGHTS. =)

P.S. As for the Wii/360/PS3 debate, NiGHTS would work best on PS2, let's face it. Despite high-score point collecting being a traditional hardcore gamer's persuit, nowerdays, the hardcore gamer is into FPS or Racing mainly, and this is what PS3 and 360 audiences are into. Nintendo audiences are more open to Sonic, Mario, NiGHTS, etc, and PS2 audience is the mainstream/majority/most matured market that caters for all tastes. The point about the controls is reasonable to make, but target demographic should also be taken into consideration. Let's hope the original NiGHTS comes out on Virtual Console though, or that the Japanese only PS2 remake gets a western release. More people need to experience the original magic of NiGHTS...or even Christmas NiGHTS, which I think was slightly better than NiGHTS.
DoctorDee 25 Dec 2007 10:10
StevieP wrote:
While it's quite obvious that the team couldn't get a decent Wii-exclusive control scheme together, it's also pretty obvious that if this game weren't on the Wii, it might not have existed in the first place.

That's a fair point, and I know that for many people that in itself is enough. But it's only fair to let those people know that instead of the NiGHTS experience they know and love with a stunning new control method, they are going to get another Wii game that takes an established game mechanic and grafts Wii controls onto it in a rather awkward manner. While that's understandable (if not acceptable) on ports, Journey of Dreams was written from the ground up for Wii, and we could reasonably have expected more.

As for the 360 Version being too expensive - I personally do not believe that every game has to fall into the spiralling production costs trap. This happens frequently because of expensive motion capture and voice acting costs. Sonic Team would not have incurred these costs on Journey into Dreams. And production costs are irrelevant if you write a successful game, and sell the numbers. Are we saying that NiGHTS could never be a successful game?

The Absinthe Review Network 26 Dec 2007 15:42
Sure a 360 version could have been made, but a lot people would have seen it as heresy, especially given the buddy-buddy relationship of Sega and Nintendo the past year.

But yes, I agree with you that this new Wii iteration is lacking. Personally I kept hoping from the bottom of my heart that it would live up to the original, but after playing it...:(

Tim Smith 28 Dec 2007 12:35
The Absinthe Review Network wrote:

Brilliant - an absinthe review site.

Back on topic though... I am always open to alternative reviews from readers. So, if you've really got a (wish)bone to pick and want to see your review published, please send it to


headcasephil 30 Dec 2007 19:29
i think sega have made a good choice of console if you look at money. ok so if it was on 360 or ps3 it would be in hd but that's more cost to sega. the fact that its on the wii makes development costs less wich meens more profit and as the wii is selling like hot cakes (when in stock) sony will make a lot of sale with people wanting to reply a classic and people looking for somthing new and the control problem if you look back to the original on the saturn if you did not have the 3d pad it was horrible to play and the 3d pad was not nice to use so i dont care as i still to this day love playing nights on the saturn
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