A follow up to 2006's rather disappointing prequel, Ninety-Nine Nights 2 (or N3-2 if you're cool) is built on the same core idea of pitting furiously spinning fantasy warriors against hundreds of enemies at a time. The good news is that N3-2 is an improvement on the first with a new multiplayer co-op mode and five different warriors to choose from. The bad is that like the first, things often get very repetitive. Still if the idea of brutal thousand hit combos performed on hundreds of hapless enemies sounds like your bag, read on.
The land of Orphea is being ravaged by the Lord of Night and his abundant armies and it's up to five brave heroes to battle their way through millions of monsters in order to restore peace. Each character brings their own perspective to the struggle although none of them are particularly distinct. The story is as well is pretty standard fantasy fare and, told as it is through laborious and poorly voiced cut-scenes, lacks any spark. Thankfully the cut-scenes can be skipped and they don't really affect the gameplay in any way. Like most hack-n-slash games it's all about the action.
Progressing through the game's levels involves meeting various objectives such as opening gates, hitting switches and helping defenders but of course you have to fight to achieve them, and fight a lot. At first being faced by thousands of foes is quite daunting but thankfully each character is equipped with a great number of spectacular spinning combo moves that make short work of even the most persistent pest. On top of this are the magic powers that when used correctly can fling dozens of enemies into the air or crush them in earthquakes and the like. Unleashing magical attacks are useful in that they scatter everyone around you giving valuable breathing room when surrounded. All in all however the minor enemies don't provide much of a challenge and it can get tedious hacking through so many of them. Bizarrely they don't protest much if you just run past them and most will just stand near you smiling and waiting to get hit.
There is a lot of challenge however to be found in the game's bosses, many of whom can fell you in just a few strikes. In typical hack-n-slash fashion they are huge beasts that tower over you and whose attacks are very hard to avoid. More so in this game as it is sometimes nigh on impossible to even get close enough to attack them without suffering a bone crunching slap to the chops. To make matters worse you'll often by under assault by hordes of respawning enemies at the same time. These boss encounters are extremely difficult and stand in stark contrast to most of the simple button-bashing that comprises the bulk of the main game.
Progressing through the game unlocks new skills and magic attacks that increase the power of your character. New equipment and weapons all come with their own special effects and damage properties that can give you the edge in battle, but none of them are really as effective as just hitting the attack button over and over again until everybody is dead, which is a shame as games like God of War demonstrate how effective and satisfying swords and sorcery can really be when given more thought. But for those who don't mind the more repetitive gaming experience and still want to see truly epic battles on their console there is still a lot to enjoy here. Though I bet you won't get past the first few bosses. Good luck!
6 out of 10