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Oct. 18 2012
NiGHTS Into Dreams - PS3 Review
Release Launch Price Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
4/10/2012$AU12.95SegaSonic Team (original)
Sega Shanghai (PS3)
Media HDD Space Resolution Move Controls Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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This really is a gorgeous looking game.
Magical. Enchanting. Stunning. Inspirational.

All these terms can be used to describe Yuji Naka and Sonic Team's 1996 Sega Saturn title NiGHTS Into Dreams which, to this very day, remains one of the most loved Sega titles of all time. It's amazing then that while the Sega Saturn struggled the title was only re-released once, on the PS2 in 2008, but the title was never released outside Japan. Now, in late 2012, Sega are re-releasing the game through the PlayStation Store, and it's been given a decent lick of paint with a HD upgrade.

If you're looking for an in-depth story in this game, well you'll be disappointed. Essentially the game is played in human dreams in the land of Nightopia which is, of course, being overrun by the evil Wizeman. It's your role, as Claris or Elliot, to restore the lands.

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NiGHTS looks fantastic in HD guise.
Gameplay in NiGHTS Into Dreams is best described as a 2.5D side scroller - while the game has 3D visuals the game still plays, for the most part, in a 2D fashion. With seven levels, each split up into four segments before a boss fight this isn't the longest game in the world, but artistically this is a gorgeous title - it was stunning in the Sega Saturn era, and this HD remake is artistically as impressive.

Through each of the levels the main character, can perform a variety of moves including creating a loop to defeat enemies and pick up items, perform a dash, and when walking around on land jump. The levels are littered with rings to fly through, enemies to defeat, items to collect, and defeat the ideya (essentially a mini-boss who can be defeated when you collect 20 Blue Chips) to progress to the next level.

If there is a major issue with the game, it's the boss encounters which, with a 2 minute time limit are annoying in that it takes a while to learn how to defeat them, but when you do it becomes quite simple. For some, ourselves included, until you learn the bosses weaknesses it can be a process of frustration. Also a little disappointing is that the analogue sticks on Dual Shock 3 controller aren't used to their super-precise best.

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Christmas NiGHTS is ported to PS3.
Other added bonuses to NiGHTS Into Dreams on the PS3 are the inclusions of trophies, online leaderboards, an artwork gallery, and movie viewer. It's pretty impressive and some nice bonus inclusions over the Saturn original.

That's not the biggest thing though as this release also includes the Christmas Nights levels, which are unlockable after completing the main game. This title was in fact a short segment of the main game given away with other Sega Saturn games and on magazine covers in December 1996 and was essentially was a remake of a level in the main game, but with gorgeous Christmas colours and themes and a rendition of "Jingle Bells" playing during the game. Unfortunately some of the extras on this release, including being able to play as Sonic the Hedgehog or the 2-player versus mode, aren't included in this remake.

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NiGHTS is heading underwater...
As you can imagine the biggest change from the original release to this one is the upgrade to the visuals, with a shift to support 16:9 aspect ratio, and a bump up in resolution. The game retains a pretty good frame rate, but there are instances where the texturing could have been significantly improved and we could imagine the PS3 should have had enough power to pump out some 3DTV visuals which would have added a phenomenal bonus to current-gen owners.

The original Sega Saturn version of the game, naturally, includes a much simpler graphic style and while this game allows you to alter that original by turning on a widescreen mode (at least we're 98% certain that wasn't in the original Saturn release), the developers haven't opted to use the PS3's power to fix up things such as draw-in and pop-up.

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Admittedly, some levels such as this look a little plain.
One of the strongest points about this game ever since the Sega Saturn original has been the superb music and even today the light-hearted tunes sound fantastic and are a joy to listen to. There is no speech in the game, but the effects are also effective.

NiGHTS Into Dreams HD is a gorgeous title with superb gameplay and a simplicity that will have you hooked and smiling whenever you play the game. Not only does this release include the original Sega Saturn version, but also the HD upgrade with much improved visuals. Throw in some bonus content and a pretty modest $12.95 price and this is an essential purchase be you a fan of the original, or just wanting to check the game out.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSAs well as the original Saturn visuals, the HD upgraded option looks good albeit with some flaws.
SOUNDMusic in this game is simply magical. No speech, but adequate effects.
GAMEPLAYThis is simply a joy to play. So bright, colourful and fun. Only the boss encounters disappoint a bit.
VALUENot the longest game, but at $12.95 you can't go wrong.
OVERALLThere's a reason NiGHTS Into Dreams is one of Sega's most loved games and this port is superb. One for fans of the original, and newcomers.

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