NiGHTS Into Dreams… (PS3) Review
Genre: Action, Classic, Platformer
- It's like a love letter from Sega to the fans
- Updated and original Saturn modes
- Includes Christmas NiGHTS
- Did I mention, fans will love it?
Not so much?
- Feels a little dated (for good reason)
- Will probably appeal only to fans
One of the “best games of all time” for the Sega Saturn is back in both its original version and an updated HD version. Fans will absolutely love it, but NiGHTS feels a little out-dated and its general obscurity will probably not attract a lot of modern gamers.
NiGHTS into Dreams…, a proclaimed “greatest games of all time” from 1996 on the Sega Saturn, is now available for your PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
What is your favorite game of all time? If you grew up playing console games in the 90s, you probably had a friend or two who claimed that a little Sega Saturn game called NiGHTS into Dreams… was the best game ever. Maybe you were that person, singing loudly of the praises of the somewhat obscure title.
The Sega Saturn was definitely an underdog, especially when compared to the might of the Nintendo 64 and the popularity the new kid in town: the Sony’s PlayStation. During the mid-to-late 90s, I started college, which meant that my gaming library and a TV wouldn’t fit comfortably in a small dorm room. During those four years, I primarily dabbled in PC gaming. This meant that I missed out on a lot of the great console offerings, but I witnessed the excitement over them through my summer job at Blockbuster Video. While the Saturn’s section was pathetically small, the Sega fans were definitely passionate about their games. NiGHTS into Dreams was one of the most popular games at my store.
It’s been 16 years since NiGHTS into Dreams… graced your cathode ray tubed (see also: “massive and heavy”) television. Sega recently re-released NiGHTS as a downloadable title through the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. How does the much-beloved Sega Saturn title hold up today?
To be honest, it feels a little outdated. At the same time, it’s a 16-year-old game, and something like that is to be expected.
I can certainly see the appeal and charm of NiGHTS back in 1996, but as a gamer in 2012, I don’t think it holds up quite as well as, excuse the dramatics, the legends have foretold. The controls feel a bit stiff, but I actually think this is due to a stiffness in the animation. Having games with really smooth transitional animation, like the God of War series, is one of the spoils of modern games. The improvement that have been made over time are much more noticeable when playing an emulated version of a 16-year-old game.
When playing NiGHTS into Dreams for the first time, one of the most noticeable things is its striking visual similarities to the Sonic the Hedgehog games. That probably due to the fact that Sonic Team, one of Sega’s most popular development studios, worked on both titles.
Instead of running along a path on the ground, you’ll be flying around in a somewhat open, but still linear path, collecting coins and smashing enemies. The environments are three-dimensional, and you can see rings and paths in the background, but these are not accessible. I constantly had the urge to push up and try to get the objects in the background.
I love classic games, and reminiscing about games from the past — especially those from the 90s — but it is very rare that I can go back, play a classic game in its original (or emulated) form and enjoy it the same way I did during its prime. NiGHTS is a product of its time, and it is difficult to play a classic game and not compare it with modern titles.
Just because I don’t often find worth in taking a trip down memory lane with old games, that doesn’t mean that NiGHTS into Dreams… isn’t worth your time or money.
Sega has done an amazing job at providing what I feel is the perfect love letter to all of it’s fans. Not only do you get an updated “HD” version, with a higher-resolution and smoother textures, but you can also play it exactly how it looked on the Sega Saturn, through a classic emulation mode.
NiGHTS into Dreams… also includes the Christmas-themed Christmas NiGHTS release. Christmas NiGHTS was a short, standalone version, included in Christmas Sega Saturn bundles in Japan and found in special issues of magazines like the Sega Saturn Magazine or included with the purchase of selected Sega games like Sega’s Daytona USA Championship Circuit Edition.
Christmas NiGHTS is an unlockable that you can access once you’ve completed each level with at least a C-rating.
But as I mentioned before, NiGHTS into Dreams… isn’t really for today’s gamer — it’s for the loyal fans. I’m impressed that Sega chose to release NiGHTS, especially considering the other, more popular games that they could have picked from.
As an old-school gamer, it’s sometimes a bit disillusioning to know that money does influence business decisions, and the all important-dollar is usually the deciding factor when it comes to which games get published and which ones get the axe. Knowing that NiGHTS into Dreams… is a bit of an obscure title, and probably won’t garner much attention among modern gamers, I feel like this was a sincere, heartfelt gesture from Sega to the fans rather than a re-release aimed to make money.
For $10, you can pick up a much-beloved classic, without needing to hit up eBay for a Sega Saturn and a copy of NiGHTS into Dreams… You can fire up your weapon of choice, the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360, visit the marketplace and confirm the purchase. Play it in HD, with a slightly updated look, or play it like you used to in the 90s, through a faithful Saturn emulation.
Plus, if you’re good, you’ll also unlock the rare Christmas NiGHTS release.
This is an extremely awesome move for Sega! I hope other companies see this and follow suit by releasing other beloved gaming classics.