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Nightwatch the movie broke box office records in Russia with a story line that included vampires, witches, werewolves and other supernatural forces that have been energizing the imaginations of entertainment hungry audiences for over a century. The sequel Daywatch broke the box office records set by Nightwatch, so it isn't a surprise that a game developer would attempt to bring the movie magic of this series to the interactive gaming screen.
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The good parts
The writing of the story line in the Nightwatch and Daywatch movies was one of the best parts of the experience, and Nival Interactive has done a good job transmitting the story line to the game effectively enough to transmit the humour and entertainment value in the writing.
The battles are fun, enjoyable and entertaining combat that takes place on large battlefields, set in subways, castles, parks, city streets; the developers added an amazing variety of environments to play in.
The sound track is almost as good as the movie track, and many of the songs are from the original movies, which increases the entertainment level while playing and adds energy to your game play.
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Parts that could be improved
Nightwatch is a stripped down strategy game that starts off pretty good, but then loses its entertainment value as you progress through the levels. Personally, I think it should be the other way around, if the game starts off average and then gets better, then despite the problems, it will probably be seen in a more favourable light.
The character movements have the old jerky, rag-doll effect I remember from a few years ago, and that can still be found occasionally with some of the new games, using older technology.
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The game graphics
Nightwatch has a dated look of a game from the late 90s, the colors are bland and lifeless, the details are poor and textures are hard to find, let alone see. There's a nice variety of different environments to battle in, but the objects included are dull and blocky looking, an effect more often seen with older technology. Nival did include totally destructible environmental objects to interact with, but they break far too easy, just the slightest touch destroys them.
The character animations need a lot of improvement for a 21st century title, very poor detail can make it hard to tell them apart at times, and the character motions aren't realistic at all.
The special effects didn't come from the movie and aren't consistent, the spell effects are dull, but the other effects are okay, spectacular and entertaining enough to add a little entertainment value.
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Sounds in the game
The dialogue is well written and humourous at times and the voice acting was above average, many of the characters lines adding beautifully to the game play with funny moments that work nicely with the story line.
Nightwatch has a sound track that almost rivals the entertainment level of the original movies, the rock tunes looping in the background as you play lend a dark and unknown tone to the atmosphere, but not so dark as to be overbearing.
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The story line
Nightwatch the video game is set in the same world as the original movies, but has a different story line, so if you've seen the movies and are looking for the same story line, you're going to be disappointed. You begin the game as a character called Stas, on assignment as an assassin, you're sitting on top of a building preparing to silence an unsuspecting woman. Just as you're about to pull the trigger a group of people arrive out of thin air to intervene and prevent you from doing the deed. You stop to talk with these individuals and are informed that you're one of a special group, called "others", and are destined to be a warrior fighting on the side of the forces of light (good). They also tell you that the darkness set up the job you're on in order to bring you over to the side of the dark by becoming an assassin and therefore draw you into their world. You decide to join their side in the fight between dark and light and you begin your life as a soldier for the forces of the light.
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Nightwatch doesn't include any real replay value, it took me 22 hours to play through the game on the various difficulty levels, and it was only challenging on the highest difficulty setting.
You can play the game as one of three classes; a shape-shifter who is the fighter in the game, a mage who uses powerful magical attacks, and the enchanter who imbues objects with magical powers.
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The bottom line
Nightwatch provides a marginal level of interactive entertainment that I can recommend for strategy gamers looking for a few hours of fun and enjoyment, but beyond that it's not likely to do much for the veteran strategy gamer. Movie enthusiasts who have seen the movies will certainly enjoy the over all experience, but even they maybe disappointed with the final product. Nightwatch just doesn't stack up against the other strategy games available in all aspects of development, so beyond Russian movie fanatics or a gamer with no experience with the strategy games being made today, few will want to spend much time with the title.