Certainly some interesting news. It's good to see NiGHTS is still on the mind of people at Sega. It's better than being essentially abandoned like some other franchises like Panzer Dragoon.
To add on some of what's been discussed about JoD, I agree with some of what DiGi and Viper said but I have my own idea of why JoD got a generally lukewarm reception. The game overall lacked focus and coherence. Yes, it tried to add new gameplay ideas, but the problem is when you try to make a game with a proverbial buffet selection of gameplay you need to design the game well enough that everything goes together well otherwise the final product will feel somewhat slapped together and people won't enjoy it. Few games seem to pull it off nowadays.
If a game has focus and development is central to one or two big ideas, the game feels more complete because there was more work put into fewer ideas. This in part is why I think the original was so well received from a gameplay standpoint. It knew what it wanted to be and pulled it off brilliantly. JoD's meandered too much in my opinion. It wanted to incorporate a lot but I'm willing to bet the system change and production troubles made it hard to realize those ideas.
If you are a fan of the original like you say then this statement utterly confounds me. Two reasons why.
1. If you didn't like racing against the clock why did you even like NiD at all? To its very core NiD was an arcade style, time based score attack game with very few frills. Score attack was the very heart of the gameplay yet you say it wasn't your favorite part. What was then?
2. You suggest part of the reason you enjoy JoD more is because you like to cruise and explore. If so then why isn't JoD more frustrating to you? A fair chunk of the levels don't even let you explore then in their entirety if at all. The only ones that consistently do are the bird chase sequences. Sure you have unlimited time when you're a kid but considering that most all the levels are designed to be interacted with in the air, unlimited time seems pointless when you're landlocked and you're still on a timer the moment you dualize, just like NiD. At best, the freedom to explore in JoD is just as bad if not worse than NiD from my perspective. In what way do you think it's better?
I also don't like how you're generalizing and giving reviewers and consumers so little credit because frankly you're wrong. Game Informer is a poor example because they're a terrible magazine. That they're owned by Gamestop itself makes their journalistic integrity dubious at best. Anyway, companies like safe bets. That's why you see so much of the same on the market. That doesn't mean that's all consumers want or that they're incapable of appreciating something inventive. If that were the case, how do you explain the recently released LIMBO getting such critical praise from all sides? What about Shadow of the Colossus frequently being considered one of the greatest games of last generation? Don't paint in broad strokes.
Shadow of the colossus is graphically impressive as to be expected because there isn't much to it. there is plenty of exploration which could go on for hours. yet its empty, aside from the 16 colossus, there isn't much else to do, i love exploration, but it has its limits especially when your pretty sure there's nothing at the end of the tunnel. i already explained why i like the exploration in a recent post, there are only 3 of them and they aren't that long, the forest may seem long only because it has multiple paths that will lead to the finish. and to answer why isn't it more frustrating. well i have 2 answers,
1. it shouldn't be MORE frustrating, as apposed to the first one, this one has a variety, not that I'm disliking the first one, it was the first game.
2. i believe i mentioned CRUISE & Explore, the cruise would imply to the flying, if i wanna just take my time and fly, then i will. i find it relaxing to cruise in flight just to get away from some of the gory games. if i wanna be fast and rocket my way through the air to catch a bird, then i will.
lets see, why do i like NiGHTS? ya know, i get asked this a lot... and idk if ive been able to give a straight answer, ill try my best though. even my friends ask me what i see in it. and they never challenge me either XD afraid of the piping hot a$$ whoopins a paraloop will give...
hrmm. i guess it starts with the old commercial where they openly mock the PSX, "Never not anywhere, But especially not on that other system"
that probably sparked the interest cuz it was hilarious. how i felt about the game when i played it. it felt different. the surroundings were new, back then the graphics were impressive. by retro standards they still impress me. so i believe the commercial was honest in that part saying there was no other game like it, and i can agree, through all my years of gaming, i haven't played anything like it, its fluid. and im flying. IM FREAKIN FLYING MAN, THAT'S AWESOME!!! and i was sorta Sonic obsessed back then, so speed was an awesome thing for me, which of course the first NiD had a lot of. never had an analog so i used the D-Pad, OH the blisters on my thumb, i could tell u stories LMAO. the music of course i loved right away, but like i said before, Sega would always get the best out of any game they made. now aside from showing off with scores, which aside from the score-attack lovers. it was very hard to find anyone back then or even today who really gives a care about the score or rank. now a days they can and do make games very hard, where just saying you were able to beat the game would give you bragging rights. The whole atmosphere of the game was just great. i hope this clears it up a little, ive gone on to long. if you don't wanna read it fine. if u wanna call me a blasphemer. well that's up to you. but im not gonna worship the ground the first game's on, its a great and awesome lovable game that will always be in my top 10.