Well, I received my 996s yesterday. This is a great looking shoe, likely the best looking NB in a long time. I love the large old school 'NB' logo on the back...reminds of my old NB Worthy Express Bball shoes back in the '80s.
The fit is certainly better than the 851 it replaces with more cushioning and stability but it's still obviously a lightweight/game day type shoe. The insole is much more substantial than the 851 but the shoe/arch is very flat. I will be sending them back because like many lightweight/game day shoes, the toe box is way too low/shallow. I'm a big dude at 6'3" and 225# or so and feel like I would absolutely crush the cushioning in these in a month or two. The last is also pretty straight compared to the Asics Res 4, which curves inward slightly and seems to match my foot better. The Asics Res just seems to mold to my foot better and has significantly more cushioning and support.
If you have a lower arch/lower volume foot and you're not a big guy, I'm betting the 996 will be a fantastic fit. I've tried Asics, Adidas, Lotto, Lacoste, Yonex and NB in the last few weeks and it looks like I'm sticking with Asics.