by Ryan Cope
reviewed on X360
A Little Bit Of Everything
Nier is a Japanese role playing game that has made a leap from the norm in order to create something different. It doesn’t reach the standards of the critically acclaimed Final Fantasy series, but it has branched out and tried to include not only the core elements of a JRPG, but also a hack and slash action adventure style with customisation, a dark and mature story and even a little old school arcade. At times it can be confusing as to what type of game Nier really is, but if you stick with it to the end, exploring all the little nooks and crannies along the way you will find what lies underneath the surface; a delicately put together story that has tried to give you a wide gameplay experience.
There is sometimes too much variation in the content and more time and effort could have been spent developing specific areas such as combat. This is not all bad, because sometimes the wide diversity of gameplay elements is what makes Nier unlike any other JRPGs. It is fresh and original which makes it an experience worth playing. It is not a game for everyone, but fans of J/RPGs should find it a treat from the standard approach. Nier is a hit and miss game that will either break into the industry with a new style or fail to penetrate expectations. If it misses, it will be sad, because this game has a lot to offer.
A Father, His Daughter And Some Nasty Shades
Nier’s storyline is deep, complex and outright confusing at times. Things start of pretty straight forward: the year is 2049 and the Earth is in a post-apocalyptic state. A virus known as the black scrawl has spread across the planet infecting and killing the human race. Shadowy monsters called shades are left behind who are trying to kill the rest of mankind. You play as Nier (or whatever you would like to call yourself since you get the option to name your character) an old and weary father who is struggling to keep himself and his young daughter Yonah alive. To make the situation worse, the black scrawl virus has infected Yonah and her illness gets worse by the day.
While hiding in the rubble of an old building a large group of shades attack. Overwhelmed Nier seeks help from a magical book in order to fend them off. This is where things start to get hazy and you will be left bewildered. The game unexplainably moves forward 1,300 years into the future, where Nier and Yonah live in a small grassy village surrounded by mountains. Yonah is still ill, but Nier now wears less clothing and has a sword, while shades still wander the land killing people. In order to find a cure for the black scrawl, Nier teams up with the ancient and comical Grimoire Weiss, a magical book that grants the suffering father magical spells. Along the way his adventure leads him to gather companions Kaine (a foulmouthed demon possessed hermaphrodite in lingerie) and the mysterious Number 7 (a floating big headed skeleton with magical powers).
Many twists and turns take place along the way, which works well with the game’s catchphrase “nothing is as it seems.” As can be expected from a role-playing game, there are many story revelations (most happening towards the end) that surprise you and baffle you further. The full story is not revealed until you have seen all of the endings, A, B, C and D. In order to see them however you must play through the game four times which can be quite a feat, especially since completing it once can take some time. At least there is plenty of room for replay value. If you have become attached to the world of Nier, its lore and the characters within it, then finishing each ending will be worthwhile.
Relationships, Storytelling, Side Quests and Money!
The touching relationships between characters will reach out to you most in the story. Nier is a courageous man with good morals who will go through anything in order to save his daughter. The connection between him and Yonah is a sweet and realistic bond between father and daughter that has the ability to tug at a few heartstrings. While Yonah is his life, Nier mostly interacts with his trusty and handy sidekick Weiss (who sounds a bit like Alan Rickman). The friendship between the man and the floating book is comical, but strong. They quickly become friends and their banter brings a charming quality to the game.
Beautifully intricate story, with some fresh ideas and a stunning soundtrack.
Combat needs to be improved, story can get confusing and there may be too much variety for some.