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Action RPG from Square-Enix

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Shades of Promise Cast by a Faraway Brilliance

  • Feb 21, 2011
(reposted from Siliconera)

Nier as a playable game at the very least is competent all around. To keep the less interesting bits short, the combat, dungeons, and art direction are all decently conceived, every aspect dotted with pleasant surprises that elevates the otherwise pedestrian design (one aspect that is consistently spectacular are boss fights). Riding on gameplay alone, the main quest will be something of a well-worn glove to Zelda veterans. If there are any serious complaints, then they are of the sidequests--there are far too many (often mundane), but even here you might find a sprinkling of surprise that has blessed such an unevenly quirky game (and they are optional after all)...

If there is one area that Nier performs exceptionally exemplary in execution beyond exemption and expectations it must be the voice acting. Nier, Kaine, and especially Weiss's VAs *owned* (made personal, not beat down awesomely) their roles. The only main character's voice I imagined should be better in Japanese is Yona's. Emil's was surprisingly not annoying and cloying like I'd thought it'd be. More often than not they were all so natural they breathed believability into the awkward lines and the ham-handed moments when the writing fell through, and the humorous banter never felt forced (as it does in countless JRPGs). I enjoyed the music as well, though I'm not sure if it's memorable because it's often (strikingly) beautiful, or if it's (startlingly) repetitive. Perhaps it's both.

As for the tale itself--it's arguably the most intriguing yet demanding part of this game. The dreary plot and bleak drama is offset by the surprisingly laid-back but likable obball cast, which neuters the sharp teeth of narrative urgency but amplifies the impact of tragedy when it hits. However, completing every sidequest that was asked of me (except the pink moonflower seeds) diluted my clarity on the narrative, which was already partial in its unfolding. Thus when the game concluded I came away with a drought for answers, some which I had to discover by retracing the steps, others which I knew were not in the game. The unusual premise and the characters were begging to be explored, so soon my curiosity got the better of me. I did some internet sleuthing and soon I came upon "Grimoire Nier", a translated document floating around that was once swag for the Japanese only Nier Replicant. Containing the complete backstory, lore, history and creator explanations for the world of Nier, it was to me, be far more fascinating than the entirety of the game. Shame that largely none of this rich content is in the actual product, but I'm glad it exists and complements my experience with Nier.

All in all, Nier is definitely worth a play through (and a half). It's an entertaining trip, if not for the weird and wacky characters that keep you company, then for the mysterious, incredibly realized universe you can only glimpse from the game.

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February 21, 2011
I'd just like to add a little to Yusaku's truly excellent review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzDx3PCbXig http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrV_9GHlpVM&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNQww1Sme0o&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Whm0mneI5CY&feature=related Four songs that, I feel, encapsulate the feel of NieR as a game and exemplify the OST as a whole. Though Yusaku has (kinda!) glossed over the soundtrack, pointing out that, though beautiful, it can be repetitive, as a stand-alone piece it's exemplary, very well close to perfect. Otherwise, sorry for encroaching on your space, Yusaku, and thanks for putting up your thoughts for us! :D
February 22, 2011
Wow! Links to the music tracks. Hearing those again remind me of how crystalline they actually are and brings back the in-game moments the soundtrack kicked in effectively. I really am not the best appraiser of music... >,<' Encroach all you want! >:D
More Nier reviews
review by . May 27, 2010
A developing taste for me has been Post Apocalypse RPGs thanks to the greatness that has been the Fallout series.  There is an unhindered depth that can be offered it is done right, and Nier goes to prove how you can do it wrong.      Gameplay   It seemed as if the developers had been slightly lazy or maybe a bit too artistic for their efforts as everything that you do has a lot of slop and far too many stitches to be smooth.  One moment you are in the third …
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