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 person view with sloppy camera action to 2.5 dimension view in rooms to talk to people and then to 2.5 overhead view in select views in dungeons, thus leading to some very disorientating moments and the need to attach a sick bag with the instruction manual.
Combat is your standard fare; button mash like crazy as you run around between enemies, keep it going until the waves of enemies die off, move onto another area. Rinse, lather, repeat. While the combat is smooth as far as presentation and the additional magical attacks are nice to have as far as that dark flavor, they are certainly hard to control and I was never able to find a lock button to lock onto my opponents (I rented the game, after I saw how bad it was I wanted to get rid of it ASAP).
Menus are what really broke my back on this game, this might seem a little nitpicking on my part but you will see why it is important. Being an old school RPG'er like I am, I have a set standard for when it comes to harvesting my products that I manage to find out in the wild. If I need a potion, I want to be able to find it. When companies make it a relfective jounrey about mans injustice towards dolphins while giving me a tutorial on how I can emit less hatred by wearing tin foil on my head, I tend to want to kill more and more. The menu system in Nier rates up their with one of the worst I have seen, instead of a menu is it motion context sensitive by pushing the direction towards the item you want to use and then it is used. That is a good way of blowing through items if you didn't notice it was effective.
Graphics and Sound The graphics on this game is quite amazing (playing it on a PS3 so I am not sure if it translated out as well on the 360) with some rich details and great character design. Even the less than stellar generic designs certainly look as if they are amazing compared to some other games. Character design is great too, more on the darker side of things which seems like it could have had a lot of potential.
Souds are rich as well, with the soundtrack giving the proper atmosphere and the voice acting fitting well with certain characters while not fitting with others (remember back in the day when we didn't actually NEED voice acting? Ah, those were good times...), but all in all on the positive side. However, if I have to hear one more time that vegetables are on sale at the village square when I run by and I am minding my own business, I will have to do something vile to puppies... Just saying...
Lasting Power While I am sure that there will be some people who will worship at the altar that is Nier, in general it certainly doesn't have any lasting power. While this might be taken as a slam, the ability to extend the game with DLC is the nature of the game these days and I just can't see Sq-En devoting any resources to this game since it is getting less than stellar reviews.
Overall A game that could have had some great potential is undermined by its own developer by trying to be different and artistic. Instead of making everything slightly different, they could have concentrated on a few things greatly different and given Nier that dark, gritty feel to make it one of the best new IPs that Sq-En came up with. While I won't completely bury a series, I will say it will take some serious redirection and a new development house to make this game what it CAN be instead of an art project.
Rent this to see what you think, don't waste your money on a sight unseen buy
(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 … more