Nier (Cavia / Square-enix)
System: ps3 – xbox 360 Release Date: April 27th, 2010
ESRB rating: M
“Weiss, you dumb a**! Start making sense, you rotten book, or your gonna be sorry! Maybe I’ll rip your pages out one by one, or maybe I’ll put you in a god damn furnace! How can someone with such a big smart brain get hypnotized like a little b****? Huh? Oh shadow lord! I love you shadowlord! Come over here and give Weiss a big sloppy kiss shadowlord! Now pull your head out of your god damn a** and START F****** HELPING US!”
Believe it or not this is the first thing you’ll hear from this modern Rpg from Square-Enix. Nier is both vulgar and violent while still maintaining a constant sense of sadness and warmth. Today we are going to delve into this classic (in my eyes Kupo!) and maybe shed some light on a game a lot of people may have over looked.
Nier begins simply, a father fights off monsters to protect his daughter in what appears to be the end of the world. Jumping 1300 years in the future and the two seem to be alive and well, but the young girl ‘Yonah’ is sick with a terminal disease known as “The Black Scrawl” knowing he won’t just watch her die the father ‘Nier’ sets out to find a cure, on this journey he meets a legendary living book named Weiss and together they go in search for a cure. Battling a army and a half of mysterious shadow creatures named Shades that terrorize this new world of long forgotten technology and new beginnings.
Game play is a mixture of hack and slash and fetch questing. While I will admit this title’s weakest point is the game play it shines in the execution of its story, atmosphere and character development. Combat resembles God of War, with magic being very much like a bullet hell shooter ( dodging red ‘bullets’ and firing your own is a fun and unique change to magic) and exploration is done by running, climbing and riding a giant wild boar (drifting as never felt so cool) but all of this is quickly marred by the lackluster quests and tedious amounts of backtracking through the environment that while beautiful and enchanting is easily forgotten after you’ve run through the locals a dozen times.
Nier is a believable father as he strives to do whatever it takes to save his young daughter, and the characters he encounters are both unique and express a depth of personality that few games match. The three main supporting cast members are a magical talking book named Weiss who is snarky and sarcastic which contrasts beautifully with the practical and serious Nier, there is the filthy mouthed half shade warrior Kaine who while being angry and at times hilarious is loving and nurturing at the same time as she is violent and raw; and then there is Emile who is a young boy with medusa like eyes that wishes only to see the world and be a normal boy.
The setting is magical as you run, fight, and ride a giant boar through fresh open fields and arid deserts. The music in Nier is also a truly noteworthy mention as it is by far one of the best soundtracks in a game I’ve ever heard. Airy tunes are accented with light lyrical accents that take you into the bittersweet world of Nier as easily as slipping into a dream. Along with wide open spaces the game also contains a few nods to classics such as resident evil (the haunted mansion) and the legend of Zelda (the sand temple) that not only change the way the game is represented but in some cases how it is played (side scrolling combat, and top down dungeon crawling to name a few)
Over all Nier is a pretty great game but one with its share of flaws, lackluster questing and enourmous amounts of backtracking can easily turn off the casual passerby but the game rewards those that stick with it to the end with some of the most heart wrenching and profound moments in gaming today. With a suberb soundtrack and a fantastic cast of characters and setting this title is worth checking out just remember to bring your running shoes!
I rate Nier 4/5 Kupo!