Review by Chaingunmaster
"So Nier, and yet so far"
Nier is an enigma. At a time where Square Enix has been busy supporting games designed specifically for a western audience with poor quality titles such as MindJack, Nier both seems like a game designed for the west and yet also somehow manages to feel distinctly Japanese in it's tone.
The game begins with Nier, an middle aged man whose berserker appearance gives off an entirely inaccurate first impression; he is a father with a big heart who would sacrifice everything for the sake of his ailing daughter Yonah.
This is as game of two halves; literally. The first half sees you traveling from place to place collecting something, and the second half sees you collecting something else. You'd be forgiven for assuming that this makes the story little more than a mindless fetch quest, but the story that unravels along the way is intriguing, tragic and hopeful all at once.
In terms of optional content, the game features many sidequests given by the townspeople you'll encounter throughout the game. While most of these are the usual "bring me five of X" or "find out what happened to Y", there are a few sidequests that are more enjoyable.
Fishing is rather fun, if easy, and best of all is almost entirely optional if you detest those sort of minigames. You can also grow flowers in your garden after a certain sidequest, but this is ridiculously time consuming as the plants grow in real time.
The game is rather short, and can easily be completed in under ten hours, but I would argue that those hours feature a journey more appealing than certain other RPGs of this generation with five times that length.
Visually, the game isn't particularly eye catching, but it's soft tones are at the least inoffensive, and the graphical minimalism may be linked to the story to a degree; in a dying world, wouldn't you expect things to look sparse?
The soundtrack, on the other hand, is by far the game's greatest strength. Whilst there aren't as many tracks as I would have liked, the music on offer is soothing at times, mysterious at others, and never becomes repetitive.
Overall, Nier is, like I mentioned before, an enigma, but it is also a tragedy. Passed over by the masses, it's failure commercially led to the ultimate demise of it's developer, which is sad beyond words. If you are looking for a action RPG that won't eat into your social life and yet still manages to provide a good story, Nier would be my first recommendation.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 06/01/11
Game Release: NIER (EU, 04/23/10)
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