Review by TwilightChild
"The epic tale of an old man and his talking spellbook"
NIER is an Action RPG created by the japanese developer Cavia and published globally by Square-Enix. Despite receiving moderate media-attention prior to it's release, NIER is definitely a game that came under the radar and surprised me positively.
STORY - 10/10
In the center of the story of NIER is a middle aged man (whom the player names) who lives in a remote village with his sickly daughter Yonah. Due to Yonah's constant illness, the father is forced to travel abroad in various jobs to earn enough money to treat his daughter. The story starts escalating when the father finds a mysterious talking book who introduces himself as Grimoire Weiss. The story that seemed relatively shallow at first deepens and intensifies gradually as the father finds more about the true nature of the mysterious enemies known as the Shades and the world he lives in.
The story is definitely the strongest part of NIER. The unsolved mysteries and the charismatic side-characters like Grimoire Weiss with his dry british humor and Kaine, the hot blooded warrior woman with a bad attitude keep the game interesting from the beginning to the end. As an addition the further playthroughs reveal new information about the story which greatly adds to the replay value.
GAMEPLAY - 9/10
The gameplay of NIER is a very unique experience with really no other game like it. Aside from the general combat that mixes elements from basic hack-and-slashers with magic attacks that resemble scrolling japanese arcade shooters that constantly have hundreds of projectiles on the screen at once.
Aside of combat, NIER constantly adds new elements to the gameplay. Be it two dimensional platforming or on-rails shooting sequences NIER always manages to pull a new trick out of it's bag just when you were getting tired of the earlier one. This variety is also one of the strengths of NIER that keep it interesting to the end.
GRAPHICS - 8/10
While the overall graphical offering of NIER is under the average, what it lacks in the polygon count and textures it compensates with it's superb art direction and design. The pseudo-medieval fantasy world feels alive and unique with each of it's areas different from one another. While the character and environment are well designed the enemies seem to lack imagination. While the boss enemies are fearsome and unique, the general lesser foes are somewhat unimaginative.
SOUND - 10/10
The soundtrack of NIER is amazing and just as full of variety as the gameplay is. It ranges from beautiful classical-styled pieces while roaming vast plains to fast, electronic pop during frantic action. The soundtrack always fits the situation and is without doubt one of the most memorable ones of the recent games.
The voice-acting is also well done. The father sounds like a middle-aged man should and Weiss' british accent fits his character perfectly. Only english voices are available in the international release but you won't really miss the japanese audio.
REPLAYABILITY - 10/10
As was mentioned before, the story unfolds further on subsequent playthrough which adds to the replayability. After finishing the game you can continue into a new playthrough with your level and equipment intact. There are several endings to the story and to experience the story fully, you need to play through it at least four times.
NIER is a story-heavy, unique action role-playing game with a beautiful soundtrack. It is likely to become a cult classic that will be remembered in the future. If you enjoy a good multi-layered story and are a fan of action RPGs in general, you should check NIER out.
OVERALL SCORE: 10/10
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/14/10
Game Release: NIER (EU, 04/23/10)
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