Review by joan2468
Quite frankly, NIER is a flawed, yet amazing game.
NIER is perhaps one of this generation's most obscure and underrated games. In an era where videogames have evolved so much and all kinds of new, flashy gimmicks are featured to attract the general crowd, the more stolid, quiet releases are completely overshadowed and rendered obscure - games like Valkyria Chronicles and Resonance of Fate, for instance, both overshadowed by bigger releases, but both, in their own right, great experiences.
NIER joins their ranks.
The best thing about NIER, for me (aside from the ear-gasm-inducing soundtrack, of course) is its plot. You don't find too many RPGs that actually do bother creating an intriguing plot, but this is one area in which NIER shines. Its characters feel real and are very much likable, and undoubtedly you will sympathize with their plight as you go through the journey with them. As a simple summary, a man's daughter, named Yonah (you will get to name the father, but let's just call him Nier for convinence) has been infected with a dangerous plague disease called the Black Scrawl. Black runes and markings begin to appear on parts of the person's body, eventually when these runes envelop the entire body, it will bring death to the sufferer. Nier, being the single-minded, determined man he is, loves his daughter more than anything else in the world, and does his utter best to try and find a cure for her disease. On a journey, he comes across a mysterious floating book (and he talks!) named Grimoire Weiss, and he possesses an arsenal of powerful magic called the Sealed Verses. Nier and Grimoire Weiss team up, in the hopes that he will be able to find the cure for his daughter's steadily worsening plague.
That is not all there is to the story, but for me to say anything more would be revealing spoilers, so I shall leave it at that. I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed with what NIER has to offer, story-wise and character-wise.
Next, I'm going to talk about the gameplay. The first half of NIER suffers from the fact that you literally have almost nothing to do but fetch-and-kill quests. You will have quests that advance the story, of course, but in between, that is all you have to do. There are so many of these quests, and though some of them do provide an interesting perspective in to the world of NIER and the people in it, it does get draggy and dull. You don't have to do all of these quests, but they are the only means of making money.
Combat in NIER is simple, but solid and functional. You can equip three types of weapons (swords, two-handed swords and spears, acquired in various ways), and you attack using the square button, while pressing triangle will execute a strong attack. Once you meet up with Grimoire Weiss, little-by-little you will have access to all the Sealed Verses, a series of powerful magic spells that are very useful in combat. These spells can be assigned to any of the four trigger buttons (R1, L1, R2, L2) to be activated (as long as you have enough MP for it, signified by the blue bar beneath the green HP bar). Basically, it's your average hack-n-slash type.
While enemy combat remains, for the most part, lacking in variety (there's practically only three types of enemies in the game - Shades, robots, and wildlife), the boss fights are a terrific break from tedium. Make no mistake, NIER's boss fights are fast-paced and fun, full of action that will get your adrenaline pumping.
And now, onto the graphics.
I'll be straight here. NIER is one ugly game, graphics-wise. The environments appear bland and the color has a sort of grayish, "wishy-washy" quality about them. But the concept and design of these environments are beautiful. So don't expect something like Final Fantasy XIII, because NIER is as different from FFXIII as different could possibly be.
As for NIER's soundtrack...
In many years of gaming, rarely does a game's soundtrack truly blow me away, but NIER's does it. The music as a whole is excellently composed, meaningful and soulful and just plain beautiful. The vocal tracks are done in gibberish, but hell, it's good gibberish. You'll not find a moment in this game where the music isn't enjoyable.
I would have liked to give this game a 9, but alas, objectively I feel it is not deserving of such a high score. NIER suffers from an overflow of filler sidequests and (save for the boss fights) bland combat, as well as tedium and repetition (you will be required to visit the same places multiple times) but everything else about it - story, characters, music - is just breathtaking. If you're the kind of gamer that likes a good story, then NIER is definitely for you.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: NIER (US, 04/27/10)
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