Nier

Platform: Playstation 3 (Also on 360)

Release Date: April 27, 2010

ESRB: Mature (Blood, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence)

Publisher: Square Enix

Developer: Cavia inc.

Genre: Open World Action RPG

 

LOPSIDED AT BEST

The story behind Nier is a weird one. Originally announced as a 360 exclusive, the game stars a nameless father (whose his name is actually Nier) that needs to save his daughter from the disease, the Black Scrawl. Well, then it was announced that it wasn't an exclusive anymore; the PS3 was getting the game too. After that, Square Enix came out and said that there would be two versions of Nier: the one I just described, and a Japanese exclusive version, which replaces the father with the girl's older brother. Lastly, it was announced that overseas gamers who wanted to play as the brother could do so through a DLC pack, but the pack is just a few levels long and has nothing to do with the main story. Got it?

So, does all of this fuss about the protagonist and whether or not it's exclusive, matter? Well, the answer isn't exactly yes, but it's not a no either. It's a game that has a lot of interesting ideas, but it manages to execute only a few of them correctly. See, in order to save his daughter, Nier decides to become a mercenary and handyman for his hometown, taking quests for whatever person needs his help. The catch is that the game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where there are few people and even fewer resources; modern technology having been lost long ago. Since this is the case, most of these quests naturally turn out to be either a “go kill this thing” mission or fetch quests and delivery quests. Those are always fun, right?

This floating book is one of Nier's closest companions

But, honestly calling this game an open world adventure would be a lie. There IS an open world to be had here, but there's really nothing to do in it. In addition to the quests and main storyline, you can also farm crops and fish, neither of which I had fun doing, and kill some creatures in the overworld for nominal experience. Sadly, that's all the game has to offer in terms of variety. Of course, you then have to walk pretty much everywhere, as your more efficient means of transportation (a boar, believe it or not) is only restricted to one part of the overworld. This is of made even worse by load times that would be at home on the original Playstation.

Strangely though, a lot of these shortcomings don't break the mood of the game. In a post-apocalyptic world, you'd expect largely barren areas and monsters (called Shades) to be roaming them. Since there's no modern technology, you'd obviously be walking everywhere. Because there are few people, and thus not many real jobs to take, your only option to get money would be by doing odd jobs. They're logical gameplay choices; just not very fun ones. Also fitting is the graphics, which are washed out (the greyness of most current gen games is in full effect) and sterile at times. They're not pretty by any means, but they go with the setting and get the job done.

One of your party members, Kaine, swears more than a sailor, but she's pretty awesome