NIER Review

System: Playstation 3 and Xbox 360
Publisher: Sqaure Enix
Category: RPG
Available Now

Sometimes reviewers are so swamped with games, conventions, and expos that a couple can be missed, but it’s never too late to review a game. We were able to get a copy of Nier and well better late that never.

Nier is the start of Square Enix’s venture into making RPG’s appeal to a more western style of things. Nier is, in ways, more like an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) except built to be single player only. The game itself is a bit slow paced but picks up once major battles start.

Nier begins with the main protagonist trying protect his daughter against creatures called Shades, which resemble faceless giant Golems and small almost knight-like beings. You’re given just a pipe to fend them off, but it’s more than enough because eventually you gain possession of a book that provides you with all your magic skills. It’s relatively easy and fun, especially once you can use magic, but don’t get too happy because everything that had just happened is just a flashback. Once you finish off all the Shades, things fast forward 1,312 years to the future where the actual game begins.

In the present, the game starts off in the main characters’ home, which is all too familiar as the daughter has the same name as the daughter seen in the past events. Here’s a list of the characters:

The protagonist: This is pretty much you and you can assign whatever desired name you want. The protagonist is the father of Yonah, who does any job that pays in order to help his daughter.

Yonah: Daughter of the main character, who has a frail health due to a fatal illness she has contracted. She is mostly always in pain and in bed as result of her illness, but every so often she’d go over to the town’s library due to her love of books. This usually worries her father.

Grimoire Weiss: The ancient book that provides you with magic skills. Grimoire Weiss supposedly holds a power, according to a legend, that can heal and rid Yonah of her illness. Grimoire Weiss usually likes to jump on any and all opportunities to question and ridicule people. He is usually referred to as Weiss.

Kaine: Kaine is a human who has been possessed by a Shade and is very vulgar and violent. She originally fought against the main character until a giant Shade attacked both of them, to which she aids you in fending off the Shade. Kaine has an obsession with preying on Shades.

Emil: A skeleton-like being that joins you on your travels. Emil aids the you with powerful magic skills to combat Shades.

Shades: Creatures that randomly appear to prey on people and livestock. These guys appear throughout the game in various places.

Popola: Head of the library. Popola helps you find jobs that will earn you gold to help your daughter as well as preparation for your travels.

Nier takes a bit of patience to progress through due to its slow progression. The boss battles sometimes require playing a waiting game to feel out the boss, but it’s not all that long if you play your cards right. The story does get a bit intriguing as you progress, but once again it’s a bit of a slow progression early on. Boss battles also pick up in pace as you get a wider variety of magic skills as you level. There are, of course, side quests, which are split into 2 parts, one for each half of the game. Be aware that side quests in the first half of the game can’t be completed once you get to the second half of the game. Upon completing side quests you get gold as a reward. This is one of 2 ways to get gold, as the other is just selling things at the shop.

Throughout the game there are various mini games that require you to complete them in order to advance the storyline through various quests and missions. These are puzzles that must be completed under certain conditions to complete various trials, and solving riddles. The fishing seems hard at first but it’s all about getting the timing down and then its smooth fishing from there. The puzzle trials are fairly tricky at first, as you can’t do certain things like jump, stand still, use magic or use melee attacks with different restrictions for each puzzle. The objective of the puzzles are to get to the pink glowing cube and destroy it. There’s several ways to get around the puzzles even with the restrictions, but it’s just a matter of taking a good look at it before proceeding to complete it. The riddles are just usually based on logic, so those won’t be hard to figure out.

One nifty thing this game has is that Yonah will write letters to you and put it in the house’s mailbox. Check the mailbox whenever there’s an orange arrow-like object over it. This is to keep the player updated on Yonah’s daily activities more or less. There’s also a New Game+ Mode, in which case you’ll see a different ending. The ending will change again on a third run through of the game. In order to truly get 100% completetion of the game, 3 play-throughs of the game is the standard for Nier. The rest of the game doesn’t change much, aside from the different endings. Overall, if you don’t mind the slow progression then check this game out, especially if you like the insanely buff main character.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsWZ27odqRQ[/youtube]

Grade: B+

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