The surprisingly poignant journey of a man on a mission
Played to completion on easy. Played through New-game+ 2 twice
Nier is a hard game to review. It's an incredibly bland action game whose story, setting, and characters are some of the finest in gaming. On one end you want to label it as average for it's simple and repetitive gameplay, on the other hand you just can't help but fall in love with it. Wether or not you can get behind it all depends on one thing; how important is plot to you?
The game places you in the shoes of Nier, a man with a single goal of curing his daughter of the mysterious black scrawl. As expected your journey to find the cure will lead you to many exotic locations and put you in contact with personality's from across the land. Most of your time will be spent running through the same 10 or so fairly large enviorments on missions that are largely fetch quests. Fighting is your typical action adventure affair. You use a combination of melee and magic attacks to defeat your main enemy: Shades. Shades are almost liquid looking black and gold human shapped enemies. They will attack you on sight using either melee or a shmup like magic attacks that are basically bullet patterns akin to games like shoot1up and Ikaruga.
Magic comes via your first companion Grimoire Weiss. A talking book with the personality of a proud english gentleman. Weiss will be you constant wise-cracking companion throughout the journey and a good source of comic relief. Your second companion is Kaine, a shit talking, sword slinging hermaphrodite. Yes that is as awesome as it sounds. Between her and Weiss you will never run out of funy quips to enjoy. Your third and final companion is Emil, a young man who turns everyone he sees to stone. Together these characters form the basis of the story of Nier.
Kaine is fucking awesome
I can't really talk around this, the graphics in Nier are pretty awful. For a game that came out in 2010 it really isn't excusable. The textures are all low-res and the only thing in the game that look relatively next-gen are the charecter models. If there is on good thing to say it is that the game is very consistent in it's artstyle.It manages to draw you in with your typical fantasy setting combined with some modern day robotic enviorments. On top of that the voice acting is great and really helps you immerse into the games world. One weird thing is the black bars that appear during cutscenes that arent your typical widescreen black bars. They are different sizes on the top and bottom and are see through. It's something really odd and jarring until you get used to it.
The story of this game is it's main attraction. Never have I seen a more adult, emotionally involving plot in a game. Nier's relationship with his daughter comes across as genuine and really pulls you into the game. You will resonate with Nier's plight to cure his daughter and really wish for him to suceed. The game will take many twists and turns and will have more than a few cliffahangers to keep you going. I won;t go any further to avoid plot spoilers, but I can say that this is one of the only games where I literally started to tear up during one particularly emotional cutscene. I played through the second half of the game 3 times in a row to see all the different endings. I did 84% of the most boring side quests ever made just to get a few more pieces of dialouge between the main characters. That's how invested I was into this games narrative.
Your Daughter is all that matters
I really can't comprehend how this game was recieved so poorly. I understand and acknowledge that the gameplay isn't spectacular but nothing here is broken or unplayable. The plot on display in Nier is one of the best I've seen in gaming. It's unfortunate that this game was seemingly lost upon release. I really can't say enough good about Nier. I would strongly encourage anybody to check this game out. It hovers around the 20 dollar range and is more than worth it. Nier will go down as one of my favorite games of all time.
Bonus: Awesome music!!!