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TGS 09: Hands on with Nier Gestalt

6:40 PM on 09.25.2009 // Colette Bennett

While Square Enix licenses and puts out many pretty RPGs these days, I personally haven't made a really strong connection with any of them. Titles like Infinite Undiscovery and The Last Remnant unfortunately failed to meet my expectations, and even though I have no plans to give up hope, let's just say my excitement for anything they do other than Final Fantasy has dwindled just a bit.

The Nier games seemed like they could possibly be a lot of fun though, and so once I got to TGS today I headed for the Microsoft booth to see if I could get my hands on Nier Gestalt. Sure enough, I got my wish, and if you'd like to read more about what the game was like, hit the break and I'll tell you.

The Nier Gestalt demo started very simply: with my character going up against a handful of golden skeletons and then two gigantic foes. I like this as it cut straight to the chase. By the way, my character refers to an older man who is apparently on a quest to save his daughter -- a nice twist from the usual amnesia and save the world business (although who knows, that may factor in later). I was surprised to actually hear him say "Give me back my daughter!" in this portion of the demo in English. Hey, at least I know what's going on.

The huge beasts in my way, which reminded me of bronzed versions of the hard shelled Garthim creatures from The Dark Crystal, were visibly blocking a young girl lying on a slab in an alcove. Okay, I get it, time to clear these guys out of the way. I ran in and started testing out my moves. I'm pleased to report that the main character is a lot of fun to control. He has your usual moves: basic sword slashes, a few special attacks, roll out of the way, leaping and the like, but something about the way they feel when you touch the buttons makes it satisfying. The way I kill things goes a long way for me in an action RPG.

After some experimentation, I learned these great armored foes could be injured in two ways -- either running around to their backs where they were vulnerable, or blocking their attacks, which threw them back and allowed me to jump in for some damage. It's worth noting here that the camera swung around wildly instead of staying over my shoulder, which I found disorienting and I hoped to see fixed in the future. It made the encounter significantly harder, especially when I got trapped behind one of the creatures and needed to extract myself.

After dealing enough damage to these guys, they would drop and a floaty clock would appear above their bodies, which is when you have to get in to deal the important damage.Don't do it in time, and they get back up again. Nothing majorly out of the ordinary, but it was fun to play. However, I did come away feeling as if the graphics needed some work: some segments looked fine, while others looked a bit rough around the edges. Cavla's action RPG won't be out until mid 2010 though, so I'd say they have quite a bit of time to work out the kinks.

Colette Bennett,
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