Repost: Nier Review

Taking a step back from the pseudo-turn based RPG gameplay of Final Fantasy XIII, Nier presents a totally different title in Square Enix’s huge library of RPG titles.

A lot of Nier isn’t expected, but the title does present another interesting story for players to follow, rather than the usual theme of saving the world, the plot of Nier is something a lot closer and more personal.

The Plot

Nier‘s plot centers on a Father trying to save his daughter from a sickness that is spreading throughout the world. The difference in this plot however is that the world takes place in the future after the fall of civilization, pushing technology back into the medieval ages. The Black Scrawl that has infected Yonah, his daughter, can only be supposedly cured by the fabled Sealed Versus that can only be found by defeating the Shades that inhabit the same world.

The plot echoes, just how far would one go to save a loved one?

The Look

The first thing that is noticeable about Nier isn’t just the character visuals, which are clean and carry a more comic book rather than manga style. Characters do still have that Eastern influence in many of the female characters, but the Father in Nier looks like a tank. Though Kaine’s outfit looks like a cross between a nightgown and a stripper’s costume.

The lighting of the title is amazing. Moving from area to area, the dynamic lighting creates bloom and can wash out areas before entering them properly. That might be on purpose, but opening up the view into areas is great.

Another impressive aspect is the animation of the title, which flows very realistically. It looks like a lot of attention was made to the Father because each step looks very realistic in terms of the title. Attack animation appears powerful and the jumps that the Father make have a lot of smaller touches.

The Sound

Featuring an English voice cast, Nier does a better job than Final Fantasy XIII, and characters sound a lot more realistic. The Mature rating of the title uses that to its advantage by spouting curses every so often, mainly from Kaine when she joins the Father.

As for soundtracks, the music of Nier is impressive. The customary battle music is there, but the more classical and airy vocals of the main themes shine really well in the title. Somehow they fit perfectly during most of the scenes where they are present.

Function

Nier is an action RPG, but uses a different system for magic and upgrades. While the Father will level as he progresses throughout the title, the different weapons he can use vary along with the different magic he receives from Grimoire Weiss, the talking book that is assisting him on his quest. Magic uses a regenerating bar system, so the more powerful magic uses more of each bar while the smaller attacks will only slightly chip away.

Another upgrade system is the use of words that had different attributes for each of the Father’s abilities. Words are mainly found by defeating Shades or they can be found searching through out areas. Words create a different dynamic because of how well they can affect combat.

The only real sore point is the camera system. Most of the time, it is a player controlled fully 3D camera. But specific areas turn the title into a two-dimensional side-scroller, losing a lot of the agility that the Father can use. More often, the Father becomes a damage sponge. Other areas pull the camera vertically, so the action is a top-down fight. This works and doesn’t work depending on the area. Both camera changes are interesting, but they skew the combat in a strange way and cause more difficulty than necessary.

Decisions

Nier is a different RPG. It’s not the standard “saving the world” story and the action does border on delivery man while trying to find an answer. But that is also its biggest strength because it isn’t a theme that is carried in a lot of titles.

Even though the combat is a bit of a learning curve, players who decide to complete the title will only be privy to one of the multiple endings of Nier. In many ways, it’s a leap of faith, but one worth the overall experience, even if there are some low points.

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

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