Why did I play this?Why did I play this?

Posted on Jan 7th 2013 at 07:15:42 PM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under nier, playstation 3, ps3, xbox 360, 360, rpg, action



There's something about the RPGs of the 7th Generation of home consoles that really does not sit well with me. Considering all three of the major systems I can name the RPGs I've seen as truly breathtaking and majestic recreations of the wonder and amazement I felt as a child on one hand.

One hand.

Now keep in mind that I still have yet to play quite a few of the RPGs released in this generation as it comes to a close. Out of the ones I have played so far only three of them have really stood out above the rest as not only great games, but telling a great story on top of it; Valkyria Chronicles, Xenoblade, and The Last Story. The list gets longer if I'm counting games I played on PC, and I'm not.


One of my favorite wallpapers.

I've been a bit jaded yes, I admit it. Anyway, I've finally decided to sit down and play some of the games that I currently own but have yet to play, and I started with Nier. I feel like I've been missing out by not playing this game sooner.

Call it timing if you will, when I first started playing Nier and I got past the introduction and really started to play the game it just felt like everything I wanted in a modern RPG. The protagonist is not some naive, asexual, teenage, pretty boy swordsman. Nier is a middle aged father taking care of his daughter who has been sticken by a fatal illness with no known cure.

So right from the start Nier has swerved to avoid the overdone and burnt to a crisp coming of age tale, but it does not completely avoid cliches, just downplays them and does not make them the focus of the story, at least at first. The voice acting and direction is highly competent, Jamieson Price providing the English voice of Nier, and Liam O'Brien starring as Grimoire Weiss. The two make for quite a dynamic duo.


Grimoire Weiss unlocks magical abilities, which will be key!

The story is progressed through various events, sometimes you just have to talk to somebody. Each arc of the story is finished up by clearing a dungeon and defeating the boss. Nier really has a lot of gameplay systems, the combat is in real time and huge combos can be made as long as the player avoids taking damage and being knocked down. The companion AI is pretty dumb as well, its executed well in combat, but your allies don't even run as fast as Nier so they're always teleporting next to you and not moving until they teleport again.

Outside of the main story Nier has a lot of extras to dive deeply into, the first one the player is introduced to being the Quests that random villagers will want you to do for them. The quests are not overwhelming like they can be in Xenoblade, and a lot of them involve farming items, fetching, delivering, or finding somebody or something. But there are enough that involve humanity, its nature, and errors that just makes for great entertainment at times, and invokes empathy at others.


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaass.

Interlaced with questing is fishing, which can be leveled up through a quest chain through an old man on the pier, and then done purely for profit. Fishing feels a bit awkward at first and took me some getting used to, but it really is simple. You watch your rod, ignore the nibbles, hit it on the big bite, and pull back and from side to side to reel it in. Nier has a terrible cast though, you end up catching huge sharks with the fishing line two feet off the pier.

At home Nier has more than just his little daughter to visit, after a couple early quests you will have a garden to tend to. Seeds are cheap to buy and even early yields can net Nier over 20,000 gold while only spending ~1,000 for seeds. All you have to do is water them at each stage of growth, even the fertilizer the game offers is totally optional.

One other way to spend your money in Nier is to level up your weapons at the little shack in the Junk Heap. You unlock this option after beating the second dungeon, and even get your first upgrade for free! There really aren't many weapons in the game so you will have to upgrade them at some point, and spend time farming the materials for it as well.

You can upgrade your spells and weapons even further with magic words that you find in random boxes you break and from enemies you kill. The effects of these can be combined for a mix and match of effects. But, you can only have two words on any spell or weapon and there are only a few that are really useful in all situations.


Did you forget that Kaine has an ass?

Nier has its technical problems and those keep it just shy out of that Holy Trinity I mentioned at the top. The story is polished and different enough to keep me intrigued through a playthrough. The narrative flows in a competent manner with nice pacing. The voice acting is done by highly trained professionals with a long list of works. All in all, I would say that Square Enix did good publishing this game, if only they had actually marketed it or bribed some reviewers to get the aggregate scores fluffed up it may have sold well enough to localize Nier Replicant.


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Comments
 
I wanted to get into this one, as the technical problems and lackluster graphics won't normally dissuade me from enjoying a good game.  But some games end up with a problem I just can't get past to enjoy it.  For example, in Resonance of Fate it was a combat system that was just tedious, overtly complex and eventually very boring for me. 

In this one, it was the foul language.  I know the details about main offender Kaine's character (and her grandmother) and the explanations about why she is as she is, and sure, much of the dialogue is purposefully funny, but considering how many playthroughs are required to get the best/true ending, for a guy like me it just ended up being a deal breaker, hearing her all the time.

Which is disappointing, as there is a lot to like about this game.  If it doesn't bother (or indeed, endears) someone, the story is much better than standard RPG fare and worth a look.
 
@slackur: Foul language doesn't bug me too much unless its just thrown in there randomly like many modern FPS and TPS do. They know their market is really 13 year olds so they have to try and make something shocking for them. What really bugged me was Kaine's pointless character design meant to flaunt cleavage and ass as I so passive aggressively mentioned.
 
I vot a few hours into Nier last year and then stopped. Dont remember why. I should pick it up again. Thanks for the reminder!

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