A Game You May Have Missed: Nier

Some of you may be wondering what Nier is exactly. Well, it was on PS3 and Xbox 360 and released in 2010. The PS3 version was actually an alternate version with a younger version of the main character, Nier.
The reason you never heard of it, is because there was little to no advertising, and it just showed up on the shelves one day.
Nier is apparently a spin-off of the Drakengard series, following the 5th ending of the 1st game. Nier is set over 1,000 years after the events of Drakengard and there is an illness knows as the Black Scrawl. Nier’s daughter has been infected with this illness and he’s trying to find a cure.

Yes, this is a J-RPG and for those of you who don’t know, J-RPG stands for Japanese Role Playing Game. This is commonly used in reference to games in the style of Final Fantasy.

Nier is mostly open world with a free-form combat system, this means no battle screens, no transitions in and out of combat and no random encounters from something that isn’t on screen.

Now, you may have heard that like most J-RPG’s Nier can be completed in about 20 hours. Well, yes and no. Each playthrough can be about 20 hours long, but there are 4 endings. The endings all build upon each other leading into the ultimate 4th and final ending.

The visuals to Nier aren’t all that spectacular. But, like I always say, you can’t judge a game by its graphics. If you hate an amazing game because it looks like it’s from the PS1, then I refer you to Mario and Sonic. A good game is a good game, graphics only enhance the experience.

Now that my mini-rant is over, Nier’s gameplay is about what you would expect. It’s an open world hack and slash with a VERY compelling story and amazing characters.

The sound design was very well done, with an amazing soundtrack.

The combat system is hack and slash with a variety of weapons to choose from and magic you can use as you progress through the story.

The side quest system is lacking and is pretty repetitive. It’s a lot of the same kinds of things done a slightly different way.

That being said, this was a game developed to tell a story, not make you run around doing useless things. It’s fairly straightforward with where you need to go and what you need to do.

This is a great game if you’re looking for a solid story where you’ll actually enjoy the characters and want them all to succeed and you’ll want to help them. Before a certain “So many years later” part, I can’t tell you how much I hated that I had to do what I did.

This is a truly compelling game that brings genuine emotion and I recommend picking this one up. It’s probably $5-$10 used at your local game store, and the Xbox 360 version will be easier to find. (4 years later and I’ve still never seen a PS3 copy).

So, if you need to kill time, and you want to do it with an amazing story and true character depth, go pick this game up cheap, play through all 4 endings, and enjoy the ride. If you don’t like J-RPG’s at all, You can’t sit through for the story and don’t like the gameplay, you probably won’t enjoy this game. But if you’re like me and you don’t really care for them, but can play them for story, you should enjoy Nier. True J-RPG fans will be hit and miss because of the mixed elements of gameplay, but at $5-$10, isn’t worth a shot?


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