Review – Nier

Square Enix and game developer Cavia team up to create an action based role playing game (RPG) set far in the future where the human race has been decimated by a strange condition called the Black Scrawl and your daughter might be next.

You play as Nier, or whatever name you choose to go by, on a quest to save your daughter Jonah from an incurable and fatal scourge that has already claimed countless numbers of lives. The time is 1300+ years from now and the planet is in ruins. People are in hiding and weird creatures called shades roam freely terrorizing everyone.

The story itself is very intriguing and a second playthrough actually adds to the overall experience. One playthrough clearly isn’t enough, you just need quite a bit of time to play through twice. There is a mix of styles while going through the dialogue, and certain areas have you reading quite a bit, while others mix in both written and spoken dialogue. There is a good mix of fighting, platforming, and puzzle solving to be had, and it seems like a well balanced mix.

The weapon system starts out pretty basic but blacksmiths can sell you new swords and even upgrade swords you pick up along your quest. The swords range in size from small, one-handed jobs to large, two-handed behemoths that swing a little slower but pack a huge punch. Swinging your sword is as simple as pressing square, so nothing fancy here.

The magic system consists of quite a few different moves that can be assigned to one of the shoulder buttons, and every type of magic seems to have a spot in the game designed just for it. While fighting the shades in the game you’ll run across magic words that can be applied to your different types of magic to enhance them and make them stronger.

Boss battles can seem a bit long winded, and some may take you a while to wear the Boss down and finish it off. Trying out different magic types for different bosses will work to your advantage.

If you need a break from the story, you can always jump into some side quests, but keep in mind that there aren’t any markers on the maps to assist you in these so keep an eye on your menu to see which quests are incomplete and what you need to finish them. There is also fishing, with a wide variety of fish to catch. You can always try your hand at farming/gardening and both farming and fishing have trophies to earn.

The graphics are the one area where this game is truly lacking. While there is quite a bit to explore and the maps are large and well planned out, they don’t have the look of a next generation game. If you are looking for graphics similar to God of War III or Uncharted 2, you won’t be seeing that here. While the graphics are a step up from the PS2, they miss the PS3 mark.

Where the game is lacking in graphics, it clearly makes up for it in audio. The music is art in itself, and has been written to fit the scenes and areas very well. From haunting melodies with no lyrics, to the sweet sound of a woman’s voice mixed with a melody that could melt your heart, they went above and beyond to make the game sound great. The fast tempo music in boss battles set the tone and let you know you are in for some high intensity fighting.

Square Enix has been known for years as a publisher that puts how high quality RPG’s and they picked a great game to stand behind here. Other than the graphics, Nier is a top-notch RPG with a huge amount of replayability that requires more than just a rental.