This game takes place in a world that is in near destruction due to unknown circumstances. Nier, who is the father of Yonah, works hard to support his daughter and himself by doing odd jobs in his village. One day, his daughter venture off to a dangerous place, and Nier has to go there and save her. On his way there, he encountered a talking book by the name of Grimoire Weiss. By making an alliance with the book, Nier is able to use powerful magic to devastate his enemies. Little did he know that will set things in motion, a fate that will befall on Nier and his daughter, as well as his newly gained friends.
The story is extremely well-told, and it is pretty unique in RPG games. I don't think that many games that can rival this game's storyline, especially for it's great plot twists and multiple endings. Not only that, this game also has very likable characters, like Nier, Kaine, Weiss, Emil and many more. You may also find that this game will likely surprise you in many ways, where many of this game's story elements do not fall to standard RPG story elements, such as happy endings. In many ways, I can honestly say that I felt sorry in many characters in this game.
This game also features multiple endings, where one ending may or may not be related to each other. When you are playing New Game Plus for the second playthrough, you will be able to view lots of additional scenes that are not available during the initial playthrough. Many of these new cutscenes will make you feel emotional and sympathetic, in many ways. I felt that the developer made a clever design and usage on New Game Plus for multiple endings in this game.
NOTE: Some people are confused with Nier Gestalt and Nier Replicant. Nier Gestalt is the exclusive Japanese version for Xbox 360, but is available in English for both PS3 and Xbox 360. Nier Replicant is the exclusive Japanese version for PS3 only. The main character for both versions is different, where Nier in Nier Gestalt is an older man and the father of Yonah, whereas Nier in Nier Replicant is a younger man and Yonah's brother. In this review, the game that is being reviewed is Nier Gestalt in English version. However, it is titled simply as Nier in English version.
i) Progression Section
To progress in the game, you need to travel somewhere, collect some stuffs, and give it to someone. You will also explore a number of dungeons in the game, where some of them have puzzles for you to complete. Most of the main game's objectives is to fetch some items, and give it to someone. Other than that, there is not many variety of progression elements. You can either walk, run, or use a boat to get to your destination.
You may also opt to do Side Quests in this game, and again, most of them require you to get something to complete it, or to kill a certain enemy. The reward of completing these quests are usually money, as well as weapons.
ii) Upgrading and Customisation Section
Like many other RPG games, you can level up by killing enemies called Shades. As you level up, your stats will increase, such as HP, Attack, and other stats. Once you are powerful enough, you can defeat enemies much more easily in lower difficulty modes.
You may also opt to upgrade your weapons, by spending a fee and some materials. As you upgrade your weapons, they will be much more stronger, and can be useful to dispatch stronger enemies. However, materials can be hard to find, as some enemies will only drop certain materials very, very rarely. You can also find items at certain points in different areas.
You may also customise your weapon's, magic's and martial arts' abilities by Words. Words can give a variety of effects, such as increased EXP, and many more. Words are obtained randomly when fighting Shades, and some Words have stronger variations to be obtained in the game.
iii) Combat Section
The combat plays like other action games. You can use either sword, heavy swords, or spears to attack enemies. You can also use a variety of magic to defeat enemies, as well as charge weapon attacks on enemies. Using magic will drain your MP, and it will restore itself slowly. You can also use items to restore HP or MP in combat. You can also dodge enemies by rolling, or block attacks. As you progress in the game, you will gain additional party members that are controlled by A.I. You can use certain orders to direct their behaviour.
You will fight a variety of enemies, such as Shades, robots and animals. Most of them have different appearances and attacks, and some can be easy to fight, others not so. For example using a long ranged magic like Dark Spear is effective against faraway enemies. Enemies can be fought during exploration on outdoors, as well as inside dungeons.
There is a variety of boss fights in this game, and they are fun to fight. Most of the boss fights in this game are varied, and require different strategies to fight. Unlike regular enemy fights, the boss fights are designed in a way that they can defeat you easily if you do know what to do in the battle.
iv) Gameplay Conclusion
The gameplay unfortunately, fells short in being great or the very least of being good. The gameplay lacks any substantial or unique features that will differentiate this game than the rest of action RPGs. The backtracking is kind of tedious and repetitive, as the game's world is not entirely big or vast. Also, the game also lack of unlockable combat moves, and you will be using the same combo moves in combat all and over again. Customisation in this game is also lacking, where you cannot customise Nier's appearance or stats more extensively. However, the combat is pretty fun, great boss fights, and some entertaining throwback gameplay sections from past games that may be recognised by other people.
The graphics in this game is not exceptional, but certainly not too bad. Character models look good at times during cutscenes, but not during exploration or gameplay. Environment designs are pretty bland, and most towns and dungeons in this game lack creativity or beauty for players to enjoy. No major technical issues such as bugs or glitches spotted while playing this game.
The soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal. It has a lot of memorable themes, such as Kaine's theme, Nier's village theme, and many more that is worth listening. Unlike other RPGs, this game is filled with lots of vocal songs, which are mostly made up from different languages like Gaelic and Portuguese. If I have the chance, I will definitely purchase the soundtrack because the soundtrack itself has many great compositions, styles and vocals.
The voice acting is great, with great performances by all voice actors around, such as Jamieson Price, Laura Bailey, Liam O'Brien, Julie Ann Taylor, and many more. Laura Baliey's performance as Kaine should be commended, as she voices a totally unique character that will surprise most people in an RPG game. Try and compare her voice as Kaine in this game and Serah from Final Fantasy XIII, and you will get what I mean.
This game has good replay value. You can play the game in New Game Plus mode to obtain all Endings, or do side quests. Unfortunately, most of the side quests are highly repetitive, and it is unlikely for average players to complete all of them due to repetitiveness. You may also plant some vegetables or flowers for income, or fishing. If you are also looking for more challenging gameplay, try out the Hard difficulty mode in New Game Plus or in a new playthrough.
I can honestly say that this is an RPG game that I enjoy a lot despite some of it's major issues like gameplay and graphics. This game has an exceptional and plot-twisting storyline, great characters, masterpiece soundtrack, and good voice acting. I highly advise people to try out this game for it's great story exposition, characters, and soundtrack. It has fair share of it's flaws, but not all games are perfect.
Pros and Cons
- Excellent story.
- Well-used plot twists.
- Many emotional and surprising moments.
- Great characters, both good and evil characters.
- Excellently developed characters.
- Great character relationships.
- Masterpiece music.
- Great voice acting.
- Good replay value.
- Mildly fun combat.
- Epic boss fights.
- Clever tribute or throwback on certain past games.
- Has multiple endings.
- Cleverly-designed New Game Plus mode to accommodate multiple endings.
- Mediocre graphics.
- Gameplay lacked innovation.
- Lack of combat moves.
- Very few customisation options.
- Repetitive objectives.
- Repetitive side quests.