Here in the States we can’t get the video game Nier: Replicant where you play as a young seemingly spry lad with white hair and large sword. Instead you get a character that is quite the opposite. You get to play as a large caveman like character who goes by the moniker “The Father” and bears a striking resemblance to Gary Busey. This is not necessarily a bad thing as I for one am a huge fan of Mr. Busey and all he does…partly out of fear that he may appear next to my bed one night with that…that grin. But I digress. The only real difference between Nier: Gestalt and Nier: Replicant is the age of the main character and their relationship with Yonah. As “The Father” you assume the role of (you guessed it) her father, while in Nier: Replicant you play as her brother.
As stated above the states you play the video game as her father attempting to find a cure for the aptly named “Black Scrawl” that begins to engulf her. Where her mother may be I haven’t the foggiest and leaving a teenager up to their own devices while Dad’s out engaging the world in combat and completing quests has bad idea written all over it. Add in the fact that she’s sick and you begin to unravel a blanket of bad parenting. But it’s this bad parenting that makes this video game fricking AWESOME. I don’t want to play a video game as a loving father who sits by his daughters bed side applying a cold compress while creatures called “Shades” are attacking travelers and miscellaneous sheep. NO! I want to be the guy out there kicking shade (and sheep) ass with my magical talking book and sword the size of a sofa. There’s a sentence I never imagined I would ever have a reason to type.
This is a video game on a whole different level. To understand what you’re getting in to all you really have to do is watch the opening video. Seriously. It’s total rage before Square Enix’s logo even pop’s up. At the time I didn’t know who was yelling but it was love at first sight.
From the onset the controls are simple and easy. They don’t throw anything new or innovative at you. This is where the problem lies. There are so many opportunities to take advantage of something like the PS3 controller that they never capitalize on.
For example there a few times in Nier you have to go fishing. In order to fish you have to make Nier “pull” the rod away from the fish. Naturally the fish will swim any way it can to get away from the hook which is all well and good, but all you really have to do as a the player is tilt the right stick in the opposite direction of the fish. There’s little skill or even fun involved. Why not have the player at least tilt the controller in the direction they need to pull. Something? Anything?
Hell, thanks to Heavy Rain I half expect developers to have me literally stand in a bucket of water with controller in hand flicking it like a fishing rod while I use the joystick as the reel. Now that would be a fun experience.
For sheer lack of living up to the potential I have to give the controls a 4 out of 5
To help ramp up the “Nier is awesome” factor you start the game off fighting a swarm of shades with a metal pipe. During this fight you learn the wonderful integration of the magic and combat system as you summon a ginormous hand, throw ginormous lances, and beat shades up with a ginormous metal pipe. You also hit level 30 in the first 5 minutes… using a metal pipe. Seriously…you smack shit with pipe.
Then the true RPG experience begins. The rank is stripped away and you start back at level one (sadly without the pipe) and you receive a series of quests from local townsfolk who seem to be too lazy to get up from the local fountain and go get their own damn mutton. You do everything you would expect to do. You fish, you grind, you hunt for drops from animals, you collect experience to level up, you grind, you farm, and you grind a little more.
Remember this published by Squre Enix who just released Final Fantasy XIII. Final Fantasy XIII was essentially Square Enix saying “Move from point A to point E by going through B, C, and D. In that order. At that speed. No exceptions. You have to. Why? Because we said so. Want to explore? You can’t. Why? Because f*ck you, that’s why. And stop asking about a damn remake.”
Nier was a breath of fresh air. It was a nostalgic return to RPG roots that I have been missing as of late. Gameplay gets a perfect 5 out of 5
Graphics are the only real problem with Nier. It’s a total visual turd. Every now and again you will see something that looks nice but these moments are few and far between. The trees are SQUARE!! Logs are TRIANGLES!! Kaine…well she’s perfectly formed gothic lolita. Essentially they spent more time making sure Kaine’s boobs came out great but the rest of the game looks like it belongs on a PS2 or XBox. Notice the lack of a 360 after that? Yeah that’s what you’re getting yourself into. The characters are about the only thing that look like they belong on the current gen systems.
Ultimately the graphics just don’t do anything for…well…anybody or anything. They’re getting Nier a 2 out of 5
This is a tale of a fathers love and willingness to give the finger to what social services says good parenting is and go just about anywhere and do just about anything for Yonah. More than once I find myself getting warm fuzzies for Nier’s willingness to fight pretty much everything around him for his only child. The story is full of twists and turns that makes you want to keep playing well into the night and show up to work the next day disheveled with puffy red eyes.
Nier’s story gets a 4 out of 5.
Ultimately the graphics hurt the video game. Its a truly magnificent game. It’s a great return to an RPG style I have missed. It looks like total crap but plays like a dream. It has a lot going for it, but not enough to push it above a 3 out of 5. I will, however, say that this is one 3 out of 5 that you need to buy, play, and love. Maybe cuddle up with a bit. Given that its a confusingly ugly game though we could give it an confusingly ugly score like PBBN9JCPR8H. Make sense of that and you win the weekly prize.
Seriously though: Here is Nier and here is Busey. Am I the only one seeing this?
Really? They both look effing crazy.
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Additional Busey pictures are encouraged. I want to make a shrine.