Xbox 360 Review: Nier

Nier-ly good…

Nothing is as it seems in Nier. Assume the role of the unyielding titular protagonist, Nier, in his quest to discover a cure for his daughter who is infected with the Black Scrawl virus. With powerful allies and a mysterious book, Nier encounters things that will confound even the mightiest of warriors. The plot for Nier is decent and does just enough to keep you going through the 20+ hour game, but it does take a while to get going and some may not just be patient enough for that. They also add in some rather irritating transparent black boxes during cutscenes which kills any atmosphere or enjoyment of the rather good plot.

Nier tries to combine elements from other games like Zelda, God of War and RPG elements to make a mixed bag that doesn’t really know what it wants to be. Purely on face value, the game looks extremely dated and feels like it should have been on the last generation of consoles. I will say that I do like the open world of Nier, but it can’t really compare with the likes of other RPGs…even with the inclusion of a quest system and other areas that are familiar.

Side-quests are usually dull as they result in you fetching and carrying, but the quests that progress the story are good enough. Combat itself is done in real-time and feels like a hack-n-slash mixed with a few magic spells, there are quite a lot of them…but you can get by just by using less than a handful of them. Even though your character’s reaction is quick, it does look clunky on screen and doesn’t look right at all.

There’s also a big issue with the camera, which doesn’t help you much in combat if it decides to be a pain. A few fixed camera angles and problems with it not keeping up during fights can add to the misery of an annoying fight. Some characters are hardly believable either, especially the secondary ones. Voice-acting is pretty miserable, oh and there’s plenty of swearing from one character that feels out of place. I love to hear a curse word now and then, but not when it doesn’t fit the feel of the game or what it’s all about.

Like I said, visually the game looks very dated. From character models to the levels themselves, they look past generation at best. Music is good but could do with a bit of variety, after a while you’ll be sick of the same tune playing in some areas.

The Verdict

Nier doesn’t really know what it is and neither do I. It tries too hard to combine different game types without concentrating enough on making any of them brilliant; instead they are distinctively average at best. Add in some rather irritating camera angles and those damn transparent black boxes during cutscenes and you have a game that will frustrate most gamers.