A Follow up to Evis T's Review of Nier on The Xbox 360.

Apr 29th, 2010
This is a slightly more in depth review of Nier, explaining exactly why it drove me off the end of my rope.

You can read the original review, in all its rant-tastic glory here.

Okay, I've had a few people, quite rightly tell me that my first Nier review lacks any real substance beyond a gooey centre of hate.I've written this follow up in the hope of giving a slightly better view of the game as a whole.I would go back and re write the entire review, but I think people need to see just how much of an effect this game had on me.Nier is an action RPG set in the far distant future.Civilization has collapsed and everyone now lives in a medieval-esque style world with lots of relics of the ancient past.You play the eponymous lead, as he tries to find a cure for his daughter who has contracted a deadly disease called the black scrawl virus.By action RPG, what it means is that it's trying to be like prototype or Arkham Asylum, combining action centric gameplay (lots of combat) with an RPG like upgrade and customization system.Works fine on paper, and it's a very popular concept (God of War Anyone?), the problem is Nier's shitty execution of this idea.

To begin with, in a combat centric game, you need a good combat system.You need something that rewards skill as well as speed, you need combos, a variety of techniques and lots of options as to how you approach the game.Prince of Persia Warrior within ( A game I Will review one day, so help me God), did this very well, letting players create their own combat style.Nier, as I have said has nothing beyond mash X.Special moves generated by charging the X button or holding Y don't flow, and this means you don't get combos.Apart from that all you can do is block and evade.Aside from spells, you never learn any other combat techniques, meaning that the very centre of Nier, the core mechanic around which the game is built, is awful.

Suspension of disbelief is a very important part of story telling in videogames.I mentioned it earlier in this review, and to be honest Nier does everything it can to violate suspension of disbelief.I think Linkara from Atop The 4th Wall said it best.To paraphrase: "Suspension of disbelief means that I don't question that a person can run really fast or fly.What it doesn't mean is that I shouldn't think."Let's take a look at star trek for example.How do the Romulans make black holes?Red matter!Okay, it's a simple McGuffin that doesn't mean anything but for purposes of suspension of disbelief, that's enough.Okay Nier, why is Kainé wearing a negligee and assless knickers? . And that's not the only thing.There's peoples reactions to Weiss (your talking book) and many other little things that chip away until the setting is about as immersive as two inches of melted cooking fat.

Next, the graphics.Well, aside from the stupid character design I already mentioned, the graphics are passable.Mostly passable anyway.A lot of things (such as the robots in the military complex) look stupid.There's no way that you can conceive of robots ever actually looking like that, not in this day and age.Fallout 3 modelled many of its robots on golden age Sci Fi designs which were corny as hell, but they still looked more 'real' than these jokers.Then there's the HDR bloom effects which are just downright unpleasant.Bloom is supposed to mimic that effect you get when you move from a dark area to a light area too quickly for your eyes to adjust, I.E a sort of white out.Fine, but in Nier this translates to: you-cannot-see-jack-shit-as-your-screen-turns-into-a-mini-sun.Nowhere is this better emphasised than the seaside town.

Finally, there are the mini games and little side things you do.You can plant vegetables and other food produce in your garden- but you wont.Why bother when you can find half the stuff lying around without the need to play harvest moon?You can fish, but you wont.Why bother when the controls are so God awful?You can explore, but you wont as there's nothing to find and most of the areas are locked out until you get to certain points in the story.You can do quests for villagers but you'll stop as soon as you realise that these are the same f###ing quests you do in World of Warcraft and have no meaning, depth or entertainment value.Just go to place X and collect certain quantity of item Y, then return to stupid lazy pleb Z.

I think it's appropriate to close this follow up review with why I stopped playing Nier.I got to a point where I had to help release villagers from something called the dreaming death.Dear God I have never seen so much text in my life.Lost Odyssey didn't have this much text in it, and the short stories in that where really well written, AND skippable.All I got was 15 minutes of characters yaking and yaking with no real meaning and purpose beyond padding an already drawn out scene.Oh, and they kept breaking the 4th wall further cementing a complete lack of immersion.As the endless spewing stream of nonsensical rambling wore on ( much like this review), the text went and filled the entire screen, and the background faded to black.

It turned into a CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE NOVEL.You've got the awesome power of an xbox 360 gaming console, rendering detailed models and lighting effects in full 3D, with excellent sound and HD resolution.So you made a white text on black background adventure novel.The idea is that Nier is drawn into this villager's dream, but for the love Satan, you could have done so much more with that than white text on a black background.Play psychonaughts you tossers.I mashed the A button until I could do something, which turned out to be answering a riddle.A very easy one.I answered it and then mashed away again until the next one and so forth.Finally I woke the villager up... and could then move on to the next one.

I nearly cried.After about 20 minutes of totally and utterly wasted time, I had to do it again.I grit my teeth.I mashed A.It gave me a list of directions to choose from.Oh in the name of great merciful Buddha, I actually have to read this endless drivel to know where to go!? Why can't I wonder around inside her dream? Why do I need to do this?Did you stupid bastards run out of money?

I chose directions at random and then got eaten by a Grue.Not really, but I did get a game over.At that point I packed it all in.Nier had failed, utterly failed to deliver anything even approaching good gameplay, good story, or... well... anything good.And I Was not going to play through Zeus only knows how many more of those pantheon damned dream sequences just for the slightest possibility of a better game. It wouldn't be so bad except for the fact that this was an endless stream of text, and non of it was well written. It wasn't badly written I suppose, but if you're going to have a huge chunk of text like that, then it had better be a good piece of prose. Look at Losy Odysee. No.I began the 3 mile walk to my nearest videogame shop and traded that f###cker in (After writing the first part of this review).Turns out that I wasn't the only person to have done so, further cementing my opinion that Nier is a complete and total pile of pig shit.

So there you have it.Less rage and hate, and more substance as to why the former was so prevalent in my last review.I hope this review warns off anyone looking to buy this game, because it does not deserve a chance to survive, or God forbid, produce sequels.

EvisT
The name's Evis. I've been writing since before I can remember, and my favourite area is fiction. Specifically, I like writing science fiction and fantasy- the real world is just too dull. I also love cooking and videogaming and live above a pub in Wales…
Follow
Your comments