Monday, 29 November 2010

Nier: The Aftermath Review

WARNING. This review contain spoilers.

Right. Lets get something out of the way first. Just a little something to consider. Can you pass off a mistake made in a game's development as gameplay? Of course you can. You may have to adjust the game idea somewhat, but it can work in the right situation.

That considered, lets talk about Nier, a game that takes the above the theory and abuses it in the second act. Nier is a game developed by Square Enix and strangely did not recieve much advertising. It just appeared on shop shelves one day. This was a strange thing to do, especially for Square Enix but I digress.

Nier starts up as you go through a tutorial to explain the combat, the enemies, and other things, when suddenly you jump to 1,312 years later?! Wow, most games wait for at least 25% through before they do something random of that magnitude. I won't explain the plot too much, but there are certain points that I want to put emphasis on just because these are the more, lets say surreal parts to this game.

The first boss is the first time I have ever felt saddened for a boss in any game purely through its appearance. It was a big demon, which I was fine with. It had what looked like testicles on its chin though. Huh. There weren't just two either, there were about 15 or so. This made for interesting boss design, but it was just a bit too phalic for my liking. Also a village got destroyed while I was fighting it. It was kind of my fault.

The next sequence of events that I didn't really care for came at the halfway point. Basically, a regenerating monster attacks the village and the resolving point for this is that the main characters decide to trap the monster rather than killing it by putting it in the basement. My jaw dropped when I heard this plan because it just didnt make any sense. Simply ignoring the monster would not solve the problem! Regardless to say we time jump again 5 years, and after revisiting one of the temples from the first half again, we release the monster and kill it. Needless to say, its a bit angry but the thing that annoyed me was that there was no difficulty increase for this boss, while my character had gotten many upgrades before this.

Right. Now we can talk about why I put that little discussion topic at the start. In the second act of Nier, the game basically has you visit all of the same temples again from the first half. I could assume this is gameplay, but I really think that this was because they ran out of time, or money, or something which then made them have to make rush decisions to get it out. This meant that they had to recycle the temples, which were all quite short anyway and of which one was a scrolling text dungeon, to get the game done in time. It just makes the game repetitive, which is unfortunate.

Lets talk about the character first. The main character Nier, is a very sympathetic character. He has a daughter with a disease, and he just wants whats best for her. Thats a good character trait that you could base a really good, expansive character story around. Where he fails is the fact that there is not too much more to the character than wanting the best for the daughter. A couple of words on his daughter now. A girl who tries to help, but is mainly there to drive the story. Thats all there really is to her. You can see that they are trying to push a loving family vibe here, and it works but not enough to make me care more than I already am.

Grimoire Weiss is by far my favourite character over some of the others. He is a sentient magic book that Nier calls apon to invoke magic from. He is ridiculously proud, sarcastic, and does not like it when people abbrieviate his name. He is the only character who is always around from when you first get him however. Other companions come and go, but he is there from the time where you first meet him, right up to the end. He also calls the female companion a hussy. That was his thing from just before the halfway point, and then kept until the end. Sorta came outta nowhere but I found it funny at least.

Kainé is my least favourite character. A foulmouth, skantely bitch with a temper to match. From conversation to conversation she is trying to distance herself from the other characters, but at least has some funny conversations with Grimoire Weiss. The game also tries to give her a sympathetic backstory, but this falls flat as I just think that shes such an unlikeable character that I just didn't care. There was one person who was always trying to be her friend, Emil.

Emil was a child cursed with the power of turning anyone who he looks at into stone. Kinda harsh for a little kid right? Well it gets harsher as the game goes along as you find out in the second half that his sister was transformed into the ultimate weapon, which he then joined with to gain ultimate magical power to free someone from stone. The downside from this was that he turned into a skeleton with an oversized head. This is a kid! A very sympathetic kid as well. Why would the-- Wait a second. Everyone is sympathetic. This isn't really sympathy is it. This is angst!

Angst aside, the story was just average until about the 90% mark, where you finally learn whats going on. Also it may have been because I just played the Uncharted games back to back, but the gameplay just doesn't feel as fluid. It feels sticky, and just doesn't feel right.

Right. Got to tie this review up. Nier just didn't feel like a complete game to me. If more work had been done on different locations for the second act, and the more stupid parts had been ironed out, it would have recieved a higher score. The ending part of the game really brought it up from the ashes, but I can't give Nier more than a "Mierr" score of 4/10.

Also next up is Dead to Rights: Retribution for another abrupt change of game!

This is Tyramatt, signing off.

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