Nier is a game that both delights and frustrates me with its multi-faceted gameplay and intriguing story at odds with bland presentation and crushingly boring bits that sometimes threaten to break the game. I really really want to tell you all to rush out and buy this game irrespective of price, but unfortunately there are some aspects of this mind-bending melting pot of genres that simply don't work.
That said, Square's game is so far apart from anything you might expect from the renowned peddler of safe JRPGs that it might be worth a spot in a museum at some point in the future. Maybe. But probably not. If you are interested, though, thankfully Zavvi's Mega Monday sale is here to save the day, as prices have been slashed on both console versions, saving you £4-5 quid in each case.
- Click here to buy Nier for £11.95 from Zavvi [X360]
- Click here to buy Nier for £12.95 from Zavvi [PS3]
Much like trying to fit J-Lo's ass into a pair of skinny jeans, Cavia have tried to fit too much in here. There are open world elements at work here, mixed in with some not too subtle ripping off of Zelda and its dungeons, hack and slash mechanics that seem to be two a penny these days, the odd bit of 2.5D platforming...oh, and a gardening mini game that is almost as depressing as playing FarmVille.
The ambition is a good thing, and when Nier hits its stride - and most of those moments come courtesy of the hugely impressive boss battles - it's a lot of fun. The story and characters (particularly the banter between rage-filled hermaphrodite Kaine and sardonic, floating magical book Grimoire Weiss) are really very good indeed, with plenty of twists and turns and a great deal of originality.
It's this originality, the paradoxical feeling of playing something so very familiar at times and utterly surprising at others, that makes Nier such an endearing game. Nearly every facet of its multitudinous gameplay is flawed in some way, but I find myself coming back time and time again...and now it's available for under £15, which is well worth it.