As hack and slash games go this one tries hard, but nothing works particularly well and it's just above average at best. Having said that the story's ok and the soundtrack's soothing to the ears, so you might be able to forgive some of its failures. Heading on over to HMV'll reward you with an Xbox 360 copy of the game for £10, saving you almost £3 on the next best offers coming in from Base and DVD.co.uk. If you want a bit more information on this one before you part ways with your hard earned cash, then why not check out Matt's full review.
Well now that our Game of the Year season has passed, let's take a look at some of the unsung heroes of 2010. We've drawn up a list of some of the most underrated and overlooked games of the last twelve months. We were going to include indie games in this list too...but quite frankly there'd be too many quiet gems to mention all in one go! Keep in touch with Jon's Wednesday XBLIG roundups and Dave's PC freeware collections every Monday though.
In amongst a sea of same-old Ninty titles, Metroid: Other M was a brave combination that refused to simply knock off a straight homage to a popular franchise. Encompassing elements of the original 2D side-scroller, the FPS action of the Retro Studios Prime trilogy and making the most of the Wii's control system that coupled a standalone Wiimote with gunslinging action, Team Ninja's effort was seriously worthy of note. It was far from perfect, and the name it bears gave it some attention at least (which is why it didn't place higher), but it tried something a little bit different. And, four years into the Wii's lifespan, that's quite damn impressive indeed.
We didn't really get on with Final Fantasy XIII here in the Dealspwn office, and I suppose it could have been something of a contender for this list, but we rather felt most had got that one spot on: it made a lot of noise, it looked very shiny, it took 20-30 hours to get going. But if you wanted a proper JRPG fix you were completely spoiled for choice, the difference being that most of them didn't get as much attention. Between Dragon Quest IX, Valkyria Chronicles II, Resonance of Fate and, of course, my personal favourite Infinite Space, there were whole days to be lost to these games. They all had flaws, often pertaining to over-complexity , but they were all of them incredibly rich affairs if you liked that sort of thing.Click here to see the rest of Matt's list....
Other than it's vaguely original-sounding name, Nier is a slack, somewhat derivative action-adventure game from the studio that brought you Final Fantasy. At least, that's how they should pitch it. It might not be very good, but we made Final Fantasy, so reward us for your countless hours of enjoyment with your capital. For shame. However, if you like the idea of a Westernized Japanese hack-and-slash, hop on over to Amazon and grab yourself a copy of Nier for under a tenner.
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.
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.
Whilst Nier didn't exactly wow the critics, it's still got a shedload of content and some neat moments. If you missed GAME and HMV's shortlived discounts, you'll now be able to pick it up for £14.85 from ShopTo. It'll save you just over £3 compared to Coolshop (the nearest price rival) and is probably worth a punt if you've been sitting on the fence.
Matt’s full review gives you a good grounding in what Nier has to offer, but let me give you my take on this confusing little title. A mature RPG that doesn't play by the rules, Nier offers a half-decent story, some excellent bosses and some seriously blue voice acting. The graphics sit on the grainy side of ugly, but there are several excellent moments that'll stick with you for a while.
Unfortunately, Nier then overcompensates by throwing a mess of ‘classic’ gaming genres into the mix. 2.5D platforming sections and isometric gauntlet-style arenas could have worked if they were handled properly, but their clunky and seemingly last-minute implementation makes them an annoying chore rather than a genuinely refreshing change of pace.
Having said all that, I will never rag on a developer for trying something new. Blending some unfamiliar genres together can make for some epic new game experiences (Puzzle Quest, for one)- and with a little more polish, Nier could've been something special. As things stand, it's just trying too hard to please everyone and comes away as a rather vulgar little upstart. If you've been sitting on the fence, however, this price may well knock you onto one side or the other.
In the market for a quirky Japanese hack-and-slash title from the creators of Final Fantasy? If you're interest is suitably piqued, Square Enix's Nier can be nabbed from HMV for just £17.99!
We expect Square Enix games to be lavish and cinematic, adhering to their strict formula. Nier is a departure from Enix's conventional design, but in the process suffers from poor production values and varied but unpolished gameplay elements. Matt reviewed Nier last April, and while he was critical of the game's unfinished state, he does recommend it for its well-told story and character work.
Nier follows the eponymous hero, who is searching the land for a cure to heal his daughter, afflicted by the Black Scrawl virus. Nier is a burly, muscle-bound hero, who carries a broadsword and a floating magical book. He's willing to venture anywhere in search of the cure, even into territory crawling with demonic forces thirsting for blood.
Nier is something of an homage to Zelda. It has a sprawling region to explore, with dungeons filled with monsters and a climactic boss-fight. You can even travel to the sea shore and fish, although I've heard doing so may result in destructive acts of Nier-induced frustration!
Nier? I barely know 'er! In fact, Cavia Incorporated's eclectic RPG has barely been out for a fortnight: but it's already reached the magical sub-£20 level thanks to a titanic price cut. GAME are currently stocking Nier for £14.98, which will save you over a tenner compared to Amazon, the nearest price rival.
In a nutshell, Nier tries too hard to do too much. Its story, characters and setting are genuinely interesting (thanks mostly to some excellent voice acting and mature themes that buck many of the staple Japanese RPG trends), but its core gameplay simply isn't fleshed out enough to compete with more traditional RPG experiences. The standard combat system is solid and there are a few impressively imaginative boss encounters, but the level design and objectives are uninspired and tedious.
Unfortunately, Nier then tries to stand out from the crowd by throwing a mess of 'classic' gaming genres into the mix. 2.5D platforming sections and isometric gauntlet-style arenas could have worked if they were handled properly, but their clunky implementation makes them an annoying chore rather than a refreshing change of pace.
Still, I hate to rag on a developer that's made an effort to do something different. Nier isn't truly bad, rather, it's just going through an identity crisis- and it's low price tag makes it well worth considering if you're looking for an RPG that doesn't play by the rules. Why not check out Matt's full review to get a better taste for Nier's confusing mix of genres?
Thanks to andywedge at Hot UK Deals.
Developer: Cavia Inc.
When I was living as a student, there'd be times of severe frugality and one would be forced to improvise, especially when it came to food. Picture the scene: you've been subsisting on Campbell's Meatballs and week-old prawn crackers for too long and so, taking a peek into the back of the cupboard, you attempt to concoct something out of the ingredients found within. It is therefore with the utmost optimism that you find a pot, and in goes a tin of beans, some Lea and Perrins, a pepper, three fish fingers, a potato waffle and two Babybels. And then you pray that what you've just made is edible (it was....barely).
It seems that developers Cavia had a similar idea with Nier. This action-RPG is a far-cry from the stripped back approach of Final Fantasy XIII, a new JRPG that essentially does what every single JRPG has been trying to do for the last year or two: introduce one or two updates. Unfortunately, Cavia does this by taking the outline of an RPG and throwing absolutely every single game ingredient they can possibly get their hands on into the mix, hurling often unfinished gameplay features at this title and hoping that something will stick.
The very first thing that I noticed about this game, and I have to say that this may have had something to do with coming straight from FFXIII to dive into this, is that it looks pretty awful. There's none of that trademark Square razzle-and-dazzle to put the blinders on you before you get in, no featherlite hair wafting lazily in a blossom-drenched breeze. Instead we have some vaguely detailed character models mincing around landscapes more bland than a brown paper bag. You start off in 2049 in control of Nier, a 40 something muscular gent who vaguely resembles Fujin from Mortal Kombat 4 and talks like Kevin Sorbo in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, protecting his daughter Yonah from a bunch of ethereal, shadowy monsters known as Shades. Yonah, it would appear, is infected with an ancient disease known as the Black Scrawl, and her prospects aren't bright.
We're hurtling towards the end of April, and here comes another new releases post. It seems that everyone's just waited until the last week of the month to release their titles. Dead To Rights: Retribution comes out along with Square's action-RPG Nier this week before an exciting end-of-month avalanche on the 30th.
How to use: Click on the title of the video game if you would like to see the cross platform possibilities. Click on the game cover of the platform of your choice to see the price comparison for that particular game, showing you the cheapest prices from UK online retailers.
NB. Game developers are notoriously flighty so be aware some of these dates may well change.
22nd - 28th April 2010:
|Dead To Rights: Retribution
23rd April 2010
23rd April 2010