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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly great!
I didn't expect much from Nier going in, and in truth it starts a bit slow, very much like a typical action RPG. But soon it gets very good, and then it keeps getting better and better. It defies convention in a number of ways, including a variety of fighting methods that actually make a difference depending on enemy tactics and the environment. It also gives you a number...
Published on May 2, 2010 by David

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Story, Tired Engine
Summary: Worth $25, in my opinion. Must like grinding. Story will keep you interested.

US Edition
Pros: -From early on, I gained an emotional attachment to the main characters daughter. They did an excellent job of keeping the main character gruff but caring, and making the daughter charming and not tiresome.
-Magic bar regenerates at a decent...
Published on December 1, 2010 by E. B. Phillips


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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly great!, May 2, 2010
By 
David (Berkeley, CA USA) - See all my reviews
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: NIER - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
I didn't expect much from Nier going in, and in truth it starts a bit slow, very much like a typical action RPG. But soon it gets very good, and then it keeps getting better and better. It defies convention in a number of ways, including a variety of fighting methods that actually make a difference depending on enemy tactics and the environment. It also gives you a number of different magic techniques and makes you learn them and use them using clever game design. There's even a mini text adventure, with some very easy riddles, showing that the designers chose purposely not to hew to tradition (at least, not recent tradition).

So the gameplay is very, very good. But what pushes Nier over the top is the story and characterization. I loved that I actually understood the story, unlike so many JRPGs where it seems that the designers work to make the story incomprehensible. It's a simple story of a man trying to save his daughter from a mysterious menace, with some fascinating side stories that serve admirably to draw the player in.

I've saved the best for last; the character design and dialog in Nier are absolutely top-notch. I won't spoil it for you by giving details (really, try not to learn too much about this game before playing it; you'll ruin many great surprises), but in particular, the characters of Weiss and Kaine are absolutely superbly written and voice-acted. Be warned, though, that one of them uses some fairly coarse language, so those with delicate sensibilities might want to stay away.

The icing on the cake is a dollop of humor; this is not your father's dead-serious JRPG. Nier is truly greater than the sum of its parts, and if you love great games, you owe it to yourself to play this one.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nier is Nierly Sublime, June 7, 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: NIER - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
At 1up my blogs dissected & examined Nier from every angle. The fact I spent so much time discussing this game should be a testament onto itself however it is important I put all that into one review to make it easier for you the readers.

Essentially this game is a brain melter. In a ruined city Nier, a rugged looking middle aged man is wielding a lead pipe against creatures composed of jumbled floating text. These abominations are called "shades" and it is assumed they almost wiped humanity clean off the face of the earth. Nier is not trying to save the world. His more immediate concern is protecting his sweet daughter Yohna .

Suddenly an evil talking book on the ground tempts Nier with power. "You can't fight them all off. You know you want to defend the little one you love." Any of us would bargain with the devil at this point.

While wielding the pipe I could do evasive rolling, jumping, and hammer on shades with quicker yet weaker attacks or charge up more powerful yet slower swings. Pretty much Nier felt like a clunky God of war mixed with a 3D final fight. The whole motif of dear dad protecting his child in a ruined city also made me reminisce about the first Silent Hill.

Then the floating book comes into play. All at once Nier is pulverizing shades with giant fists, impaling lances, and wave shaped blasts of dark energy brought to hellish life by the arcane tome. Running back and forth I'm hurling bright red balls of power at my foes when it dawns on me now Nier is more like Smash TV, Death Smiles, and Bayonetta. It was at this decisive moment I fell in love with the game. It also hurt me to admit I saw reasons why others may hate it.

If you are expecting Nier to be like Final Fantasy just because square/enix is on the cover of the case you are in for a disappointment. There are no brightly colored plastic perfect young protagonists getting into ATB battles and improving their stats through an overly complex skill board. Nier himself is a gruff older man with plenty of scars, muscles, and white silvery hair. His first concern is being a good father. Everything else comes second.

Likewise if you are wanting Nier to be as frantic and fluid as Devil May cry 4, Bayonetta, or God of war you'll also be let down. While fighting in Nier is fun and has similarities to the action game genre it is not quite as graceful or pretty. Likewise there are many nuances found in rpgs such as saving villagers, gathering supplies, hunting, fishing, and farming. While Nier is nice enough not to doom you to failure for not doing these extra activities it is still encouraged.

Still here? Still intrigued? Good because a few complaints aside Nier is still enjoyable and wonderfully unique!

Needless to say Nier continues to screw with you. Abruptly after your slug out in the abandoned Metropolis Nier fast forwards things 1,300 years and yet both Nier and Yonah look the same. Are they reincarnated versions of the original pair? Are they clones? Did they time travel by hitching a ride with the heroes from chrono trigger? Your guess at this point would be as valid as mine! Rest assured all this is explained but Nier refuses to give it to you all at once.

By now a beautiful landscape of lush forests, plains, and a desert have completely covered the last remnants of civilized society. Only the occasional skeletal rail structure of a collapsed bridge or a run down military base with hostile robots reminds you of the days gone by.

As is the often fatal flaw of most rpgs Nier starts out a bit slow. Good old dad is the town hero & labor ox doing chores for the pretty book worm librarian who is the town over seer. Her twin sister is a bard that sometimes comes on to you in a very subtle way.

Your first few tasks will be killing sheep for mutton and collecting medicinal herbs. Luckily after Yohna wanders off to find a magic flower in some abandoned ruins the pace picks up and never slows down again.

It is while trying to once again rescue his daughter Nier meets Grimoire Weiss, a good intentioned floating book that is nothing like the evil one encountered in the opening tutorial. After Weiss helps Yohna Nier insists they become friends. Sadly it is at this moment Yohna has once again been contaminated by the black scrawl virus. Weiss can cure her but he needs to collect all the sacred verses to do so.

As you can expect each dungeon opens up an almost schizophrenic variation of game design. There's a haunted mansion that has fixed camera angles and a light dust motif over the lens giving us the feel of survival horror. After traversing through a massive Mayan looking city with barges that travel atop of moving quick sand river canals a cute masked girl named Fyra leads you through a desert to a temple in which each room places a restriction on what abilities you can use. In a misty woodland village reflexes give way to mind games as you get entangled in a demented riddle contest & text adventure to bring people out of their comatose trances. Perhaps all these pale in comparison to the run down mountain junk yard in which you battle deranged machines, do some moving rail shoot em up action whilst riding in a mining cart, and then toss bombs into a giant mechanoid's mouth to destroy it.

Along the way you will also be joined by Kaine, a foul mouthed heroic young woman partly possessed by a male shade and Emil, a kind gentle boy who undergoes drastic changes to help his friends. The character development in Nier is very deep, genuine, and at times heart breaking. These are wonderful people but they have too many eccentric quirks and skeletons in their closets to fit in anywhere. Only Nier seems compassionate enough to look past their faults and embrace them as members of his expanded dysfunctional family. Throughout it all Weiss wryly calls Kaine a hussy for her provocative lingerie apparel and chastises Nier for being a naÔve sap! (Yet deep down we know Weiss is a complete softy!)

Last but not least the music and voice acting are a tour de force. Almost every track sounds like a spiritual driven hymn or techno metal clanking love song . In addition each character sounded spot on and natural. I have not one single complaint!

If someone told you Nier was a Jack of all trades but master of none it would be a valid argument. However Nier never abysmally fails at anything either.

What you may love about Nier

+Very orginal story line.

+ Hack n slash action mixed with an rpg leveling system.

+Lovable characters.

+Found "magic words" can be mixed and matched to add new perks to weapons or Weiss's spells.

+Fun boss battles that are challenging but not completely ridiculous.

+Kaine is not just a marketing gimmick. Though she fights in lingerie and is questionably a hermaphrodite she has deep reasons driving her actions & for her origins.

+Weiss's insults and general commentary.

+Fishing, farming, and collecting are all possible past times that yield rewarding results.

+Enemies are diverse. I'm not merely counting the shades because in truth there are other dangers out in the wilderness that can mess you up in a heart beat. "Giant Boar!" (cough)

+A simple yet great motivation for the main protagonist. You really root for Nier as he tries to save his sweet sick daughter Yonah from the black scrawl virus.

+Bitchin sound track & voice acting

+Change of gameplay styles & perspective keeps things fresh! Have you ever suddenly been dropped into Smash TV, Raiden, Donkey Kong, Break out, or Mario Bros while playing a post apocalyptic rpg?! It's sheer brilliant!

+Every town has a diverse cultural flare.

+ Fyra is like a cute lil girl Pyramid Head. Awww!

Why you may hate Nier

-Dated visuals though not nearly as bad at the critics make them out to be. Pretty much Nier looks like Demon souls and Shadow of colossus with just a bit more zing added. Is that bad? Apparently for most it is.

-Some quests can be obscure on what you have to do. For example I was sent out to kill a giant boar but the guy failed to tell me that friggin bastard is invincible!

-I know how to fish but don't know where to plant my harvest.

- Yonah's cooking is terrible!

-If you have civilized sensibilities Kaine's barrage of profanity may offend.

-Dad can do EVERYTHING except swim. He sinks like a rock!

-Weiss's jaded barbs occasionally make you contemplate putting him in the fireplace as kindling!

-The game doesn't explain jack to you in the beginning. As a matter of fact getting everyone's story requires you play through "game +" mode 3 other times. The good news is you keep your swag and get to start out at a half way point instead of at the very start.

-When enemies hit you they have a tendency to send you flying like a baseball smacked out of a stadium by a pro baseball batter. Luckily once you utilize blocking, jumping, and evasive rolling it is not as much of a problem anymore.

My personal score: +A for artfully awesome!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Story, Tired Engine, December 1, 2010
By 
E. B. Phillips (Manhattan Beach, CA USA) - See all my reviews
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: NIER - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
Summary: Worth $25, in my opinion. Must like grinding. Story will keep you interested.

US Edition
Pros: -From early on, I gained an emotional attachment to the main characters daughter. They did an excellent job of keeping the main character gruff but caring, and making the daughter charming and not tiresome.
-Magic bar regenerates at a decent rate, and can absorb energy when enemies die. This makes magic an often used tactic, not hoarded Just In Case of surprise boss battles. They let you re-assign all of the shoulder buttons to either: block, dodge, or any discovered magic spells. I dropped block entirely, and never missed it.
-The talking book, your earliest sidekick, has a very good and fleshed out character. My favorite part was the many arguments between the talking book and your female sidekick (who is dressed like a lingerie model, also a plus).
-Earning words that you can attach to worn gear added a nice layer of customization.
-Some of the boss battles are utterly fantastic. I love the battle where a four-story tall monster comes to your village.

Cons: -This game came out in the US this year 2010, yet it's graphics belong to 2007.
-So many combat options, but few reasonable choices. There were only three spells out of the nine that I used at all. I only used about four weapons the whole game, even though you find around 25 different weapons in the game (amongst three categories). Broadswords move far too slowly, and short swords cap out at half the damage possible from broadswords or spears. Once I got the phoenix spear midway through the game, I never changed weapons again.
-Combat is too simple. All of the short swords use the same move set. Same with spears and broadswords. With the ridiculous amount of combat, it got fairly repetitive.
-Huge holes exist in the story until you get to the end of the game, and it still leaves numerous less pressing questions without answers. You may need multiple play throughs to get everything.
-The young kid side-kick is a little boring, but his backstory was excellent.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gets pretty crazy!, May 12, 2010
By 
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: NIER - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
When you get past the first opening, the story goes into typical RPG fashion. Loose all your powers/ everything and start from stratch. It takes about 6~7 hours to get into the story, but once you do, you will be surprised at how crazy it can get, especialy with the boss battles. Then the story goes into to slow mode, but then picks up into chaos. Check it out, but have patience with it. Your skill will be tested!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Story that Will Surprise, May 21, 2010
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: NIER - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
I agree with the prior reviews about the gameplay types and the mixed bag of styles that change throughout the game being enjoyable and refreshing, but the biggest thing I can compliment this game on is the story. The depth of the characters and the emotion that is displayed is unlike any game I've played before. Throughout all of my play-throughs I found myself being shocked more than once. This game has an exceptionally high replay value due to the fact that every time you play through it, you get a different character's perspective on what's going on around them, as well as their back story.

I highly recommend this game to anyone, but especially to anyone who is willing to push their boundaries and preconceived notions of what a game should be.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Oddly Engaging, June 11, 2011
By 
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: NIER - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
This has got to be one of the most depressed/ing games I've ever played. What little hope there is is in constant struggle to even exist - there is a perpetual bleakness to this game. And it all focuses around one element.

A man trying to save his daughter from certain death.

That's the theme, the motive, the driving force behind this game... and it's horrifically beautiful. If this were a book (which it is in portions), this would easily be worth 5 stars based on writing and the feel of it all. Unfortunately, NieR fails to achieve "GREAT GAME" status thanks to just that - the gaming portions.

The controls are good... with how fast the main character moves, it's hard to notice any real fluidity to the movement. It all seems pretty jagged... like everything has a hard angle to it. The combat is very fast and there's a lot [generally] going on at once - sometimes overwhelmingly so. The tightness of the controls don't let you completely forget about them, but they're not in your way at any point.

The voice-work is great. Outstanding, even. Kaine is one of the most unique characters I've ever seen, and her voice actress does an incredible job bringing her to life. Overall, as a cast, this is a great crew.

The graphics... well... they're alright. Barely. The styling and graphical power of this game really reminds me of Resonance of Fate. Neither are great graphically, but neither of them need to be. These two games are story/gameplay driven. They don't need to wow your sights, 'cause they wow your mind. (SUPER CORNY)

The overall gameplay elements? There are a lot of fetch quests. A lot. A. Lot. Back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. Luckily the soundtrack is outstanding enough that you forget that you're traveling to the same places over and over. The dread of going to-and-fro is replaced by an anticipation to hear that great music in the next area. On a separate note - it takes a bit to get into this. The intro does a great job setting the theme and getting you hooked initially, but the next few hours are very standard. The game does very little to keep you hooked until a little ways in.

Overall, this is an outstanding book turned good video game. If you're looking for a good action/rpg with a prevailing theme of despair, look no further than NieR!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, the main character is ugly, but the story is anything but, May 21, 2011
By 
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: NIER - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
Length:: 5:53 Mins

Nier, released in 2010, and developed by Cavia, gained mediocre reviews when it was released. The one thing I remember most about those reviews is the common statement that the main character in Nier was rather ugly.

Of course, he (named whatever you name him) is rather ugly. And as time goes by he doesn't get much prettier. But Nier doesn't tell just the story of this one man living his live. No, instead it tells the story of a man trying to save his daughter, and going to the greatest lengths to do so.

In 2003 the Cavia developed Drakengard was released, followed in 2005 by Drakengard 2. The game play style of Nier is similar to both of these, as you play a third-person behind action game, with RPG elements, including health and magic points. You can either attack, use some type of (attack) magic, defend, jump, or roll, as well as use items.

Your weapons, starting with one-handed swords and growing to include both two-handed swords and spears, can also be upgraded, assuming you can find the necessary materials to do so.

To progress the story you speak with the various inhabitants of the world, going from place to place, fighting enemies between villages, and doing quests (the majority being optional) for various characters.

One other common complaint is the amount of backtracking required in this game. However, there are approximately a dozen major areas in the game, and moving between the furthest points takes much less than 10 minutes, on average (two areas are fairly long, but they are not the norm, and since you go through them multiple times, depending upon how many optional quests you do, you can move through them rather quickly). Because of the small number of unique areas, backtracking in a 12 to 45+ hour game is of course going to occur.

The game features four endings, however the game is split into two parts, and you start near the beginning of the second on subsequent playthroughs. The last two endings involve different choices at the very end of the game, so you really only play the game 1 and a half times, and the last battles twice, if you're going for all four endings (which I recommend).

Nier is, in some ways, the spiritual successor to the Drakengard games, with some even considering it as part of a trilogy. Indeed the story of Nier is rather good, and reminiscent of the Drakengard games. As mentioned above, the story tells the tale of a man seeking to save his daughter, and in the process gains companions, and discovers a deeper truth. This deeper nature of the world is especially clear when you start on the path to the second ending, and results in additions to the major plot elements. One could argue, in fact, that without playing at least through the second ending you can't really understand the story they've told.

Since the game was attacked on its fishing component, that's worth a mention here. Nier does feature a fishing component, which turned one game-related Web site off of the game. However, once you realize the trick to fishing in Nier - which is really just paying attention to the pole, as it's pretty obvious after the first couple times when you're supposed to start pulling back - and pay attention to map markers, the fishing component is actually pretty relaxing. (And sure, like real-life, a little boring as you keep trying to catch the fish you want, but instead get other fish or junk.)

Keeping in mind that I enjoyed Drakengard and Drakengard 2, and will overlook certain things if a game features a good story, I must give Nier 5 of 5 stars. I only wish I had picked up Nier sooner, and disregarded the reviews I had read.

I played the Xbox 360 version of Nier, which supposedly offered some advantage over the PlayStation 3 version. I clocked approximately 45 hours of game play, with 28 going towards my first playthrough, and obtaining 100% weapons, 91% quest completion, and 37 of 41 achievements.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nier, March 4, 2011
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: NIER - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
I really enjoyed playing this game on xbox 360. It definitely had an interesting story, however, gaining the 1000 achievement points required a lot of replay. Nier wasn't a game I would have liked to really play more than once, despite the little bits of new content with the second "half" playthrough.

One definite plus was the music. It really went along nicely with the story and the playtime. Also, gaining the 1000 achievement points wasn't difficult, just very repetitive.

I did like that once you beat the game once, you started back out from the halfway point on the second playthrough. I didn't like that once you viewed ending D (completed the game 4 times), it erased all of your saved data! If you like to hold onto saved data, then you have to save it to an external device before viewing the last ending to the game.

Otherwise, it was a pretty fun game. The fighting wasn't too much to get excited over, but the story was rich and interesting to play.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a fun action game, July 16, 2010
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: NIER - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
An action-RPG from the makers of "Drakengard", Nier is an intriguing game for a few different reasons. Its complex plot and setting, in conjunction with exciting gameplay and absolutely breathtaking design, makes for a game that initially seems good. However, the unfolding story and various mediocre levels take the wind out of its sails enough to turn it from a great game to a middling game.

Nier is a fantasy action game with a few RPG elements. It's based largely in the "beat-em-up" genre; as the titular character, you fight through huge crowds of enemies with swords, spears, and magic. Nier handles extremely well, and has some really satisfying acrobatic dodges and combo attacks. The game's spells are one of its centerpoints - rather than being distinct spells with different elements and so on, the spells use the same generalized energy but manifest it in different forms. For example, one spell creates giant lances of energy, while another shoots out homing blasts. One spell creates a large wall, while another creates a doppelganger of the main character to strike at enemies. The spells work extremely well for their own purposes, and feel like a natural extension of the swordplay in most cases rather than being entirely separate.

However, action isn't Nier's only draw. A few dungeons switch things up; one dungeon is highly puzzle-centric (by putting you in rooms with certain restrictions and forcing you to work around them), while another is actually a text adventure. A few dungeons, on the other hand, are monumentally boring - essentially just hallways full of monsters to fight through, with no defining features or charm. This is made worse by the fact that you visit each dungeon at least twice over the course of the game. While normally it would be okay to just have a bunch of combat rooms, the fact that it's such an unavoidable slog pushes it over the brink to be fully annoying. Still, the few cool dungeons and memorable boss fights make up for it.

The game's design, including its graphics and sounds, are probably its strongest point. The game takes place in a far-off post-apocalyptic world, where civilization has started to regrow in some capacity. The maps and dungeons are littered with the remnants of the old world, from conspicuous escape pods used as housing to giant wrecked railroad bridges. Many of the areas have a very "Shadow of the Colossus" feel to them, combining monumental structures and areas with an overwhelming sense of emptiness or abandonment. The music helps foster this feeling with the use of ominous choruses and orchestras. While in technical terms the graphics aren't great, the presence of "jaggies" makes it seem in some ways closer to games like Ico or SOTC. The spell effects, at least, are great, and the design of the locations, characters, and enemies is enough to overcome technical limitations or failings.

Of course, Nier has its bad points, as well. In addition to the aforementioned slog dungeons, a lot of the quests and story advancements are just "run from here to point x". While the quests are fairly interesting, story-wise, in gameplay terms they amount to an annoying amount of running back and forth delivering stuff to people. In addition, the story starts out strong and intriguing, but generally fails to deliver in later areas. Supplemental documents answer some questions (especially about how the game relates to Cavia's previous game, "Drakengard"), but overall the plot twists seem eye-rolling and overwrought.

On the whole Nier is a fun action game that it's easy to get caught up in. The incredible delivery of the game, however, is marred by repetition and padding, and so the experience as a whole is somewhat tainted. Still, it was an enjoyable game overall, and definitely worth at least one playthrough.

Rating: 7/10
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love at first sight, August 9, 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: NIER - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
As long as I waited for this game it was defintly worth the wait. As a huge Square Enix fan I have been a little disappointed in their latest games. Nier makes up for it. The more adult characters and plot line is a treat. Fabulous voice acting. Snarky fun with Weiss character.
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NIER - Xbox 360
NIER - Xbox 360 by Square Enix (Xbox 360)
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