Top Five Reasons Why the Not-Your-Average-JRPG “Nier” Is Worth a Look
By Alexander R. Campbell
The Utterly Bizarre Cast of Characters
Our protagonist, the titular character of “Nier” (pronounced as “Near”), is an old man in his 40s, desperately trying to save his daughter from a mysterious illness known as the Black Scrawl. Along the way he meets Grimoire Weiss, an arcane tome with the power of speech, levitation, and dark magic. Kaine, a foul-mouthed, scantily clad, hermaphrodite woman out for revenge, using the terrible power of a creature that will one day possess her. And Emil, a young boy with a mysterious past that has the power to turn everything he looks at to stone, who later ends up trapped in his sister’s body.
A Skillful Musical Track
Vocalist and lyricist Emi Evans poured her heart and soul into making a truly unique soundtrack for “Nier,” by essentially mixing, matching and sometimes even making up words deriving from various languages, such as English, French, Japanese, and Gaelic to create the musical marvels that critics were praising even before the game was released.
Phenomenal Voice Acting
Assuming you are playing the English version of “Nier,” you will be treated to an all-star cast of talented and renowned voice actors such as Liam O’Brien (known famously as the voice of Gaara, from “Naruto”), Jamieson Price (remembered for his deep, booming voices in roles such as Iron Tager from “Blazblue”), and Laura Bailey (who has played many, many, voices you may recognize, including Chun-Li from “Street Fighter”) who bring their all to make every interaction interesting to watch and each conversation worthwhile to listen to.
Genuine Replay Value
“Nier” is a bit of an oddball in that after beating the game for the first time, you can start your game again just a little after the halfway point in the story. However, for the second time through and onwards, you gain the ability to hear the voices of the monsters you’ve been battling all this time. As it turns out, you might just not be the hero you thought you were in the first place as you see the world of “Nier” from a completely new perspective as you fulfill the various, surprisingly easy requirements to get each end.
A Unique Mix of Genres and Abilities
“Nier” presents a unique fusion of the “Hack N’ Slash” and “Bullet Hell” genres of gameplay that keeps players on their toes as they retaliate with powerful magic and devastating blows of their own. The level-up system is pleasantly simple and magic power regenerates by itself, so players are free to jump right with a number of different weapons types and cool arcane magic that you unlock as you progress through the story for a great “pick up and go” kind of experience!
Thanks for reading! “Nier” was released in 2010 and is currently available on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Also, the sequel was announced at The E3 Entertainment Expo earlier this year.
You can find a spoiler-free Gameplay demo here.