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Cult Classics – Nier

On those rare occasions where I find myself not wanting to play any new games, I retreat to my library to look for a title I’d consider playing again, or never got around to playing when it originally released. There are also games like Dragon Age 2 that I started, shelved, started again, shelved, but never finished. I’m determined to finish it before Dragon Age 3 comes out. For whatever reason, it’s my Kryptonite – and this is coming from someone who routinely finishes some of the lowest scoring games each month.

Once my eyes gloss over during one of Dragon Age 2’s story sequences, my mind often drifts to other games I could be playing. These titles are usually monster hits, like BioShock, Left 4 Dead, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Red Dead Redemption. I also find myself contemplating playing Nier, a little-known RPG developed by Cavia and published by Square Enix in 2010 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

In Nier, players step into a distant future where humanity is on the brink of extinction. The world is overrun with creatures known as Shades. These vile beasts roam the land, eliminating all life they see. They appear from thin air and take on many forms, some in the shape of humanoids or familiar beasts.

You play the role of a father (named by you), who is seeking a cure for his daughter, Yonah. Her blood is contaminated with an ancient disease that produces black tattoo-like runes across her skin. People call this illness the Black Scrawl.

The game begins with you racing to save her life. What lengths will a father would go to to save his girl? You'll find out as this emotional tale unfolds. With the help of a magical talking book, calling itself Grimoire Weiss, you take the battle to the Shades and anyone else who stands in your way, even humans.

This is a hell of a build up, and the story that follows stays strong, even after snaking unpredictably through many twists and turns.

When I reviewed Nier, I said that it “held my attention for over 30 hours,” yet I was quick to point out that I spent half of that time walking. Fast travel becomes available later in the game, but it's not enough to cut down the amount of time spent running across plains, exploring vast dungeons, and completing errands for villagers. In addition to doubling as a walking simulator at times, Nier runs into problems with some of its side content and puzzles, such as having to read pages of text to solve a strange riddle. That's not fun. As I said in my review, “Nier just needed an editor to cut the fat out of an otherwise excellent game.”

When Nier is firing on all cylinders, its combat satisfies, and is capable of dishing out 100-hit combo strings uniting powerful sword strikes with crazy magic. Your character isn’t the only one doing the fighting. Grimoire Weiss lends a hand…er…page to unload fireballs and demonic slashes. Other companions join your cause, too. Like the feisty Kaine, whose banter with Grimoire Weiss is clever and entertaining to watch. The game offers a robust selection of enemy types, many pushing the player to approach them in different ways – whether it’s full-on combo flurries, stun approaches, or picking away slow from a defensive posture.

Some of the gameplay sequences force unwanted camera switches on the player (such as Zelda-like isometric views for puzzle solving), but these moments are few and far between in a game that offers a wealth of variety in its gameplay. Fishing, farming, boar riding, platforming, and several other diversions are included. I got a kick out of most of them. Weapon upgrading and leveling up are a part of the picture, as well. The gamer offers plenty to get swept up in. And let's not forget the wonderful soundtrack, which has been turned into four official albums. 
 
The more I talk about Nier, the more I want to play it. I’ve already played through it twice (something that is required if you want to soak in the full story), and will probably give it a third look over this extended Memorial Day weekend. If you’re looking for a lengthy story loaded boiling with intrigue, give it a try, unless you can’t stand extensive overworld exploration and fetch quests. The game is loaded with this stuff.

The Nier video below is from Game Informer's Extra-Life Marathon. Ben Reeves provides abstract commentary to Nier while former Game Informer intern O'Dell Harmon tries to keep things on track:

(Please visit the site to view this media)

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

GoldenEye And Nier Highlights From Our Extra-Life Marathon

This past weekend we gamed for 24 straight hours, earning over $ 10,500 for hospitals in the Children's Miracle Network. We let big donators choose which games we would play during the livestream as a thank you. For your enjoyment, we're posting our slappers-only GoldenEye multiplayer match and Nier session.

Reminder: It's not too late to donate to Extra Life.

Game Informer associate editor Tim Turi, video producer Ben Hanson, intern O'Dell Harmon, and former intern/Extra Life coordinator Jack Gardner are rudely reminded that GoldenEye has aged quite poorly:

(Please visit the site to view this media)

Ben Reeves provides abstract commentary to Nier while O'Dell tries to keep things on track:

(Please visit the site to view this media)

You can also watch the entire 24-hour marathon by visiting our TwitchTV channel.

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Nier developers worked on team-based RPG shooter

Cavia, the team behind 2010′s Nier, has been working on a new RPG shooter named Catacombs, a new report has it.

Taking place in New York’s Museum of Natural History, the now-on-hold title features four playable characters and is team-based. Siliconera — they have information on its characters and weapons here, along with some screenshots — found the title out.

Square Enix appears to be on the fence about this one though, apparently, not knowing whether or not it’ll ever be finished.

In an official statement to Kotaku, the publisher would only say:  ”We have not made any official announcement on this title and do not have info we can share.”


That VideoGame Blog

Catacombs: a canned shooter from Square Enix and Nier dev Cavia

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Nier developer Cavia was working on a team-based shooter RPG, entitled Catacombs, for Square Enix before the studio was dissolved a couple years ago. Siliconera has a wealth of information about the canceled game from an inside source, who was working on the project before its reported demise.

Catacombs sounds like it was a mix of team-based shooters like Left 4 Dead, mixed with the loot-whoring of Borderlands, and Diablo‘s randomly generated maps. Players would have guns, spells and magic rings to level up as they attempted to reach the elevator on each floor and escape to the surface.

According to the source, Square Enix planned to reveal the game at last year’s E3, but that clearly never happened. The source claims Catacombs was far along and playable, but is unsure whether Square Enix will complete the title.

JoystiqCatacombs: a canned shooter from Square Enix and Nier dev Cavia originally appeared on Joystiq on Mon, 30 Apr 2012 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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