Screenshot of Nier Cover Image

What is Nier?

Nier is an action role-playing videogame published by Square Enix and developed by Cavia. It can be played on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and it was supposed to have a version for PlayStation Vita as well. The game is inspired by the Drakengard series and action takes place after the first game. Nier returns as the protagonist and is on a mission to find a cure for a devastating illness. The gameplay is enriched with elements from several genres and is played from a third person perspective. The popularity of the game prompted developers to start work on a sequel called Nier Automata and released in 2017.

Key facts about Nier

  • Nier is a successful hybrid borrowing gameplay elements from several genres.
  • The visuals and sound effects were praised as amazing at the time of its release.
  • Nier dazzled the eye with smart camera transitions and amazing cut scenes.
  • The puzzle sequences can get a bit tedious, while combat is relatively easy.
  • Nier has a long and somewhat convoluted story that can be difficult to follow.

Gameplay of Nier

Players assume control over Nier and enjoy a lot of freedom when interacting with other characters, people and the environment. The 360° perspective over the battlefield makes it easy to catch a glimpse at the surroundings. The world of Nier is three-dimensional and divided in several areas that players are invited to explore at leisure. Sometimes the camera can play tricks, especially in crowded and narrow places, which hurts the gaming experience.

The gameplay of Nier is spiced up by the frequent confrontations with various monsters. These come in different forms and sizes, ranging from shadowy figures commonly referred to as Shades to robots and animals. Whenever players succeed and defeat these opponents they level up by accumulating XP points. As a result, they unlock new abilities while holding existing ones and receive money that can be spent on superior equipment.

Customization is possible and players are supposed to come up with different combinations to make the most of the weapons available. When done right, the weapons become more powerful, inflict more damage and are more effective at taking out specific foes. Players can acquire different types of the same weapon and recover materials from fallen enemies. In addition to brute force, Nier combat also relies on the use of magic spells. These require energy which is replenished gradually, so players have to wait between casting spells.

Players who walk down the less traveled paths and embark on various quests, are more likely to unlock new gear and hone their abilities. Some of the side quests offer juicy rewards, which act as an incentive to deviate from the main storyline. Experience points and money are the most common rewards, but sometimes players unlock new pieces of equipment.

Screenshot of Nier Sexy Opponent

Plot of Nier

The plot of Nier begins in 2059 when the protagonist and his young daughter Yonah repel a monster attack. 1312 years later, the same two characters are living in a small village isolated from other equally tiny inhabited places. Shades roam freely in the countryside and frequently attack those who venture from one village to the other. Yonah suffers from a deadly disease called Black Scrawl and so, Nier have no option but to set out to look for a cure.

In his quest, he is assisted by Grimoire Weiss, a powerful talking book with a lot of wisdom to share. As the storyline progresses, Nier enlists the assistance of Emil and Kainé. Meanwhile the village is attacked by Shadowlord, a powerful Shade who snatches away Yonah. He wields his own powerful talking book Grimoire Noir and so the party resumes its quest, now trying to find the kidnappers.

Two androids called Devola and Popola try to stop them in their tracks, but also shed some light on the Nier plot. It is revealed that humanity faced extinction 1300 years before and survived by separating the bodies from souls. Grimoire Noir and Weiss were used for the process and the result were Gestalts and Shades who now turned against the physical bodies. After the player prevails, he finds out that he’s actually the Gestalt of the Nier presented to us in the opening chapter.

The game concludes with Yonah revealing the fact that the spirits of the original and replicant are trapped in the same body. She willingly vacates the body, so that Nier and Yonah are reunited. Those who fell in love with the game should start the campaign again. The story has a new twist which we won’t spoil.

Screenshot of Nier Attack Party

Development of Nier

The ones working on this intriguing videogame, wanted to make sure that it will run smoothly on the seventh generation consoles. To achieve this, the release date had to be postponed several times and they didn’t meet the original deadline. However, the development of Nier took a new path after some of the original ideas were scratched. It was not initially their intention to come up with a spinoff of the original series, but the results exceeded expectations.

What began as a small size project grew into a fully fledged game and now developers are working on a sequel. They had to borrow many elements from the original game and also from other genre, with the result being a hybrid. The developers revealed the fact that they also drew inspiration from real events, such as the September 11 terror attacks. Another source of inspiration was the famous Blade Runner movie, although the story is completely original.

Where can I download Nier?

Square Enix has the game on the website and all the downloadable packs that were released since its arrival. This is also the place for those who enjoyed the original game will have the chance to explore the new release. Scheduled for international release in 2017 it was only slightly delayed and it is a worthy successor of Nier. Players who want to enjoy the complete experience would also benefit from playing the first five games in the series.

Since the gameplay of Nier is actually a hybrid of so many genres, players might be interested in checking out other titles. Square Enix is a publisher with dozens of different games worth playing and they are all just one click away. Final Fantasy XV, Deus Ex Mankind Divided, Just Cause 3 and Hitman are guaranteed to add many more hours of entertainment.

Screenshot of Nier In Disguise

What are others saying about Nier?

Nier sold more copies than expected worldwide and was particularly successful in Japan. Hundreds of thousands of copies were sold in the first few weeks alone and the game has developed a cult following. There is tremendous interest for the latest releases and the game is enjoyed by those who play the original five games. When it hit the stores, players celebrated the quality of the narrative and the sound effects.

Criticism came in regard with the visuals, with both critics and players being slightly disappointed. Strong voice acting and powerful music did a fine job at getting players completely submerged into the dark atmosphere of the narrative. Players were particularly impressed by the fact that despite being a hybrid, Nier managed to stay coherent and consistent. For the publisher, the release of this videogame was a major hit and raised awareness of their other key titles.

My rating of Nier

Nier was a roller coaster of excitement from start to finish and impressed me at every corner. The narrative is truly original, something that can’t be said about the vast majority of video games. Those who think that the story is too long or too complicated probably didn’t pay enough attention. It’s amazing how much work was put into crafting those tiny details that shape this dystopic universe of Nier. The game is fun to play and once you finish the single player, you can start all over again and discover new things.

Indeed, the graphics are not the best even for the year when the game was released. However, anyone who is serious about playing Nier Automata should at least play the campaign once. Given the tremendous success made in terms of graphics, I strongly recommend not skipping this step. Nier isn’t a perfect game, in fact it’s far from that, but at least it’s truly original. A review score of 8 out of 10 reflects its quality and should provide players with the incentive to play it before checking out the sequel.