To Giantbomb duders: What was Nier? The basics

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#1 Edited by Vortextk (590 posts) -

I'm not stewing in rage over this; of course most people don't know what nier is and being the kind of game the original was, it's easy to see why none of the GB staff know the game. That's fine, but I keep hearing a lot of "uhhh...I think...I'm not sure", so, this:

-Nier IS an action rpg, not a traditional jrpg. It has very limited comboing with special attacks/spells. It isn't as heavy action as automata seems to be(my pc version unlocks in 11 hours, I've played the demo), or as action heavy as most of platinum's games, but it IS real time combat with jumps, combos and the like.

-There is only one nier game. There are two very slightly different versions. In japan on ps3("nier replicant"), you're this anime kid trying to save his sister:

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In any other region, or only xbox 360 in japan, you're this bag of ugly trying to save his daughter("nier gestalt"):

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The game doesn't change outside of whatever small dialogue changes occur because of the relationship alteration and is the same game otherwise.

-The original game also had weird camera shifts(not just 2d/straight overhead but deeper game references) and bullet hell stylings. Not so much a drakengard thing though those games do have different styles of gameplay, on a dragon or off, with some bad light platforming in 3.

-I'm glad in the quicklook the soundtrack is getting nods from the guys because the first game's OST is beautiful and haunting. Years of work and basically free reign given to the composer for what is one of my favorite soundtracks of all time.(more of a fanboy note than anything you "need to know about nier")

-The second playthrough of nier was CRUCIAL to understanding the reality of that game and world. I have only read and heard hints, but do not treat the first playthrough of this game to be "I basically saw and got everything". Also, guessing a bit more based off what I'm hearing of this game, the second(and third) playthrough of the original nier were much shorter and it seems to be the same here. In the first game, sidequests and your character carried over making early combat easy and you also only replayed the second half each time anyway.

-The mask Yoko Taro wears is a character from the first game. A young boy with a tragic past eventually gets put in a body and that is his new head.

Enjoy the game! I know I will be. This isn't any kind of serious OMG thing, just a fun "hey, barely anyone played that game, here's a few facts".

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#2 Posted by Slax (1083 posts) -

I own Nier, but my 360 is all packed away somewhere. I'm bummed this isn't backwards compatible, otherwise I would absolutely give this game a shot. I started it 5 or so years back and just never got around to giving it a solid go. I'm regretting that with Automata being out.

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#3 Posted by Vortextk (590 posts) -

@slax: Uhhhh, I love the game. Truly. It had me captivated for weeks after I finished and I still regularly listen to the soundtrack. There are good reasons for not having played it or for getting around to finishing it though.

Yoko Taro has basically said he doesn't like sequels which is why drakengard 3 is a prequel(he wasn't involved in drakengard 2), nier is just barely related to drakengard 1 and it sounds like nier automata is also not heavily related to the first. Doesn't sound like it'll matter too much to know the first before playing this one. I would say there are some fucking great things to be had in that first game, but the longer you go without playing it, the worse the graphics and gameplay are going to get; they already weren't great.

Tons of story deep dives on the original nier if you want to just understand that part of it though there are enough nice touches(the gameplay switches, music, story, characters, acting, some bits of style) to give a reason to play it rather than just read. The time investment needed to fully finish the game isn't light though. I clocked in 40-50 or so to get all the endings.

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#4 Edited by Efesell (2345 posts) -

Honestly Automata is probably better served by not knowing too much about its predecessor. There are side quests that won't hit as hard but I think the main story beats will hit harder.

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#5 Posted by cannedstingray (489 posts) -

Nier was one of those games that I would pick up every so often and play a little. I think I finally finished it in like 2013 or 14. I was captivated by the end of the game and it was all I could think about for days after. I didn't finish all of the endings. I think I did two of them and watched the others on youtube. I just bought the new game on pc and just played the intro.

I am still playing Zelda every time I get a free chunk of time. Also played about 5 hours of Horizon. Why did this month have to be so crammed with great games that are also dozens of hours long..

I really wanna play Nier, but want to play when I can focus my attention on it..

The first Nier was one of the only games that (for me) had some really touching moments. Like I said before it stuck with me long after I played it. I still go on you tube and watch some of the more affecting cut scenes every so often.

Any one interested in the original but doesn't want to play, just go watch the movie if the game on you tube. It's totally worth the watch.

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#6 Posted by Axersia (1769 posts) -

Accurate post, though I don't know that any of the staffers are gonna bother reading it.

Also, here's some official Giant Bomb footage of Nier to back up your wild claims:

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Personally, I still think it holds up. It played fine then and it does now. This isn't like the original Drakengard with its 5ft draw distance and extremely dated Dynasty Warriors-esque gameplay. It's a fully-featured action-adventure/RPG that's not unlike Zelda.

If you liked Automata and wanna know where its roots lie, give it a go. Should only cost you about 10 bucks (unless Automata has now skyrocketed the price of the original game, which is entirely possible).

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#7 Edited by tuffalobuffalo (23 posts) -

@axersia said:

If you liked Automata and wanna know where its roots lie, give it a go. Should only cost you about 10 bucks (unless Automata has now skyrocketed the price of the original game, which is entirely possible).

It's never been particularly cheap. I think I picked it up new for around $30 on PS3 a few years ago. I just checked, and you can definitely get new copies for $40 still which isn't a bad deal. As of now, I don't think you can stream it via PS Now in the US, but they do have it available via PS Now in Japan.

The eBay prices of the Black Box stuff are pretty ridiculous...

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#8 Posted by Efesell (2345 posts) -
@axersia said:

If you liked Automata and wanna know where its roots lie, give it a go. Should only cost you about 10 bucks (unless Automata has now skyrocketed the price of the original game, which is entirely possible).

It's never been particularly cheap. I think I picked it up new for around $30 on PS3 a few years ago. I just checked, and you can definitely get new copies for $40 still which isn't a bad deal. As of now, I don't think you can stream it via PS Now in the US, but they do have it available via PS Now in Japan.

The eBay prices of the Black Box stuff are pretty ridiculous...

360 version has stayed cheap though I think.

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#9 Posted by tuffalobuffalo (23 posts) -

Is the 360 version backwards compatible on Xbox 1 yet? That'd probably be the best way to play it if you have an Xbox.

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#10 Posted by Efesell (2345 posts) -

Not yet, unfortunately. Probably won't be unless Automata gets a One port.

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#11 Edited by teg (7 posts) -

Nier is not a good game, but it is a great game. Absolutely one of my favourite games ever and has been since I took a chance on it years ago. The combat is bland, it's kind of ugly, and that fishing minigame really is terrible; but it's full of the kind of wacky high-concept stuff that I could imagine Kojima doing if he hadn't been reigned in so much on MGS; coupled with a well-delivered dose of intimate, absorbing characterization. Really pleased with how much attention the sequel has gotten, especially since it doesn't seem like it's any more beholden to conventional wisdom about video games than the first one was.

Also the soundtrack is gorgeous. I'd be happy even if we were just getting a sequel to that.

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#12 Posted by tuffalobuffalo (23 posts) -

@teg said:

Also the soundtrack is gorgeous. I'd be happy even if we were just getting a sequel to that.

Yeah, I'm obsessed with it to the point of importing the piano collection sheet music and learning to play most of them. I was overjoyed just to get the Drakengard 3 soundtrack which isn't quite the same thing but certainly is of a similar nature with its own merit. At the time, it felt like getting a sequel soundtrack. Getting an actual sequel to the NieR soundtrack that incorporates many themes from the original and adds new themes is just... I'm still taking it all in how lucky we are for this.

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#13 Posted by Shadow (5291 posts) -

It's one of the most innovative video games ever and almost nobody played through it because the gameplay is its its weakest aspect. Personally, I blame Justin McElroy.

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#14 Posted by tuffalobuffalo (23 posts) -

@shadow said:

Personally, I blame Justin McElroy.

I'm 50% sure the Mackerel sidequest/ending is a reference to this.

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#15 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (3422 posts) -

Didn't like Nier apart from the story, and even then, I wouldn't say actually playing through it a second or third or forth (to get ALL endings) is worth it. It's shorter, yes, but it's still like four hours just to get a new perspective on things. Just as much impact watching the YouTube videos. After watching those, I am definitely glad I didn't do the second run throughs. The boss battles are best part about Nier and I wish it was just slimmed down and focused more on that aspect. The questlines are mostly just running back and forth and hunting shining parts on ground for items.

The "innovative," parts of the game are neat but the game as a whole is just tiring.

Here's my review on it that I actually put some time into.

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#16 Posted by BoOzak (1717 posts) -

I really enjoyed Nier but I remember it being a much longer game (maybe I just did more side quests?) than Automata so the idea of playing through it again seemed crazy.

I might do if they added as much to the story as they did with Automata. (it's literally incomplete after the first playthrough)

Also that anime kid fucking sucks, for once i'm actually happy with them westernising a game. (playing as 9s was the worst part of Automata for me)

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#17 Edited by Zeik (4417 posts) -

@tuffalobuffalo said:
@shadow said:

Personally, I blame Justin McElroy.

I'm 50% sure the Mackerel sidequest/ending is a reference to this.

I never thought of that, but now that you mention it I could totally see that being true. Even among all the joke endings, that one seemed especially random.

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#18 Posted by The_Nubster (3153 posts) -

@flashflood_29: I watched a bunch of YouTube videos this morning and I wish I had played it, honestly. It seems like it makes good use of its existence as a video game to actually portray its themes. Much like a good movie relies on visual symbolism and editing techniques, a lot of Nier seemed to hinge on subverting and playing on your expectations of how video game mechanics should work and how a player character should think, act, or feel. Particularly, its deletion of your saved data is an incredibly bold move and it's something that can only be done in this medium. You've still got the experiences and memories of playing it, but something intangible is gone and you can never quite get it back, putting the player in a similar position as Kaine (and I'm aware I'm missing the accent on the e). It's definitely got me primed for Automata and once the PC version gets a patch and I'm done with Zelda, I'm going to dive directly in.

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#19 Edited by FlashFlood_29 (3422 posts) -

@the_nubster: To me, one playthrough was enough to keep connected to the revelations of watching the second-fourth playthroughs. I was already in that that world and did that stuff so going through the actions again as the revelations are playing out would not have added any depth when compared to just watching it and having the revelations be retroactive. Watching it almost is effective in a different way because those actions were set in stone in my past and I could not change them; the deeds I've done were done and now I'm seeing the new perspective. That hits in a different way than going through the scenes again and change how you do what (in terms of just adding reluctance to your fighting).

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#20 Posted by The_Nubster (3153 posts) -

@flashflood_29: That's true. If you're not down to roll with the reveals about the nature of the world, further playthroughs wouldn't really do much to change that. I guess it all comes down to whether or not you value experiencing those things or if you're content to just know about them. For me, a lot of the magic of games is in their ability to make you go through emotions in parallel to the story being told, or in Nier's case to relegate you to the role of watcher as Nier does really horrible things without fully understanding them. I'd put what Nier did right up there with MGSV's Quiet storyline, where her (not entirely so) permanent removal from the story made the player feel the same hurt and loss that Snake felt. But again, plenty of people were happy to just to know it was meant to happen rather than play an active role and experience it, and continue along just as they were.

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#21 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (3422 posts) -

@the_nubster: You misunderstood my comment, right off the bat, and I suggest reading it again. I'm saying the "reveals about the nature of the world," have an impact in a different way when you watch them to understand them, rather than understanding them by playing through yourself. I think everybody that plays through once should watch how the second, third, and fourth playthroughs show different perspectives. By watching them, I was able to reflect on how I already played through those sequences. Had I played through it again, myself, I would be altering my actions from the first time because of the reveals. By watching, I can reflect on the decisions, feelings, and actions I have already made which feel more set in stone by not playing through again.

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#22 Posted by Zeik (4417 posts) -

@flashflood_29: But then you miss out on the experience of feeling like total garbage while you are required to murder all these things again now with full knowledge of what they are. It's one thing to reflect after the fact, it's another to be forced to actively participate. It's not like you can change the outcome the second time anyway.

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#23 Edited by FlashFlood_29 (3422 posts) -

@zeik: That's why I said it's a different sort of effectiveness. Being forced to do something while being garbage is one thing, but realizing you were being garbage of total free will, and unknowingly, that's something else.

I'm not saying one is better than the other but I definitely don't feel like four hours per extra playthrough is worth what you get out of it, compared to watching it.

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#24 Posted by Zeik (4417 posts) -

@flashflood_29: I feel like the second ending is worth it personally, but the other two maybe not so much. Although the twist of the D ending would be dramatically less significant if it's not your game.

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#26 Posted by SocurToxanarosa (15 posts) -

Brother Nier seems like a girl, Gestalt is the only way to play this game, the father-daughter relation it adds so much more impact it not even funny. Actually, it's the only way to play it, Replicant is barely the same game and a much inferior experience and no one should play it.

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#27 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (3422 posts) -

@zeik: agreed, there. Though, after 2.5 playthroughs, I would gladly welcome the D ending's twist. Shoot, I would gladly welcome it after my first. I just wish the game was more streamlined and did away with the seemingly pointless sidequests. It's like the antithesis of the "honest game design," view that Johnathon Blow posited in that guest podcast he did with GB.

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#28 Posted by The_Nubster (3153 posts) -

@flashflood_29: I didn't. I'm saying that some people would rather participate knowing the truth of the world and some are content to just have it explained to them and reflect on their actions.

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#29 Posted by Dan_CiTi (4578 posts) -

that one time they had the getting-major-item-out-of-a-chest animation from Zelda was pretty neat. Good game, but I didn't get all the endings at the time because I was renting it or something.

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#30 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (3422 posts) -

@the_nubster: Well what you said there is dofferent than the catch all "If you're not down to roll with the reveals about the nature of the world, further playthroughs wouldn't really do much to change that," which reads as if you're generalizing the people that don't want to play through it as also not wanting to even know about the reveal.

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#31 Posted by The_Nubster (3153 posts) -

@flashflood_29: I was agreeing with what you said. My point was that, if you wouldn't enjoy repeating content, than replaying that content for the third, fourth, fifth time wouldn't change that even if there was a reveal that fundamentally changed the nature of the content you're playing through. At that point, watching a video about the rest of the game would be enough satisfaction.

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