Nier Diary no. 1: Grouchy Papa Nier

Nier Diary 1

Nier is one of those titles that nearly everyone I know has recommended to me, yet somehow I’ve never managed to ever play it for more than a few minutes since it came out five years ago. With the double-whammy of Nier 2 getting announced at E3 and this month being JRPGJuly, it turns out now couldn’t be a better time for me to finally pick it up!

Papa Nier and Yonah fanart
Papa Nier and Yonah fanart (source)

I joking mentioned on Twitter before I started playing that I preferred the young bishōnen protagonist Japan received in the Nier Replicant version, which unsurprisingly received more than a couple responses saying I would change my mind when I started the game. While I still think Replicant Nier has a more appealing character design, I have been finding the more haggard version of Nier in Nier Gestalt (which was the only version localized) equally appealing.

Both games are virtually the same except for the protagonists and their relationship to the sickly girl Yonah they are trying to save, but this relationship is quite central to the game, so I imagine it changes the tone somewhat. Replicant Nier is often just referred to as “Brother Nier” due to the fact that he’s Yonah’s brother, while “Papa Nier” is, as the nickname would suggest, Yonah’s father. Grouchy Papa Nier and his relationships with the various characters in the game have really stood out to me so far, and I’m really impressed with the snappy, sassy dialogue.

As of this post, I’m about 7 hours in and have just received my first party member, though as far as I can tell they can’t be customized in any way and are fully managed by the game’s AI and thus don’t really count as a “party” in the traditional sense. I’ve also been getting a lot of tutorial texts and am experiencing an overwhelming feeling of “maybe I should open the menu and read those,” but there’s nothing I enjoy less than reading through tutorials! I suppose I might take a look at them if I start experiencing difficulties with the combat…

Speaking of which, I haven’t actually read any of the negative reviews of the game (I’ve heard it received many when it first came out), but my overwhelming impression before I started Nier was that the gameplay was supposed to be pretty rough. It’s certainly nothing to write home about, I’ve found it to be pretty fun so far, and am particularly enjoying the different magical powers Nier learns with the help of Grimoire Weiss. That whole first fishing quest can bite me, though.

Nier fishing fanart

I don’t believe it’s too much of a spoiler for anyone who hasn’t played to mention that the game is notable for requiring players to go through the game multiple times. From what I understand, I’m nearing the “point of no return” where the game is later replayed from after it’s been completed once… But in the interest of experiencing the game as it happens, I haven’t really read into it beyond that. What I can say is, I’m really digging the game so far, and I fully intend to actually complete a JRPG for once!

Be sure to check back next Monday for Nier Diary no. 2 and see if I’ve made it past the halfway point!

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About Anne Lee

Also known as apricotsushi. Anne can be written with the kanji for apricot (杏), and sushi was the most quintessentially Japanese thing I could think of when I was 13, resulting in my goofy, albeit memorable, nickname.