Ah October, a time of pumpkin spice lattes and spooky decor! This used to be my favorite time of year when I lived in a country that actually celebrated these things, but now I have to satisfy myself with shrimp on the barbie or some other appropriately Aussie thing whenever the holiday season rolls around.
But I digress! October would be the perfect time to do another horror-themed Community Game-Along like I did last year, but I thought it would be fun to shake things up with a different kind of horror this time. That horror is… kusoge! Literally “shit game” in Japanese, kusoge can range from unplayable garbage to diamond-in-the-rough titles that have some unpolished aspects but shine in other areas.
Were you starting to get worried that I’d never continue my Nier Diary journey? Never fear, I’ve been busy playing the game, and I’m happy to report that I have indeed made it past the “point of no return”! In Diary no. 1 I played about 7 hours, and since then I’ve managed to double that time, clocking in at just around 14 hours. Read all my updated impressions after the jump, but be warned – while I’ll be very careful not to reveal any of Nier‘s major twists or story points, if you plan on playing the game and wish to know absolutely nothing past the first few hours, please proceed with caution!
Nieris 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!
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.
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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