Crispy Gamer

First Shot: Nier

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Heading into Nier,  I really did not know what to expect. Square Enix's first published release following the media blitzkrieg that was Final Fantasy XIII in March posed quite a quandary; in a week that sees the release of the latest entries in the Street Fighter IV and Dead to Rights series, a brand spanking-new IP from Square received little fanfare. Browsing over my local Gamestop, I noticed that only one new copy of Nier flanked on both sides by multiple copies of its release date brethren. So what is it about Nier that's drawn pretty much, well, non-interest within the gaming community? Could the blame lie in the nearly incomprehensible and manic game trailers promoting Nier? Are American gamers simply burned out on Japanese RPGs in the wake of Final Fantasy XIII? (Domestic game sales would obviously hint at no, but personally, I know far more people who disliked FFXIII than were enamored by it) Or are we just not yet ready to accept a major hermaphroditic character in gaming? (Okay, I seriously doubt the problem lies there, but let's continue).

I'm already a few hours into Nier and, after the first 30 minutes or so, I really can't tell you what the game's about exactly. The game is set in the near future, opening almost like a Cormac McCarthy novel as titular hero and scraggly beard enthusiast Nier Gestalt hides out in an abandoned warehouse with his daughter Yonah, a sickly child afflicted with the disease known as the Black Scrawl. As Yonah collapses from her sickness, I'm attacked by these tall green enemies called Shades, who appear to be a cross between the Shadow from the Kingdom Hearts series and Genesis favorite Vector Man. With a magical tome at my side called Grimoire Weiss, I quickly do away with the game's first boss (a larger-scaled pale green Shade) and shortly find myself...in a small village 1300 years in the future. Okay.

Outside of a few opening battles, I have yet to grasp a full understanding of all of the gameplay mechanics. The opening battles offer the standard hack-and-slash variety standard to the action RPG genre, though I finally receive the ability to cast magic after Grimoire Weiss, that talking book mentioned earlier, joins my party. Be sure to look forward to a full review of Nier coming up in the...nier future.