I picked up Nier over X-Mas as part of a buy 2 get one free deal at GameStop. It was the free one. As the disc started playing I notice that it was by cavia, the people that did Drakenguard and Drakenguard 2. Both of those games had a great atmosphere as well as some strange takes on things (especially the first one in alternate endings). The first thing I am presented is a tirade from a woman with a really foul mouth. It was quite stunning. Then the game begins, its a standard hack and slash. The one thing that stands it apart is the magic. The game has 8 different spells that attack (or defend in one cast) in various forms from hands to spears. After the tutorial ( in which I reach level 30) I am transported 1312 year into the future where the game actually takes place. My first task is going to the library to talk to Popola. This is a task which I will perform countless times, as she is the one of the people the game that actually know what they are doing.
The main character is a father who is looking after a sick daughter. This leads him ( his name is Nier, but you can call him anything) to a Lost Shrine when his daughter, Yonah, runs off there to find a rare flower. Here he encounters Weiss, an age-old grimoire with an attitude. Weiss likes to think of himself to be all important, but has lost memories of exactly how he is important. He is always harping on Nier when Nier helps townspeople with some of there more mundane tasks. The back and forth between Weiss, Nier and Kaine (pronounced Kai-neigh), the woman from the opening sequence, is one of the things that makes this game great.
Kaine is a foul-mouthed warrior woman who is possessed by a Shade, the nasty things that pass for enemies in this game. She is wearing fairly standard JRPG wear, that is a collection of bandages and lingerie. They poke fun at themselves for this a couple of times in the game. They also poke fun at Legend of Zelda games, by having the player throw bombs in a bosses mouth and the next dungeon a young prince acquires a mask and strikes the famous Link Item-Acquisition Pose.
Again cavia serves up the atmosphere with great locations, including a xenophobic cliff-dwelling village, a forest where words have power (most of the events here are in the form of text) and a desert kingdom with 120,000 rules( which cover everything from the mundane to the profound).
The game does have a new game plus feature, but the games starts over half way in. There are 4 endings to the game. Two of them are gotten just by playing and two by collecting all the weapons in the game. However, this game does something radical. In order to watch the final ending, all of your save data is deleted. When they say all they mean all, not just the save file that you were using but everything. It pretty fitting considering that Nier is sacrificing himself to save Kaine. I thought it was a nice touch to a very good game that I got for free.