I want to start by saying that Nier: Automata (Nier: A) is a fantastic game. The gameplay is smooth, the battles are challenging, the story is engaging and the voice acting is top notch. You may have heard some people calling it the best game of 2017, or even the best game in the Nier series. It would be hard to disagree on those statements. However, I found myself playing Nier: A in a way I never thought I would. I don’t play games for the story, and I don’t play them for the characters. I play them for the gameplay. I don’t play Nier: A for the battle system, or the combat. I play it for the gacha hunting
In the final hours of 2017, Square Enix dropped a bombshell on the world of video games, announcing a brand new Nier game. Nier: Automata was one of the most highly anticipated games of the year, and it could be argued that it was the most anticipated new game of 2017, as the game barely came out on time, and people were still discussing the game a year after its release.
Nier: Automata is the latest game from Yoko Taro, the Japanese game designer who is best known for the Drakengard series, an anime-infused series that seemed to directly rip off the Matrix. I’ve only got a few hours with Nier: Automata so far, but it’s a title that has promise for those who enjoy the Souls series, since Nier: Automata is a pretty direct sequel to the original NieR , which Yoko Taro also directed.
Nier Reincarnation, Yoko Taro’s newest game, is a portable RPG par excellence, both great as a chapter in a quirky triple-A RPG series and as an expression of the contemporary smartphone’s austere, beautiful, and at times disturbing aesthetics. Nier Reincarnation questions who, if anybody, can be free when everything and everyone was created for a purpose in an era when limitless data on a premium smartphone is a status symbol and the capacity to travel anywhere with that device is a show of class.
I completed the first four chapters of the main narrative, as well as the Nier: Automata launch party crossover. The narrative and presentation of the in-game action, which alternates between four main forms of interaction: exploration, improvement, fighting, and storytelling, wowed me.
Exploration is enjoyable, but it isn’t always motivating. The player controls a little girl known only as “Girl,” who is accompanied by a small ghost known only as “Mama,” as they ascend through the floors of “The Cage,” a gigantic tower that defies time and gravity. The settings are stunning, and they serve as a reminder that cellphones have been capable of triple-A visual blockbusters since Atlantis: The Last Knight. Although there are no riddles to solve or an expansive environment to explore, it works here. Because Nier Reincarnation is a tale about destinies and unchangeable paths, it’s only logical that the player be confined to a single destiny path.
There are summons, improvements, sub-improvements, things for sub-improvements, and even rolls for items for sub-improvements where the Gacha mechanisms come into play. I rejoiced when I had a good roll, such as when I received the unique limited-time 2B character from my first set of summons. I moaned and suffered when I rolled badly, like I did so many times when I rolled trash things over and over again. Despite my sarcastic distance and journalistic objectivism, Gacha mechanisms have profound psychological hooks, and players should exercise caution while playing this game.
That said, you can mostly ignore the Gacha mechanics. Even the basic characters unlocked without using the summon system are strong enough to complete the main story, and honestly, the main story missions are better paced and more enjoyable if you don’t use characters or items from the summon system. When playing through the main quest with summoned characters, combat was at times laughably easy. But without them, there’s a classic JRPG rhythm to gathering new party members and learning about them, their abilities, and their lives.
Combat is where this set of toys really shines: the animations are stunning, and the mechanics are just complex enough to entice the mathematically minded while remaining easy enough to let the auto-battler handle it while you wash the dishes or take the bus. For RPG aficionados, I’d equate it to playing the PSP version of the mobile classic Persona 4 with just the Rush function enabled.
All of this is a delivery mechanism for Nier Reincarnation’s narrative, which is where this game excels. Beautiful cinematics, enigmatic language, and unusual 2D comic-book style dioramas are used to convey this collection of meticulously linked tales. All of this instantly pulled me in to an engrossing, sad tale of war, grief, and what happens when we fail to protect the young.
This narrative has an intellectual and emotional core that is as rich and colorful as any other Yoko Taro game, and it also deals with the ethics of mobile devices. Are we more free or less free because of our phones? Do we have options in a labyrinth, or are we all simply participating in a closed communication circuit?
Is this a GOTY Gacha or simply another Cage?
After everything is said and done, Nier Reincarnation is a fantastic portable RPG from one of the genre’s all-time greats, and it’s well worth your time. Nier Reincarnation maintains the high level of music, graphics, and narrative that fans have come to expect from one of gaming’s most renowned auteurs.
Some people may be bothered by the gachapon layer, particularly those who have a gambling aversion, but I found it to be subtle enough to complement rather than conceal the wonderful game at the core of Nier Reincarnation. Give Nier a chance, and you’ll be swept up in tales of conflict, sorrow, and love.
You may know Nier by its original title: Drakengard. The 2010 cult hit was a dark fantasy JRPG, developed by Cavia, that starred a young war hero named Zero (Nier in the Japanese version) who’s tasked with finding the titular “Nier” to save the world. Apart from that it also had an amazing soundtrack, fantastic gameplay, and an excellent storyline. The gameplay itself was a bit clunky, and some of its story branches were a bit ambiguous, so it left a lot of room for the sequel to improve on its flaws. However, after hearing about the upcoming Nier 2 from Square Enix via a recent interview I thought it was about time to give the original a go. And I. Read more about nier reincarnation wiki and let us know what you think.
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