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Nier Review

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Messy monster mash

★★★★★

Normally, a Square Enix logo shining on the cover of a game is your non-quibble guarantee of quality. But while Nier is packed to bursting with variety, ambition and ideas, poor execution and a questionable sense of quality make this a tragic fail for the gaming gods who delivered Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts.

In a nutshell, the frustration with Nier is that it tries too bloody hard. While one minute you’ll be chopping monsters into gory chunks like in a traditional button-mashing brawler, the next you’ll be deep in action RPG territory and pushing blocks around a gloomy dungeon to solve simple puzzles, or fighting monsters with balls of flame in battles that feel as if you’re stumbled into an old-fashioned on-rails shooter. And while Nier’s dizzying array of gaming styles also sees you toying with other genres including platforming, traditional role-playing and even a splash of text adventuring, none of these sequences are as deep or polished as in dedicated genre titles, making Nier a jack of all trades but master of none and a bit like Zelda without Miyamoto’s genius touch.

Throughout, Nier pokes fun at its shortcomings with sharp scripting and stunning vocal work from Naruto’s Liam O’Brien, with the game ripping the piss out of its over-complicated challenges, mocking ridiculous characters, and highlighting the clichés that hamper its boss battles (when battling a monster: “The mouth? Such an obvious weak spot…”). But even a self-depreciating sense of humour isn’t enough to save Nier from mediocrity, and players looking for another epic slice of Square Enix swashbuckling will be disappointed by this messy potpourri.

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