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A Year of One Hit Wonders - November - NieR
For November, we will be taking a look at NieR, a game looked upon particularly fondly
by some here at RPGamer. There is some interesting back story to this game's development and ultimate release. Developed by Cavia and published by SquareEnix, Nier was originally meant to be the third game in the Drakengard series. It was based on the fifth ending of the original Drakengard game, but was eventually turned into a spin-off rather than a true sequel. It was also originally planned as an X360 exclusive, but as development continued, they chose to open the game up to the Japanese market by releasing on the PS3 as well. Not only that, but they actually released two different versions of the game in Japan: NieR Gestalt, the X360 version which is the same as the NA and PAL release version; and NieR Replicant, which was released on PS3 with a younger protagonist. The games are virtually the same, with a few minor dialogue differences to reflect the father-daughter or brother-sister relationship between the protagonist and Yonah. This was ultimately the last game that Cavia developed. They were later absorbed into their parent company, AQ Interactive. A significant number of the staff later moved on to Access Games and worked on the actual Drakengard 3.
The gameplay is primarily third-person character action style, though the combat does change styles in certain battles. In fact, the game tries to touch on nearly every major style of modern game: side scrolling platformers, SHMUPS, Diablo-clones, and even some old-time text adventures. The visuals are not a strong point, but the audio is very strong, both musically and in the voice acting. The game is also designed to be played to completion multiple times with four different endings to the game, requiring at least three playthroughs to unlock them all. There is quite a bit going for this game, despite its middling reviews. I hope everyone gives it a shot. Enjoy!