NieR: Automata – Not Quite NieR or Far Enough

This article contains significant spoilers regarding NieR and NieR: Automata.

When I played the original NieR more than half a decade ago, I don’t think I could have ever have foreseen how much it’d resonate with me or that it would be one of many titles essential in changing how I view games today. While flawed, the variety in level design, off-kilter writing, fantastic music, and its surprisingly vulgar yet compassionate cast made a huge impact on me.

I hardly expected NieR to get a proper sequel, nor could I have imagined how disappointing the final result would be.

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A Fear of NieR: Automata

nier-automata-demo-title-screen

Aside from the initial reveal, I’ve largely ignored of NieR: Automata. I’ve got nothing against it, I just don’t get much out of preview coverage. Demos, trailers, etc. all present an image of a game, yet the lack of information leaves me more uncertain than confident. It’s up to the consumer to fill in the blanks, whether they be positive or negative. Nonetheless, I succumbed to temptation and played Automata’s Demo 120161128. So, I guess we’ll go down this rabbit hole of speculation and assumptions, because I can’t stop thinking about it and probably not for the reasons others can’t.

NieR: Automata is developed by PlatinumGames. That’s a simple and well-known fact that brings joy to many. There are few developers that could contest with their pedigree when it comes to third-person melee-focused action games. Mixing their high intensity combat with the world of NieR is a promising combination and likely the reason why so much hype is building around Automata.

However, PlatinumGames’ involvement and Square Enix’s expectations of the title mostly cause me distress.

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Recapturing the Spirit of Final Fantasy XI

Ff11_logo

(Image Source: Final Fantasy Wikia)

Being an fan of older versions of Final Fantasy XI is somewhat of a sad situation. Many titles that people are nostalgic for exist in their entirety today. While you may not be able to recapture that exact point in your life, where you played Super Nintendo on a Saturday morning with few worries, the game itself is intact. You can have almost an identical experience today to the one you had ten, twenty or thirty years ago.

Final Fantasy XI is fortunate. Unlike many MMORPGs, the servers are still alive. Though, if you log in and expect to re-live the passion you had for it as it existed in the mid-2000s, you’ll likely be sorely disappointed. Your Final Fantasy XI no longer exists. It’s the nature of an online-only world that is constantly updating for a changing market.

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Mini Never-Ending Backlog: Final Fantasy IX

Final Fantasy IX [Disc1of4] [U] [SLUS-01251]-front

Final Fantasy IX, the last Final Fantasy for me to sink my teeth into, for now. It’s the final release in Final Fantasy series on the original PlayStation, but encompasses everything the series had been to that point.

Unfortunately, while the game is available on PlayStation Network, it has yet to be updated to HD, leaving it definitely one of the most pixely 3D Final Fantasys.

Video after the jump.

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Drakengard 3 Review

Drakengard 3 Box Art

I’m not really sure what I expected coming into Drakengard 3. I’ve never played a main entry in the Drakengard series, but I fell in love with the spin-off title NIER. While NIER was far from a AAA polished experience, what made it stand out was how unique it was. NIER had standard hack and slash gameplay, but the title constantly experimented by mixing in elements from other genres. Some of the most striking examples were the bullet hell-style boss battles and the text adventure sequences. The story had an amazing localization that perfectly portrayed loveable characters with playful and often foul-mouthed dialog despite being in the middle of devastatingly depressing world.

Part of me wanted Drakengard 3 to recapture what NIER was. However, Drakengard 3 is not NIER. So you can throw out most of those expectations.

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Mini-Review: Dislike Final Fantasy XIII? Play Final Fantasy XIII-2

FFXIII 2 Resized

Bring up Final Fantasy XIII and you’ll generally get a group of disgruntled moans from around the room. The title built up a bad reputation for itself that seemingly gets worse over the years. Final Fantasy XIII branded announcements are met with cries for Square Enix to abandon the series and start anew.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII sits on my list of to-play titles for this year, so I can’t talk about Square Enix’s more recent outing. However, I can tell you that if you disliked Final Fantasy XIII, you should at least give Final Fantasy XIII-2 a try.

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Never-Ending Backlog: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers

The Crystal Chronicles franchise is one that has taken a couple of different forms, but the most drastic change to its foundation was The Crystal Bearers, released on the Wii in 2009.

This video actually has been a long time in the making, so there are some inconsistencies in the footage quality.

Grand Theft Auto inspiration info source: http://www.gametrailers.com/videos/x1v2ie/final-fantasy-crystal-chronicles–the-crystal-bearers-e3-09–producer-interview