This one definitely wins an award for the quirkiest game title of the year – a remaster of a 2010 JRPG cult classic and the predecessor of the more popular NieR Automata from 2016.
I walked into the game having played neither, and with the assumption that it’s going to be just another JRPG with a teen hero with a massive sword and a great evil looking to end the world. It is indeed that but also so much more.
It has bullet-hell segments, platforming sequences, and furious hack-and-slash elements that would make Devil May Cry blush. It feels like it’s one of those “it’s so crazy it might just work” kind of ideas, and in its case, it does. The swordplay is satisfying, and when that doesn’t work, busting out your magical book to cheese away at the enemies with projectiles is fun too. The challenge is akin to Kingdom Hearts.
From a technical standpoint, the environments can look a little bland. Looking at comparisons with the original game, the remaster does a lot to make the game far more pleasing to look at.
Still, there’s a certain lack of visual density or detail, which means this is not the game you’d want if you want to showcase the power of current-gen graphics cards or consoles.
It doesn’t look bad though: just a little bland, which may turn off those who are looking for something more modern-looking. The art direction feels inspired: villages have a distinct personality; there’s a cool cross-section perspective when you enter buildings; and the visual effects in combat – especially the effect your blade makes when cutting through the air – look great.
Past the environmental graphics though, the world is an interesting one. The game starts off in a modern setting: in the year 2049, in a grocery under attack by monsters. After finishing the sequence, the game fast forwards 1,312 years, yet the world now looks like it’s in the Middle Ages. What happened? That’s the bigger mystery that will keep you playing, aside from the personal tale of a brother desperately looking for a way to cure his sister.
The characters are a star, too, including a sentient, self-important book whose arrogance usually turns into humorous moments; a lead character looking to save his sister from a deadly disease that’s slowly spreading; and a fan service character who literally kills your character if you stare at her repeatedly.
It’s clear the developers were having fun when they created these guys. Do you have a fetish for weapons too? The badass-looking swords in the game have a backstory you can read too as you upgrade them.
If you’re new to the series, you’ll have to generally look past the dated visuals (the remastered look of the characters look good though), the maps you’d have to go through back and forth through multiple times, and the typical JRPG fetch quests.
For those who want to stay in the game, it’ll be the lively characters, the world that’s been sent back to an older time, and the hectic multi-genre gameplay that will keep you engaged. – Rappler.com
Square Enix provided a code for the review.
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