“Weiss, you dumbass! You better start making sense, you rotten book, or you’re gonna be sorry! Maybe I’ll start ripping your pages out one-by-one, or maybe I’ll put you in a goddamn furnace! How can someone with such a big, smart brain get hypnotized like a little b**ch? Oh, Shadowlord! I love you, Shadowlord! Come over here and give Weiss a big sloppy kiss, Shadowlord! Now pull your head out of your goddamn ass and START F***ING HELPING US!”
That’s the opening line delivered by Kainé, a tough and calloused character with a fighting passion. She yells this directly at Grimoire Weiss, a sentient book who’s a sassy wisecrack that wields crucial powers to fight against the otherworldly threat called Shades. But while this first impression is of conflict between allies, it’s illustrative of the eccentric group dynamic between the characters of Nier. And the line hits you like a truck just before you watch the intro cinematic, which is backed by the impassioned orchestrations and chorus composed by Keiichi Okabe. It’s all that’s needed to tell you that you’re in for an emotional journey without saying anything more.
In a post-Nier: Automata world, the original Nier has garnered a new spotlight that has afforded it a second lease on life. The initial release was a bit obscured in 2010, dated and rather basic in some aspects, which may have undercut its storytelling chops and the unique narrative stylings of creator Yoko Taro. I’ve been playing the original version on PS3 recently, and, in retrospect, the flaws in its gameplay systems are easier to overlook when it’s understood you’re playing an older game–and through that perspective, I’ve found something really special.
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