I’m genuinely surprised you liked Nier enough to give it a 7/10.
I wrote up a full summary right after I finished it while watching the speedrun of the game to help refresh my memory. I hope it has everything. Nier was a hotbed of good ideas executed well, between poor execution of a ton of tiny and not so tiny things, long-ass cutscenes, pointless sidequests, and a couple stupidly long unskippable sequences (like Fyra). I think the game fell short of its potential on many levels and goes to show both what’s possible for a 3rd person action game with projectiles, and what not to do. In the hands of a better developer it could have been something really amazing, you can see that there are so many clear balance issues between the weapon types, the different magic powers, poor enemy design in many areas, and other huge faults.
The following contains spoilers without regard for honor or humanity.
Good camera, stays pulled out, by default stays in position very well, frames the action nicely, can be configured to follow the player more/less closely. Better camera than Bayonetta and MGR, no fucking doubt.
The melee attacks feel awful, just poorly animated, bad placement of IASA frames, very mashy, because you don’t have a strong sense of where your attacks hit, attack hitboxes are generally really massive, there’s a huge amount of hitstop, more than really necessary.
Enemy attacks being animated poorly contribute to this too, especially smaller enemies. Hard to tell when they’ll attack, many are hesitant to attack, and you almost never get hitstun from most of your attacks, so you mash a lot, miss the point where they actually decide to attack, and get sent sprawling on the ground for 5% of your health. Bigger enemies tend to be better telegraphed and less hesitant to attack, so they work out better. They don’t seem to get the acceleration arc that really communicates when the enemy is about to attack. Enemies seem to be able to shrug off hitstun from normal attacks whenever they want, which makes sense otherwise they’d be easily stunlocked by the fast attacks the character has, but they don’t have such obvious attack animations, and it’s easy to get stuck mashing in combos, so frequently I found I missed when smaller enemies would start attacking and just got hit, which did a hugely disproportionate amount of knockback relative to the amount of damage I took most of the time. Some larger enemy attacks have shockwaves or large hitboxes that can occasionally be surprising, or go beyond the visible distance of the attack. Minimalism here probably would have been helpful.
The Dark Hand ability is interesting, probably the staple ability, attacks a bit in front of you, so if you’re too close to a small enemy, you’re likely to miss. Telegraphs its range rather poorly, could use a marker on the ground clearly pointing out where you’ll hit. Gives you a reason to back off when attacking, so you can get the max damage dark hand in. Charging for extra hands oddly doesn’t seem to boost the damage much, has a useless shockwave effect. Can be tapped for a less powerful attack with seemingly better hitboxes (hits everything in a straight lin from you to target) and almost no startup/cooldown time, also locks onto a random nearby enemy, so can be difficult to control properly.
Killing enemies gives you blood, refilling your magic bar, allowing you to use more magic attacks, making the presence of mooks in boss battles actually welcome, because they can be killed quickly in cycles to fill the magic bar, which can then be used directly on the boss. It’s even possible to kill an enemy and start charging a magic attack at the right moment to absorb the blood after you’ve already spent some magic charging so you can get an additional charge for an extra dark hand or lance or some such. Would have been smart to make magic charge faster on all melee damage, to create alternating cycles of melee and spells.
Rolling makes you flat out go faster. Gets mashed a lot because no stamina bar. There’s 3 different rolls with slightly different properties, but not enough to matter much. Probably purely an animation difference rather than design difference. Running would have been preferable honestly.
Knocking enemies down allows the finisher action to hurt them for more damage, which also stuns them on the ground longer, where they’re vulnerable for attacks. Becomes pointless in the mid/lategame once sealed verses are acquired.
The guard action, required for the finisher action, becomes useless at about the same point in the game the finisher does. Dodging is generally better all around, both protecting you from damage and after you’re hit. Guard is directional, which is ambitious, but it’s hard to change the guard direction in response to enemies. You also move like a turtle in guard stance, and too many attacks, or too powerful an attack can break your guard, how many is unclear. Not very clear benefits for guarding. You can perfect guard to deflect attacks, but this is nearly useless. A less effective version of this would have probably helped out the regular guard, as well as making it more mobile and allowing the character to turn around during it.
When a boss is damaged enough, it enters a special stunned state during which a specific part of its body needs to be damaged to “lock in” the damage you dealt up to that point. Interesting mechanic, perhaps overly punishing if you screw up damaging the specific body part. Contrast to the usual weak point typically seen. Some enemies have weak points as well.
Charge melee attacks have kind of crap damage relative to how long they take to charge, but have better hitstun/knockdown properties. And you can’t charge them without attacking once first. Different charge attacks for every hit in the combo.
Hard mode has way too much health on enemies, makes it a slog. Normal strikes a good balance. Easy apparently doubles magic regen time, and gives you a bit more health, but otherwise is identical to normal.
A lot of enemies reuse attacks from other enemies. Some of the more unique enemies end up underutilized, like many miniboss types and projectile enemies only show up in force in the last quarter of the game. The first boss, from the prologue, shows up a LOT as a miniboss, but he has a fairly good design, predictable attacks, good area coverage in front and behind him, hard to hit without getting hurt unless it’s the late game and dark lance is powerful enough to snipe the fuck out of him. The ground pound miniboss is unique, but only shows up maybe 3 times (can only explicitly remember twice). The boar’s moveset is also reused, and enemies with charge attacks in general in this game don’t telegraph them very well, and tend to home in expertly, making them tough to dodge, because you can’t get out of the way early unless they were heading in the wrong direction to begin with, so you need to dodge with your iframes, which can be tricky and inconsistent depending on the enemy’s pushbox, which still affects you during dodges (though not nearly as bad as say ludwig in bloodborne who can occasionally have his back legs drag you along as you dodge, while the attack hitbox is still active, killing you when your iframes end).
Many of the boss designs are great. They have bullets you need to shoot down, a variety of interesting attacks, nice set pieces.
Hansel and Gretal have no synergy as a team for who knows what reason, they share a health bar and one is always ducking under a shield when the other is active, so you’re effectively fighting one enemy, not two. They have interesting attacks despite this. The fight mixes in mooks well in the second half, they also shoot projectiles, have nice melee attacks, the most fair charge attack in the game, though with the worst tell animation, so the first time I faced them I had low enough health and had never seen the attack before so it flat-out killed me.
Kaine’s boss battle is really random, she can just go flat out invincible when she dodges, then lunges forward. The dodge isn’t animated in a way that suggests the lunge will follow, so I honestly didn’t make the connection completely until looking at footage of it. Simple boss, not really impressive.
Hook 1 is a nice fight. I somehow didn’t realize until much later in the game that shockwaves could simply be jumped over, so I was dodging them perfectly during this battle which was really unforgiving, my bad. It’s a common gaming trope, I should have known better. The first fight has near projectile patterns that don’t show up in the second fight, but are easily avoided by standing by the feet. The feet alternating the shockwaves makes the timing more difficult based on your position to them, have excellent telegraphing. The assisting mooks have a great design that controls space really well, and get underutilized in the rest of the game. Given you need to shoot dark lance to harm the boss because he retreats up high, the mooks help out a lot in recharging your magic.
The scrap heap has great enemies in general, with both flying and ground based enemies that have a basic get close to you attack form, which can hit you over and over if you’re not careful to get out of the way, and a basic but effective ranged attack that controls space well, slowly rotating around. The turrets form rather intricate bullet patterns when in the same room, the gepetto fight has a partiularly styish arrangement of these.
Gepetto has a great first half, solid intermission and an average second half. In his first half, the lasers have neat dodge patterns, they need to be shot precisely on the palms, which can be tricky to get an angle on. The hands crushing you is a basic attack, but given that it leaves the other hand open at the risk of getting crushed while you line up shots on it, it’s interesting. The intermission has you fight mooks, which is solid. The second half has only two attacks really, laser which you throw a bomb into the mouth, hampered by the poor bomb throwing controls, and missiles from above, which can be shot down or ran out of the way. This is basic and not particularly interesting, like a zelda boss, except zelda would never give you the option to shoot down tons of projectiles in realtime.
Hook fight 2 has a number of neat set pieces. Hook seems to lose its projectile attack in favor of exclusively using ground pounds during the first phase. During the second phase it reprises its mook spawning ability, and ground pounds with its tail, which is telegraphed much more poorly than the feet, especially given you aren’t looking up at the tail a good amount of the time. The run through the side scrolling maze with the small orblike enemies is a decent change of pace, but they’re positioned to back each other up, which can lead to you getting trapped between them or overwhelmed. Arguably good design, I found it rather frustrating on hard difficulty. The final phase has ground pound shockwave attacks, mook spawning, and a new attack where it generates a protective and damaging shield then rushes forward. Loses a bit from the first fight for not having projectile attacks, but still generally solid.
The ancient temple of the masked people has some interesting play with your mechanics by limiting them in specific ways then composing rooms that are a bit more puzzle-like, with automated turrets, the area is arguably a zelda allusion, but there are way more ways to solve each individual room than explicitly presented. Turrets can be destroyed with attacks, have their shots blocked, their projectiles can be shot down or absorbed by dark gluttony, and all cubes require 3 attacks to be destroyed reguardless of type. In some places you can hop over the turret’s line of fire, dodge through it, shoot back, move blocks into place to cover you. This is literally everything zelda puzzles aren’t, and the restriction of mechanics like jumping, attacking, running, standing still, using magic, then composing the rooms to really make you feel the loss of that mechanic works great. The no dodge room sucks however, because the guard mechanic is honestly horrible.
Shahriya has a spectacular design, with the caveat that its cubes do not obey the rule of the cubes in the prior rooms, they have HP and can be destroyed in one attack by a sufficiently powerful shot. It honestly took me a few attempts to realize that the faster but weak dark blast wasn’t a good tool for destroying the cubes, that they could be destroyed with dark hand, my go-to attack by that point in the game, then that dark lance was the only really viable tool for this fight. The first half has 4 subphases each with their own bullet patterns, spin speed and cube patterns, that are designed to compliment each other. First phase has all the cubes lit, with average spin speed, and a decent bullet pattern. Second spins a bit faster and has only one cube lit at a time. Third phase has the cubes spin slowly, shoot out projectiles a lot faster and more consistently, and the cubes all alternate between being lit and unlit on a steady cycle. Fourth phase spins really fast and has one cube lit at a time. The aiming and projectile avoidance challenge here is awesome. Hitting the wrong cube generates black projectiles that are shot directly at you and fast, requiring you to dodge, potentially into other projectiles. The second half has a lame opening with easily avoided attacks, enough that you could hand it off to someone with no experience with the game and they could avoid them. The SGDQ runner literally did so (though to another person who had run the game previously) and walked off camera. It does shockwave attacks, which you punish. Simple. The final phase has all the cubes arranged in progressively smaller squares with some of the stock cubes emitting lasers that sweep forward while the whole formation spins, making it an interesting pattern to avoid as it cuts across the space. 3d zelda has never been so good as this dungeon and boss.
Grimoire Rubrum’s attack pattern is reused in like, 2 or 3 other fights with almost no change. The phases can be shot down before they generate more projectiles which is neat, the book moves around nicely to avoid attacks, the age spin attack protects the book nicely. The projectile patterns emitted from the book are great. The rush attack is telegraphed horribly and is nearly unavoidable, I don’t think I’ve doodged it once. Grimoire noir summons mooks during his first fight, and has more dense pillars of bullets it can deploy. In the final encounter it can rush across the room and leave pages behind that soon after will deploy a ring of projectiles around them.
Jack has a really boring first phase. Shockwaves. Snipe it above. Attack its hand after the shockwave. Mooks all around. Second phase is more cool but also lackjuster, shoots projectiles from its mouth, has another shockwave attack with a literal wave this time. Final phase f the giant form is easy..The squid form is generally pretty good with nice melee attacks, a spin attack, rush attack and a ton of weak points that all need to be targetted individually, which is unique.
The isometric section beneath Emil’s manor was extremely funny the first time I saw it. The camera perspective works well. Makes me wish actual isometric games controlled like this or had combat of this caliber (not that nier’s is excellent, but above par for isometric games) The escort mission is a huge downside though, as Emil gets stuck on things, and isn’t very useful, freezing shades one at a time. More useful on hard mode where enemies are damage sponges, but I had switched to normal by this point.
Halua is a cool fucking boss, though maybe a bit underwhelming for an “ultimate weapon.” Has a decent melee swing attack, they definitely held back on the melee attack here. Has a rush attack that is poorly telegraphed like the rest. Has a cool fucking bullet stream on the ground that’s like a web with tendrils that cut across, then waves that must be gone over or through. The ones closest to you are black, so they can’t be detroyed with magic, and sniping halua is the only reasonable way to beat this attack. Shoots a barrage of homing shots occasionally, which are noninteractive. In the second phase where halua jumps on the wall, has an awesome attack where it fires practically a whole sphere of bullets at you, and one large bullet that generates a shockwave on the ground. The sphere constricts your movement as it homes in and the large bullet dunks you. Can drop to the ground and emit spheres of interspersed bullets that emanate out like a wave to be dodged. Throws a temper tantrum on the ground after being knocked off the wall which can hurt you which is cute.
Gretal is a more interesting fight than the two of them combined (maybe it would have made more sense to have both of them the second fight and only one the first fight, considering they were limited to one the first fight anyway). Has the same nice melee and charge rush attack. Shoots projectiles to back up the mooks, which inexplicably dissolve in the light. No other shades in the rest of the game have dissolved in light before, and none do after this point, despite having it stated that they dislike or are harmed by the light. There seems to be no reflection of this in gameplay apart from this one point. The projectile attacks are neat, average for this game. Gains a spinning rush attack at the very end that it does repeatedly. Moves so fast it’s hard to target and frequently can knock you over, and come right back at you to wreck you again immediately which doesn’t feel very fair.
The Kaine Shade fight is cool looking but easy, she moves around really fast, has a neat rush combo attack, makes a nice wall of projectiles, but hitting her with a dark lance will knock her down allowing you to attack a bunch,
Wendy has you fight a ton of mooks first which are well arranged with the bridges to make it difficult to pass across, both rushing you down up close and using magic attacks from a range to make it difficult to cross or fight on the bridges. There are magic resistant enemies too making it hard to use magic to take care of the enemies at a range as well.
Wendy, like Hook, uses mooks well to refuel your magic meter, allowing you to snipe it. Has amazingly intricate bullet patterns that are tough to impossible to completely avoid. Uses a laser that follows you too. Kind of a basic fight altogether for this game, but still neat.
P-33 and Kalil have a moveset largely recycled from the miniboss directly before them. It’s a good moveset though, so not much issue. P-33 can stomp the ground to generate a shockwave, to generate electrical shockwave projectiles that either are mostly directed at you or directed all around, or generate a persistent shockwave under its feet. Can also spin, shooting out black projectiles, though you can easily just step back and snipe it without issue. During the second phase it flies and can go into the ceiling to drop rubble, which is hard to react to and avoid, kinda rote though. Suffers from Sundowner syndrome, doesn’t get to use any other attacks besides the rubble attack during which its invincible, has no health.
The first fight with Roc is over really quickly. He has a good synergy with the wolves. Complete sundowner syndrome, no health. Second fight he never fights you alongside the wolves, never does his spinning attack that generates homing projectiles, only projectiles that spread out in a row and don’t go anywhere (wait, incorrect on reviewing footage, it just never happened in my fight with him), so are unthreatening. Boss moves well, has a poorly telegraphed charge attack, and a well telegraphed spin charge attack. Simple boss, can move really randomly and be hard to punish.
The devola and popola fight is extremely simple, they can be stunlocked easily. They have nice projectile patterns, but immediately teleport if you hit them, so you can just hit them every time they pop up, getting free damage and eventually letting you grind the fight out. They’ll even teleport in sync if you do this right making it completely free. If you only hit one or let themy get their offense started, then it can be a harder fight, as one barrages you with dark blast projectiles and the other rushes you down with dark hand. The refight isn’t as interesting, suffering the same stunlock flaw, and only fighting you with one at a time. Devola does get a whirlwind of bullets projecting her as she tries to rush you down with dark hand, but these can be hit down easily. Popula emits dense rings of projectiles that can overwhelm easily if she isn’t locked down quickly. Also why did they need to copy the sealed verses if the power originally came from them? Begs the question of why they had the individual fight second instead of first, same as hansel and gretal.
Goose is a boar. Has a charge attack, and a ground pound slam, and a smaller ground pound showwave he can do by slamming his front two feet on the ground when turning around, can be hard to tell if he’s just turning around or will slam. Lame boss because the boars are boring categorically in this game.
Shadowlord has a jump attack, doesn’t track, so easily avoided. Close up combination which can be avoided easily. Can go underground and pop up, which is poorly telegraphed. Has a dark lance attack that is easily side stepped. Easily stunlocked. In second phase shots projectiles into the ground that create giant pillars of lightning, traveling forwards quickly. Can be done in giant bunches to form a wall of lightning, or as individual pillars that spread and must be weaved between. Resumes first phase attacks after a while. Final phase creates giant lines of projectils that focus in on you, with the ones at the end of the line moving fastest. Breaking the perimeter to hit the shadowlord can be tough, and you’re forced out again when you do. Then he layers the prior attack with a new projectile that is shot a decent way up in the air, and emnates projectiles out of it as it travels in a spiral pattern. Then this is layered with a more standard barrage and emanating projectiles that shoot out lines instead of spirals
I didn’t fight the true final boss because who the fuck has time to collect all the weapons across the entire game?
Boring boss, gets paired with mooks, far overstays his welcome as he just keeps reviving repeatedly..
Dark Blast takes up a lot of energy with its first shot, then steadily consumes energy as it fires, until you’re right below the min amount before using magic, then drains a lot of magic with the final charge blast. It’s kinda cool that you can use all the functions of dark blast regardless of how much magic you have, but kind of unfortunate that it basically wrecks your ability to cast other spells if you choose to use it, especially given magic regenerates so slowly on normal and hard. Has a strong utility across the game as a ranged attack, good for shooting down enemy projectiles.
The continue system is a weird mix of forgiving and brutal. There are frequent continue points, which makes sense given boss fights are so long and divided into phases of regenerating health, but they do not function like perfect save states. They’ll remember how much health you had when you got to that continue point, but will not restore any items used after the continue point, allowing for awkward circumstances where you can be low on health enter a continue point, use up all your healing items, die, and be stuck having to do that segment on low health. This happened to me in the hook refight’s last phase, and I was lucky enough to have a section to backtrack to with 4 healing items. Even if continue points restored healing items, it’s possible to get stuck in a situation with low health and no healing items, and it’s really hard to avoid taking damage completely.
The words are practically useless. Feels like they were too timid to really make them a strong customization element, so they’re all like 2%, 4%, 6%, etc until you get to like 15-30% in the late-game. Like they were scared of breaking the game balance or something instead of letting it rock.
Weapon upgrading and collecting was borderline pointless. Terrible weapon imbalance.
Wall kicks were super pointless. Not even good as a movement option.
The bullet interaction was really cool, had nice patterns to dodge through, let you shoot them down with dark blast and dark lance, or let melee attacks clear them. Different colors for bullets that could be destroyed by magic/melee or only by melee.
Dark Lance and blast both have weird aiming schemes that seem to lock up when you try to aim too far downwards. Dark Lance in particular needs to be aimed really high to hit accurately with it. The cursor position is weird, they could have done much better with this, though the intent is clear, they wanted to have them move parallel to the ground with the camera in the default position so enemies could be targetted easily on flat ground, which makes a lot of sense until it goes berserk trying to aim at a target on lower ground, or pointing the thing really high for a higher up
Using up the whole magic gauge increases the regen speed, which slows as you gain more, but it works out such that using up the whole gauge gets you more than trying to hang onto some of it in the hopes of getting up to a usable portion faster. Doesn’t really make much sense or work out well on any mode except easy mode.
Minor glitch allows you to switch weapons mid-attack, effectively using one weapon’s animations with another weapon equipped. Only works for one attack. In theory could increase attack speed for slower weapons to do powerful attacks during narrow opportunities. Haven’t tested whether it actually works, no enemy really demands it. In real time this is really slow, as you need to go through a menu in the middle of the attack. EDIT: in the speedrun it’s used in conjunction with the air powers of the various weapons to do special movement tricks by swapping them out after gaining a lot of speed, lets them get to certain areas easier.
Seaport is fucking abandoned in the latter half of the game.
The pivot animation is long and annoying, seriously faster to just turn around avoiding the opposite direction. Similar for grabbing/releasing blocks.
The alternate camera orientations are cool, especially the isometric dungeon crawler one.
Damage by many many attacks is dealt in stages, once where you’re hit, then again if you fail to tech the landing by using a jump or roll right when you land.
The other magic powers are really cool and play with space in cool ways, but are practically useless in terms of damage/utility. Dark Whirlwind and Dark Execution are especially cool, but also useless.
The ability to cancel combos (probably using the existing IASA frames, rather than the rekka cancel frames) into the guard break, which has a shorter recovery than both the end of the combo sequence and many of the attacks in the combo sequence, makes combat a bit more than just mashing attack, but not much. Allows some enemies to be stunlocked when they couldn’t be otherwise, also makes the whole guard breaking mechanic pointless, as you’ll do it at some point in your combo regardless.
Enemies in the midgame get magic resistance, and in the second half others get armor. Magic resistance is kind of interesting, you need to knock them down to disable their magic resistance, though that really only means hitting them with a magic ability that isn’t dark whirlwind or dark blast, then hitting them with that magic ability again, so it doesn’t add up to be very interesting, but it does mean enemies can be insulated from dark blast when standing up. Armor is similar, it breaks when hit by dark hand or dark lance, or randomly when hit enough times by a weapon. These things almost give the enemies more of a strategic element, but in practice don’t add up to much. Also having guard/armor break be a % chance to occur is fucking stupid.
From a narrative end, I was totally expecting something sinister with halua/emil, but that’s like chekhov’s abandoned plot thread. It seems like they’re running with it in the sequel, but there’s no foreshadowing of it in the first one, Emil has that creepy skull face, but there’s absolutely no sense of overjoyed portents of doom, which is absolutely what yoko taro seems to be communicating for automata. He even blows the fuck out of the aerie (which itself was way less sinister than it could have been), then has no more plot or character development for the rest of the game as the ultimate weapon or otherwise.
The world is small, especially because the second half of the game successively recycles every previous area except seaport. For a JRPG it’s kinda short, the speedrun is 3 hours instead of 9. The world is so small it doesn’t really give the sense of a journey that takes place over months or even years. That and there aren’t enough events like campouts, or even ones that take place at night which would help sell that this guy isn’t just running around like a madman over the course of one day.
The characters aren’t developed as well as they could be, a lot of aspects of the characters are suddenly brought up rather than alluded to earlier. Like the shadowlord isn’t mentioned or built up in the plot or lore at all, then he shows up and he’s suddenly a huge deal. They even have a cutscene of him flying around really fast and show-offy for no reason.
Emil camping outside with Kaine is mentioned almost immediately after they were exiled from the village, which is dramatized when Emil hasn’t really had a chance to camp out for very long, or be ostracized by the village.
It’s a weird coincidence that Gestalt Nier is the original gestalt, and somehow gets basically chosen by fate to be the shadowlord of great significance, in charge of the gestalt project and ominously named shadowlord for basically no reason when he was just a random victim previously.
Popola and Devola aid you in chasing down the shadowlord, then you get there and they basically tell you to stop, and you can just choose to go back to the village and it’s like it never happened down to them telling you to be careful. Weird shit.
Ending D features a story mechanic that has no representation in the rest of the plot. It’s not made clear how exactly it works, with Nier’s existence being erased by who knows what, making Kaine a whole human, which somehow doesn’t erase her memories. Like, what erases Nier here? The Shade? Do shades have the power to do that? Is this like some strange mechanic of the universe itself? What does making her a whole human do to her in this circumstance besides getting rid of Tyrann? Deleting ALL your save files is ballsy though. If this game didn’t have so little replay value it might be more upsetting.
In Ending E, Emil gets his limbs back with absolutely no reason. I don’t even know.
How the actual fuck did the king of the masked people get inside the shadowlord’s castle? You did a whole quest for that. You even had to scale a goddamn cliff.
Why is Grimoire Noir so fucking evil when he’s technically supporting a just cause? Why doesn’t he use the word Gestalt instead of Shade? Whatever happened to Grimoire Weiss’s identity as a human?
What’s the function of going on a quest to gather the sealed verses? Sure Weiss and Noire were supposed to merge to bring the replicants and gestalts together, but why was it so critical that Nier go on a quest where he fucks up tons of shades, former humans, when the overall goal is to put those humans back in their original bodies.
How did Kaine learn magic? Why don’t other shades use the same type of magic as her?
Does Nier Replicant have any knowledge of his wife? What’s the generation dealie? How’s the replication process structured? Why does the original Nier have a way cooler hair style than his gestalt or replicant?
How can a Gestalt even have a genetic imbalance? Did the guys designing the process fuck up? Are the gestalts made with their own genetic code, despite not being ordinary creatures, or even physical matter? Does Nier original have some fuckup in his genes that screwed it up for all the other gestalts? Popula and Devola are androids, so why do they also seem to be replicants in terms of having feelings and emotions?
Why is the old lighthouse woman quest even in the game? Why fishing?
I feel like they could have followed through on the protagonists committing attrocities a lot better
Relapsing/the black scrawl is poorly explained even in Grimoire Nier. It’s not made clear ingame or out of it exactly what relapsing does to either the replicant or gestalt, except that it’s a nasty disease. Also direct contradiction in claiming the original humans died out because of a black disease when weiss answers the birds, it was a white disease that turns people into salt. Doesn’t help that you literally only hear of one person other than Yonah who has the black scrawl across the entire game world.
You have to visit popola waaaaaaaay too much. Which does solidify the main town as the central hub, but seriously.
Having a lot of the details in the latter half be inferred from the scraps of information you have works well, especially having weiss answer the riddles instead of nier, because he clearly has the information but hasn’t put it together yet, then you get the information afterwards to just barely make it make sense. The lack of explicit and complete information robs some of the thrill of the reveal in the moment though. You barely learn any more from the project gestalt documents than you already knew.