NIER features a foul-mouthed hermaphrodite who likes lacey underwear. You can see most of her (his?) bum.
Where to start with NIER, perhaps the most genre-bending game of 2010? This JRPG from cavia (Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles) is a hodgepodge of so many gameplay types that it's impossible to work out, even once completed, what, exactly, it is. This is undoubtedly a good thing.
Even describing it as a JRPG may be stretching it, for while NIER has experience points-based levelling up, weapon upgrading, towns, NPCs, item farming, party members, and all that other role-playing stuff we know and love, it doesn't really feel like a JRPG at all.
In truth, it feels more like an adventure game, specifically that great influencer: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Indeed on the face of it, NIER looks like a high def OoT, except with lots and lots of blood and loads of swearing. But really this is an imperfect comparison, because while cavia has clearly used OoT's manual to fashion NIER's foundations, built on top are nods to old-school Resident Evil, 2D side-scrolling platformers, "shmups" and even God of War.
So yeah, where to start with NIER? As always with these things, it seems best to start at the beginning.
NIER begins with a single line of dialogue from Kaine, the game's eye-catching, foul-mouthed hermaphrodite party member. She's very, very angry at a floating, talking book called Grimoire Weiss. With the f-bomb still ringing in our ears, realisation sets in: Kaine has set the tone perfectly for what is a very different Square Enix game.
The game begins properly in the summer of 2049. Protagonist NIER, a bulky 40-something, is fending off mysterious, semi-transparent monsters called Shades in an abandoned, snow-covered shop. He is with his daughter, Yonah, a young girl racked by the deadly Black Scrawl disease. Things aren't going well. The pair are cold, hungry, and desperate.
NIER touches a magical book, using its power to defeat the unending conveyor belt of Shades. Then, we skip 1300 years in the future, and things start to get really weird. The world is on the verge of destruction. Civilisation has reverted to a feudal existence, with relics of the old world a depressing reminder of what was lost. NIER, with his daughter Yonah, live in a small house in a small village. Yonah still suffers from the Black Scrawl, and NIER still battles to save her from it, and the Shades.