YMMV / NieR

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Father Nier a good dad? He travels to hell and back searching for a way to save Yonah's life, but in doing so he spends so much time away from home that it borders on Parental Abandonment. It's achingly clear that Nier's absence hurts Yonah far more than her illness.
  • Annoying Video Game Helper: Weiss becomes somewhat annoying during some parts of the game, such as the final phase of the battle against Wendy where he might keep repeating the same thing over and over again: he also tends to get annoying during the mandatory part of the fishing minigame by repeating the same hint over and over again instead of asking whether you're even at the right location, which is an easy mistake to make since there's a beach right next to the person who gives you the fishing equipment which is where most people would try out fishing instead of slavishly staring at the map to follow the destination marker elsewhere, only for them to end up thinking that they suck too much at the mini game to proceed since all the fish found on the beach next to the fisherman are far too strong to be caught right away.
  • Applicability: Upon playing the game most players seem to agree that Nier's Central Theme is an exploration of what it means to be human through the lens of various different tropes. According to the game's director Taro Yoko, he thinks that interpretations of the game's narrative are awesome but that he didn't really have any of them in mind when working on the game.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Step One: Get the Phoenix Spear. Step Two: Upgrade it. Step Three: Dive-attack everything in the game to death.
  • Cry for the Devil: The Shadowlord's only wish was to live together with Yonah, just the same as Nier. Most of the evil goings-on were the fault of Grimoire Noir or the Twins.
  • Cult Classic: Has this reputation nowadays.
  • Designated Hero:
    • It's revealed that Kainé, unlike Nier, is very well aware of fact that Shades are sentient, however she never drops a hint or tries to stop the merciless slaughter. It's revealed that she's trying to convince herself that they aren't human when Tyrann mocks her numerous times for killing innocent souls, and she yells at him to shut up.
    • Nier is definitely one, especially considering what the long term repercussions of killing the Shadowlord were. In trying to get back his daughter, he winds up leading both Replicants and Gestalts to their eventual extinction, save Emil.
  • Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game: While some people do enjoy the gameplay, even most fans agree with critics that the gameplay is serviceable at best. Many simply find it substandard and monotonous.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Emil is showered with much love from staff and fandom alike due to his chipper and optimistic personality despite the circumstances.
  • Game Breaker:
    • The Phoenix Spear. Without upgrades, it is the best combination of speed and raw attack power, and can one-shot most enemies by the time Nier gets enough money to acquire it, making the rest of the game trivially easy.
    • The Beastbain, which is sold by the blacksmith in Nier's Village, may count too. It's expensive, but if you're lucky enough, you can get both enough money, and enough items to upgrade it, to make the first part of the game pretty easy.
  • Genius Bonus: Got an intricate knowledge of DNA code and the celestial language? Then you might have picked up on the black scrawl and shades being composed of broken strings of DNA
  • Ho Yay: Emil has very starry-eyed reactions when it comes to Nier, but considering Word of God is that Emil canonically falls in love with him, it's to be expected.
  • Iron Woobie: Replicant Nier. Both of his parents died before he was ten, but he forbids himself from mourning them in fear of making Yonah sad. Instead, he focused on earning money doing odd jobs in the village, but when Yonah became sick with the Black Scrawl, he couldn't afford her medicine. Nier eventually had to resort to prostitution to provide this (he developed a phobia of people touching his hair from these experiences, which led to him tying it up), but even then he bears it silently, believing that it's for Yonah's sake. Later on, it's even implied that he killed the sex buyer in a Shade-slaying job. Since this is never mentioned in the actual game, you can't even tell from his general positivity that these things even happened.
  • Memetic Mutation: The image of Taro Yoko appearing on stage wearing a mask of Emil during the announcement of the second game quickly spread due to the bizarreness of it all.
  • Nausea Fuel: The "Banquet of the Witch" short story from Grimoire Nier.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Nier packs a lot as well, and the more you know about the backstory, the creepier the game gets. Of note is the labyrinth dream in the Forest of Myth, and the paintings in Emil's mansion.
    • A few of the bosses count. No. 6 is especially creepy.
    • The masked woman who turns out to be a Shade in disguise creeping across the desert and toward Façade is a bit chilling.
  • Older Than They Think: Many critics and gamers have praised Spec Ops: The Line for creating an experience where the main protagonist unknowingly kills innocents and which shows the consequences of acting with little understanding of the circumstance, its depressing tone with no clear answers, and its deconstruction of heroism, but this game beat it to the punch two years earlier.
  • Player Punch:
    • Can't get much worse than the haymaker that is the forced deletion of ALL your save games you've put 30+ hours into in order to see the ending D, complete with each page of Grimoire Weiss being erased one by one, finishing it off by deleting the save files themselves.
    • Although maybe not as strong a punch, learning what happened in the prologue counts, namely that the Nier we spent the opening ten minutes playing as transforms into The Shadowlord, and will spent the next 1,312/1,412 years trying to (and failing) to save and reunite with Yonah, only for him to be killed by the Nier we have been playing as for most of the game and his Yonah deciding it's not right to take the current Yonah's body for her own since she keeps crying out to Nier, leaving her body and essentially committing suicide by stepping into bright sunlight flooding from a nearby window a few moments before that.
    • Killing each of the Shades despite clearly knowing their tragic backstories.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: A number consider this the best video game adaptation of I Am Legend.
  • Stoic Woobie: Especially after the time skip, Nier and Kainé are usually too busy killing things to complain about their problems.
  • That One Achievement: Forging Master, due to the MASSIVE amount of item farming it requires.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • The Runaway Son. You have to run about half-way around the world to bring the little bugger back! And then it turns out you were being scammed the whole time. Worse yet, you get no reward for completing it.
    • Life in the Sands. You have to get 10 pink moonflower seeds. Trouble is you can't find them anywhere, and the only moonflower seeds you can buy are red, gold, and blue. To get pink seeds, you have to hybridize gold and blue moonflower seeds by planting them next to one another to have a small chance to get indigo seeds, then hybridize those with red seeds to get pink seeds. Oh, did I mention that it takes about 36 real-time hours to be able to harvest these seeds unless you screw around with the system clock? And that after all that time, there's no guarantee that you'll get the hybrid seeds? And that the game never even gives you anything resembling the vaguest of hints that you can even hybridize plants to begin with? AND that the end result of the seeds is determined when you first plant them to make it impossible to get them easily via Save Scumming?
    • A good number of other less important sidequests also count and some of them seem to be specifically tailored to piss off the player by forcing them to gather a ton of rare items for a ridiculously mundane purpose (such as 10 rare metals just to make a single kitchen knife or 5 sharks for a dish that's ultimately decreed by both the chef and Nier to be better without any), especially considering how much more reasonable the sidequests with actually useful rewards are. Thankfully you don't miss anything by just ignoring them and they largely seem to exist to taunt OCD people about their completion percentage being lower than 100%. The banter you get for each one is nice to hear regardless, even though for most of them it's not worth the trouble.
    • Not the hardest (relatively easy fetch quest) one but the most thankless is a sidequest where the quest giver refers to you as the idiot who will do anything for money no matter how demeaning it is. It's pretty much here you think yes screw 100% completion.
  • True Art Is Angsty: The game was overlooked on the whole, selling poorly in the west and greeted by mixed reviews. However, a few critics and a number of the people in the game's small fanbase consider the game unusually well-written and interesting, not just for a JRPG but as a game in general. It's also easily one of the most depressing and oppressive games in recent memory.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The Shadowlord is meant to be seen as a tragic figure after The Reveal, and most people agree on that, but it might be a bit hard to sympathize with him since he's putting his own desires over that of everyone else. He kidnaps Yonah and implants his daughter's soul into her, despite the fact that she's a sentient being in her own right. Which kind of breaks the parallel built with Nier who may do unsavory things for Yonah, but always takes time helping people as he knows times are rough for everyone.
  • Vindicated by History: When it first came out, the game was left to rot on store shelves by non interested gamers and was forgotten. Nowadays it is well known as an amazing game and is considered to be Taro Yoko's best game. For just one example, Joystiq initially slapped the game with a zero, only for them to later acknowledge it as one of the best games of the last decade.
  • The Woobie: Emil is one of the most optimistic and positive characters by the end of the game despite having a pretty shitty life, being turned into a human weapon whose only purpose is to kill his sister (another human weapon) if she goes rogue, being treated like an outcast by everyone but Kainé, Nier and Weiss once he actually finds friendship, etc.
  • Woobie Species: The Shades.

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