Average User Score: 8.4Jan 4, 2014NIER is, simply put, astounding.
The gameplay, though not revolutionary, is fluent and engaging and the incorporation of magic into the combat is done in a less than conventional way to add a flavour of uniqueness to the gameplay.
However, where the game shines brightest is the soundtrack, the story and the characters. The soundtrack is amazingly well crafted, in some ways quite simplistic but beautiful nonetheless and it suits the setting perfectly. The story is mature and quite emotional, as it tells the story of a man trapped in a dying world trying to save his daughter. There are some twists and turns along the way and altogether it makes for a very engaging experience.
Finally, the characters. The primary protagonist is a middle-aged man who is, as stated previously, fighting to save his daughter. He's a hard worker and skilled warrior that makes his living by putting his skills to good use and hiring himself out to help the villagers that have showed he and his daughter so much kindness and charity in the past in whatever tasks they need help with, from doing their shopping and hunting down eggs (hidden by some very canny chickens) to taking on a ferocious wild boar. He is a hard man, also quite different from what some would expect from a JRPG in that he looks like he's being beaten over the head with an ugly stick.
The interactions between the characters are terrific, in particular between our hero and Weiss, his floating companion. Overall, this game is terrific. I've loved it since I bought it and I think any RPG fan would enjoy it thoroughly.… Expand
Average User Score: 9.1Dec 26, 2013Where to being for 'A Link Between Worlds'? (Old-time fans might want to skip to further down if they want my take on the new gameplay changes) I went into this game skeptically, as I'm sure did many people. New ideas are introduced to this game and that alone can be scary when it comes to a tried and true franchise, especially for those old school gamers, but this game does everything right. Before I go on I'd like to mention the pacing, tutorial-wise. Newcomers should find that they are eased into the game nicely whilst old-timer's will find that they are not bombarded with things that they already know, which I find very refreshing by itself.
The first important thing to note for this game is that it is set in the same Hyrule as in 'A Link to the Past'. This alone had me skeptical, but where I once thought I was being cheated out of a new land to explore I now feel elation at having revisited Hyrule in this new light. The map remains much the same geographically but collectibles do not, allowing veterans of the franchise the challenge of making Link the perfect hero once again. I was also worried that all the dungeons and bosses would be rehashed versions of those from 'A Link to the Past', but thankfully this is not true. The dungeons have retained their names and several also have the same theme but the layout of the dungeons are not the same and are much more puzzle and item oriented than they once were, and there were few enough familiar faces where bosses are concerned.
The story is well crafted and extremely enjoyable, without a doubt a strong point in the series (particularly among the handheld titles of the franchise). The characters encountered in the game are charming and interesting. Old fans of the series will recognise several faces and nods to earlier titles (check the West wall of Link's home in Hyrule) which will undoubtedly summon up some nostalgia, though several new characters are introduced to the story line that are extremely lovable and memorable. The music is mostly made up of remastered tracks from 'A Link to the Past' and the whole score sounds fantastic. Again, old fans of the series will find something new to love and should enjoy feeling very nostalgic as they listen to classic tracks in a new light.
Finally, we come to the three significant gameplay changes to 'A Link Between Worlds'. First and foremost, the ability to become a painting on the wall. While odd, this added a whole new element to the gameplay without taking away from the already existing mechanics of combat and exploration. The only problem I had was occasionally forgetting about it entirely as I walked around trying to figure out how to get somewhere I had to wall-walk to.
Next, there's the inclusion of a regenerative stamina bar rather than the traditional magic bar. This also serves to replace ammunition, giving you infinite uses of an item so long as you have a little stamina. At first I was put off by the thought of this replacement to the tried and tested system of picking up bombs and arrows and magic pots but it turned out to be an extremely pleasant surprise. In previous titles such as 'A Link to the Past' I found that I very rarely used items such as bombs or arrows in combat because I didn't want to not have them should I need them. Magic items such as the Fire Rod I didn't use at all, for obvious reasons, and the new stamina bar allowed me to use these items to their full effect in combat, making battles much more enjoyable than ever before.
Last but not least, we come to the rental system. Again, when I first learned of item rental I was very put off. However, I was once again pleasantly surprised. In previous titles you would find the item required to best the dungeon inside the dungeon. Ensuring that the player has the item before entering changes the way the dungeons are created to some extent. Item oriented puzzles are present throughout the entire dungeon as opposed to half the dungeon, and the puzzles in this game are very engaging and well thought-out, the Sand Palace being a perfect example of this through the inclusion of my new favourite item, the Sand Rod (which is also used in the dungeon's stellar boss fight).
In conclusion, this game is a superb addition to the franchise. The story is gripping, the soundtrack is moving, the gameplay is rewarding and Hero Mode is challenging. If you're already a fan of the franchise this game will make a terrific addition to your collection. If you're new to the series then this is the perfect game to start with.… Expand