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Nier Gestalt: TGS 2009 Hands-on

By Janelle | September 26, 2009 at 9:25 am

This demo threw show attendees into the fray almost immediately. There was a brief shot of a big room in a castle, a young girl lying on some sort of dais behind bars, the main character starts toward her, and strange shadow-light creatures attack. One button would swing my character’s blade, another would jump, and the two triggers were for dodging and blocking — pretty standard action RPG fare. The L and R buttons would use some sort of magic attack: a book would shoot dark, bloody projectiles at the enemy, or a giant, glowing barb would appear, that could be aimed and released to tear through enemies.

Of course, the first wave of enemies was just a warmup. After defeating them, there was a short cutscene where two mechanical-looking monsters woke up and advanced menacingly. After taking down their health to a certain point, one would collapse and a clock-like image would appear above it, winding down. Before that clock ran out, I had to run up and strike them while they were down, which would trigger a battle-related cutscene, involving my character summoning black and gold needle things to pierce them with. As the monsters got taken down, they would grow more powerful, shooting fireballs all around the room that required destroying or dodging to stay alive.

The controls were pretty smooth on this demo. Moves would transition seamlessly from one to another. Before I could really get the hang of the controls, I took some damage, so I needed to use some items. I brought up the inventory by pressing start, and saw that there were medicines, but also items that seemed to increase and decrease damage given and taken.

As for the atmosphere and feel of the demo, it was pretty dark and serious, in a funny way. Blood has seemed to be a big running theme for Nier Gestalt; the trailers spoke about the story being written in blood. Still, it felt starkly out of place to see fountains and mists of blood erupting from foes that were either mechanical or insubstantial. I don’t know if the blood plays any significance, story or gameplay-wise, but some of the blood was absorbed by the main character prior to the battle cutscenes.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the demo coming in, but it was fun. There was nothing in the demo to suggest that the gameplay of the final product will be broken or frustrating, so Nier Gestalt looks like it’ll have the makings of a good action romp. Wow, “romp” seems like the most inappropriate word possible for this game. I guess “bloodbath” works. A good action bloodbath.

Topics: Nier Gestalt, Previews, Tokyo Game Show 2009