Yeah… so. Nier.

Jeff, I’m shocked that you were able to suck it down long enough to even meet Weiss.

Started up last night and had immediate flashbacks to the Tresspasser-era days when environments looked like butt and that was just how things were. Chose ‘hard’ difficulty setting initially — big mistake. Found myself slashing away over and over and over again for (no joke) 2+ minutes PER ENEMY on that opening sequence. These are just random dudes, mind there’s nothing special going on with them. Just wubbly yellow shapes walking towards you while you slash again, and again, and again. Use magic, but nothing happens save a few glowy spell effects. I’m sitting there with a perplexed and confused look on my face like I just tasted something impossible to place. I don’t normally play sub-standard games — felt like the tweedy professor suddenly thrust into a Glenn Beck rally. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH THE UNIVERSE? Why is everything wrong?

Perservered for a while longer, past what has to be near-officially the worst put-together and least interesting opening sequence in the history of video games. Fought some sheep… SHEEP… in a terribly uninteresting way. Watched my ugly as hell protagonist blunder around the world and then had my ass kicked by a charging boar.

Eventually dialed down the difficulty to a non-broke-ass setting. Wandered through the world for a while, killing dudes just to see what’s up. Met Weiss the book, at which point my interest started picking up momentarily.

I’m going to give it another shot over the next few days and see what’s what. Mostly my frame of reference for this experience is Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, the other “broke as hell butt-ugly game with a great soundtrack and some neat ideas that I happen to have owned and played”. In the end and in retrospect Curse of Darkness ended up being a tragically ugly but ultimately worthwhile experience, so I’m going to stick it out with Nier at least as long as I can stand and hope that the net effect is similar. I’m told that it redeems itself in the end as at least “as an Experience” kind of like reading House of Leaves.

Curse of Darkness is also notable for being the only OTHER game where the absolutely abysmal level design was punctuated briefly and startlingly by a totally unremarkable fountain at one point causing me to say “thank god, a fountain!” even though it did absolutely nothing, looked kind of janky and was non-interactible in any way.

In other news, how do you give away / sell an original Xbox in this day and age? I have a curated collection of only the finest software for this machine but I’ll never play it again. How does one unload this?