NIER: I imagine that sometimes game developers are sitting around talking about a perfectly mid-grade action adventure game they’re developing when someone throws a monkey wrench in the works. Something along the lines of: “Know what would be awesome? It would be awesome if we added some farming.” Let me bottom-line this game for you – there is both a Bloody Fist of Death that ricochets out of our hero during battle and … farming. Oh, and also fishing. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a little variety but this game looks like full-blown schizophrenia. The game follows the epic journey of (father) Nier to (daughter) Yonah, who is on a desperate quest to find a cure for the black scrawl disease she’s contracted. He’s helped along the way by a group of allies that includes a smart-mouthed talking grimoire and a hermaphrodite. He’s going to slice and dice his way through battles, but he’s also going to strike up conversations with townsfolk and upgrade his magic powers JRPG-style. Where a game like Mass Effect seamlessly combines live action with RPG sensibility, Nier’s piecemeal Frankenstein approach seems unfocused. Not to mention that the promos show off dark, horror-infused art but, from what I can tell, the gameplay falls way short of delivering. The story has promise but only because Square Enix’s deliberate, twisty writers are at the helm. In several interviews development reps have repeatedly admonished those who would define this game by action-adventure standards. Somebody’s trying to have his cake and eat it too, I think. Nier will be released in North America on April 27. With the tepid reviews my guess is that this game will grab some early action-RPG diehards but will ultimately live and die by how well the storytelling makes up for the scattered game play.