Nier sets up a number of key landmark areas, and then reuses these spaces to tell different stories.
Which made me develop a familiarity with these areas that I achieve in few other games. Especially ones where you essentially go through each area once.
We're rarely connected to the environments we play in. But every return to a landmark reminded me of the two, three or five great moments I've had there before. I didn't mind the backtracking, because it made me nostalgic. It's rarely done for no good reason (like a fetch quest), but to set up another memorable moment.
Every time I pass the giant square right outside the base, I'm reminded of the giant mech I fought there, or when I flew through it in a bullet hell sequence, or when I fount to protect my squadmate from a group of androids gone haywire, etc.
Some may call that lazy design, but I think it's genius.
And this is exactly what I love about the level design in Yakuza as well. (Though it can definitely lose some of its appeal after multiple games in a row)
There are definitely games where I wish they had taken this approach. And not just to establish a familiarity with my surroundings in this way, but also because you can tell when they're cranking out new areas, just for the sake of it. The obligatory snow stage. The obligatory lava stage. Etc.
I'd much rather have this, but it's a matter of preference, like everything else.
Sounds like a lame excuse for bad game design honestly.
And no, hard disagree that the game reuses these spaces to tell different stories. The amusement park is only used properly once. Every time you visit it after that is just to get to the Machine Village. Complete waste of potential.
The flooded city area was even worse. Completely linear area and very short compared to other areas. Forced to go from start to ending twice within a short period of time when you follow the story.
That's just from the top of my head. I remember the desert being pretty useless as well.
Then why not explain what makes it bad, similar to how I explained what makes it good, instead of just less = bad/backtracking. Because that sounds like pretty simple minded reasoning. Metroid, Resident Evil, Yakuza, etc have you backtrack with purpose.
Every power up you get in Metroid and every key you get in Resident Evil could have just been meant for a door you've never seen before. But that would take away a big part of those games for me. Associating an area with a number of different things. And that moment when it clicks in your brain.
It's not inherently bad game design to revisit the same area multiple times. It can be a design choice. And a good one at that.
I'll take the first time I visited the closed and intimate space of Kamurocho in Yakuza (which has you revisiting key landmarks several times, like in Nier) over the vast majority of worlds I've experienced in other games.
And you are incorrect about the Amusement Park.
It was the stage for several side quests. Including the theatre play quest.
And it was used as the backdrop for the end of the Wandering Couple questline.
This scenery is the first thing I think of when I recall this questline, precisely because it played out with the Amusement Park in the background.
Speaking of which, that first visit you're referring to was easily one of the most memorable sceneries I've experienced in a game, due to the aesthetics combined with the dynamic whimsical music that changed as you got further and further in, which gave that area a very unique atmosphere.
So even if that area had only been the stage of one story (and it was not) it would have done more for me that 20 areas in another game.
Same thing with the Flooded City area.
It was the stage for several of the most important moments in the game.
But it's a bit bizarre to hear you complain about its size, as if you can't appreciate a smaller more intimate secluded area for what it is.
If you designed an area, it would never cross your mind to intentionally make an area smaller?
There seems to be a pattern with your thoughts on level design.
Fewer = bad
Smaller = bad
Linear = bad
The "bigger is better/the more the merrier" mentality.
So yes, this is probably not a game for you.
And it sounds like you didn't do many of the side quests. Some of them are fine to skip. But some add important context. For example, and without spoiling anything, one side quest introduces you to some people who have some distinct clothing. There's a moment in the main story where they are the only people you could possibly recognize. Doing so made the scene emotional to me. But if I hadn't played the side quest first, I wouldn't have had an emotional attachment to anyone in that scene.
And several of them contribute to the world building I described earlier.
I think critique about Route B is fair.
Last edited by Hiku - on 29 June 2022
They could have probably done that in a more condensed manner. But I think I understand what they were going for.
Which is to have the player view 2B from a different perspective.