As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I recently reviewed Nier for Eurogamer. I finished the game after playing for around 26 hours. But I read that there are actually four endings in total, so today I spent some time playing through the latter section of the game to try and get Ending B.
I’m not quite there yet, but what’s surprising about the post-game content is that it essentially clarifies one of the story’s big twists. I’m not going to spoil it here, but suffice to say it’s handled a little abruptly in the game, but expanded upon greatly in the additional content.
It’s perhaps the first time I’ve seen a game where finishing it really doesn’t tell the whole story. I mean, there are plenty of games with audio logs, documents or diary entries that enhance the narrative, but never have I played a game whose alternative endings essentially put a whole new spin on the plot.
I’m not sure if it’s really enough to change the rating I gave Nier – though I was admittedly wavering between a 6 and a 7 when I reviewed it. But it’s an interesting dilemma for reviewers – do we need to play through all the endings of a game to get a true idea of its worth? In this case, I’d argue not, as it doesn’t really change how the game plays, more how much impact its story has. But as narrative-led games become more prevalent, could this potentially be an issue for reviewers in future?