The Let's Play Archive


by The Dark Id

Part 4: Episode IV: Nothin' But Mutton

Episode IV: Nothin' But Mutton

Okie dokie, we now have our first objective of the game: OBTAIN MUTTON. Sounds easy enough. Perhaps we should consult the local sheep herding expert on these matters, before venturing forth into the great unknown.

Music: Devola's Song

"...This is getting me nowhere..."

You may notice the linked music now has a vocal layer to it. We can actually find the source of the singing (and guitar strumming) sitting by the fountain outside Nier's home. Indeed, NIER handles music in a pretty spiffy way. You can only hear the woman's singing if you're actually close enough to hear her voice. And she'll stop if you talk to her. There is a video at the end of the update showing off the fading music layer. It is a nice little touch.

Anyhow, this is Devola, Popola's twin sister. While Popola handles all the administrative duty in keeping the town barely floating financially, Devola...just kind of hangs out and sings all day.

I think their relationship is kind of like in The Sims where you have one family member go work for 10 hours a day and have the other just lounge about the house, work on paintings, and invite neighbors over to trap them in small, standing room only closets with the door magically erased from existence until they starve to death wallowing in their own filth. That's how you're supposed to play The Sims, right...?

Speaking of morning. NIER's world has...kind of an odd quirk...

Well, it is fairly luminous in the sky in that direction and it is allegedly morning. I'd say around 10-11 judging by the shadows.

But uhh....the sun...

...the sun is just is just kind of...gone... There isn't night time anymore either. At best, you'll get a sort of twilight sky. But, the non-existent sun never sets. This isn't just some random oversight. People will remark that at some point the day/night cycle just kind of broke and it has been daylight ever since. Best not to think about it too hard...

Welp, the gate to the north leads to the, rather unoriginally named, Northern Plains. Let's get crackin'.

Music: Northern Plains

Welcome to the first combat zone of the game. Post time skip Nier isn't remotely as strong as his pipe wielding 21st Century counterpart. The lack of an evil black book's magical abilities kind of punctuates that.

Nier is armed with a very basic weapon of the Nameless Blade. That will not be Nier's only weapon though, oh no. NIER follows the Drakengard tradition of collecting enough weapons to outfit a small army. Sadly...the silly, near nonsensical and often unnecessarily morbid weapon stories of Drakengard have not made their way into NIER.

That the actual game. They were all released after the fact in a Japanese only supplementary material called Grimoire Nier. Luckily, a great deal have been translated too. Aren't you excited? It's just like old times!

Grimoire Nier posted:


A man is sweating as he chips away at the iron ore.
Men's joyful singing fills the dark cave.
We are workers. We are miners.
Workers covered in dirt. Today we will mine for metal in high spirit too.

The sound of women working the furnace can be heard in refinery.
The sound of red hot iron sand taken from the furnace.
We are worker. We are iron makers.
Workers who utilizes the wind. Today we will make iron in high spirit too.

The sound of hammering for the creation of a strong and powerful sword.
I am a swordsmith. A natural born swordsmith.
A swordsmith who controls steel.

The sound of flesh being slashed apart on the battlefield.
The sound of killing, killing whoever. The sound of killing people.
Can anyone help me. It hurts. It hurts.
Help me mother.

Inspiring stuff!

At base level, Nier only has access to some basic swinging about with his weapon for nominal damage. If he does an evade roll then attacks, he'll do an upward strike which knocks weaker enemies off their feet. This is a very useful technique early on.

In addition, a strike can be charged to unleash a power hit. Those are usually reserved for when an enemy has been knocked to the floor, as there is a 4-5 second charge time and any hit will cancel it.

Right then. That is the basics of combat. Welcome to the Northern Plains: a great big field of sheep, grass, and uhh...well...that's about it...

Well, there are the rusted ruins of the remnants of a railroad track dotting the vista. Despite the collapse of civilization over a millennium ago and humanity being reduced to a few medieval-esque outposts, a few fragments of the old world can be seen here and there.

Beneath said railroad line is our objective: the mighty Ovis Aries...better known as the sheep.

We need to harvest three helpings of mutton from our mark. Sheep will haul ass if they get spooked and they are slightly faster than Nier can run, so it's best to sneak up on 'em from behind.

Just got to move in quickly...


... and strike like s-

FFFFFUUUUUUU-, stealth isn't exactly a word in Nier's vocabulary.

Really, the best course of action is to just evade roll right into them and do the upward sweep to knock 'em off their feet. Then just wail on them like a maniac until dead. It's not the most finesse filled approach, but it gets the job done. After the grim deed is done, Nier is free to harvest their corpse for any useful material. Almost every creature in the game (that isn't a Shade) has material that can be harvested from it. Some have multiple potential items, like sheep. Sheep have both wool and mutton that will randomly be collected from their carcasses. Since, those two things are apparently mutually exclusive nowadays.

In any case, Nier only needs three helpings of mutton to fulfill the mission objective. But, it is a good idea to get a feel for the controls and go thin out the sheep population early on here. There are quite a few early quests that require mutton, for some reason. And now is the easiest time to stock up without distractions.

About a dozen dead sheep later...

Music: Shade Battle 1

When heading back toward town, Nier's path will be barred by some pesky shades hiding in the canyon between the plains and the village. Shades aren't fans of light and will mostly only come out on overcast days. But, they have no problem hanging out in dank, dark corners of the world.

As with the sheep, the evade+upward strike combo works wonders. Though, evidently a sharpened sword is much weaker than a rusty iron pipe, as it takes just two full combos to take out just one of these tiny critters. Luckily, they don't fight back at this point since it's still a glorified tutorial. So have fun pounding the buggers.

Apparently, Shades getting this close to the Village is a new development. They'll be flooding the Northern Plains next time we visit, hence why it is a good idea to go game hunting while it is nice and sunny during the tutorial.

Heading back to town...

The world truly is in the crapper when a shirtless, angry, burly man can no longer wildly flail about with a sharp stick to murder the shit out of peaceful grazing animals without being disturbed. It's sad how far man has fallen, really.

The mutton was requested by someone in town. Just look for a guy hanging out by one of the merchant signs just as we come into town.

"Oh, thank you! You wouldn't believe how popular this stuff is lately. And tell Popola I said thanks, okay?"

There is a 600 gold reward for completing the request and shops are unlocked for business.

Most shops in NIER are fairly specialized. There isn't any "we sell weapons, magic elixirs, jelly beans, and tents" stores. For instance, this jerk only sells medicinal remedies and maps. There are florists that only sell things for gardening, blacksmiths that only sell weapons, fishmongers that...well, you get the idea. That said, Nier can stock up on Medicinal Herbs for Popola if he's short and too lazy to dig around for the whole three she needs.

A return trip to the library...

Music: Village Room Ambience

"Oh, and here's your herbs."
"Thank you. And yes, those sheep can be surprisingly tough."
"One kicked me ten yards..."
"Oh...are you...alright...?"
"Let's just say I only managed to get wool from that one when I was done with it..."

"Anyway, you look exhausted, so why don't you call it a day? I'm sure Yonah would love some extra time with you."
"Yeah, I'm sure she would."

Yeah, I think that was enough slaughter for one day. Let's go return home to fill our daughter's head with false hope.

Returning to Yonah's room...

"There was me and... Um... I think there was a big pink goat or something... I guess I kinda forgot the rest. But it was really crazy!"
"That's all right, Yonah. I've got a story for you this time. Have you ever heard of a flower called the Lunar Tear?"
"That's a silly name."
"Maybe. But people say that the Lunar Tear will grant the wish of anyone who finds one."
"Could...could a Lunar Tear make me better?"
"Of course. It can do anything."
"Yonah? Is something wrong?"
"N-no! It's nothing. Good night, Dad."
"Good night, Yonah."

Devola Singing

Music: Devola's Song
Music: Northern Plains
Music: Shade Battle 1

Yonah Render