The Let's Play Archive


by The Dark Id

Part 32: Episode XXIX: The Temple of Drifting Sands

Episode XXIX: The Temple of Drifting Sands

Music: Barren Temple Theme

Welcome to the Barren Temple. You'll probably be here for a while your first time...

The Barren Temple is quite linear. Not that any of the dungeons in NIER are particularly free-form or anything. But, this one is fairly heavy on railroading the player exactly where it wants them to go.

This is mostly due to magic glyph sealed doors barring all the rooms but one at present...

...and a walkway in severe disrepair making sure there is no skipping ahead. The Barren Temple is quite different from every other dungeon in NIER. Mostly due to the fact that there are barely any standard enemies (read: Shades) at all. Why, you ask... Well, let's take a look in the only available room open at this time...

The party enters the first side room...

Upon entering any of the large outer chambers the door will immediately be slammed shut behind the trio and become locked with a magical glyph.

An unseen text box voice, possibly one of the Judges from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, will then state the prohibited action of the room. That's right boys and girls...this is a puzzle dungeon! The Barren Temple consists of seven trials, each one banning a specific action.

Here we have the Leaping Rabbit trial. That is code for: NO JUMPING! If Nier jumps at any point in this room, he will be immediately teleported to the start of the room and the puzzle will be reset.

In addition, each room has several boxes which spew a huge stream of energy orbs. Hitting any of those and taking damage will also result in a failure and the room being reset.

Furthermore, there is no cheating and destroying the magic turret boxes. They immediately respawn within a second. We're gonna have to play by the rules here. Hur-hur.

This first trial is pretty simple. It's basically a big, easy if somewhat tedious matter of shoving movable boxes in front of magic streams in order to shove other movable boxes and so on...

The main objective of each trial is to destroy a special glowing pink box at the far end of the course. After said special cube is destroyed, then all of the magic turrets in the room will be annihilated and the trial will end. So no sweat, eh? I've provided a video of each trial if you wanna see them for yourself.

The First Trial Video

"I wonder what this missing prince is like."
"The man is tasked to protect his people, and yet they toil to save him? I think that tells us everything we need to know."
(Who's there? State your name!)
"Just a foolhardy band of rescuers! Don't mind us."
"...Someone's here!?"

Having completed the first Barren Temple trial, the door opposite our previous challenge is now unlocked. Let's see who our unknown guest is...

The party enters the second trial room...

"Where did you come from, boy?"

"Huh? But you're just a kid."
(Silence! How could you know so little in the way of...)

The Prince of Facade stops in mid-sentence and seems to notice a large square shadow has appeared above him. dudes from Drakengard's aerial stages! Good to see those fellas are still getting some work in the new dimension.

The Box Dude whisks away the Prince with its tractor beam to points unknown. I'm just waiting for Toad to pop out of a bag and state the obvious now.

Music: Barren Temple Theme 2nd Variation

"Come on. Let's go save him."
"By all means, let us go save the rude little anklebiter."

But first, another trial! This one prohibits standing still. Nier must be at the very least walking, swinging his sword, or doing anything but remaining stationary.

The problem is that a bullet hell of rotating magic turrets immediately open fire seconds after the trial begins. But, fear not. This challenge probably the very easiest one of the entire dungeon. What we first need to do is fail and reset the puzzle.

There is about three seconds before the bullet hell opens fire. This is more than enough time for Nier to just haul ass dodge rolling across the entire room.

And boom. Done in about five seconds. The next one will be much less forgiving...

Second Trial Video

But first, there is a brief 2D platformer interlude between rooms. Sure, why not?

A few double-jumps across blocks sinking in quicksand later...

This next trial is a big bag of dicks. So much so that Kainé loses her shit over it before we even begin.

Kainé knows the score.

Our companion fraught with anger issues attempts to Hadoken the whole damn puzzle. A commendable reaction to block puzzles...the thing is... of the rules of this room is NO MAGIC!

Kainé gets dragged off just like the Prince did...

Music: Barren Temple Theme ~ Alternate Vocals


The third trial is undoubtedly the most annoying in the entire temple. The rules are, if you cannot decipher them, NO MAGIC and far more annoyingly NO RUNNING!

No running is a really fucking aggravating stipulation. Mostly due to the fact there is no run button in NIER. It is based entirely on how far you push the analog stick. Analog sticks are not the most accurate things on the planet to control and it is quite easy to accidentally shove the stick a millimeter too far and have Nier immediately spring from light jog to marathon runner and thus failing the trial. My controller is rather worn out so doing anything tricky with rolling and the like was out of the question.

In addition, there are a metric ton of magic turrets firing horizontally across the room. Fun times all around.

Now, Nier can block energy orbs with no penalty other than holding him in place for each shot. He can also creep slowly forward while blocking. So...meh...slow and steady wins the race... It's not really hard per se. It is just unbelievably tedious, especially the first time through the game. Note that this is not an invitation to go: "Heh...I don't see what everyone's problem is. I did it my first time."

Nobody cares your e-penis, fagbot.

Did I mention the Barren Temple is an endurance run...? Oh yeah... You've got to do all these trials in one sitting. The last save point was way back in Facade before Fyra's escort across the Desert and the next one is at the very end of the area. So, no rage quitting! That's against the rules.

Third Trial Video

At this point Nier finds himself on the opposite end of the central lobby. We've got three more doors to check out on this end of the temple. Joy...

Next up is NO BLOCKING!

Which is a bit rough since this room is an absolute clusterfuck of magic balls. The idea is that you are supposed to slowly push the five movable boxes in the center strategically to make your way to the other side of the room. But, forget that noise. That takes way too long to accomplish. What you want to do instead is just push the center-most box as far forward as you safely can without taking an energy ball to the face.

There is about a second long lull in the bullet hell from the turrets. That is more than enough time to double jump from the end of the box you moved, air roll forward, and then immediately jump again to safety. Done in about twenty seconds flat. Piece o' cake!

Fourth Trial Video

Moving on to the next trial...

We're over half way done now. Next up is a NO MAGIC room. Sure, not like we could hit the target from all the way over here or anything.

There is no real strategy to this trial. You just kind of need to be aware of your surroundings and book it when you see an opening. What kind of bat spews magic anyway?

Fifth Trial Video

Moving on up...

"Stop talking, Weiss, or we're gonna mess this up again..."
"The Masked People certainly do enjoy their rules!"
"What a pain. Whoever came up with this system must be soft in the head..."

The penultimate trial is probably Nier's least favorite of the lot. But, it is none too difficult either. This time there is no melee allowed in this room.

The new feature is that instead of just one single target cube, there is about a dozen of 'em scattered about amidst several turrets. Again, there is no real way to speed run this room. Magic blast takes out a cube in about five shots. So, the duo just needs to sort of systematically work their way around the room and take everything out. least we're almost done...

Sixth Trial Video

But first, another 2D Platformer interlude.

Music: Barren Temple Version #4

We're also allotted a brief smoke break outdoors to see the sites of the Barren Temple's back end. Our ultimate goal is that bridge to the north. But, that will come in due time...

The seventh and final trial of the Barren Temple is the only combat oriented one. So, of course Cavia saw it fit to ban dodging. Jerks.

Two waves of three rather beefy shades will teleport into the room to do battle with Nier. It is best to just disable dodge roll in the menu to prevent accidental use. What should it be swapped out for...?

Why, Dark Phantasm of course! The shadow clones of Nier make this fight a complete joke. Just wait for the Shades to cluster around Nier, fire it off, and suddenly all three are down on their ass getting violently stabbed to death by our angry silver haired protagonist.

After the first six Shades are slain, a new mid-boss will take their place. This big bruiser isn't too big of a deal either. Its only tactic is slamming the ground with its over sized spectral hammers, causing fiery spikes to erupt from the floor beneath Nier. Even without the ability to evade, Nier hauls ass well enough with just standard running and can easily dash to safety before they hit him.

The main strategy is mostly to just circle strafe the thing and lob Dark Lances at it periodically. So you know, the strategy against every FPS boss ever made. Two lances knock-off a third of its energy, so it is a rather short battle. Thank gawd. I don't know about you, but I am plenty sick of this joint by now...

Seventh Trial Video

Following the seventh trial's completion, the path to the final area of the Barren Temple is unlocked. About damn time... Also, nice view. I bet this place was a huge tourist trap in the old world.

A jog to the boss arena later... What, did you think we'd get out of a puzzle temple without a boss...?

Luckily, it seems the regional boss likes to write letters and thus there is a save point right before the obligatory dungeon master brawl. Maybe we ought to drop a note to Yonah about our adventures...?

Barren Temple Highlights

Music: Barren Temple Theme
Music: Barren Temple Theme 2nd Variation
Music: Barren Temple Theme ~ Alternate Vocals
Music: Barren Temple Version #4