By Adriaan den Ouden
Nier is known for many things. Poor reviews from the mainstream press, a sarcastic talking book, a foul-mouthed woman once believed to be a hermaphrodite, and others features both intriguing and bizarre. But one of its most infamous mechanics is its fishing minigame, which has frustrated as many gamers as it has delighted.
The fishing game in Nier is deceptively simple, and yet it has gained a reputation as being one of the most poorly explained minigames in existence. In fact, the instructions contained within the game are actually flat-out wrong. Even more remarkable is the fact that for whatever reason, explaining exactly how the game works and how to be successful is shockingly difficult. Though a basic explanation can usually give people enough of a start, one has to actually experience it and feel the nuances of control for themselves to really understand how to play.
Essentially, fishing in Nier is really just a matter of selecting your bait, casting your line, and pulling back on the control stick, keeping it down and away from the direction the fish is pulling. It's a rather sensitive game, and pulling the line too far to the left or right, or releasing the stick entirely, will likely result in the fish getting away. Larger fish are naturally more difficult to catch, and get away much more easily.
Once you get going, though, Nier's fishing game is almost a new game in and of itself. A lengthy quest chain allows players to systematically improve their fishing skill, giving Nier the strength to catch larger and superior fish. The number of fishing locations is quite varied, and includes rivers, oceans, lakes, and even sand-seas, each containing its own unique fish. Similarly, a wide variety of bait and lures are available, and certain ones are necessary to catch specific fish.
However, the most delightful aspect of fishing in Nier isn't the game itself, but the reward of actually pulling the fish up out of the water. Each fish has its own model, and some are absolutely gargantuan. Even more amusing is the weigh-in that occurs upon a successful catch: fish in Nier weigh a ton, literally. The largest fish in the game weigh well over 10,000 kilograms, or ten metric tonnes! The sheer absurdity of pulling up an eight-tonne giant catfish with only a rod and reel is worth plenty of laughs, let alone the idea of carrying several of these behemoths around in your backpack.
Poorly explained, impressively broad in scope, and mathematically absurd, Nier's fishing minigame is definitely a standout. Although Nier itself is a bizarre concoction of a dozen different games mixed into one, fishing is one thing that Cavia did particularly well. If you ever decide to give Nier a try, don't let yourself be discouraged by the apparently broken minigame. Once you figure it out, it's highly enjoyable and well worth pursuing.
« Harvest Moon | Pokémon »