Far too few people have bothered to pick up this gem, which for me, outdid FFXIII last year. It's not perfect, the visuals are not quite cutting-edge, and the side quests are of the basic 'go there, fetch that' mould, most of the time (but there ARE brilliant exceptions). But it's still an incredible game, because with each and every moment, it exudes this ethereal sense of grace and implication, enhanced by its heartfelt story and its frankly phenomenal soundtrack; Nier had virtually the greatest music in 2010. Imagine a Zelda title pitched primarily at adults, you'll approach this game with the appropriate mentality. It tells a tale with much greater sophistication than FFXIII, and evokes at turns, amusement, excitement, compassion; and its world, whilst much more fragmentary than Zelda's and smaller in scope, is brimming with atmosphere than only deepens the longer you stick with it. Your attributes increase as you play, like a traditional RPG, you get all manner of new weapons and accessories, and the combat system is reminiscent of Fable II's, not quite deep, but you marry magic with physical attacks--but you get party members, too, each possessing a remarkable story all their own. Also, without spoiling much, once you've completed the game for the first time, you gain the opportunity to play new events with different characters, which, whilst not as deep or extensive as the main game, enrich Nier as a whole.
Square Enix have had inconsistent output since the merger, but Nier is very much evocative of the heyday of the action-adventure title, though you have to look past the most apparent cliches (said fetch-quests, unambitious combat etc) to appreciate that--something a lot of critics didn't bother to do. As if to exemplify this throwback, Nier switches perspectives and styles with abandon, harking back to the aforementioned Zelda, then the sidescrolling platformer--even Resident Evil, before returning to the free-camera third-person style that is its default. Any gamer seeking a potent reminder of the spirit of yesteryear, when FFVII was king, Resident Evil was making people dread door animations and when we first took Link out onto the fields of Hyrule in Zelda, really can't afford to pass Nier up, especially at this price. It may not be cutting-edge, but it's got a serious amount of heart and substance, with a memorable story and haunting soundtrack.