Spaces I love Facade
Spoilers for the first Nier
I can see where I need to go. It’s right in front of me. My dumbass book is telling me what I already know. That this town is needlessly complex. You can tell as soon as you walk in. The stairs lead to nowhere. There’s a river of sand around this whole town I sink in to. There’s a center of the town but it’s just a little square and one of the bridges leading to it is broke. I can double jump to make it to that little square, but I don’t know how the mask town people get around this town. All I know is I want to leave this town as soon as I can, and never look back.
Facade is a city from the original Nier. You enter the town, and right away you want to leave. It’s the same dull colors all around. You can’t even speak to any of the NPCs that litter the town at first. It’s a platforming puzzle just to navigate. Or you could take the boat, but that takes minutes to just get you to the weird thing store. And to top it all off the town is home to thousands of inane rules.
After overcoming navigating the town. You meet this little girl who takes you on a tour. Because of the rules you have to go the longest way around the town. It’s like twenty minutes of just walking around this town with this kid. She runs as fast as she can. Shes just a kid though. You can tell though shes trying her best. Then you learn everyone in this frustrating ridiculous town are trying their best like her. And I slowly fell in love with them and this frustrating town.
When I said the town had thousands of rules that wasn’t a hyperbole. The rules range from “You must capture any lizard that crawls into a pot”. To “The King isn’t allowed to shed tears in front of others”. Facade is a town so in love with rules that they can’t help but add more and more. The king of Facade isn’t trying to bind them down. They just can’t stop adding rules. From the outside it seems like a little hell they built for themselves. But like I said this is their home and they wouldn't want to change anything about it.
You walk around the town again with new understanding. You can just picture the dozens of rules that could have sprouted out to make the town this way. Why haven’t they fixed that bridge in the center? I don’t know they probably have a rule that says both sides must be broken first. Why do these staircases lead to nothing? I don’t know maybe a rule that was about making dead ends to capture thieves? I loved just making up my own rules whenever I saw something I didn’t understand.
There’s a line that gets said multiple times throughout the game from the towns people of Facade. “Rules do not exist to bind you. They exist so you may know your freedoms.” It’s an awful line. I love it. Like I hate it too. But I also love it? It’s said and presented with so much confidence in the game. When it’s a crock of shit. Nier the game knows this to. If you read through the flavor text of the game it hints at Facade being a town full of formal slaves. Which makes sense. So many of these rules were not made to keep the town safe but to bind them. The mantra that fills them with hope was a line that an oppressor fed them to keep them in check.
The game knows this town is doomed. The rules constantly hinder them. They can’t imagine a world without these rules. So they make the best of it. They work within the rules. They do create their own freedom when they can. Even though the sad reality is they can obtain freedom whenever they wanted. In Nier Facade is the town that’s the brightest and most hopeful town. At the end of the game the people of Facade are the only ones who come help you out. But it dooms the town. Like Facade is a shitty place to live. I hate the idea behind it. I can’t help to remember the town fondly though.
Here’s the thing you can wave all my praise for this town by saying it sucks to get around. True, but I remember this town so vividly, and my memory is like really bad. This town is filled with so much personality for being an ugly absurd place. A part of that is the story of these towns people. Its a highlight of the original Nier. This town from the start try’s to drive you away from it. But you learn to live in the town. You learn to find freedom navigating it when it wants to bind you. You learn to try to make the best of it. Just like the towns people of Facade