From Before I Play
- All side quests are optional and if you don't want to bother, then don't. Some are terrible timesinks.
- You can adjust your difficulty any time from the main menu; you probably want to start on Normal (so things don't take forever to kill) then bump it up to Hard once you unlock spears (so things don't die in one hit).
- If you're someone who normally mutes the soundtrack to play their own music, don't. Nier's music is exceptionally good, although it is earwormy as fuck.
- While there are lots of sidequests and it's easy to get overwhelmed by them, it's worth doing a few at least for the general flavour of them. Some of them are very well written and worth the effort, although others are complete wastes of time (one in particular - which involves gardening - is laughably pointless). However, unless you are a completionist, don't stress about missing any.
- If you are going after sidequests, be aware that there are two points of no return. The first part of the game has a specific theme which becomes apparent fairly early on. Once the game tells you you have finished this theme, almost all current quests will become locked out shortly after (the fishing questline is, I think, the only exception). If you're doing sidequests, get them done before you go to the next plot location. The second point of no return is similar to the first, and the game actually tells you that it's a point of no return when you get there.
- There are several weapons that can be collected throughout the game, and none of them are missable (if you do miss any, they become available in another way later). While they are upgradable, it's not worth upgrading ones you don't use unless you're after achievements/trophies.
- When you become able to customise abilities and weapons using words, feel free to try different ones out as you can remove them without using them up. Also, you can set words on multiple abilities/weapons.
- If you get lost on the main storyline, look at the map (even if you don't have a map of the area) and follow the red X. There's one point in particular that a lot of people get stuck at - it involves fishing - as it's very easy to go to the wrong place.