Game Reviews

NieR Replicant Review: As Flawed and Engrossing as Ever

Story Highlights
  • “NieR Replicant is still the same flawed game that it was in 2010, but a much-needed touch-up allows its fantastic story to shine.”
NieR Replicant

PROS

  • Fantastic story
  • Fully developed characters
  • Exciting new content material
  • Much-needed visible improve

CONS

  • Repetitive fight
  • Dated gameplay
  • Dull aspect quests

NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… seems to be to rewrite historical past. The motion RPG is an upgraded model of NieR, a cult PlayStation 3 sport that acquired a tepid reception when it launched in 2010. With 2017’s acclaimed NieR Automata salvaging the franchise, the redo would possibly simply be the remedy that may flip public opinion on a sport that was doomed to obscurity.

That is that if gamers can get previous the issues they’d with it within the first place. That’s the tough factor about remakes of this nature; they’re sure by destiny on some stage. The new model brings up to date visuals and gameplay tweaks, but it surely’s nonetheless very a lot the identical PS3 sport with all its strengths and flaws faithfully preserved.

While the refresh can’t pave over basic design issues, NieR Replicant’s much-needed tweaks lastly permit the unique sport’s incredible story to shine. Players could discover themselves dashing by means of a demanding expertise to get there, however few video games are as narratively daring and mystifying as this.

A haunting journey

NieR Replicant’s opening sequence is about as arresting as they arrive. Players are instantly launched to an apocalyptic setting stuffed with shambling Shades, creepy beings that appear like they’ve been half-torn out of actuality. We meet a panicked boy making an attempt to guard his sick little sister as the 2 holes up in a run-down constructing. There’s a large battle the place the hero rapidly shoots as much as stage 30, adopted by a deeply unsettling time bounce over 1,300 years into the longer term.

That’s just the start of a haunting story that by no means ceases to fascinate. Over a century later, that very same brother and sister are in some way alive and surviving in a modest village established lengthy after humanity’s collapse. The sport begins as a quest for the boy to trace down magical spells referred to as Sealed Verses that may remedy his sister’s mysterious sickness, however that hardly scratches the floor. It’s a wholly unpredictable story that’s a online game page-turner. The much less you realize about it stepping into, the higher.

One notable change right here is that NieR Replicant makes use of the protagonist from the Japanese model of the sport. When NieR initially launched stateside, the optimistic brother was was a gruff previous man seeking to save his daughter. The change makes a giant distinction. The hero feels extra weak and the journey is extra private as a end result.

Perhaps NieR was simply barely forward of its time, however like its hero, the story hasn’t aged a day all these years later.

The story is hanging, but it surely’s the characters that give it a soul. Along the way in which, gamers meet companions like Grimoire Weiss, a pretentious, sentient ebook, and Kainé, a warrior with a mouth as fierce as her blade. Every character will get a completely realized arc on the street to the sport’s true ending. Like NieR Automata, the sport options a number of endings that require gamers to replay chunks of the sport a number of instances. It’s a needlessly demanding barrier that’s positive to scare some off, however I discovered myself greater than prepared to press on to get the closure that basically pays off.

There’s an alternate timeline on the market the place NieR is the early 2010s PS3 launch that raises the bar for online game narratives as an alternative of 2013’s The Last of Us. Both titles function sturdy character work and make use of comparable methods to obscure info from gamers. Perhaps NieR was simply barely forward of its time, however like its hero, the story hasn’t aged a day all these years later.

Bronze, not Platinum

If it looks as if I’ve spent a whole lot of time praising the story, that’s as a result of the gameplay is the place it struggles. The most essential factor to know going into that is that it wasn’t developed by PlatinumVideo games, who dealt with NieR Automata. Those hoping for a similar slick motion that the studio is thought for shall be dissatisfied by the downgrade.

The fight techniques are comparable on their floor. It’s an motion RPG the place gamers hack by means of Shades with outsized weapons. The distinction is that NieR Replicant’s swordplay is a one-button affair. Slashing is a matter of hammering the assault button over and over as the identical combo performs out. It’s a repetitive system that makes a number of the sport’s later fights really feel like they’re operating on auto-pilot.

Nier Replicant

The fight has been revised for the sport to make it really feel a little bit nearer to NieR Automata, however there’s solely to date it will possibly go. While it does really feel extra fluid, small tweaks can’t totally conceal undercooked motion that hardly adjustments over the course of 30 hours.

A magic system helps alleviate a few of that slog. Players can assign 4 completely different spells to their controller’s triggers including a little bit extra versatility and vary to battles. Basic actions like evade and block should be mapped to buttons as nicely, so gamers are inspired to customise their toolset to suit their playstyle. The sport’s “word” system is a pleasant contact too. Defeated enemies can randomly drop a magical phrase that may be utilized to any weapon or potential. Those can buff assault energy, add results to weapons, and extra. Adjusting a loadout takes extra brainpower than really utilizing it.

The fight has been revised for the sport to make it really feel a little bit nearer to NieR Automata, however there’s solely to date it will possibly go.

This is the place mileage goes to range. The story is incredible, however is it value struggling by means of tiresome battles to get there? That’ll rely upon how a lot the narrative and characters get their hooks in gamers. I discovered myself invested sufficient to push by means of, however I’d be mendacity if I stated I wasn’t dashing by means of battles to get to the cutscenes.

Replicating the unique

As far as remakes (or “version upgrades,” as director Yoko Taro calls it) go, NieR Replicant brings quite a bit to the desk. The most essential factor it accomplishes is reconnecting the 2010 sport to its superior sequel. NieR and Automata have lengthy felt completely separate from each other, however the brand new go unifies them. The visible enhance, incredible re-recorded music, and fight tweaks make these video games lastly really feel like they’re a part of the identical universe.

At least NieR Replicant makes it simpler to abdomen the failings with a extra fashionable paint job that’s simpler on the eyes and ears.

Replicant brings a bit of recent content material to the sport as nicely, which is all a welcome addition. There’s a brand new quest that’s seamlessly weaved into the story that provides extra depth to an underdeveloped space of the unique (although additionally provides extra size to required replays). There’s one other new piece of content material too, that’s nothing wanting spectacular. I gained’t spoil the enjoyable, but it surely’s positive to be the primary promoting level for NieR followers which can be hungry for deeper lore.

Nier Replicant

All of the brand new elements are nice, however there’s quite a bit that may’t be mounted. Side-quests are largely lifeless fetch missions, the story tirelessly takes gamers to the identical handful of areas, and the sport’s predominant feminine lead continues to be wearing impossibly revealing lingerie that hardly qualifies as clothes.

Few of the issues that individuals had with the unique sport are literally mounted right here as a result of they’re too far embedded into the core design. Anything wanting a Final Fantasy VII-style remake couldn’t have completely rewritten historical past. Perhaps NieR is fated to be an outstanding work of storytelling trapped in a middling motion RPG. Even so, at the least NieR Replicant makes it simpler to abdomen the failings with a extra fashionable paint job that’s simpler on the eyes and ears.

Our take

NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… confirms that the unique NieR was each means forward of its time and far behind it. The story is tremendously charming and it’s solely gotten higher with newly added content material. On the opposite aspect of the coin, the repetitive gameplay feels outdated even by 2010 requirements. Those who press by means of the 30-hour journey shall be rewarded with a daring narrative odyssey. It could even outdo NieR Automata on reflection, but it surely’s onerous in charge anybody who’d relatively watch all of it on YouTube as an alternative of enjoying it for themselves.

Is there a greater various?

NieR Automata stays the extra polished, enjoyable sport of the 2. Those who haven’t performed it ought to begin there and come again to this in the event that they’re itching for extra.

How lengthy will it final?

Getting to the true ending will take 30-35 hours in complete. Beating the sport as soon as takes nearer to twenty, however imagine me after I say that you simply’ve solely performed half the sport in the event you cease there.

Should you purchase it?

Yes. Those who imagine gameplay is king would possibly need to steer clear, however the story right here is not like something on the market.

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