I’ve always been a giant fan of JRPGs especially after my father taught me how to play games like Final Fantasy VII back in 2008. All because he was anticipating the remake to come out soon due the PS3’s Tech Demo, and 12 years later and it finally came out.
Anyways, I’m not here to talk about myself. I’m here to tell you about Square Enix’s latest remake of a genre they excel at. Nier Replicant Ver.1.22474487139… is a remake of a version that we never received in the west.. Considering the original was a Japanese Exclusive, and Nier: Gestalt being the one we got in America with the only differences being the familial relationship between the characters.
For some reason, Square Enix thought it’d sell better in the Americas if the characters were Father and Daughter instead of being Brother and Sister. I also think it has to do with people’s dislike of playing pretty boys. Considering that even Metal Gear Solid 2 couldn’t pull it off with many fans hating the new pretty boy protagonist. They really wanted to play as a gruff and hardened military veteran, and I think that was probably the thought behind this decision.
So if you played it back when you were younger on an Xbox and wondering why there was a different protagonist, that’s why. Also, the creator of Nier, Yoko Taro, says that his game Nier Automata was a fluke so please support the official release if you’re interested after reading this review. We don’t want him selling copies out of the back of his van.
(Spoiler-free, I’ve only finished the First Half of the Game)
The story revolves around the nameless protagonist (though the fanbase commonly call Nier, he has no true name), and your sibling Yonah. You’re an older brother trying to find a cure for your little sister’s cough. She has something called the black scrawl, and it’s not commonly known how to cure it. She’s become bedridden due to this disease, and you’re the only one who can take care of her.
You’re constantly doing jobs around the town to make sure you could feed yourself and your little sister. You’re always bringing her medicine as a way to fight against the black scrawl while you look for a cure. Sometimes, you get her a book so she isn’t stuck in bed doing nothing. She writes Journal Entries discussing how her day was like, and it’s honestly a heartwarming loading screen.
The jobs that you’re doing constantly force you into the great beyond where it’s not safe, and luckily Nier is well prepared for that. With his trusty sword in hand, he can take on any wild animal or any of the shades. Shades being the enemies you fight that somehow bleed throughout their shadowy amalgamation. Nier constantly getting soaked with Blood, and heading back to the village after doing what needs to be done.
He has no qualms about it, and I don’t necessarily blame him especially when he knows all they do is kill people without remorse. It just kinda freaks me out that he’s such a nice guy since he constantly goes out of his way doing favors for people, and then he just looks like a blood soaked murderer during combat.
Eventually, you encounter this floating talking book promising you power, and you take him up on his offer by kneeling before him. Until you realize that he’s kinda useless because he can’t remember how to use his magic since he has amnesia, and then he starts to become a blood sucking book that gains power from the shades’ blood. He’s very quippy, very knowledgeable, and not very empathetic, never understanding matters of the heart. He’s very insistent on his name being Grimoire Weiss, and he does not like it whenever people abbreviate his name.
We meet more and more colorful characters as we build the world around us. Whether it’d be through doing the side quests, meeting new companions with Nier being the only one who can help, or just by exploring the areas that you have at hand. Whether it’d be your village, or the wolves’ den in the desert.
This combat system may be a bit plain, but you can definitely switch things up according to your weapon and the magic you have equipped. It’s up to your playstyle, but I’ve always enjoyed lighter weapons and being able to have long-ranged attacks with magic.
The combat felt sweeter than Automata, and feels like you’re playing 9S without worrying about hacking. You’re also able to quickly switch to other weapons later in the game. The game has a menu that pauses whenever you want to heal, and that’s honestly something that gives me time to think.
It isn’t challenging at all to play this game, and I’d actually recommend Hard Mode if you’re into games like this and an overachiever like I am in Side Quests. I’ve spent 30 hours on this game to just get to the halfway mark, and there’s multiple endings from what I’ve heard.
The game is jaw droppingly gorgeous with the littlest things being so pretty. Every area in this game, regardless of how ancient and beaten up it is, has honestly done more for me than . It might have to do with lighting, but god the beauty in this environment is so nice. Sometimes, I just cinematically point the camera around the environment as Nier walks around in it. Whether it’d be throughout The Port City, the library, your house, or just anywhere you go. The locations are so diverse and nice.
I also forgot to mention that the HUD is almost nonexistent with it being very small, so it’s not bothersome at all. I’ve actually come to never notice unless it’s during the middle of combat.
The only real thing that has occasionally bothered me is how the characters’ eyes look, and how the lip syncing kinda looks weird at times.
The performance of most of the characters’ actors were great with only Young Emil’s lines being delivered kinda weirdly and often feeling kinda empty. Then again, I haven’t really experienced the Second Half of this game.
I’m not too sure if they fixed this issue already, but I did have problems with the game just sticking to 37 instead of the full amount that I could display. I often had to go to the gameover screen to allow the frames to go back to normal. There’s no VSYNC, and I’ve been told that the combat becomes more difficult to deal with the higher your frames are.
You’ve also pretty much explored all of the locations you’ll be going to by the first half of the game from what I can tell. Side quests might become a bit tedious since most of them are fetch quests. Occasionally, characters’ dialogue will get cut short by a couple seconds too early at times.
I’ll be completely honest, I by far prefer this game’s tone to Nier Automata’s.. The quirky sense of humor whether it’d be through the vulgarity of one of the cast members, or how I’ve never seen a book brainwash another book until this game and that could only be done here. There’s nothing like it, and I have to say that this is a must pick up for an RPG fan at a rating of an 8/10.
The side quests are fun and meaningful, but I just wish there was more to it like the “Old Woman in the Lighthouse Side Quest.” This game also gives off the illusion of choice which is something that’s nice, but it never really comes into play until the end of the game. I love this game more than most things in my life, so thank you Yoko Taro!