So, I’ve been playing NieR Replicant √(1.5) as of late. I’m not gonna type out the string of numbers because it essentially is the root of 1.5 and it’s annoying to type, so uh… let’s just stick to √(1.5) or “NieR Replicant” since it essentially is a remake/remaster (or as Yoko Taro calls it: an “upgraded version”). Anyways, today, I wanted to talk about my experience with NieR Replicant and my thoughts on it.
Hence: SPOILER WARNING.
So uh, what is NieR/NieR Replicant? Well, originally there we the Drakengard games and there was this alternate ending (Ending E) that placed two of the characters in present-day Tokyo where they defeat that bad guy and then they get shot by a Fighter Jet… and a few hundred years later NieR Replicant takes place and exclusively in Japan there was also NieR Gestalt, which is essentially the same game but you play as the Father of Yonha who’s naturally older than Replicant’s protagonist. Either way, the brother doesn’t exist in Gestalt and the father doesn’t exist in Replicant and also… apart from a few voice lines, nothing changes really between the versions. NieR Automata takes place a lot later than Replicant and is the direct sequel. Originally, I thought there was a game before that called Grimoire Nier but apparently, that’s just a book that adds further information into the story.
So, in Replicant, we play as the main protagonist (titled by the community as “Nier” but you can name him whatever you want) who’s trying to save his sister from the black scrawl, a fatal disease that plagues our sister. To do so, we fight the Shades and get to know Grimoire Weiss, a magical book that may be able to help us against the Black Scrawl, the Shades and Grimoire Noir, an ancient book found in songs and legends that apparently is behind the Black Scrawl.
From the get-go, I’ll have to say that NieR Replicant is pretty but it isn’t super pretty if that makes sense. A lot of the character models feel unpolished and clunky in contrast to the main characters’ faces and models. Kainé, one of the characters you meet along the way, is very detailed, for instance, to the point where you can see her buttcheeks at times during cutscenes, which is… eh. Speaking of Kainé, her storyline is amazing and I love the character to bits due to her harsh nature and how she’s super honest and straightforward, to the point where she seems almost rude… Also, she swears a lot, which I personally find super cool, actually… What I don’t necessarily mind is her outfit… I’m not a fan of it really but I don’t hate it either. It just feels so out of place. And then there’s Grimoire Weiss as well who is great and who I love absolutely. I love Weiss’ voice acting to bits, although I must say that the English Dub seems to fit him a lot better than the Japanese Dub. Grimoire Weiss is a magical book that allows us to utilize magic and accompanies us on our journey to find and discover the sealed verses in our fight against the Shades!
So, I love the characters… Especially Emil and Weiss. It was nice to see Emil’s backstory and how he became what he is in Automata. And the soundtrack is amazing! But what’s truly fun is… the combat. It’s great! Loved how different weapons combine into new move-sets in NieR Automata… but Replicant has a completely different system with sword combos and a bunch of combo attacks and on top of that, you can also use magic and charge up spells to unleash stronger abilities. Once you get past the (SPOILER) point of no-return (hate that it’s there) aka past the time-skip, you can use two-handed swords as well as swords as well, which is great… and on top of that, you can customise your weapons and spells with “words” that essentially allow you to enhance them with status effects, increased drop rates, increased damage, and other effects! I also really like that you can change all of your shoulder buttons/triggers and re-assign spells to them and move around the ability to evade or defend or you completely remove it.
But yeah, combat feels good and is a lot of fun and I love everything, especially since the story becomes a mix of “wholesome” and “edgy” after the time skip. I absolutely love the different jabs that Yoko Taro took at the game industry and Nintendo in particular with some of the jokes and references there. For starters, there is a boss fight where you fight against this huge robot and Grimoire Weiss complains about his weakness being too obvious. Meanwhile, on another note, the game plays a silly tune when you acquire an item, akin to the Zelda tune that you have when you get an item… but it’s out of sync and sounds silly… and there are other places where I noticed something like that but I don’t wanna spoil that since I found it quite funny actually.
Meanwhile, the themes of the different areas are amazing as well and I really like them. Similar to Automata you have a desert area and a city area with forest and stuff… and you can ride animals, but Replicant’s setting is rather medieval despite it taking place in the future, which is interesting. At the same time, you have a haunted mansion and this lost forest where people are trapped in deadly dreams and where the game suddenly turns into something akin to a Light Novel. There are places where the game shifts into a 2D perspective or a top-down view. Heck, there’s even a space where the game suddenly looks like an isometric RPG akin to the first Fall Out Games, which I found lovely. But the themes that change from the dystopian settings of the junk heap to the ominous Deathdreams in the Forest of Myth to the rule-obsessed masked people in the Desert, there are a lot of topics and feelings that I associate with these areas and levels and places and it’s lovely. I love it. It feels different. It almost turns into a different game suddenly.
And the soundtrack? Well, even with Grimoire Weiss at my side, I don’t have enough words to describe it. It’s fantastic! Anyways, that’s about it for today’s post. I’ll continue to stream the game on Twitch every Friday and Saturday around 9 AM Central European Summer Time if you wanna see me live!
Have you started to play it or have you seen anything of the game yet? What are your thoughts on it so far? I’m really loving it but I also love the whole universe and setting and this weird mix of Science-Fantasy, if that makes sense. Anyways, stay cosy and hydrated.