Review: Nier Replicant
After Nier: Automata, I was actually curious about what made the original Nier from 2010 so special. I had never played the original, let alone that a remake of the game came out under the name Nier Replicant Ver. 1.22474487139. Is the remake worthy of today's standards? Read it in our review!
Of course the necessary research has been done on the original Nier Replicant part. I was curious about what the developers had in mind then and how this has changed after the release of Automata. The first thing that struck me was the combat, which looked rather sparse in the original game and now looked a lot more like Automata. Of course the graphics could also be believed and the game has been given a nice upgrade. Side characters now have narrated dialogue and main characters have improved voice acting.
In the original part you noticed that environments had much less detail than in the remake, it even seemed 'unfinished' in the 2010 version. Anyway, back to basics; is the Replicant version of Nier a worthy title with the standards we are used to and the new hardware given to us? Let's find out!
There was once…
The story of Nier Replicant starts off slow, as I like to see in RPG titles. You are introduced to the world and the characters that live in this world in a cool and unique way. The fact that everyone now has a recorded voice makes it even better! Characters actually come to life. I often miss this in JRPGs. But where the story starts slowly, it gets quite hectic later on with enough twists and 'F#$% YES' moments. The story is just really well written and especially the characters and the interactions between characters is really to enjoy.
You play in a kind of post-apocalyptic world with many fantasy-like elements including magic. It's up to your character to save his sister from a terminal curse. Your sister, Yonah, is very weak and wants to enjoy life again. It's a personal and deep story, where the strong bond between brother and sister is really, really heartbreaking to see in this situation. Your character comes across a flying book called Grimoire Weiss , he plays a big part in the story and will make your companions and make use of its magic. The story is by far the best element in the game.
Fetch me this
The main quests in Nier Replicant are therefore to enjoy! However, the side quests are a lot less. They are mainly fetch quests or 'kill this' quests to keep you busy. Other than that, they add little to nothing to the story, except for a lot of busy work. At times it really seems like a kind of job, only then you get a sword instead of a Euro.
However, for those who enjoy the main quests, you'll need to beat the game three times to get all the endings and extra content. You get new experiences every playthrough!
Controls and Gameplay
The gameplay of Nier Replicant is quite smooth. It's a mix of hack & slash and action-adventure, with a story that will blow you away. I really liked this combination. The controls are also quite simple and you can quickly get the hang of it. You can switch spells and adjust the controls quite quickly. However, I find healing via menus quite a thing every now and then!
You have 3 different weapon 'classes' to try, each with a unique move set.
A cool element in the gameplay is how the camera works. The game often changes perspective. For example, in many buildings you can see your character from above, or from the side. This while in the open world you simply have the freedom to rotate your camera, as you see fit!
The combat felt more like Nier: Automata than the 2010 version, so that's definitely a step forward. The only thing that sometimes bothered me were the controls in general. Rolling and running feels clunky and the fluid combat sometimes doesn't feel fluid enough when you want to jump and dodge, for example.
Graphics and performance
Nier Replicant isn't the best game of all time, but it's a significant improvement over the original. Nier has always had that grey, grim atmosphere and that hasn't changed. However, there is much more detail in the world, while retaining the original art direction. I'm very happy with how the world has turned out and how the characters look in terms of graphics and character models.
What I really liked was to see how well thought out the color palette was. Calm colors all had the same filter, creating a grim atmosphere. However, bright colors were also really bright. For example, your spells were redder than red. This makes the elements that deserve attention stand out better and the world seems more whole. In terms of performance there was also little to complain about, the game ran at 60fps on my Playstation 5 without any drops in frames or crazy bugs or glitches. The game did what it's supposed to and in a stylish way too!
My headset will never go off
The Nier Replicant soundtrack is absolutely fantastic. Every area is so much more fun to waltz through, knowing there's a great soundtrack waiting for you. I thoroughly enjoyed just the first 2-3 areas, purely because of the music alone. There isn't much to criticize about the soundtrack and I'm guessing a vinyl will be added if it ever comes out.
Nier Replicant is a fantastic game with only a handful of elements that feel a bit old-fashioned or just plain boring to play. The way of storytelling is way above average, the characters come to life well and the dynamics are strong. Graphically it is also a really cool game, especially in terms of art direction. I can really recommend Nier to anyone who has the slightest interest!
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