NieR Replicant Ver.1.22474487139... Review: Better Than Before
After the success of NieR: Automata, many wondered how the series would continue. The first game, NieR, received some moderate praise after it released in 2010, but there were some aspects that kept it from being a standout title and exiting the shadow of its follow up.
But now with its upgraded version, NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…, almost all of the complaints I had with the original are gone. It may be the same for others who fell in love with it 11 years ago.
NieR Replicant Ver.1.22474487139... Review: Better Than Before
NieR Replicant follows a teenage protagonist (as opposed to the middle-aged protagonist in the original western release, NieR: Gestalt) who is hoping to find a cure for the Black Scrawl, a sickness afflicting his sister, Yonah. Throughout his journey, he’s joined by several well-rounded companions full of personality: a talking book named Grimoire Weiss, a foul-mouthed girl named Kainé, and a timid young boy named Emil.
Replicant's story is incredibly sincere and perhaps one of its highest points; newcomers will certainly enjoy it, while veterans will well-remember the heartfelt journey they originally embarked upon more than a decade ago. That's not to say there aren't surprises in store for those who played the original, with the inclusion of a new story piece and the original’s World of Recycled Vessel DLC.
Like a typical NieR game, getting Replicant's different endings requires multiple playthroughs. The game is split into two parts and thankfully, after getting one ending, Replicant sends you back to the start of it second part rather than having you start from the very beginning.
After the very first playthrough, you’re treated to additional scenes throughout subsequent playthroughs, too, so Replicant does a good job of telling players what they need to do to reach additional finales. Some endings also have far-reaching consequences, and for those that want to see every bit of the game's story, there are plenty of warnings that some choices will lock some conclusions.
Combat is a Replica of Automata's
Ver. 1.22474487139...'s gameplay stands as its biggest upgrade from the original game. The combat is more fluid and much more in line with NieR: Automata. NieR: Replicant also runs at 60 FPS, so every movement and attack is as smooth as ever.
Magical attacks when using Weiss are revamped as well. In the original, Weiss charges up attacks to make them stronger, such as when charging Dark Lance summons more dark weapons to shoot at enemies. However, in the original, players must stay still while the entire attack animation plays out. Here, players can attack with their melee weapon while also charging up magical attacks, something carried over from NieR: Automata.
Additionally, pressing the right thumbstick down activates the new lock on mechanic, which makes aiming at enemies and targeting certain areas of a boss easier than in the original.
All of these gameplay changes help elevate NieR Replicant and the overall experience, making the game more enjoyable from moment to moment.
The presentation has been improved, as well, with Square developing new character models for the main cast. The script’s localization has been tightened up, with many of the voice actors from the original game returning to deliver their lines spectacularly.
On top of that, the music has been re-recorded, helping the soundtrack full pianos, organs, and ominous chanting soar to new heights. The songs help sell the mystical fantasy atmosphere that compliments Replicant's interesting lore.
Some Old Issues Persist
While the game is mostly great, there is a mixture of new and persistent issues that can get in the way.
A majority of the side quests in the original NieR are simple fetch quests. Either they don’t add to the game's lore or worldbuilding, or they offer up subpar items as rewards. Although completing quests earns you money, some quests are far too long to be worth completing. Unfortunately, there are virtually no changes to the side quests in NieR Replicant.
Unfortunately, fast travel is unlocked during the second half of the game, which means having to run between each area to complete certain quests becomes incredibly tedious during the game's first half. On top of that, some quests are permanently missable when getting close to or going into the second part of the game, and there are no advanced notices that this will happen.
However, it’s not to say there aren’t any side quests worth doing. Some can reward you with new weapons or increase your fishing level, for example. A few have more worldbuilding than others, too. But out of the roughly 100 side quests available, only about 10 or 15 of them are worth pursuing.
Most battles are fought from a 3D perspective, just as in Automata, and though the camera sometimes shifts to a 2D or top-down viewpoint — something that keeps the gameplay fresh — fighting can become a little stale since there's very little enemy variety.
I also am a bit disappointed, too, that there aren’t any specific patches or enhancements for the new generation of consoles. Replicant's graphics are relatively similar between the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, and it doesn’t feel like the PlayStation 5’s newer hardware improves loading times at all.
While I appreciate that Replicant at least runs at 60fps, I wish there was just a bit more effort put into optimizing the game for the newest hardware and pushing for features like 4K graphics.
NieR Replicant Ver. 1.22474487139... Review — The Bottom Line
- Refined combat based on NieR: Automata makes the game a pleasure to play
- New story content adds value for those who've already played the original
- Improved localization, script, and voice acting, along with new character models and rerecorded music, enhance the overall experience
- The majority of side quests are still fetch quests that don't offer much
- Enemy variety is lacking
- No enhancements or patches for newest generation of consoles
While not perfect, NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… manages to address the biggest flaw from the original game, which is its gameplay. After being fine-tuned and modeled after NieR: Automata’s combat, NieR Replicant feels absolutely fantastic to play.
Fans of the original will also appreciate the new perspective that the teenage protagonist brings to the table. This game is the perfect entry point for newcomers and the definitive way for veterans to relive a truly iconic game.
[Note: Square Enix provided the copy of NieR Replicant Ver. 1.22474487139 used for this review.]