Writer’s disclaimer: With the nature of NieR games in general, this NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… (PS4) is still an ongoing review and I have just finished my first run-through of the game. I’ll be updating the review as I finish my other succeeding run-throughs of the game.
My whole experience with the NieR franchise has been through the eyes of an outsider looking in. As mentioned in my first impressions article,
I have to admit that I’ve always been a periphery “fan” of the NieR franchise. With most of my knowledge about the world and its games sourced from either playthrough seen over at YouTube and or read over discussion boards, Wikis, and second-hand experience for RL superfans friends. I’ve liked the games aesthetic and have always pegged the world of NieR as a high fantasy self-assessment while providing fanservice level visuals.
And my thoughts from the first impression moving forward haven’t changed. Since I’m playing the game with unbiased opinions of both Automata and the first NieR (NieR Gestalt or even the first NieR game), I’m basically experiencing the world of NieR at the beginning before Automata.
Since this is my actual first NieR game, Replicant play like a dying world that’s peppered with a lot of action set-pieces along with an overarching sober storyline. The game follows the story of an unnamed protagonist who is on the lookout for a cure for his ailing sister, Yonah. In his hopes to make his sister better he goes around doing odd jobs here and there to find a cure for her fatal disease.
As his story unfolds, the protagonist finds an amnesiac talking book named Grimoire Weiss who not only gives him his powers but also insight into his sister’s ailment and the world’s situation as his memories slowly come back. The protagonist is then thrust into a world bigger than his own, stumbling into the knowledge of why the world is the way that it is and how his sister is part of it all.
NieR Replicant Storyline
Replicant‘s storyline is highly reminiscent of the early 2000s, late 90s, animes who start off with an intimate premise (finding a cure to the main character’s sickness or looking for a solution to their village’s problems, that sort of thing), but then the story unfolds into something grander than the started with. However, similar to said animes, Replicant starts off plodding and you would need to invest a few hours (around 10 if you rushed the game) before you get into the good parts of the story.
This investment however is not wasted as you discover more information on not just the world, but also on the characters that you meet along the way. As I was bored initially with the snail’s pace at the start, I find myself invested in the characters I meet on the screen. Since this is my first NieR game, I don’t have the burden of knowledge on who the characters are in the story succeeding Replicant.
Moving on to Replicant’s gameplay, I must say that I really loved the “modern” updates NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… had. As I’ve read and heard through old reviews, and friend’s stories of NieR (and Gestalt), the fast and fluid gameplay we’re experiencing with Replicant is the recent addition to the game. Combos, attacks, and spells have heft and feel heavy and oodles of weapon selection and the way the protagonist changes his stances and attack patterns based on the weapon is a sight to behold.
The controls are smooth and very intuitive, and considering how some of the puzzle stages and bullet hell stages would require precise movements, I shudder at the thought of now having the precise controls I have right now in traversing them.
The broken Grimoire Weiss(??)
In terms of Replicant’s overall gameplay, one of the things I really had to point out is the rather broken (though I enjoyed it a lot) Grimoire Weiss and the words system the game has. Once you’ve unlocked Grimoire Weiss you can add words to your weapons which would then add abilities, stats, or added effects previously unavailable on the said weapon.
This gives the Replicant’s weapon system something deeper gameplay-wise on top of the already lore-filled weapons stories the game provides for each of the 33 weapons in the game.
I mentioned that the game’s weapon system is rather broken which is mainly due to certain word combinations that allow you to take down enemy units you wouldn’t be able to at the current level. Acquiring said word has allowed me to push through some stages and areas that were previously hard to get through at my level. (Thanks to Too Much Gaming‘s Migoy for sharing the word).
One of the more interesting features in NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… is the weapon stories. Each weapon you acquire in the game has its own story and on further research, I found out it’s one of the staples in NieR and is also found in NieR: Automata. Weapon collecting also adds a layer of story significance since some of the games’ various endings require you to complete the weapon list in-game.
Another staple feature NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… also brings back (or started since this is remastered), is that the game has, as I mentioned multiple endings. Thus, this means that you would need to replay the game more than once to witness these various endings.
This is why I’ve put out a disclaimer at the start of this review that I’ve just gone through the first playthrough of the game. And to fully experience what Replicant has to offer I would need to replay the game more than once.
To say that Replicant is a doozy is an understatement considering that there are still a lot of things to unpack after my first playthrough. The game’s appeal (and the world its creator built up) is more real to me after my experience with Replicant.
On the con side, you can pretty much see how dated the storyline is. Considering that the original NieR game was almost more than a decade (more or less).
However, the game’s primary conflict and its subsequent overarching storylines, subplots, and side stories resonate with what we’re facing globally. NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… could not have come at a better time. While the game does bring not only a sobering atmosphere through the various empty fields and humanity-ending events, the game does provide a faint light of hope which we’re hard-pressed to get.
It may seem like just grasping at straws or putting something that’s not even evident in the game, but I just like how the game presents people struggling to make sense of the world they are in. From Kainé‘s condition along with Emile‘s living situation, they found each other and a group of people to be with. It puts a bit more perspective on my friend’s IRL and how we’re all dealing with the current global situation. A game as sober and as serious as NieR made me appreciate what I have.
While the game isn’t perfect by any means, NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… is a good first contact for me. In fact, the experience has been good that I’m eyeing to get NieR: Automata once I finish all the endings for the game.
You can grab the game through the PlayStation 4 store here.