Nier Replicant is a weird game to review for me, I absolutely adored the original game way back when I was a 16 year old JRPG fanboy and would harp on and on about it whenever anyone would even remotely bring up JRPGs, this obviously got much worse when Automata skyrocketed the series popularity from weird, obscure action JRPG to a household name and I relished the thought of being able to discuss this absolute 10/10 game with all my friends.
The weird part is, now that I am replaying Nier with all of Replicants bells and whistles, I am just not having as much fun with it.
I will get the hot take out of the way straight away and just outright state to you guys that I genuinely preferred Gestalt to Brother Nier and found the fatherhood angle from him a lot more compelling than I am finding the brother side of things. This could be down to the fact that I don’t like my sibling very much and we have distanced ourselves over many years so I find this relationship quite difficult to comprehend… I know, boohoo me. I don’t have this issue in much else so this could be a stretch to be fair…
The bullet hell/Action JRPG combat is back and is exactly how you remember it, or at least exactly how I remember it… It’s been over a decade since I played the original game so I am struggling to see much of the difference when it comes to overall combat, this opinion is likely to change as I am going to be doing a couple of comparison videos over the next few weeks that might shift my mind on this.
In Nier, you are essentially controlling the character in what feels like a precursor to the top of the line Platinum Games combat we have experienced over the past decade whilst using a book named Grimoire Weiss to cast one or two spells which you can map to your controller that give you an edge in these fights… what really irritates me about the combat is that the magic abilities don’t count to my overall combo counter when I personally feel they should but that’s such a minor thing.
The world, outside of towns, is beautifully designed but feels a little empty when you have backtracked across the small handful of maps 40 to 50 times to deliver items or hand in sidequests, speaking of which – the breakable item sidequests can go to hell.
The story is why you should be playing Nier Replicant however. I won’t delve too much into it because some of the surprises along the way should be experienced within the atmosphere they are intended and not on my YouTube video or written review. You play as the titular Nier as he tries to find a cure for his sisters disease known as the black scrawl – this disease has claimed normal people and kings alike and shows no signs of stopping at claiming the life of your sister.
Along the way you meet Kaine, Grimoire Weiss and Emil. It’s within these characters that the game shines. Every single one of them is such an expertly crafted and fantastically written character that ooze personality and depth that I found myself caring for them as much as I do my own real life dog by the time the credits had rolled for the 4th time.
I am going to give Nier Replicant 2 scores for this review. I know I am breaking the rules on this a bit but it’s my website so I don’t care.
Score Number 1: If you haven’t played Nier before then there is so much to love with Replicant. The absolutely phenomenal story line and characters are more than enough to make up for a slightly empty (albeit it’s the end of the world so I wont mark it down) world and slightly sluggish combat and with this in mind I will give Nier Replicant a 9/10
Score Number 2: If you have played Nier before then, aside from some very small surprises at the end of the game, there isn’t a great deal of additional content or things to attract you back to this title. With that in mind, I have still had an absolute blast playing this game and can quite comfortably sit on my staple review score of liking everything and giving it an
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