NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… is a remake of the PS3’s NieR (more specifically the version called Replicant released in Japan in 2010), and I feel like that’s important to make clear right out front. Because many of the issues that stem from this title, really stem from the original game.
This is not a full-fledged sequel to the wildly popular Nier Automata, this a prequel, a retry of a previous entry in the series. In some ways it holds up that excellent quality we expect from a Yoko Taro game, yet in others it falls short of it. However this is more of an issue with the bones and base structure, than any of the wonderful work done to remaster this.
That remastering work will likely be the first thing you notice, especially for returning players. Much of the environments, character models, music and voice acting in NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… has been redone to accommodate a modern standard. They have massively succeeded on this front. The visuals are absolutely gorgeous; breathtaking in some areas. Much of that is supported by the already inventive and creative art style, but the updated graphics certainly help.
The music is fantastic too – in fact, this really cannot be understated. Some of the tracks are hauntingly beautiful while others will make you tap your foot every time you hear it. Further to that, the new voice acting fits the main characters perfectly and is, frankly, a huge improvement from the original, while the returning original cast breathe life and meaning into all the characters. There have only been good choices made in bringing a more modern look and feel to NieR.
However it’s not just in the looks where things are improved, and crucially there have been decent updates to the combat, bringing it in line with something much more similar to Automata. It’s a bit simpler, with no real upgrades other than in just simple levels, but it brings over that same twin-stick shooter feel mixed with character action and satisfying melee attack combos combined with a variety of spells. It works well – just as much as in previous entries – with a particularly great collection of spells to use. That said, players who enjoyed the deeper customization of Automata may find it a bit simplistic.
Enemies and bosses that you fight throughout your adventure are ingenious and genuinely great fun to beat up on. There’s a variety of creatures and Shades to kill, even if at times it does seem like you’re fighting some lower level ones quite a lot. The bosses are serious and epic too and I really don’t think a single one disappoints. All are able to provide quite a challenge, particularly on higher difficulties.
Occasionally Replicant will switch genres and this is still just as novel as when the original game released. Though the less said about it the better; the surprise of it is part of the appeal.
What is the true highlight of ver.1.22474487139… is found in the characters and writing. This is the reason to show up. Yoko Taro makes some of the most thought-provoking tales in video games and Replicant has a heart wrenching and emotional plot that had me crying, laughing, and left angry. It goes to some unexpected places with its intimate yet epic tale about family and identity. I really don’t think there are many out there capable of writing like Yoko Taro; he’s unique in this industry and it’s worth seeing wherever you can find it.
In NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… you can’t help but be connected to every character that is introduced, especially in regards the main party which may be one my favorite cast of companions found in any RPG. They’re a motley crew of unique individuals but manage to all blend together so well. Grimore Weiss is a particular highlight; he had me genuinely belly laughing at some of his quips.
The major issue with Replicant is in the quest design and environments. Despite how beautiful some of the environments are, they often feel lifeless especially compared to those found in previous entries. Don’t expect too many surprises hidden in here either as most of these maps are pretty barren. This is accentuated by the often terrible quest designs, especially of those detailed in the side quests. Village folk will give you the most mundane tasks to complete, from killing random mobs to literally just running from one location to another. There is an overabundance of fetch quests scattered throughout as well, and these feel completely pointless.
This is a real shame because some of the best banter between the characters comes from taking in these terribly boring quests. In one sense you feel obligated to work through them, but on the other hand, you’re probably falling asleep doing them. Again, I will stress, this was a problem with the original game as well, so it’s not necessarily something that could have been fixed in ver.1.22474487139… without redoing everything – something which has obviously not been the goal.
NeiR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… is an improved remake of an okay game. The changes that have been actioned are impressive and they in turn make the experience all so much better. Just be aware that many of the basic elements that held back the original are still present. However this is still a fine RPG experience and worth playing, especially if you loved Automata.
NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… is now available on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One from the Xbox Store