Review: NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139

NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139
System: Playstation 4

Enter the depressing, yet hopeful, worlds of Yoko Taro

NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139 (referred to as NieR for the rest of this article) released April 23rd and I’ve been playing it since then, only finally completing the game over the weekend on May 29th. Yoko Taro & his team, supporting by Square Enix, have delivered on one of the best remasters that has been released in my recent memory.

NieR is essentially the exact same game that was released on PS3 and XBox 360 with improved graphics, smoother combat, two additional game segments – The Little Mermaid, a story quest inserted into the game’s second half and Ending E, which marks a large departure from the final ending of the original, and a few additional scenes that flesh out a number of characters more.

However, none of this additional content was exactly created for the remaster. The Little Mermaid and Ending E are actually taken from “The Little Mermaid” and “The Lost World” short stories from the book Grimoire Nier released in Japan after the original game release.

The stories are seamlessly added to the game’s narrative and newcomers won’t notice anything seeming out of place whatsoever.

The original DLC, 13 Nightmares, has been added to the main game as well, cleverly worked into the game as the entries in the diary of the protagonist’s mother where players do play as the US release “Father Nier” version of the character (I still hope they will release DLC allowing to play the full game as Father Nier).

Graphically, NieR looks better than ever though the graphics didn’t get a full remake so much as an upscaling and much improved cinematic cut scenes. While the original release was not the most impressive graphical presentation on its generation, there are still some impressive areas that looked nice and look beautiful in their own right in the remaster.

Controls are the same generally speaking, but with large improvements to the combat controls. Taking the lessons learned from NieR Automata’s improved combat, NieR actually seems to add a little additional polish in my opinion.

The music remains a stand out for the game with absolutely beautiful pieces, many featuring vocals in the game’s “chaos language” – vocal lyrics that sound like a language evolved from a mix of various modern languages resulting in something that sounds like language but isn’t. Song of the Ancients and its variations are fantastic and those who played NieR: Automata will recognize them, along with Kaine and Emil’s themes as both had versions present (Final Fantasy XIV players will also recognize them after the YorHa Dark Apocalypse raid). Some of the tracks have been rearranged, but the soundtrack could have been brought into the remaster 1:1 from the original game and would have stood alongside any modern release with ease.

NieR’s one and only weakness is replay value. Playing through the game once reaches ending A. Loading the post-completion save starts the game from the middle point and playing through again reaches ending B. Doing the same process two more times reaches endings C and D (or utilizing 2 save points to only replay the final area for ending D). Starting over from the very beginning and getting a short way in will open a new path to Ending E.

Once you’ve played through all the endings, there’s not much replay value as the surprises and twists are known. However, after a few years it can be worth playing through again. I found myself tearing up at a scene I had completely forgotten about regarding an old man near death saying goodbye to his dog.

What was originally a niche cult hit has, thanks to NieR Automata, been given the chance to likewise be a huge hit and fans of Automata will surely find an equally wonderful gem here. The story is beautiful and tragic with themes of the emptiness of hate and revenge, the ambiguity of right and wrong in war and its costs. In addition to the main story of the game, NieR’s world is filled with touching and difficult stories, as well as some quirky and silly ones, in its side quest as well.

It took me about 60-65 hours to get the platinum trophy (and I used the time zone manipulation to get the pink & then white flower from gardening), but the best way to play NieR is to let oneself take their time and get absorbed into the world it’s crafted, for all its amusements, sorrows, and revelations that will lead leave players questioning everything they’ve fought for.

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