So for many, NieR: Automata was a gateway to the Drakengard universe without any knowledge of the title being a sequel within its spin-off’s lineage. Orignally released in April 2010, NieR Replicant maintained its identity in the East, while a distinguishable disparity in both design and difficulty was differentiated in its Western release. NieR (Code name: NieR Gestalt) was the result of changing its younger male protagonist from a young nameless adolescent tasked with protecting his sick sister in the originally penned plot, but was changed for a silver maned warrior named Nier set with an identical objective, only the adult male was hellbent on protecting his daughter, Yonah. Both stories identical, with the one difference of its protagonist and their relationship to the young girl. Confused? Well, it’s nothing to be overly perturbed.
NieR Replicant repairs the fundamentals of NieR’s ongoing narrative. The lines may be blurred for those that were enamoured by NieR Gestalt’s original release, with a father-daughter story being retconned in favour for the canonical kinship between siblings that both Sawako Natori and Hana Kikuchi were determined to deliver. Japanese Development studio Cavia, were hesitant in releasing NieR Replicant in the west due to the fear of its release being regarded as unrelatable. The changes made to in-game models, textures, characters, and Gestalt’s saturated tone were executed for a localisation that bared a grittier aesthetic which contrasted Replicant’s dystopian nature, and was accompanied by an entirely new soundtrack. Since then, Japanese culture has become a global phenomenon with a cavalcade of multimedia consumed outside of its homeland.
NieR’s revision is long overdue, and is now ready to take its rightful place within its Western lore. After the success seen in NieR: Automata, it was only a matter of time before Square Enix was set upon NieR’s recount. While its framework remains completely intact, its scintillating scrape was in need of an alluring upgrade in texture and model design. This is where Replicant “ver.1.2468Smorgy’sCan’tWait” shines – I won’t remember its complex subtitle each time, but I’m sure there’s an underlying message within its numerical string. While I remember being somewhat disengaged with NieR Gestalt’s plot initially, I have found Replicant’s entire reconstruct to be appealing with obvious changes to its lead, and their relationship change with their cohort.
While the father-daughter story was never bothersome, it disposed a disassembled resolve between the two that felt unnatural; the conventional guardian descriptor was never present, rather retaining a sense of two siblings protecting one another. Adjusting this apparent disposition aids NieR Replicant’s recital with a clearer outlook for both story and delivery. However, while NieR Replicant v1.2’s emphatic upgrades are made quite evident from its opening sequence, to its unbelievably gorgeous environments, the game harbours its exact blueprint carried over to its re-release. But this is no issue, rather a testament to NieR (Replicant or Gestalt’s) legacy; an action JRPG that defies logistics of an aging experience, and maintains an exemplary gameplay loop with vital variation embedded to prolong NieR Replicant’s quality-of-life statement.
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A prevalent role-playing title, NieR Replicant hits its strides in its seamless combat style that can be surmised as a basic hack-and-slash, action-adventures with additional bells and whistles that elevate and improve player progression. A deviation from the discourse that RPG’s can be monotonous with the traditional turn-based structure, a notion that has evolved from basic action-to-action which the genre entails, but has amalgamated with punctual pacing of an action-adventure. Our story begins in the year 2049, an anomaly takes place in the summer, where a major snowstorm has suddenly trapped both our hero and his younger sister Yonah, within the confines of a corroding, caved-in grocery shop. As the brash boy breathes heavily, his sick sibling coughs endlessly. He’s awoken by a strange nightmare that leaves him in disarray. Gripping to a bent metal pipe, he kicks a large textbook across the filthy, wet floor.
He’s then confronted by a swarm of mystical mutants that are there to hunt down Yonah. Using his swordsman-like skills, the boy fends off an entire army that tirelessly emerge in droves. He requests the aid of the Grimoire, which grants him flurry of mixed abilities that are manifested through the book’s magic. The novel itself harbours an extremely tactical offense which acts as our protagonist’s sidekick throughout his multiple exploits. From demonic daggers to fiery pitchforks and perilous pallets, all these unique talents are divulged in a deranged format that makes for quite the tale. A formation that fluxes this journey from tedious to expeditious within moments of each imperative act. The juxtapose of scenery placement and focus comes in form of an incredibly crafted universe.
NieR Replicant entails a breathtaking landscape, with vast fields magnificently designed for exploration. Revel in the unequivocal beauty that is boasted in tall grassed valleys, monumental tower-tops and the sun-kissed dunes that surround a deteriorating despot. While I have only made it halfway through the title, I can say without question that its been one hell of a journey thus far. Initiating enthralling encounters with a collection of threatening foes, the weird and wondrous composition laid out in antagonist design, the crème de la crème of voice acting royalty that portrays the cast and of course an encroaching campaign that readjusts its native timeline and removes a categoric misnomer that had plagued Western audiences for decades in gaming. NieR Replicant ver1.2 has been a supremely sublime experience that I can’t wait to complete.
Check back at a later date for our Score and outright thoughts on the title. NieR Replicant is available now for PlayStation 4, XBOX One and PC.
NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… is an updated version of NieR Replicant, previously only released in Japan. Discover the one-of-a-kind prequel to the critically-acclaimed masterpiece NieR:Automata. Now with a modern upgrade, experience masterfully revived visuals, a fascinating storyline and more!