Nier Replicant is an updated version of the original Nier on the PS3 for the PS4. It was developed by Toybox with some of Nier Automata team working on it. This game is a spin off from the Drakengard series where the bad ending “D” is canon and forms an entirely new setting. The story features more connections to Automata as well as new updated art by the artist from Nier Automata, which was outstanding. Overall, the art was really great and the music is another standout feature that’s just totally enjoyable. The dialogue is now fully voiced with the original voice actors and they are superb.
The story focuses on a younger Nier as he tries to cure his younger sister Yonah from a cursed illness that progressively gets worse. Searching for a cure, Nier finds out something much more sinister. 9/11 was said to be a huge inspiration behind the story with how bad things can be with people as well as both sides believing to do the right thing even though it may not be so.
The characters were all pretty likeable I really enjoyed seeing how attentive Nier was to his sister. I also really enjoyed the chemistry between Kaine and Emil as it was one of the most wholesome elements in the game. Emil’s innocence was a stark contrast to Kaine’s ruthless determination and Weiss’s wry humor offered some respite to the dark world.
The environmental design of the world was pretty interesting to explore. The art ranged from very appealing to visually dreary and depressing but it fits the story. The controls were pretty straightforward and easy to learn. There are some new moves in combat which is always welcome. The game has an auto battle system like in Nier Automata where you can turn on or off the characters fighting for you instead of the control system.
There is a variety of enemies to fight with the boss fights being pretty epic. Even the side quests were fascinating to explore. You can find boars and after a side mission you can use them as transport around the world. The weapon stories detailing the lore of the weapons as you upgrade them was very interesting. The combat is updated to reflect Nier Automata’s combat design and it is inspired by God Of War. You get grades based on how well you perform since the combat is real time, and meant for more western audiences, that’s part of why its hack and slash. With magic, you can customize your martial arts for special bonuses like draining magic or health from enemies as well as different combat moves. As you progress, Kaine and Emil will assist you in combat.
The characters were all compelling and fascinating and they all had good chemistry with one another as well as good moments of comedy too. Mundane activities like fishing and gardening return.
The gameplay is a mix of various genres like bullet hell, text based point and click and also jrpgs, especially hack and slash ones. I personally found the mix of genres to be interesting and added variety to the game.
Lots of replay value as well too with its multiple endings to see other sides of the story you may have missed.
Overall, Nier Replicant is a very solid game.
5 out of 5 stars.