Game: Nier Replicant
Platforms: PS4/PS5, Xbox One and PC
Genre: Action-JRPG/Hack and Slash
Publisher: Square Enix
Reviewed on PS4
(This review is from someone’s perspective who has not played Nier Automata or the original game, and it contains some spoilers, so be careful while reading it if you have not played the game.)
Nier Replicant is a masterpiece from the beginning to the end in terms of both Gameplay and Story-Telling. After finishing all Endings of Nier Replicant, I cannot think of many games better than it. The hack and slash combat in Nier Replicant is god tier, and the magic abilities make it even better. However, some parts of the beginning might confuse you because there is a time skip, but that time skip is explained near the ending. I would recommend you to finish all endings of Nier Replicant because it is totally worth it. I wanna play Nier Automata right now (I have not played it yet) after finishing Nier Replicant. I didn’t experience any issues such as frame rate issues or bugs, but graphically talking the game isn’t that impressive; however, the grasslands and the environment looks amazing at times. Sadly there are some grass pop-ups here and there, but it didn’t really affect my experience.
One of the best parts about Nier Replicant are the brutal boss fights; there’s always a brutal ending to a boss fight in this game which features a cutscene of your character brutally destroying a boss with magic. The Boss Fights normally are amazing as well; since the bosses keep changing their patterns, it does not get boring at all. And the combat makes the Boss fights even more fun. I really cannot wait to see how the Boss Fights are in Nier Automata and same with the Combat. I think both of them are hard to top and especially the Story as well, but I do not doubt Yoko Taro because Nier Replicant is one of the best games I have ever played and the best game of this year, so far. The only problem I had with Nier Replicant was how frequently you had to see loading screens, but it was alright since they were pretty short. I do not think that it is an issue on PlayStation 5, but I am not sure.
Nier Replicant’s combat is the best ever I have seen in a hack and slash; it’s just so fun, and the weapon variety, magic skills make it even better. Deflecting your enemy’s attack is so satisfying. I do not think that any other combat System even comes close to Nier Replicant except maybe Devil May Cry V’s Combat system. The combat features heavy attacks and light attacks just like all other Hack and Slash games, but what makes it the best in its genre is the Magic abilities, deflecting and the way your blade sparkles when you hit an enemy. You can purchase weapons from Black Smiths and upgrade your weapons at Junk Heap to make yourself stronger. I had the Pheonix Spear, which made the game too easy at Normal, so I had to switch it up to hard while doing Ending B, C, D and E (I know all these endings sound like a lot of work, but it is totally worth it). You also get stronger and stronger as you progress through the Story and level up. Nier Replicant has a large variety of Enemies as well, so it’s just another pro for the amazing combat, and you get to know how to fight them properly. If your character gets hurt too much, there are 2 ways to get your health back. Sometimes your companion Emil will heal you a bit, and you can also consume Health increasing items such as Medical Herbs, which shades drop sometimes, and you can buy them from a vendor too. You can order your companions to attack, help you or defend as well. There is an Auto-Battle Combat, but it can only be played via easy mode. I saw the options, and it automatically attacks or dodges or uses magic abilities (it’s up to you; you can choose the options). That’s a great feature for disabled gamers around the world.
I also love how the art style sometimes switches and makes the game seem like a top-down hack and slash shooter, but it is so well transitioned it seems like literally nothing changed.
Personally, the Story is the best part of Nier Replicant. I cannot think of a Story better than this. I just love how no one is on the “good side”, and as you see Ending B, C, D and E, you uncover more and more information about what happened. I think you uncover information about robots too, which are in Automata, but I am not really sure since I have not played it yet. I also love how both Emil and Kaine have a really good backstory. It just manages to get more and more interesting. Your main goal in this game is to save your sister Yonah. The Story in beginning might be a bit confusing, just like I stated previously, because of the time-skip, but you just uncover more and more information about Project Gestalt and understand what happened.
I also love how, in Ending B, the game makes you sympathise with the Shades, who are supposed to be the enemies. I do not wanna spoil the Ending E since it is a new one, so I’ll just talk about the previous one. A thing I can tell you is that Ending E is worth seeing. Personally, I liked Ending B the most. After Completing Ending B, I had to collect all weapons in this game to see Ending C, D and E, which was not really a hard part, but it was kind of boring. Also, you do not have to start from the beginning to see all the Endings. It will just put you in Act 2 again and again until Ending E, which has the same story until you meet Kaine and kill the first boss at Aerie. Also, another thing is that there is no autosave option in Nier Replicant there are “Mail Boxes”, which are the save points, so you will have to save the game using them. I wanna play the Drakengard games after this as well since they seem to have a great story. Some might find Replicant’s story a bit boring in the beginning but trust me, and it just gets better and better. Act 2 of Nier Replicant is peak storytelling. The Ending A is amazing, and it was already a masterpiece in terms of Story Telling for me while I finished Ending A, and somehow the Ending B even managed to make it better. All I have to say for now is that Yoko Taro’s writing skills make nearly every other writer look like an amateur. The Ending B really makes you feel sad for those who you killed. I cannot think of any other game that did this except The Last of Us 2, but both really take a different approach to do this, so I do not think that they can be compared at all, and they are totally different games.
The soundtrack of Nier Replicant makes the storytelling even better somehow like there are some tunes playing in the background during cutscenes sometimes, it makes the combat and exploration as well. Side quests in Nier Replicant are kinda mediocre since most of them force you to travel around the same areas again and again; the story in Side quests is alright. It isn’t anything special, but the Main story makes up for it. The level design in this game is great as well I really loved the puzzles in some quests; they were fun to do. The exploration in Nier Replicant is great and fast since your speed is fast and the great soundtrack plays in the back while you travel. You can also fast travel when you unlock it via the boating systems.
Getting Gold in this game to buy weapons, medical herbs, or special ability potions is very easy. You can just strike down a lot of robots in the Junk Heap and sell their items for around 20-40K Gold, and the robots just automatically respawn when you go back to the Junk Heap, so collecting weapons wasn’t very hard since most weapons can be bought but finding the weapons which are in a particular area was boring same with the ones that had a side quest attached to them. You can collect words and edit them on the magic book Grimoire Weiss. The magic book can help you change your special abilities as well. It can take a bit of time to figure out some Good Word combos, but it ends up being easy. You can unlock these words while defeating shades. Side Quests are given to you by the people in towns. Most of the time, they can end up being boring, just like how I stated before. I also love how the game makes you to get to know your companions even more via different routes. Kaine, Emil, Popola, Devola, Shades and the Shadow Lord all have an exciting back story. The story twists keep you hooked until you finish the game via all endings. Just like I mentioned before, the soundtrack makes the essence of cutscenes even better. The first half’s end is peak story-telling, and somehow Yoko Taro managed to top it with the second half and other endings. I really cannot wait to see what Yoko Taro does next. I would say that Act 2 felt much more consistent and interesting than Act 1. I played it until I completed it. After finishing all Endings, I had around 60 hours in Nier Replicant. It is fascinating to see what happens to your friends and companions in the future. While you play the game, there are some very big twists set around them in the main story. When I first finished Nier Replicant with Ending A, I just couldn’t stop thinking about everything that happened in the final act. There were so many plot twists the writers really did an excellent job at making the story interesting I would say it is peak storytelling like I cannot find a single flaw in the main story. The action in this game never stops, and you get all that in a 50-60 Hour long game (Including all endings)
Would I recommend you to play Nier Replicant? Definitely, since it is a masterpiece in terms of both Gameplay and Story Telling like there is nothing bad about it on those parts. It just manages to get better and better as you advance through the game. The Combat gets much more advanced since you unlock all kinds of weapons in Act 2. I would also recommend you to see all Endings of Nier Replicant. It is totally worth it, even though it might take a lot of time. Many of my friends have said that Nier Automata has a god-tier story as well, but I do not really see Nier Automata topping this for some reason. However, just like I said before, I do not doubt Yoko Taro because he managed to make a game like this, so I am pretty sure his other games are great as well. If you are like me and love Hack and Slash games, then do not wait; just buy this game right away because it makes nearly all other Hack and Slash games look mediocre in terms of combat and storytelling, so please just buy this game. I am really glad that it has been succeeding a lot in sales. I cannot wait to see more from the Nier Franchise and Yoko Taro’s future work. So please just buy this game and support the Nier Franchise.
What do you think about Nier Replicant? Please let us know in the comments below.