I loved playing NieR: Automata, as it had one of the best stories that I have experienced in a video game from one of the best possible perspectives. When I heard that NieR: Replicant was being remade for Steam, I had to jump in and see what the original NieR had in store. Especially since the characters had new models, updated combat, visuals, and even more added to the table.
Pros and Cons
-A fantastic story that is a blast from start to finish
-Fun combat with interesting spells
-Can upgrade weapons with the power of words
-An amazing orchestral soundtrack
-Beautiful graphics that make each area feel alive
-You can only have two spells equipped at one time
-Side quests are mostly fetch quests
-You have to get all the weapons in the game to gain access to the other endings
-No lip-syncing from NPCs
The story starts out with a kind young man (you can name him) who is taking care of his young sister named Yonah who is sick with a disease called the Black Scrawl. One day, Yonah goes out to find a Lunar Tear, which is said to cure any disease, and heads off to a temple. However, she ends up getting attacked by Gestalts which are shadow-like monsters but is saved by her brother and a book named Grimore Weiss, or Weiss for short.
The protagonist takes Weiss back to a library where he talks to these two sisters named Devola and Popola. They say that Weiss may have the ability to cure the Black Scrawl in some shape or form. So the protagonist goes out to retrieve these Sealed Versus that they believe will help cure Yona.
I love the story in NieR: Replicant, as it is dark, deals with heavy themes, and makes us think about the world differently. I can’t really say much more due to spoilers but the story is awesome and is one of the main reasons that kept me playing throughout the game. My favorite character had to be Grimore Weiss as I loved his voice, attitude, and his occasional line liner insults.
The gameplay is simple, however, it can surprise you with what it throws at you. You will have attacks like basic and heavy, as well as a few spells to use at your disposal. Then, there is Weiss. If you have played NieR: Automata then you will be familiar with the pods that help you in combat, provide buffs, and help you get across ledges by slowing gliding you over them. Replace the pod with Weiss and remove two of its features, and bam, a book that helps you in combat. Weiss does have a few spells to help you out in combat, like firing a bunch of spears from the ground or firing projectiles.
You get access to various weapons that you either find, get from side quests, or buy with the money you earn. These weapons are upgraded with the power of words. There are also upgrades that make your attacks stronger, provide armor-piercing, and increase the drop rate of items you find.
NieR: Replicant is a fun game, however, I do have two issues with its gameplay.
First, there are actually some interesting spells for you to use but you are limited to only using two at a time. There are four skills slots, but two are reserved for your block and roll abilities. Apparently blocking and rolling are considered magic in the world of NieR.
Another issue I have is with the side quests which are mostly fetch quests. These are completely optional unless you are working towards the different endings. To get the other endings, you must collect all the weapons in the game. There are a total of 33 weapons and three of them are locked behind side quests with the remaining that need to be found or bought. So if you want to get those other endings to play through the story, you better get hunting.
The soundtrack for this game is absolutely beautiful! In all honesty, this is one of my favorite things about NieR: Replicant. The entire soundtrack is worthy of praise, but here are few standouts that I want to share. I loved hearing Hills of Radiant Winds and my personal favorite being The Incomplete Stone.
Graphics and Performance
The graphics is also another area that is done right. I love how each area is handled and they are all gorgeous to look at. After some slight tweaking in the visual settings, I was able to run smoothly at 60 FPS. I tested the game on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, with 16 GB of RAM.
I do have one issue with the game that may be a little nit-picky. In the overworld when a non-playable character (NPC) speaks, their mouths do not move. This bothers me as it is slightly off-putting, and disappointing for a AAA title. During the cutscenes, we do get facial animations for any characters talking in the scene though. The only character I do not mind this on is Weiss as he is a book and his mouth does not move to begin with.
If you enjoy story-rich hack 'n' slash games, then I believe you will love NieR: Replicant. It does have its fair share of gameplay issues, but if you can look past those, then you are in for a treat. I recommend this title to anyone who appreciates story-rich games, and of course to those who were pleased by their experience with NieR: Automata.