Within the complex world of gaming and the many different stories that games can tell, there is a beauty that exists that players will come across every once in a while with a game that may not be one the player would ever think about playing. For this reviewer, Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139 was such a game that captured the reviewer’s interest and served as a reminder that there are not only great games but meaningful stories that transport you to a different world. It invokes memories of the days spent as a young teenager playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64 simply by having a solid story-driven game and music that truly captures the emotions.
Known initially as Nier, it is an action role-playing, hack and slash single-player game developed by Cavia and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 back in April 2010, with Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139 being a remaster of the game designed for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows on April 23, 2021. Nier Replicant is a game that gets better with the more time that is invested with it, with the first run-through of the game coming in at 15 to 17 hours, but if you love to complete the side quests as well, the total gameplay time of Nier Replicant comes in at 30 to 35 hours. There are five different endings in the game which change with each playthrough and even after this reviewer finished the first ending of the game, it was clear that there is still so much more to discover within the world of Nier Replicant.
Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139 opens with a prologue during the summer of 2053 in a snowstorm, where trapped in a broken-down grocery store, the protagonist fends off attacks from supernatural monsters which come up from the ground to protect the sick Yonah, his little sister. Following the defeat of the demons, the protagonist rushes in to check on Yonah, who has begun to cough badly, which sets up the main story of the quest that is about to unfold. After the opening credits, the game then cuts to 1,412 years later, where the now named main character and Yonah are now living in a village where they are being looked after by the villagers amongst the ruins of an old town is the village they call home. Time has moved on as the town has modern ruins like the remnants of train tracks and industrial machinery in the world surrounding it. Nier Replicant is a game with a storyline of hope, love, kindness, and family, which becomes evident as the story progresses.
One of Nier Replicant’s exciting points is the player’s ability to name the main character, a teenage boy, which adds a personal touch to the game. The viewpoint of the player is seen through a third person viewpoint that helps when there interactive moments in the game of which there are many objects dotted all around the environment and enemies; when in combat, the player can interact and talk to characters all around the world, i.e., shopkeepers when purchasing items, people that the main character may come across while traveling through the world. Being able to turn the camera around the character allows the player to utilize the 360° view, which is handy when trying to figure out where the character is in the world and enables the player to keep track of where the enemy is. The change from a third-person perspective to a three-dimensional world allows the player to explore different areas of the world, which are separated by loading screens that show diary entries from the main character’s sister Yonah, and the player can move freely throughout these areas by walking, running, jumping, and climbing ladders. Though when the character enters rooms and buildings, the camera changes from a third-person view to a side-on view, and the main character is restricted to moving as in a two-dimensional platforming environment very much similar to what we see in games like the original Super Mario bros.
Nier has a story that keeps the player interested while traveling between locations and a vast world with so much to explore and discover. While exploring the world between the main story and side quests, the player often comes under attack from monsters known in the world as Shades, which are shadowy figures that pop up out of the ground forcing the player into combat, large animals, and robots. Facing these enemies leads to the player gaining experience points that are valuable in leveling up the main character’s power and money used to buy items that can assist the player in maintaining their health and power levels as the game progresses. The main character can attack the Shades by using either a one-handed, two-handed sword or a spear, with over 22 different weapons, which can be discovered and equipped throughout the world as the player progresses through the story.
The music is a critical factor in Nier Replicant as it is well composed, different scores for different scenes in the game evoke a wide range of emotions within the player, which draws you further into the world of Nier Replicant. This is achieved by the incredible collaboration between the studio MoNACA and Cavia with Keiichi Okabe, Kakeru Ishihama, Keigo Hoashi from MoNACA, and Takafumi Nishimura from Cavia coming together to compose this incredible game soundtrack. One of the most potent choices they made was to include melancholy acoustic pieces, highlighting the fantastic vocals of vocalist Emi Evans, also known as Emiko Rebecca Evans, a singer from England living in Tokyo. Emi is the singer for the band freesscape and has previously had work featured on video games such as Etrian Odyssey.
The controls in Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139 are easy to master and get used to as the story progresses and the player starts to appreciate what the main character can do. While there’s nothing new with how the controls are laid out, they are easy to learn and add so much enjoyment to the game once the player knows what each button does and how to use those combos best when in combat or just exploring the world in either the main story mission or a side quest.
Nier Replicant is a game best played when the little kids aren’t around since they may find the violence and supernatural themes a bit too much. That being said, it is one that the 12 years and old may want to jump into with parental supervision to learn how a story-driven single-player game can be just as fun as playing a multiplayer game like Fortnite.
J for One More Game
9 – Amazing – as near to a 10 as you are going to get without it being a 10. It’s an amazing experience that just requires that little something else to make it a masterpiece. Your hard-earned cash and time would be well spent here.
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Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139 was reviewed on a Xbox Series X. It is also available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4|5 and PC.
Code was provided for the purpose of this review. All thoughts are ours and ours alone.