Before we dive into a world of extreme complexity, you need to come with me in a trip down memory lane. Let’s rewind time back to 2010. Gamers everywhere were enjoying the glory days of the Xbox 360 and PS3. We had absolutely amazing titles such as Darksiders, God of War 3, Bayonetta, Mass Effect 2, Final Fantasy XIII, Metro 2033, Resident Evil 5, Heavy Rain, Bioshock 2… 2010 was absolutely stacked with quality right from the get-go. There’s games that were released back then that are still talked about today. Nier, originally released in April 2010, was a bit of an outlier, however it still falls into the same category of iconic games from more than a decade ago.
Nier was the result of Cavia and Square Enix wanting a 3rd entry into the Drakengard series. Game director, Yoko Taro, was given creative control with minimal interference from Square Enix. During the game’s development cycle, it ultimately ended up becoming a spin-off and a fully fledged JRPG in the process. Thus Nier was born and a masterpiece of storytelling cemented itself into gaming history.
The game was split into two different versions. Nier Gestalt and Nier Replicant. Nier Gestalt, the version that we got in the west (simply titled as Nier) featured a fatherly figure as the main character while Nier Replicant featured a younger protagonist. The key difference being the protagonist’s relationship to an important character known as Yonah. Players would either be playing as Yonah’s dad (Affectionately named “Papa Nier” by fans) or her brother depending on which version of the game they purchased. This change was done to better localise the game for its western release where an older father figure was deemed to fit in more with the types of heroes we’re used to seeing in western media.
The original Nier which released in 2010 scored average review ratings but gained “cult classic” status among those of us who got our hands on it back in the day. The story was dark and depressing, the gameplay was rough around the edges and the music was fantastic. The game wasn’t exactly a financial success but it wasn’t a commercial failure either. Yoko Taro and Square Enix producer Yosuke Saito eventually wanted a sequel. Fast forward to 2016 and Nier: Automata entered the scene as a result of Square Enix taking a risk and collaborating with Platinum Games. Nier: Automata went on to become a huge success worldwide selling more than 5 million units and remains one of my favourite games even now, almost 5 years later.
This is where we come back to the present. If you’re reading this, chances are you most likely never played the original Nier back in the day. You might have played Nier: Automata or at least heard about it and that is exactly why Square Enix and Yoko Taro have decided to bring the original title back. Almost 11 years have gone by since the original title was released and there’s a brand new generation of gamers who are around now. Yoko Taro calls “Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139…” a “Version upgrade” of the original game and that sums it up pretty well. This version of the game exists so that those who missed out on playing the original back in the day can get to experience it, with modern improvements. It was originally intended to be a simple remaster but Yoko Taro decided to tweak things and improve upon them.
Yoko Taro calls “Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139…” a “Version upgrade” of the original game and that sums it up pretty well.
The combat has been refined from the original game to be more in-line with Nier: Automata and it feels great.
Fishing in Nier Replicant thankfully has been tweaked to be a lot easier than in the original game...
Players will also encounter bullet-hell combat a lot more during boss battles than out in the open-world environments.
Gamer, writer, self-proclaimed chemistry hobo. Always looking to make use of a good pun in the name of fun.
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PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
27 April 2021
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