Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 is simply a few weeks away from its April 23 launch, and we acquired our palms on the up to date model of Yoko Taro’s beloved cult hit that began all of it. The unique recreation launched over a decade in the past on PS3/Xbox 360, and now followers and newcomers alike are getting the chance to play it with quality-of-life enhancements, corresponding to changes to the gameplay and enhanced visuals.
To see how this newer model is shaping up, my colleague Jay and I each took it for a spin. Nier captivated me again when it got here out in 2010, and Jay fell in love with Nier: Automata recently, being curious concerning the entry that acquired the sequence began. We determined to debate our totally different views and experiences enjoying Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139. Just like the sport, we had a captivating dialog about what the cult basic has to supply in our fashionable occasions.
Kim: Let’s begin along with your first impressions, Jay. In Nier, you’re simply transported into this world with vicious Shades and candy little Yonah to guard. What was it like getting into the position of Brother Nier for the primary time?
Jay: Right from the soar, the stakes really feel very excessive and the fight feels in some way tight and frenetic on the similar time. But even after slicing via that military of Shades throughout these opening seconds, there’s a a lot gentler story being informed. Automata’s three essential characters are compelling, however they’re additionally extraordinarily reserved and generally even emotionally indifferent from each other (particularly 2B and A2). In Replicant, you instantly get the sense that Brother Nier would do something for his little sister. He’s soft-spoken, optimistic, and a little bit naive. And there’s one thing refreshing about enjoying a personality like that in a sequence that usually likes to tear hope away from its characters.
Kim: Exactly! I used to be very connected to Father Nier and was apprehensive that Brother Nier wouldn’t have the identical impression on me, however I used to be very mistaken. The stakes nonetheless really feel so excessive, and also you immediately wish to shield Yonah. For these not within the know, the unique Nier launched with two variations in Japan – Gestalt and Replicant – every that includes a unique essential character (Father or Brother) to play as. This is the primary time, we’re experiencing Replicant within the West, enjoying because the brother. The solely distinction I seen was I appreciated the banter between Father Nier and Grimoire Weiss a little bit extra; it simply felt extra whimsical having this previous man talk with a cheeky speaking guide.
I’ll say, I’m completely satisfied how a lot this recreation nonetheless immediately hooks me. The plight to avoid wasting Yonah simply overtakes you, the world simply comes alive due to Keiichi Okabe’s unbelievable music, and you are feeling this fixed uneasiness the place you’re ricocheting between hope and doubt for those who can have a contented ending.
However, earlier than we get extra into the state of the world and characters, let’s talk about fight. The total gameplay was the unique Nier’s rougher components. I do know developer Toylogic tried to shore up a few of these weaknesses and make it really feel nearer to Automata. How do you’re feeling concerning the fight up to now?
Jay: Honestly, I’ve been having fun with it for probably the most half. Dodging and parrying really feel on par with the high-speed animations in Automata. I simply really feel very agile when enjoying as Brother Nier, and although a whole lot of the combos simply come from mashing two buttons, the flashy thrives and pirouettes at all times look actually cool in order that makes up for the gameplay simplicity. As somebody who’s performed the unique, do you assume the fight feels satisfying or do you continue to really feel as if one thing is lacking?
Kim: The fight is an enormous enchancment over the unique. You didn’t have the lock-on button, which is a godsend right here! The digital camera nonetheless has some points, however every part simply feels loads higher. I like with the ability to use and cost magic whereas concurrently executing common assaults. The charged heavy assaults additionally really feel extra highly effective and lethal because of the flashy combos they produce. It is extra like Automata, which is an effective factor. It’s simplistic, however the mixture of magic, bodily assaults, and dodging/blocking stored me on my toes, particularly in boss battles! This remains to be the place the recreation most shines.
We can solely speak about a couple of bosses as a result of embargo, however as I used to be enjoying, I used to be rapidly reminded of how these battles impressed me a lot the primary time round. You by no means know what to anticipate and also you’re at all times challenged in several methods, whether or not it’s throwing bombs into an enormous machine or focusing on the correct physique half or foe at opportune moments. These encounters really feel exhilarating and distinctive even in any case this time. I simply love the enemy designs. Getting the bosses is the most effective half, however on the flip aspect, dungeons nonetheless are fairly bland and have you ever doing tedious duties. They’re fairly linear with out a lot selection. How’d you’re feeling concerning the bosses and dungeons up to now?
Jay: I’m with you 100%, Kim. Boss battles really feel like extremely momentous sequences that normally require you to multitask in very entertaining methods. And when the smoke clears, it’s very straightforward to really feel as for those who’ve turn into a little bit extra acclimated to your moveset and the controls generally. Then once you get to the following hulking boss, all of a sudden, the entire script has been flipped and also you’ve acquired to adapt/react to a wholly new array of assaults. However, the dungeons (and most different environments, for that matter) main as much as these bosses aren’t visually stimulating in any respect. The gameworld is deliberately dreary and empty, however due to this, I don’t have as a lot enjoyable getting round to totally different vital places.
Kim: Yeah, if it wasn’t for Keiichi Okabe’s nice music (I’m going to maintain mentioning this), getting all over the world could be much more of a slog, particularly since there’s so many fetch quests on this recreation. That being mentioned, even when the environments themselves aren’t something to jot down residence about, I really feel just like the characters and tales throughout the recreation are simply so fascinating – and could be downright devastating. That’s what actually makes Nier what it’s – from seeing an previous girl pine for one more letter from her faraway lover, to being confronted with the cruel fact that folks don’t at all times do good issues. Even Weiss questions you consistently about being too good and giving.
Kaine nonetheless stays my favourite character. However, as I grow old for various causes. I really feel like once I performed this all these years in the past, I related to her being a hardass and holding her personal on the battlefield and in opposition to Weiss within the insult division. As I grow old, there’s an actual unhappiness and vulnerability to her that I join with. It was at all times there, however her story simply will get to me on a extra emotional degree now. I’ll say, I’m glad that the visuals had been up to date; it stands out to me most within the characters’ faces – they give the impression of being higher and extra pure now. I feel it helps in sure scenes, particularly when issues do get heavier. What about you, Jay? How do you’re feeling concerning the characters and visuals?
Jay: I like the characters. The loyal crew that battle alongside Brother Nier usually are not solely distinctive on a story degree, however additionally they deliver a whole lot of nuance to fight. It’s virtually as for those who can see their personalities actually come to life each time you enter a battle. So far, I’m an enormous Kaine fan as properly. You can inform that she masks her insecurities and tragic previous behind a harsh tone and reserved physique language. But that’s not a entrance; she will be able to additionally again the discuss up with some actually superior magic and sword strategies.
When it involves the primary forged, the visuals rock, however I’m not as impressed once I’m interacting with NPCs. There’s simply one thing a little bit deflating about speaking to residents that look same-y and generally have poorly rendered face textures, particularly when the sport expects you to care about their emotionally-charged issues.
Kim: You undoubtedly deliver up a very good level with the visuals. This was one other weak level of the unique, and whereas they did touch-up areas and repair some digital camera angles, the sport nonetheless has a dated look to it. Some will discover that endearing; others will see it as a little bit off-putting, such as you talked about with the NPCs. I do know this isn’t a remake so that they weren’t going to fully redesign something, but it surely does bum me out that some elements of the world didn’t get extra of a visible overhaul. It’s at all times tough when updating a recreation of how far to actually go, however including some extra element wouldn’t have damage. I’m completely satisfied the general forged no less than seems to be higher, although.
Before we go, I’d prefer to deliver up one last item. How was it coming into the unique Nier as somebody who didn’t play it the primary time round? Did you get the cling of issues rapidly? Were there elements that had been exhausting to regulate to? Do you assume folks will discover this new model a snug strategy to play this basic?
Jay: First off, I’ll say this: I used to be so excited when Replicant was first introduced and I’ve been ready to hop into it for what seems like years. And although I’ve solely skilled Automata, in a method, enjoying Replicant seems like coming again residence. Because of this, I feel I acquired the gist of learn how to play in a short time. On a mechanical degree, Replicant is fairly straightforward to choose up and play, and that’s a very good factor! On-boarding occurs in a short time and you’ll soar proper into the motion with out exhaustive tutorials or an unforgiving studying curve. Of course, this isn’t to say that bosses and even a few of the Shade grunts that spawn within the open world gained’t be tough!
Based on the various movies I’ve watched of the previous recreation, there’s simply no higher strategy to expertise the primary Nier. The gameplay is polished and the circulate of battle is simple to get used to. The performances are tremendous stable (significantly Yonah and Kaine!). And, oh man, you’re completely proper: Keiichi Okabe’s rating is simply *chef’s kiss.* Do you’re feeling the identical method, now that you simply’ve gotten the prospect to really feel out the variations between the 2 variations?
Kim: It’s at all times a little bit scary going again to a recreation you really liked a lot the primary time you performed it. I at all times swore by the primary Nier. It was – and nonetheless is – tough across the edges, however there’s one thing so magical there. At the time it got here out, I used to be in search of RPGs to inform extra mature and significant tales, however I had no thought I’d get what I did with Nier. There are occasions once I’m enjoying it and I simply smile, as a result of it jogs my memory why I fell in love with it within the first place. Other occasions, I’ll be like, ‘I can’t consider I put up with a few of these design selections!’ That will little question occur. I’m enjoying a recreation that got here out over a decade in the past now, however I feel Toylogic did a very good job addressing a few of the obvious points the sport had with out altering its essence. I’m having a enjoyable trip going again via it, and I can’t wait to see how different folks really feel after they play the brand new model.