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NieR Replicant v1.22474487139... review
Meh
by Laura

If I played the original when it first came out, or if I played this BEFORE playing NieR:Automata, I probably would've given this a much higher score. Unfortunately coming into this game after Automata I can only really see the flaws.

A lot of features that made Automata enjoyable are gone here. For starters, you cannot fast travel/teleport your way around the world once you explored every area. You have to travel on foot to get anywhere in this game, which makes exploration tedious rather than fun. It doesn't help that the world itself just isn't as interesting as in Automata.

Automata is one of the few RPGs where I actually LOVED doing the side quests because I wanted to learn more about the unique inhabitants of the world. By contrast, the human NPCs in Replicant are all so bland I have no interest in doing side quests for them and I don't really feel anything for them when something bad happens to them. 

Also I really hate how, in order to unlock every ending, you have to acquire every single weapon. All 33 of them. And a few of them you have to purchase, and they're really expensive. Whereas in Automata you can gain money by defeating enemies, here your only form of making money is by selling items and doing side quests. So you have to GRIND in order to get the full experience. Why would you do that?

I really feel bad because I wanted to like this game but whenever I play it I always think to myself "This is like Automata but worse". I shouldn't be playing a game and keep comparing it to another. 

This is not a bad game by any means; the boss battles are really creative, satisfying, and fun, the soundtrack is excellent as usual, and the story is pretty fascinating. But it's dated in a lot of ways and shows the original's lack of budget (the entire Forest of Myth section is literally a black screen with text that you have to answer riddles to). If you're looking into NieR you should either play this first and get the full experience with Automata or just skip this game altogether. Automata holds up well enough on its own and is just an overall much better, more magical experience. 

Other reviews3

If you didn't already realize it from the title, Nier Replicant is weird. I can't say that it was particularly fun or challenging, or that its gameplay was particularly strong. What I can say, however, is that Replicant is unique.

Without the voice acting talent, Replicant never would have worked. Liam O'Brien as Grimoire Weiss was particularly enjoyable. Emil was always too cheery, Kaine always too edgy, and the self-named protagonist always too focused on his mission. There's other supporting characters introduced along the way that helped make the story come alive.

NieR pulls of its core themes (nature of being human, the soul, struggle to survive, pointlessness, and the evils we're willing to commit for those we love) very well. It breaks the fourth wall just enough, and plays with your expectations in some brilliant, meta ways.

It's REALLY difficult to elaborate on what else makes NieR so unique without spoiling it. If you've managed to make it this far without spoiling Replicant for yourself and are the slightest bit interested, then you should go play it. Otherwise, the remainder of this review has some minor spoilers.

NieR Replicant is designed to be played through multiple times. Your first playthrough (Ending A) gives a relatively shallow understanding of the story, while the second (Ending B) shows the same events through a different perspective. The third playthrough (Endings C and D) provides very little additional insight, but fortunately you can skip cutscenes you've already seen. Still, they felt like a slog. There's an additional Ending E that takes place after "Ending D" which was particularly well implemented. If you get that far, just keep playing, you'll reach it eventually. Route B and Route E were definitely the strongest stories, with the others being a bit too trope-ridden for my tastes.

I can't safely recommend NieR Replicant to anyone not a fan of Yoko Taro's works. It's just too flawed of an experience. If you're willing to give it a chance, however, there's nothing quite like it.
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It definitely shows the pacing and design weaknesses of the original. Prettied up and improved as it is this is still a remake of a 2010 game that was crippled by it's budget. But like with all Yoko Taro games these flaws can be easily looked past to experience a story that will live in your head for a long long time
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