Now that many gamers have enjoyed NieR: Automata, let's go back to its roots with a remake of one incredibly underrated game.
I remember playing through NieR back when it first released which was years before I started reviewing games. Back then, I remember being frustrated after looking at the reviews and I thought to myself, "How the heck does this epic action RPG deserve a 6.7 average?" Nowadays, I have people yell at me sometimes for scoring games as they deem unfair. Life is funny sometimes, am I right?
Anyway, what made NieR special to me and many other gamers is its larger-than-life story and somber atmosphere. At the time, I haven't experienced anything quite like it. It's depressing without being hopeless and everything from its camera angles to its distinct settings and melancholy albeit beautiful music do a perfect job of capturing that theme. I'd even go so far as to call it atmospheric storytelling. There's so much between the lines that could only be expressed with subtle piano riffs and dramatic colour palette alterations.
Before I get fully pretentious, I'll discuss the gameplay. NieR is an action RPG with a lot of world traversal. The environments are rather large although not even close to the ones in Xenoblade Chronicles and running through them can be quite an experience as you listen to the top-notch soundtrack and take in the breathtaking sights. Of course, due to the frankly ridiculous amount of backtracking that you have to do throughout, these moments begin to be less special and more monotonous at a point, especially when nothing's around.
Speaking of which, whenever you face enemies which take the form of mysterious creatures known as shades, things become much more exciting. First of all, the size of these suckers range anywhere from ankle biters to enormous monstrosities which creates a solid amount of variety. Plus, the fact that you can hack and slash while casting magic spells from a book that launch all sorts of projectiles makes combat itself quite varied, too. Needless to say, it should be very familiar to anyone who has played NieR: Automata.
NieR Weapon Upgrade Materials Calculator
Upgrading all of your weapons to their max levels in NieR requires amassing a ton of different materials. In order to figure out exactly which materials you need given your current weapons' levels, bookmark this handy NieR Weapon Upgrade Materials Calculator. It's sure to make material collecting a lot more manageable and you can sell whatever you don't need.
So far, I've primarily discussed the original game but what exactly is new in NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139...? Well, the graphics are definitely a lot better although I can see some hardcore fans being slightly disappointed by the less organic colours which are replaced with more stylish Automata-like palettes. Also, although the visuals are certainly great, some aspects weren't updated much and they really stand out such as NPC models with mouths that refuse to move. Another change is that this is NieR Replicant which stars a young man whereas the NieR we got in the west was NieR Gestalt which features an older gentleman but surprisingly, that doesn't make much of a difference. Other alterations include more voice acting, an improved soundtrack, more streamlined gameplay, a new mission that wasn't in the original, and there's a new ending that may just blow long-time fans' minds but that's all I'll say about that!
One aspect about NieR that I find to be quite underrated is its cast of characters. You may play as a sort of blank slate whose mission is to help his ill sister but the folks you'll meet along the way all have interesting stories to tell such as the scantily clad Kainé and the kind-hearted Emil. Heck, even the talking book Grimoire Weiss remains intriguing throughout despite his cocky know-it-all attitude.
Another thing that I enjoy about NieR is enhancing my character. Whether I'm gathering materials to upgrade my weapons, assigning words to give certain spells a boost, or completing the many side-quests for some much-needed money; it's hard not to get distracted even if there's a pressing matter at hand. Whenever I eventually get to it, at least I know I'll be thoroughly prepared!
Finally, the greatest part of NieR Replicant's gameplay comes in the form of fighting its selection of memorable bosses. The seemingly insignificant ones can even pose unique challenges so whether you're toppling a gigantic monster or trying to outsmart a book; you're in for an excellent time. There's also a tragic element to a few bosses which kind of makes you want to put the controller down.
As one of the most underrated games from its generation, NieR can now find a new audience who are sure to appreciate its jaw-dropping story, pitch-perfect atmosphere, and super-rewarding boss fights.
- + Epic story with many layers, a brilliant cast of characters, and surprises for fans
- + Some of the greatest boss fights ever
- + Gorgeous scenery, music, and mood
- - Parts can be a bit too tedious and empty, especially with all the backtracking
- - Some visual aspects aren't that upgraded