Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 is only a few weeks away from its April 23 launch, and we bought our palms on the up to date model of Yoko Taro’s beloved cult hit that began all of it. The unique sport 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, reminiscent of 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 not too long ago, being curious in regards to the entry that bought the collection began. We determined to debate our totally different views and experiences taking part in Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139. Identical to the sport, we had a captivating dialog about what the cult basic has to supply in our trendy instances.
Kim: Let’s begin together 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: Proper from the soar, the stakes really feel very excessive and the fight feels one way or the other tight and frenetic on the identical time. However even after slicing via that military of Shades throughout these opening seconds, there’s a a lot gentler story being informed. Automata’s three major 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 somewhat naive. And there’s one thing refreshing about taking part in a personality like that in a collection that always likes to tear hope away from its characters.
Kim: Precisely! I used to be very hooked up to Father Nier and was frightened that Brother Nier wouldn’t have the identical influence on me, however I used to be very unsuitable. The stakes nonetheless really feel so excessive, and also you immediately need 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 special major character (Father or Brother) to play as. That is the primary time, we’re experiencing Replicant within the West, taking part in because the brother. The one distinction I seen was I appreciated the banter between Father Nier and Grimoire Weiss somewhat extra; it simply felt extra whimsical having this outdated man talk with a cheeky speaking e book.
I’ll say, I’m joyful how a lot this sport nonetheless immediately hooks me. The plight to avoid wasting Yonah simply overtakes you, the world simply comes alive because of Keiichi Okabe’s implausible music, and you’re feeling this fixed uneasiness the place you’re ricocheting between hope and doubt if you happen to can have a cheerful ending.
Nevertheless, earlier than we get extra into the state of the world and characters, let’s focus on fight. The general 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 are feeling in regards to the fight up to now?
Jay: Actually, I’ve been having fun with it for essentially the most half. Dodging and parrying really feel on par with the high-speed animations in Automata. I simply really feel very agile when taking part in as Brother Nier, and despite the fact that a variety of the combos simply come from mashing two buttons, the flashy prospers and pirouettes all the time 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 digicam nonetheless has some points, however every part simply feels rather a lot higher. I like having the ability to use and cost magic whereas concurrently executing common assaults. The charged heavy assaults additionally really feel extra highly effective and lethal as a result of flashy combos they produce. It’s 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! That is nonetheless the place the sport most shines.
We are able to solely discuss a couple of bosses on account of embargo, however as I used to be taking part in, I used to be shortly 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 all the time challenged in several methods, whether or not it’s throwing bombs into an enormous machine or concentrating on the best physique half or foe at opportune moments. These encounters really feel exhilarating and distinctive even in spite of everything this time. I simply love the enemy designs. Getting the bosses is the very best half, however on the flip facet, dungeons nonetheless are fairly bland and have you ever doing tedious duties. They’re fairly linear with out a lot selection. How’d you are feeling in regards to the bosses and dungeons to date?
Jay: I’m with you 100%, Kim. Boss battles really feel like extremely momentous sequences that often require you to multitask in very entertaining methods. And when the smoke clears, it’s very simple to really feel as if you happen to’ve develop into somewhat extra acclimated to your moveset and the controls usually. Then once you get to the following hulking boss, all of a sudden, the entire script has been flipped and also you’ve bought to adapt/react to a wholly new array of assaults. Nevertheless, 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 essential places.
Kim: Yeah, if it wasn’t for Keiichi Okabe’s nice music (I’m going to maintain mentioning this), getting around the globe can be much more of a slog, particularly since there’s so many fetch quests on this sport. That being stated, even when the environments themselves aren’t something to put in writing house about, I really feel just like the characters and tales throughout the sport are simply so fascinating – and will be downright devastating. That’s what actually makes Nier what it’s – from seeing an outdated girl pine for one more letter from her faraway lover, to being confronted with the cruel reality that individuals don’t all the time do good issues. Even Weiss questions you consistently about being too good and giving.
Kaine nonetheless stays my favourite character. Nevertheless, as I become older for various causes. I really feel like after I performed this all these years in the past, I related to her being a hardass and holding her personal on the battlefield and towards Weiss within the insult division. As I become older, there’s an actual disappointment and vulnerability to her that I join with. It was all the time there, however her story simply will get to me on a extra emotional stage now. I’ll say, I’m glad that the visuals have 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 believe it helps in sure scenes, particularly when issues do get heavier. What about you, Jay? How do you are feeling in regards to the characters and visuals?
Jay: I really like the characters. The loyal crew that battle alongside Brother Nier should not solely distinctive on a story stage, however additionally they carry a variety of nuance to fight. It’s virtually as if you happen to can see their personalities really come to life each time you enter a battle. Up to now, I’m an enormous Kaine fan as effectively. You possibly can inform that she masks her insecurities and tragic previous behind a harsh tone and reserved physique language. However that’s not a entrance; she will be able to additionally again the discuss up with some actually superior magic and sword strategies.
In terms of the primary solid, the visuals rock, however I’m not as impressed after I’m interacting with NPCs. There’s simply one thing somewhat 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 positively carry 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 digicam angles, the sport nonetheless has a dated look to it. Some will discover that endearing; others will see it as somewhat off-putting, such as you talked about with the NPCs. I do know this isn’t a remake in order that they weren’t going to utterly redesign something, however it does bum me out that some components of the world didn’t get extra of a visible overhaul. It’s all the time tough when updating a sport of how far to essentially go, however including some extra element wouldn’t have harm. I’m joyful the general solid at the least seems to be higher, although.
Earlier than we go, I’d prefer to carry 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 grasp of issues shortly? Had been there components that have been arduous 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 despite the fact that I’ve solely skilled Automata, in a manner, taking part in Replicant seems like coming again house. Due to this, I believe I bought the gist of the right way to play in a short time. On a mechanical stage, Replicant is fairly simple to select 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. After all, this isn’t to say that bosses and even a number of the Shade grunts that spawn within the open world gained’t be tough!
Based mostly on the various movies I’ve watched of the outdated sport, there’s simply no higher strategy to expertise the primary Nier. The gameplay is polished and the movement of battle is simple to get used to. The performances are tremendous stable (notably Yonah and Kaine!). And, oh man, you’re completely proper: Keiichi Okabe’s rating is simply *chef’s kiss.* Do you are feeling the identical manner, now that you just’ve gotten the possibility to really feel out the variations between the 2 variations?
Kim: It’s all the time somewhat scary going again to a sport you really liked a lot the primary time you performed it. I all the time swore by the primary Nier. It was – and nonetheless is – tough across the edges, however there’s one thing so magical there. On 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 after I’m taking part in it and I simply smile, as a result of it jogs my memory why I fell in love with it within the first place. Different instances, I’ll be like, ‘I can’t consider I put up with a few of these design selections!’ That may little question occur. I am taking part in a sport that got here out over a decade in the past now, however I believe Toylogic did a very good job addressing a number 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.