Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 is only a few weeks away from its April 23 launch, and we bought our arms 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, akin 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 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 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 trendy 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 moving into the function of Brother Nier for the primary time?

Jay: Right from the leap, the stakes really feel very excessive and the fight feels by some means tight and frenetic on the similar time. But even after slicing by that military of Shades throughout these opening seconds, there’s a a lot gentler story being advised. Automata’s three most important 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 collection that always likes to tear hope away from its characters. 

Kim: Exactly! I used to be very hooked up to Father Nier and was fearful that Brother Nier wouldn’t have the identical affect 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 distinct most important 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 observed was I preferred 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 ebook.

I’ll say, I’m completely happy 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 when you can have a cheerful ending. 

However, 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’re feeling in regards to 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 regardless that quite a 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 suppose the fight feels satisfying or do you continue to really feel as if one thing is lacking?

Kim: The fight is a giant 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 little thing simply feels lots 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 because of the flashy combos they produce. It is extra like Automata, which is an efficient 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 sport most shines.

We can solely speak about just a few bosses because of embargo, however as I used to be enjoying, 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 at all times challenged in numerous methods, whether or not it’s throwing bombs into a large machine or concentrating on the precise 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 one of the best 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 in regards to the bosses and dungeons up to now?

Jay: I’m with you 100 p.c, 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 simple to really feel as when you’ve change into a little bit extra acclimated to your moveset and the controls typically. Then if you get to the subsequent hulking boss, all of a sudden, the entire script has been flipped and also you’ve bought to adapt/react to a completely 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 necessary areas. 

Kim: Yeah, if it wasn’t for Keiichi Okabe’s nice music (I’m going to maintain mentioning this), getting world wide could 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 write down house about, I really feel just like the characters and tales throughout the sport are simply so fascinating – and may 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 continuously about being too good and giving. 

Kaine nonetheless stays my favourite character. However, as I grow old 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 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 have been up to date; it stands out to me most within the characters’ faces – they appear 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 in regards to the characters and visuals?

Jay: I really like the characters. The loyal crew that struggle alongside Brother Nier will not be solely distinctive on a story degree, however in addition they carry quite a lot of nuance to fight. It’s virtually as when you can see their personalities actually come to life each time you enter a battle. So far, I’m an enormous Kaine fan as nicely. 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 additionally again the speak up with some actually superior magic and sword methods. 

When it involves the primary solid, the visuals rock, however I’m not as impressed after 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 carry up a superb 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 in order that they weren’t going to utterly redesign something, nevertheless it does bum me out that some components of the world didn’t get extra of a visible overhaul. It’s at all times difficult when updating a sport of how far to actually go, however including some extra element wouldn’t have damage. I’m completely happy the general solid at the very least seems higher, although.  

Before we go, I’d wish to carry up one final thing. How was it getting into the unique Nier as somebody who didn’t play it the primary time round? Did you get the dangle of issues shortly? Were there components that have been laborious to regulate to? Do you suppose individuals will discover this new model a cushty 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 regardless that I’ve solely skilled Automata, in a approach, enjoying Replicant seems like coming again house. Because of this, I feel I bought the gist of find out how to play in a short time. On a mechanical degree, Replicant is fairly simple to choose up and play, and that’s a superb factor! On-boarding occurs in a short time and you’ll leap proper into the motion with out exhaustive tutorials or an unforgiving studying curve. Of course, this isn’t to say that bosses and even among the Shade grunts that spawn within the open world received’t be tough!

Based on the various movies I’ve watched of the previous 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 (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 approach, now that you just’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 sport you 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 searching for 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 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 imagine I put up with a few of these design decisions!’ That will little question occur. I’m enjoying a sport that got here out over a decade in the past now, however I feel Toylogic did a superb job addressing among the obtrusive points the sport had with out altering its essence. I’m having a enjoyable trip going again by it, and I can’t wait to see how different individuals really feel after they play the brand new model.