Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 is simply a couple of weeks far from its April 23 release, and we got our hands on the upgraded variation of Yoko Taro’s cherished cult struck that began all of it. The initial video game introduced over a years back on PS3/Xbox 360, and now fans and newbies alike are getting the chance to play it with quality-of-life enhancements, such as changes to the gameplay and boosted visuals.

To see how this more recent variation is forming up, my coworker Jay and I both took it for a spin. Nier mesmerized me back when it came out in 2010, and Jay fell for Nier: Automata just recently, wondering about the entry that got the series began. We chose to discuss our various viewpoints and experiences playing Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139. Just like the video game, we had an interesting discussion about what the cult classic needs to provide in our modern-day times.

Kim: Let’s start with your impressions, Jay. In Nier, you’re simply transferred into this world with vicious Shades and sweet little Yonah to secure. What was it like entering the function of Brother Nier for the very first time?

Jay: Right from the dive, the stakes feel extremely high and the fight feels in some way tight and mad at the very same time. But even after slicing through that army of Shades throughout those opening seconds, there’s a much gentler story being informed. Automata’s 3 primary characters are engaging, however they are likewise incredibly scheduled and often even mentally removed from one another (specifically 2B and A2). In Replicant, you right away get the sense that Brother Nier would do anything for his little sibling. He’s soft-spoken, positive, and a little ignorant. And there’s something revitalizing about playing a character like that in a series that typically likes to rip hope far from its characters. 

Kim: Exactly! I was extremely connected to Father Nier and was fretted that Brother Nier would not have the very same influence on me, however I was extremely incorrect. The stakes still feel so high, and you quickly wish to secure Yonah. For those not in the understand, the initial Nier introduced with 2 variations in Japan – Gestalt and Replicant – each including a various primary character (Father or Brother) to play as. This is the very first time, we’re experiencing Replicant in the West, playing as the sibling. The just distinction I saw was I liked the small talk in between Father Nier and Grimoire Weiss a bit more; it simply felt more whimsical having this old person interact with a saucy talking book.

I will state, I’m happy just how much this video game still quickly hooks me. The predicament to conserve Yonah simply surpasses you, the world simply comes alive thanks to Keiichi Okabe’s wonderful music, and you feel this consistent agitation where you’re ricocheting in between hope and doubt if you can have a delighted ending. 

However, prior to we get more into the state of the world and characters, let’s go over fight. The total gameplay was the initial Nier’s rougher aspects. I understand designer Toylogic attempted to support a few of those weak points and make it feel closer to Automata. How do you feel about the fight up until now?

Jay: Honestly, I’ve been enjoying it for the a lot of part. Dodging and parrying feel on par with the high-speed animations in Automata. I simply feel extremely nimble when playing as Brother Nier, and although a great deal of the combinations simply originate from mashing 2 buttons, the fancy flourishes and pirouettes constantly look truly cool so that offsets the gameplay simpleness. As somebody who’s played the initial, do you believe the fight feels pleasing or do you still feel as if something is missing out on?

Kim: The fight is a huge enhancement over the initial. You didn’t have the lock-on button, which is a blessing here! The electronic camera still has some concerns, however whatever simply feels a lot much better. I like having the ability to utilize and charge magic while all at once carrying out routine attacks. The charged heavy attacks likewise feel more effective and fatal due to the fancy combination they produce. It is more like Automata, which is an advantage. It’s simplified, however the mix of magic, physical attacks, and dodging/blocking kept me on my toes, specifically in employer fights! This is still where the video game most shines.

We can just discuss a couple of managers due to embargo, however as I was playing, I was rapidly advised of how these fights impressed me a lot the very first time around. You never ever understand what to anticipate and you’re constantly challenged in various methods, whether it’s tossing bombs into a huge maker or targeting the ideal body part or enemy at suitable minutes. These encounters feel exciting and special even after all this time. I just love the enemy designs. Getting the bosses is the best part, but on the flip side, dungeons still are pretty bland and have you doing tedious tasks. They’re pretty linear without much variety. How’d you feel about the bosses and dungeons thus far?

Jay: I’m with you 100 percent, Kim. Boss battles feel like incredibly momentous sequences that usually require you to multitask in very entertaining ways. And when the smoke clears, it’s very easy to feel as if you’ve become a little more acclimated to your moveset and the controls in general. Then when you get to the next hulking boss, suddenly, the whole script has been flipped and you’ve got to adapt/react to an entirely new array of attacks. However, the dungeons (and most other environments, for that matter) leading up to these bosses aren’t visually stimulating at all. The gameworld is intentionally dreary and empty, but because of this, I don’t have as much fun getting around to different important locations. 

Kim: Yeah, if it wasn’t for Keiichi Okabe’s great music (I’m going to keep mentioning this), getting around the world would be even more of a slog, especially since there’s so many fetch quests in this game. That being said, even if the environments themselves aren’t anything to write home about, I feel like the characters and stories within the game are just so fascinating – and can be downright devastating. That’s what really makes Nier what it is – from seeing an old woman pine for another letter from her faraway lover, to being confronted with the harsh truth that people don’t always do good things. Even Weiss questions you constantly about being too nice and giving. 

Kaine still remains my favorite character. However, as I get older for different reasons. I feel like when I played this all those years ago, I connected to her being a hardass and holding her own on the battlefield and against Weiss in the insult department. As I get older, there’s a real sadness and vulnerability to her that I connect with. It was always there, but her story just gets to me on a more emotional level now. I will say, I am glad that the visuals were updated; it stands out to me most in the characters’ faces – they look better and more natural now. I think it helps in certain scenes, especially when things do get heavier. What about you, Jay? How do you feel about the characters and visuals?

Jay: I love the characters. The loyal crew that fight alongside Brother Nier are not only special on a narrative level, but they also bring a lot of nuance to combat. It’s almost as if you can see their personalities truly come to life every time you enter a battle. So far, I’m a huge Kaine fan as well. You can tell that she masks her insecurities and tragic past behind a harsh tone and reserved body language. But that’s not a front; she can also back the talk up with some really awesome magic and sword techniques. 

When it comes to the main cast, the visuals rock, but I’m not as impressed when I’m interacting with NPCs. There’s simply something a little deflating about talking to citizens that look same-y and sometimes have poorly rendered face textures, especially when the game expects you to care about their emotionally-charged problems. 

Kim: You definitely bring up a good point with the visuals. This was another weak point of the original, and while they did touch-up areas and fix some camera angles, the game still has a dated look to it. Some will find that endearing; others will see it as a little off-putting, like you mentioned with the NPCs. I know this isn’t a remake so they weren’t going to completely redesign anything, but it does bum me out that some parts of the world didn’t get more of a visual overhaul. It’s always tricky when updating a game of how far to really go, but adding some more detail wouldn’t have hurt. I am happy the overall cast at least looks better, though.  

Before we go, I’d like to bring up one last thing. How was it entering the original Nier as someone who didn’t play it the first time around? Did you get the hang of things quickly? Were there parts that were hard to adjust to? Do you think people will find this new version a comfortable way to play this classic?

Jay: First off, I’ll say this: I was so excited when Replicant was first announced and I’ve been waiting to hop into it for what feels like years. And even though I’ve only experienced Automata, in a way, playing Replicant feels like coming back home. Because of this, I think I got the gist of how to play very quickly. On a mechanical level, Replicant is pretty easy to pick up and play, and that’s a good thing! On-boarding happens very quickly and you can jump right into the action without exhaustive tutorials or an unforgiving learning curve. Of course, this isn’t to say that bosses and even some of the Shade grunts that spawn in the open world won’t be difficult!

Based on the many videos I’ve watched of the old game, there’s just no better way to experience the first Nier. The gameplay is polished and the flow of battle is easy to get used to. The performances are super solid (particularly Yonah and Kaine!). And, oh man, you’re totally right: Keiichi Okabe’s score is just *chef’s kiss.* Do you feel the same way, now that you’ve gotten the chance to feel out the differences between the two versions?

Kim: It’s always a little scary going back to a game you loved so much the first time you played it. I always swore by the first Nier. It was – and still is – rough around the edges, but there’s something so magical there. At the time it came out, I was looking for RPGs to tell more mature and meaningful stories, but I had no idea I’d get what I did with Nier. There are times when I’m playing it and I just smile, because it reminds me why I fell in enjoy with it in the first place. Other times, I’ll be like, ‘I can’t believe I put up with some of these design choices!’ That will no doubt happen. I’m playing a game that came out over a decade ago now, however I think Toylogic did a good job addressing some of the glaring issues the game had without changing its essence. I’m having a fun ride going back through it, and I can’t wait to see how other people feel when they play the brand-new variation.