Blank Pages Love Story: NieR Replicant Review

Imagine every video game is a book. Then Red Dead Redemption 2 is a five-volume almanac from different authors about several characters with detailed encyclopedic inserts about everything in the world: from animals to the structure of society. Hades is a book with variability, at the end you need to choose options for the development of events and go to any page. And NieR Replicant is a sweet 400-page fantasy with sharp turns, in which half of the pages are empty with one phrase: the main character is running. And I’m not exaggerating.

NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139 begins … quite intriguingly – the main character masters magic in 20 minutes, protecting his sister in a ruined city, destroying dozens of enemies and a boss. During this time, we are allowed to test the entire combat system of the title with dodges, defense, strikes and several spells. Shredding enemies is nice, from this side, NieR Replicant is a great slasher. Yes, the main character is not Dante from Devil May Cry, so no balancing act, but slashing enemies is fun, and this is the main thing.

Then the action is transferred one and a half thousand years ahead to a small village and the main game begins: the main character is tasked with saving his sister from a fatal disease and goes out into the open world. Here the first problems of the game begin to be revealed: too large and openly empty open spaces along with primitive additional quests.

I ran, I ran a lot, first in the village, then in different locations.

At first it doesn’t bother: well, we run and run, I walked everywhere on my own feet, in all games, and then you realize that nothing important happens between the runs. If in RDR 2 or Assassin’s Creed games while you are moving, you can hunt, climb a tower, find resources, then in NieR there is only movement.

All this is burdened by additional quests, as if escaped from an MMO of the early 2000s. During one of the first, you need to collect 10 pieces of lamb. To do this, you need to go to a huge meadow location and kill 10-20 lambs. This is a single player game in 2021. In another quest, you need to go to a neighboring city and buy an item, then turn it in. Everything! Quests in which you need to bring a parcel seem to be a special perversion, so much so that no one hits the hero. If they hit, then everything: either failure or load. Yes, that’s exactly what I wanted from the action.

I understand that Yoko Taro loves to mock players, but this is a mockery! At the same time, quests are almost unnecessary, and the game at a normal level of difficulty is played without them. These are fillers that should stretch the gameplay.

If I started about the frank disadvantages of the game, then it is impossible to remain silent and graphics, as well as the design of enemies. Yes, the original was released in 2010, and this is a really good remaster of the original Japanese version, but it looks weak against the background of other modern projects. All models, except for the main characters, want to inject polygons, and open spaces are an ode to desolation. Imagine a huge field and only a few enemies, most of which are very nondescript shadows. Are you sick of the robots in Marvel’s Avengers? You haven’t seen any shadows yet.

On the other hand, Square Enix did a great job on the models of the main characters – they all look modern graphically and do not find fault with them. Also, many may not like the faded picture of the title, but you get used to it very quickly. This is a hallmark of the series, but not everyone likes it.

However, all these races across locations become more fun with great music. As in other games in the NieR series, you can listen to it outside the game, but you rarely hear such pleasant compositions in any games.

Another positive side of NieR Replicant that can be forgiven for all the cons and endless races: the main characters. If your character is still difficult to call interesting, then Grimoire Weiss and Kaine are real gems of the game. Grimoire is a flying talking book that pretends to be a kind of smart guy, and Kaine is a half-naked girl who swears right and left. She literally sends three letters to the main character and Weiss several times. Their combination makes joint adventures very spicy. Grimoire constantly reminds that Kaine looks too frank, and she sends him to hell. Thanks to such dialogues, you get used to the characters, you begin to appreciate them, a bond and friendship is created between them. Who among us has never teased our friends? This is how these two heroes behave.

Yoko Taro uses a very sneaky trick – love.

The plot is also one of the strengths of the game. Yoko Taro uses a very sneaky trick – love. In the western version, at one time, there was a father instead of a brother – the localizers decided that this would be closer to the audience. In this case, we have a remaster of the original Japanese version, so that for the first time Western gamers see the game in the form in which Tarot intended. Here the brother must heal his sister and they have a nice relationship. For example, Yona doesn’t know how to cook, but he always eats her cooking.

It is because of love that you want to help the main character save his sister. In almost all major games, we take revenge or kill, but here we are fulfilling a noble goal. The hero and Yona, sisters, have a sweet, almost fabulous relationship, so the development of the plot can even squeeze a tear from especially impressionable players. But it is better to leave all the main turns without spoilers and survive on our own.

The other positive side is variety. NieR is not just a slasher, it is a real collection of genres. There are also sections that consist only of puzzles, and sometimes the camera changes and the game turns into a topdown shooter, thanks to the fact that, like the drone in Automata, Weiss can shoot red spheres. Bosses are also pleasing – each has an interesting approach, there is even a Tetris boss. They leave an overwhelmingly positive impression.

There is a whole village here, quests in which are text RPGs with riddles. They are simple, but after walking and destroying enemies, it seems like a breath of fresh air in a series of familiar gameplay. The game tries to amaze players all the time: with reviving bosses, plot twists and new abilities of the protagonist.

You don’t have time to get tired of the combat system either, and game designers are constantly slipping in new interesting mechanics: first, the Grimoire spells, and then new types of weapons. All this turns the main character into a real killing machine.

After all this, I could not understand for a very long time: why the game needs all these open spaces, unnecessary additional quests, running, which takes a good half of the gameplay, when it has such advantages. If NieR Replicant were a corridor slasher, it would go a lot more for her. A concentrate of vivid impressions, interesting puzzles, plot twists, extraordinary characters, unique bosses and a good slasher would not be spoiled by the water of an empty open world. As if someone deliberately decided to dilute the masterpiece dish with fresh ingredients. Perhaps there is some hidden meaning in all this. As in Automata, the repetition of constant actions was an allusion to Baudrillard’s simulacra, like the three passes of the game, so here the gray moments and empty spaces should emphasize a certain philosophical idea of ​​Yoko Taro that the bright looks better against the gray background.

Nier Automata or the tale of simulacra

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Unfortunately, games are a rather difficult medium for conveying any complex philosophical idea through gameplay, and not by the story itself. If the ideas of capitalism, socialism, libertarianism are quite easy to lay in the scenery and virtual conventions, then something deep, the questions of knowing oneself, religion, being, non-being, consciousness, and what is more important: mind or body, is much more difficult to convey through the game process. Automata is called the most philosophical game in the world, and many videos and articles have been released about its ideas. Replicant is the basis of everything that was in Automata, but Yoko Taro managed to convey this much better in the sequel. Yes, here again there are reflections on the topic of materialism and idealism, soul and body, whether the androids dream of electric sheep and so on, but this is not emphasized by the gameplay, which was very successfully done in the sequel. But, As with other forms of media, our perception of the game is highly subjective. Someone may see in NieR another statement on the topic of Cogito ergo sum, others will see only action with empty locations, others will like to cultivate the fields (yes, there is quite a bit of a farm simulator here), and still others will see deep social and psychological connotations in Kaine’s story perception of oneself in the world and assessment of oneself by society. There are many themes in the game, but which of them the author laid down consciously or unconsciously can be understood only after passing. and the fourth will see in the history of Kaine a deep social and psychological implication of the perception of oneself in the world and the assessment of oneself by society. There are many themes in the game, but which of them the author laid down consciously or unconsciously can be understood only after passing. and the fourth will see in the history of Kaine a deep social and psychological implication of the perception of oneself in the world and the assessment of oneself by society. There are many themes in the game, but which of them the author laid down consciously or unconsciously can be understood only after passing.

Yoko Taro himself said in an interview that NieR was created on the basis of the events of the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, when planes captured by terrorists rammed the towers of the World Trade Center. Then the world was seized by panic from the threats of terrorism. It even touched Japan. This can be seen in the interview below at 4:00.

He wanted to develop the idea that it is correct that you can kill someone when you know or believe that you are right. In the name of achieving the right goal. In his games, he tries to ask the question of what it is to kill and why you need to kill, but so far he has not found an answer. He himself considers games to be an ideal medium for answering such questions. Perhaps because it is in this format of entertainment that we have free will to kill or not to play.

80 Fun, Spicy & Epic Fan Art by Nier Replicant and Nier Automata

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Alas, it turned out what happened. With regard to Replicant, everyone will draw conclusions when they play the title themselves. The game has objective strengths and weaknesses. You can put up with an empty world and strange additional quests for the sake of bright moments – feel free to fight, but if you can’t stand outdated graphics and frank fillers, then it’s better to pass by. Nevertheless, there are almost no good representatives of the genre now, as well as half-naked partners in games, so you can ignore the cons and listen to Kaine’s funny debate with Grimoire Weiss. Moreover, the Yoko Taro games have one huge plus: you can hate them, but after a couple of days after passing, they leave behind a pleasant philosophical aftertaste.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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