Let me just start by stating the obvious. I am SUPER pumped to get my hands on NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139. I was one of the approximately 4 people in the world who seemed to play the original title back in 2010. After the staggering success of NieR: Automata, it has given the developers a chance to revisit the original and inject some much-needed love into the title. I can not wait to see this game in the hands of a much wider audience.
Let me continue by stating the next obvious point. Nobody will be referring to this game by its full title. There is most likely bizarre reasoning behind the title. One that will likely be revealed after release. This isn't being described as a remake or remaster. Instead, it is a “version up” to the original release. Which to me, suggests that there is going to be added content. And who could possibly say no to that? Keeping the game fresh for those who played the original is a smart move.
NieR Replicant is a retelling of the original Replicant game that was only released in the east. The game we got in the west featured a different protagonist by the name of Nier. Nier had completely different characteristics than that of the protagonist of his eastern counterpart. If the character of Nier has been expunged from the canon, I would be disappointed. Especially considering it is the main name of the games. But perhaps they will allow a character selection that they have yet to reveal, or at the very least give that character a story and some screen time. Fingers crossed.
Yousuke Saito, the series producer has managed to get a chunk of the original developers back on board for the ‘version up’ and has managed to get almost all the original voice actors back on board to reprise their roles. The original game featured a heavy amount of un-voiced dialogue, a common trope of the gaming generation at the time. However, the ‘version up’ features fully voiced dialogue. The voice actors for 2B and 9S from NieR: Automata are also rumoured to be involved. Thus giving notions of some extended story content to help bridge the gap between the titles.
I have to say, my absolute favourite voice actor of all time is reprising his role as Grimoire Weiss. A cursed, sentient book that acts as your long-distance weapon. Liam O’Brien is absolutely superb. You may recognise him as Asura from Asura’s Wrath (another game in desperate need of a remake), War from Darksiders, Gaara from Naruto etc etc etc. I love him. I hope he has received all my love letters.
Fans who loved Automata will see some familiar faces in Nier Replicant. Devola, Popola and Emil’s stories will each make more sense to you after playing this retelling. Keeping in mind that Nier Replicant is set thousands of years before the events of Automata. Do not be under the impression that this game is anything but a prequel.
The story is a lot more humbling than that of Automata’s. The protagonist is in search of a cure for a fatal disease that has been stricken upon his dying sister. In the original western version, it was the protagonist’s daughter instead. I am very much so excited to get back into the original story, as, just like in Automata, there are several different endings to discover. You need to start the game again in a new game + a few times to experience the whole game’s story. This is something I never realised 10 years ago. This will be the perfect opportunity for me to atone for such heinous crimes.
The game is, of course, getting a visual overhaul, with an auditory remixing. With full dialogue voicing, additional scenarios, extended lore in the form of weapon stories and with the rumoured voice actors of 2B and 9S, we may get to see their origin story. They are already well-established characters in Automata. This would be an interesting development indeed. It would certainly help the two games feel more connected, especially considering in this game you are not fighting robots as androids but fighting shades as humans.
The fighting style is also being overhauled in favour of the style of Automata. As a fan of both games, I am happy that this was the decision that was made. As I enjoyed the old system, it is of course dated. Also, it makes more sense considering for most players, this will be a purchase based on their time with Automata. A unified combat system will also go a long way in unifying these games as a continuation of each other. And make it easier to implement into a final sequel. Please? My wallet is open for when the time comes.
I am overjoyed that a lot of companies are learning to give us more when it comes to remakes and remasters. There is nothing quite like the sting of buying a game for a second or third time on a different gaming generation, to simply find that nothing is different.
Nier Replicant looks to be following the right waves and is aiming to deliver an updated experience to one of my most beloved gaming gems of all time. Expect me to disappear for a while when this game drops. I am looking forward to this game SO much, that I have booked annual leave just to play it.
Keep an eye on this game. I think it is one that many people will enjoy. And hopefully, you give this version of it a try!