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    NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139, the epic of love according to Yoko Taro

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    Philippe Gloaguen
    @philippegloaguen

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    The first NieR has always been known for being an extremely controversial title. Released in Japan in 2010 under the title of NieR Replicant, the work directed by Yoko Taro has made a large group of gamers fall in love. The elaborate plot, the unforgettable characters and the profound themes dealt with immediately made their way into the hearts of fans of role-playing games with a strong action mold.

    At the same time, however, the undeniable technical limitations and some problems related to the gameplay prevented the first chapter of this series from being welcomed unanimously.



    The publication of NieR Replicant was particular right from the start, given that Japanese users in possession of Xbox 360 found themselves on the hands NieR shape, a product very similar to the one released on PlayStation 3, but with a different protagonist. This second version was then exported from Japan, reaching players from all over the world, who are inevitably linked to the figure of the second protagonist.

    In 2017 NieR: Automata lands on the shelves, a follow-up to that seven-year-old Replicant that, thanks to the skilled hands of PlatinumGames, allowed the series to shine like never before. In the wake of this success we can finally contextualize NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 (which from now on, for convenience, we will call without the long number at the end of the title).

    Using directly the words of the Creative Director Yoko Taro, this new edition of NieR Replicant is an "improved version" of the original work, containing the base title and numerous unpublished additions. Additions that serve to better contextualize the story within the narrative fresco of the saga and that fix all those playful problems encountered ten years ago. It is therefore not a remake like the one made for Final Fantasy VII, but not even a "simple" remastered. It is a work that, mindful of the past, looks towards the future. An experiment that, if you have not already run to read the vote at the bottom of the review, we anticipate to be extremely successful.



    THE GRAPHICS CHANGE, THE EMOTIONS REMAIN THE SAME

    Talking about the plot of NieR Replicant without risking entering the dangerous "spoiler zone" is extremely difficult, but we promise that we will avoid any anticipation. The protagonist of the game is a boy whose name we will decide and who, together with his little sister Yonah, lives in a harsh post-apocalyptic Earth. Forced to survive the many threats in the world, our hero must find a way to save his sister from a mysterious disease known as Obituary. This mission will lead the protagonist to live an amazing adventure in which he will meet bizarre characters such as the magic book Grimoire Weiss, the ferocious warrior Kainé and the young man Emil.

    Filed the necessary summary useful to understand the basics of the story (which we leave you the pleasure of discovering) we can finally focus on the main value of the game: the narration. Ten years later NieR Replicant turns out to be once again a courageous, profound and engaging work. The patina of a classic fantasy tale is slowly scratched off the surface, revealing a dramatic story with philosophical implications. Most of the secondary characters that we will meet in the course of our quest will know how to creep under our skin, to cling to our heart and never let us go.

    Whether you played the original title in 2010 or this is your first time with NieR Replicant, you can't help but fall in love with Kainé or love little Emil. Despite the absence of a real name, the protagonist of the story is not a silent hero like Link, allowing us both to identify with his figure and to empathize with his psychology.


    As if that weren't enough, beyond damn charismatic characters, the game's script also hides a lot more than it appears at first glance. The story features breathtaking twists and turns and maintains a truly commendable pace throughout its duration. As NieR: Automata has taught numerous gamers, even in this case it is not enough to complete the title once in order to fully appreciate the narration of the events. NieR Replicant boasts five finals, one of which is exclusive to this new edition. Once the adventure has been completed, then it is time to roll up your sleeves to discover all the details of a truly exemplary game world construction.


    Just like the 2010 chapter and its 2017 sequel, Nier Replicant is a product that risks leading to the elitism of its audience. People convinced that they have to play every single run in order to even appreciate the game story are waiting around every corner of the web. The truth is that NieR Replicant can be enjoyed in different ways and with different degrees of depth. The more dedicated to the lore will have fun sifting through every single element of the work developed by Toylogic, while those looking for a product to enjoy without too many thoughts will still be satisfied with one or two game runs. Seeing is believing.

    AT SCHOOL FROM PLATINUMGAMES

    As mentioned in the opening phase of the review, NieR Replicant has undergone heavy changes also from a playful point of view. The Square Enix production presents itself as an action RPG set in a dark and dangerous world. The protagonist will have different types of weapons and spells available to face the Shadows that stretch over loved ones. Unlike in the past, however, this time we find an extremely smoother view, a more precise camera and a revisited combat system to resemble the much praised NieR: Automata by PlatinumGames.


    Here, circling between different opponents, parrying at the last to launch a counterattack or quickly bypassing them with a dodge, quickly becomes intuitive and rewarding. All game controls are easily memorized and manage to blend perfectly with the player's hand and mind, enticing the user to take full advantage of the fighting style from the very first minutes of the game. Although not too incisive, there are also elements close to the language of role-playing games. The protagonist can indeed upgrade weapons and use special items to improve your stats. Nothing extremely complex, but still able to give greater depth to the gameplay.


    NieR Replicant has nearly 70 side missions, with unfortunately fluctuating quality. We move from thrilling and adrenaline-pumping quests to more repetitive and less inspired ones. Nothing surprising, given that we are still talking about a title released ten years ago, characterized by a videogame language in some ways still immature. Let's explain ourselves better: if some missions allow us to experiment new experiences also on a playful level with very interesting ideas, it happens that we have to spend hours to catch different types of fish or run from one side of the map to the other to start a mission, deliver the object in question to the sender and then return to the customer to communicate our success. This is not something that is particularly annoying, but we are sure it could put a strain on those who have become accustomed to the best open worlds in recent years.

    A huge applause, however, to the variety of the main missions, among which stands out an unpublished adventure lasting a couple of hours and which is perfectly inserted in the continuity of the game. During the long adventure (it takes at least twenty hours to see the first credits) you will happen to experience different types of games, ranging from simple action to much more bizarre structures. Obviously we are not going to spoil the surprise, but know that Yoko Taro has already amazed their 2010 audience, but we are sure that many of you will be blown away even today by the crazy ideas of the Creative Director.

    We also invite you to pay attention to the myriad of videogame quotes scattered throughout the game. Quotes that borrow elements from titles like Resident Evil and The Legend of Zelda to contextualize them in the crazy world of NieR. A simply brilliant move and overflowing with charisma.

    OUTSIDE THE OLD AND INSIDE THE NEW

    From a purely technical point of view, this new NieR Replicant can undoubtedly be called a success. If the 2010 version ran at 720p and 30fps, this new edition reaches the 4K and 60fps stable on both PlayStation 4 Pro and PlayStation 5. The polygonal models of the environments and characters were then reconstructed, also modifying the color palette to make the title closer to the often mentioned NieR: Automata. The improvement of the lighting system and a series of tricks on the particles allow the title not to disfigure compared to the sequel released seven years later. Let me be clear: we are still faced with a title that is far from the highest current standards, but which does not lend itself to particular problems. After all, we can all resist some grainy textures and some bare environments, but if the game remains enjoyable to look at and stable to play for its entire duration, it can only be said to be very successful.

    Masterful, monstrous and impressive the sound sector, composed by Keiichi Okabe and his team. The musicians went back to the opera to re-record the soundtrack and expand it with some really exciting new pieces. Impossible not to be amazed in front of some musical tracks, which will leave you dismayed in front of their emotional power. Little extra information: if you are an Automata fan you can't help but love some goodies placed by the devs within the game. The dubbing is also excellent, which sees the return of the original voice actors for the characters players grew fond of a decade ago. The title is playable with both English and Japanese audio, boasting a splendid cast in both cases.

    USEFUL INFO

    We played NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 on PlayStation 5, then testing its stability also on PlayStation 4 Pro, thanks to a code sent to us by Koch Media Italia.

    Duration
    • NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 can be completed in about 20/25 hours, but the longevity can change substantially based on the number of secondary missions that we decide to complete.
    • In order to discover every single background of the plot, however, it is necessary to complete the title several times. The endings are five and all add more or less important elements on the game world and on the characters we will meet during the adventure.
    Structure
    • NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 is an action RPG characterized by a world divided into macro areas.
    • Although the action component is prevalent within the production, the game occasionally puts us in front of different play types. Of course we leave you the pleasure of discovering them for yourself.
    Collectibles and Extras
    • There are 33 weapons to unlock in NieR Replicant. To unlock some endings it is necessary to get them all, so we can consider them as a sort of collectible to be recovered.
    • The game boasts nearly 70 side missions, including the now classic Japanese fishing minigame.
    Game Card
    • Game Name: Nier replicant
    • Release date: April 23 2021
    • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
    • Dubbing language: English
    • Texts language: Italian

    By now you will have understood: NieR Replicant is a game that we have loved to madness. The work developed by Toylogic still has some uncertainties related to the original work of 2010, but easily manages to overcome any obstacle to get straight to the player. An impressive, profound work, emotionally engaging and able to tell the importance of personal affections, of life and death like few other works. NieR Replicant is not the disposable love we are sometimes used to nowadays, but it is that passion that burns in our hearts until it hurts.

    Up to extinguish ourselves with it, in order not to lose even for a second in its company. Yoko Taro has finally had the opportunity to give life to those ideas that due to budget and / or technical limitations she could not fully communicate ten years ago. Now she is up to us to receive this message and spread it to as many people as possible.

    Review by Luca Mazzocco
    Graphics

    NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 is a title that graphically shows the side to the passage of time and some problems, but is still extremely enjoyable to see. The inspired art sector and a stable fluidity at 60 frames per second allows the Toylogic title to aesthetically rival the much appreciated NieR: Automata.

    81
    SOUNDTRACK AND DOUBLE ROOM

    Just like in the original work, also in this new edition of NieR Replicant we are faced with a majestic and unforgettable soundtrack. A riot of genres and sounds able to accompany us on an epic and unforgettable journey. Simply to take your breath away.

    95
    GAMEPLAY

    Forget all the woodiness of the 2010 title. NieR Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 is a playfully new and perfectly balanced game. The numerous improvements to the camera and the new features such as the ability to lock the frame on enemies have been good for the Square Enix production, which is damn fun from the first minutes of the game. There are some ingenuities in the management of secondary missions, but since it was a work belonging to two generations of games ago, it was a simply unavoidable "flaw".

    86
    Total Rating scale
    87
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