NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… might have a complicated title, but the analysis of its quality seems to be quite simple: It’s really good!
An upgraded, updated, remastered version of the original 2010 action-RPG cult hit, NieR, NieR Replicant and then a bunch of numbers dropped on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC April 23, 2021, giving players old and new the opportunity to jump into the world’s post-apocalyptic future gone wrong, and interact with all kinds of mind-bending monsters, making morally gripping choices along the way.
And if you’re looking for a solid entry point in the complicated history of the NieR franchise, Collider’s own Dave Trumbore calls this the place to begin: “The good news for newcomers who might feel overwhelmed by the weight of NieR‘s nearly 20 years (like yours truly) is that this game acts perfectly well as a standalone title and will offer you dozens of hours of entertainment. Its dynamic combat, compelling characters, and unforgettable story remain as good as the original if not better across the board thanks to a modern polish.” However, Trumbore goes on to explore how the game plays for longtime players, saying that it “gives back as much as fans have given the franchise over the years.” He gives the title a B+, noting some minor missteps along the way, including in some shallow LGBTQIA+ representation.
Just about every other outlet praises the game on the same level as Trumbore, if not higher. TheGamer gives the title a perfect 5/5 score, diving into director “Yoko Taro’s unconventional storytelling” and all the emotional strengths therein. Similarly, Noisy Pixel‘s 10/10 score posits the game has “indescribable emotion” and warns that the game will move you to tears. Twinfinite didn’t quite give it a perfect score, going for a 4.5/5, but heaped praise upon its emotions and experiments, while criticizing some of its still-clunky fetch quests and dungeons. Destructoid‘s 8.5/10 review explained that “while [the fetch quests are] mostly relegated to the side mission variety, it does occasionally bleed over into the critical campaign path,” ultimately concluding that they’d like to see Taro continue making “these weird masterpieces.”
Game Informer‘s 8.25/10 review warned folks who’ve played other titles of the franchise might not find much to love, but returning fans and newbies will be happy: “Nier Replicant might not convert players that were turned off by the original or Automata, but there are more than enough quality-of-life updates and story-centric nuances to keep longtime fans and new initiates coming back for subsequent playthroughs.” In Game Rant‘s 4/5 review, it’s asserted that players will be “entertained for many hours, as the story, combat, and characters outweigh the boredom of Replicant’s sometimes repetitive gameplay.” IGN‘s 8/10 review dives deeper into the grinding elements of the game, assuring players to “push through it and get to what’s truly excellent about Nier Replicant: its story and characters, both of which are still among the strongest I’ve seen in the genre.” Gamespot, also giving an eight out of 10, puts this idea concisely: “This game tests your patience but the payoff is immense.”
Are any critics completely against NieR Replicant? The closest we could find came from Video Gamer‘s 6/10 score. The piece asks a blunt question: “Why, then, should you bother with this new version of Nier Replicant? Well, Taro’s approach is of a restless rarity; he swaps genres as though trying to scratch an itch, refracting a stream of styles through the prism of his memory.” And while the review finds some of these experimental, postmodern walk down video game memory lane interesting, it ultimately poo-poo’s what most people love about the title: Its story, “which at one point asks us to treat seriously a scene in which two books argue with each other while hanging in a paper-white void—talk about lacking dramatic spine.”
Finally, in a more measured, but ultimately positive review, the Washington Post remarked on the general audacity of the unorthodox title, comparing it to “an ambitious pop album… Nier Replicant dabbles in several genres, whether it’s an isometric Diablo dungeon crawler or a text adventure that takes up to an hour to finish reading. It isn’t always coherent, but it’s still the same artist, the same tools and within the same work of art. It will shift tones, sometimes satirizing video game tropes, and sometimes drawing on them for inspiration.”
Ultimately, if you’re ready to upload your emotional consciousness into a strange, rewarding, unique, and only sometimes clunky video game experience, it sounds like NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… is what you’re looking for. The game is on PC, PS4, and Xbox One now.
So many shows, so little time.
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