With its scintillating story and strong action-RPG gameplay, Nier: Automata's 2017 release earned an extremely positive reception, making game director Yoko Taro a household name. Andy Kelly called it "effortlessly stylish and utterly unpredictable in his Nier: Automata review. However, this was far from Taro's first game. Automata wasn't even the first Nier game in the series, but a sequel to a lesser-known, console-exclusive game that's now getting an upgrade in Nier: Replicant ver.1.22474487139.
So, is it a good starting point for players that haven't played Automata yet? What should Automata fans know about the prequel. For all that and more, here's everything you need to know about Nier Replicant.
What is Nier Replicant?
Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139 is a remake of the original Nier which released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. But if you played the version that released in the West, you might notice something of an age difference in Replicant's protagonist.
This is because there are two original versions of Nier. Nier Gestalt was the version released in the West with the older protagonist, Yonah's father—lovingly nicknamed 'Papa Nier' by the community. Nier Replicant only released in Japan, featuring Yonah's brother who's seen as the canonical protagonist. Japan got both versions of the game (one for each console) but other than the protagonist's age and their relationship to Yonah, there are no other differences between the two games.
The original Nier was developed by Cavia, not PlatinumGames (although both were directed by Yoko Taro), but Automata fans should expect similar gameplay from Replicant. That's because developer Toylogic has tweaked Replicant's combat to bring it closer to Automata's style, on top of the visual upgrade, fully-voiced dialogue and new music from the original cast and composer.
Nier Replicant offers a more fantastical world than that of Automata, but you'll still be able to use a variety of weapons with which to strike down foes. Your floating-book-companion, Weiss, also gives you access to magic and various additional skills. Occasionally, the game changes perspective to resemble a 2D shoot-em-up (among other distinctive sections), but most of the time, you'll be cutting down demonic Shades in typical ARPG fashion.
Nier Replicant release date: When is it coming out?
You won't have long to wait before diving back into the Nier universe: Nier Replicant releases on April 23, 2021.
Should you play Nier Replicant before Automata?
While it's nearly impossible to explain the connection without spoiling both games, there are some recurring characters and nods to Replicant in Automata. That said, you do not need to play one to enjoy the other. If you need a recommended order, though, I'd ideally start with Replicant: this will give aspects of Automata's story a touch more impact.
It's also worth noting that Nier Replicant has a link with Yoko Taro's other major series, Drakengard. It is really faint and you wouldn't know it unless you dig deep into the lore of both series, so bonus points if you recognise it while playing through Replicant.
Does Replicant have multiple endings?
Yes, and just like Nier: Automata, it will take three playthroughs to see them all. But if you played Automata, you can rest easy knowing that you won't need to plan your playthroughs to see another 26 possible conclusions: Replicant only has four.
Nier Replicant tips: How to get started in the prequel
When you start Nier Replicant, here are a few tips to get you started:
- If full screen mode gives you graphical glitches (my screen was shaking when I activated it for some reason), use borderless window mode instead for the same effect.
- Save often at mailboxes around the game world: Nier Replicant does not save automatically.
- Start collecting weapons as soon as you're able. To unlock the final set of endings, you'll need all the weapons.
- Do the side stories. Not only are they well-written and help flesh out the world, but they give great rewards, such as new weapons.
- Characters with side stories or other important things to say will have bubbles above their heads. There's no need to talk to everyone to see everything.
- There's a point of no return about halfway through the game. Make sure you have everything done that you want to before you head into the manor. If you want to 100 percent the game, that means all the side stories unlocked before that point need to be completed.
- You don't, however, need to do every side story to see all the endings. Just don't skip ones that reward a weapon.
So, what do all those numbers actually mean?
Well, Yoko Taro does what he wants, and if you ask him you probably wouldn't get an actual answer. There are plenty of, um, interesting Reddit threads about what the numbers mean, but the most convincing theory is that 1.22474487139… is the square root of 1.5, which implies that this isn't quite a full remake or something to that effect.
Or it could just be that Taro liked how it looked. You never know with him.