Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139… (yes, that's it's full name) is not a game you should go into completely blind. There's tons of stuff that it never tells you about and some of those hidden secrets, like multiple endings, are easy to miss unless you're a total completionist. Replicant also has a bad habit of asking you to fetch certain items necessary for quests but giving you no idea where those damn things can actually be found. It can be a little maddening without a guide.
Fortunately I've made all these mistakes so you don't have to. Here you'll find some tips I wish I knew before starting that will make this dark and twisted adventure much more enjoyable.
There is a point of no return in the story
Straight away you need to understand that Nier Replicant is a game divided into two parts and once you move onto Part 2 there is no going back unless you start a brand new save. After you beat the game for the first time and start over (there are multiple endings, which I'll get into in a second), you'll always start from Part 2.
This is important for a few reasons: Once you start Part 2, all the quests from Part 1 can't be completed and any weapons you haven't already collected will disappear from the world. Quests are an important source of gold, fun side stories, and can unlock some pretty major features like fishing and gardening (though there are ways to unlock them later at a cost). Meanwhile, collecting all 33 weapons in the game is necessary to experience each of Nier Replicant's multiple endings. (See the next section for more on this.)
What's frustrating, however, is that Nier Replicant's narrative point of no return can sneak up on you if you aren't careful. There's not a lot of indication that you're about to head into Part 2, so keep an eye out for when the main story requires you to collect Vapor Moss. That's your clue that there will soon be no turning back.
Collect every weapon to unlock every ending
Like the 2017 sequel Automata, Replicant has multiple endings. Unlike Automata, however, you can't easily unlock them all just by playing through each one. Three of these endings, named C, D, and E require you to collect all 33 weapons in the game.
Nine weapons are found in Part 1, and if you fail to collect even just one of them, you'll have to start a new save file if you want to see endings C, D, and E.
The good news is these nine weapons (including the sword you start with) are easy to find or can be bought from merchants. Here's the nine weapons you need and where to find them:
- Nameless Blade - Your starting weapon
- Beastbain - Sold by the Blacksmith in the Village for 16,800 gold
- Lily-Leaf Sword - Sold by the Blacksmith in the Village for 2,400 gold
- Nirvana Dagger - Found in the Lost Shrine on the second floor in a crate
- Moonrise - Help the guard being attacked in the Southern Plains
- Earth Wyrm's Caw - Bought from the Blacksmith in Facade for 8,400 gold
- Blade of Treachery - Found in a crate in Emil's Mansion right before the boss
- Rebirth - Earned from a story quest (you can't miss it)
- Faith - Earned from a story quest (you can't miss it)
Most quests are boring but do them anyway
You're going to need a lot of gold to buy all those weapons (there's even more in Part 2). And if that doesn't empty your wallet, buying materials for upgrading them certainly will. Fortunately, there's a really easy way to make money in Nier Replicant: Do everyone's dirty work.
Throughout the world you'll find lots of characters offering side quests that all pay loads of cash. The problem? They're all pretty simple and a few require lots of grinding to get the materials you need to complete them. Do them anyway.
I find the mundane nature of Nier Replicant's side quests to actually be pretty charming. Lots of these quests have small stories tied to them that help paint in crucial details about the world of Nier, and some of them are tragic little vignettes of the people who still live there. A few, especially in Part 1, are also necessary to unlock the gardening system, where you can grow crops to make loads of cash later on, or level up your fishing skill. At the very worst though, these quests will shower you with gold that you'll be hard-pressed to get elsewhere.
If you're stuck needing a specific item for a quest and have no clue where to get it from (this is especially true for the fishing quests), the Nier wiki is a great resource. Use it.
Turn on auto battle mode when grinding
Nier Replicant's auto battle mode is incredible. It basically hands the controls over to an AI who fights for you and while that might seem kinda lame, you should do it just once to see how epic it is. With the AI in the driver's seat, your character will dodge and block with impeccable timing, rack up inhuman combos, and fire off your full arsenal of spells. You just get to sit back and watch the absolute carnage.
It's cool as hell, but I still prefer being the one doing all the button mashing most of the time. Where the auto battle mode becomes so handy is when you're grinding for materials or rare quest items that'll require you to fight the same enemies a dozen or so times. Just flip the mode on (it's in the options menu), head into the field, and let the AI do everything. You can go make a sandwich or check your phone, but you're better off watching the spectacle because the AI turns every fight into a high-octane showdown.
There's a way to assign all your Words in one go
One of Nier Replicant's systems that hasn't aged all that well is its Words, which are like magic add-ons you can assign to weapons and spells to augment them. It sounds cool on paper, but there's not that many exciting Words to find. Most are just upgrades with marginal stat increases to damage. Regardless, each time you get a new Word that's an improvement over one you're currently using, you'll want to assign it. That process might seem extremely tedious when you have a dozen weapons and spells that need updating, but there's a quick way to do it all in one go.
I point this out because it took me, like, 20 hours before I realized it. Don't be like me. Go to the Word Edit menu and instead of sorting by all, choose one of the categories like weapons. Move the selection cursor to the far right (or click the weapon's name) and you can open a drop-down menu with a couple of useful options. One will have the game automatically choose the best Words to assign for that particular item, while the "batch assign" option will then take that combo and apply it to all items in that specific category. This way, you can assign all your weapons (or spells) the same Words at once.
Smaller tidbits of Nier Replicant wisdom
- Local merchants sell maps of nearby areas, so be sure to pick them up so you don't get lost in certain zones.
- Don't sell anything unless you have no room in your inventory for it. Everything in Nier Replicant has a purpose (usually for quests) and some items are pretty rare. If you do get 99 of a certain item, I'd only sell about half of that. You can earn plenty of gold from doing sidequests anyway.
- Read the tutorials. No, seriously. You unlock a bunch of them as you play and a few explain some incredibly useful features like how to sidestep enemies and get behind them in one fluid motion.
- Gardening isn't mandatory but it's fun, you'll need some veggies for certain quests, and you can make some money selling leftover produce. Just know that plants grow in real time and will die from neglect so don't plant anything if you can't play in the next 24 hours.
- Dark Execution is an amazing spell that'll knock enemies down after it finishes, opening them up for a quick one-hit execution (using the interact button, not the attack button).