Totally Rated: Nier Replicant upgrade, Horizon Zero Dawn goes free

Want to stay in the know when it comes to the best, and the worst, in tech and gaming? Then you're in the right place with this week's episode of Totally Rated. This time our friends at GamesRadar+, Tom's Guide, and TechRadar give us the lowdown on the upgraded Yoko Taro prequel, Nier Replicant, and tell us why we should download Horizon Zero Dawn for free this month (on PlayStation).

With upgraded graphics, tweaked combat, and re-recorded music, Nier Replicant is a new version of the under-appreciated 2010 action-adventure in which you play a young man searching for a cure for his ill sister, with the help of fun weapons, mystical magic, and a floating book. It's a more fantastical world than fans of its more popular sequel, Nier Automata, will be used to, but it remains a treat.

Replicant is well worth returning to if you played and loved Automata, or if you've never touched the series before. Rhys Wood from TechRadar says not only will it "definitely appeal to fans familiar with the original release" but also that its "improved visuals, combat, and music paired with Yoko Taro's signature storytelling present an ideal jumping-on point for newcomers."

While the new-and-improved prequel was awarded a favourable 4/5 stars by TechRadar, Tom's Guide gave it 3.5. Marshall Honorof argues that while the story is as enigmatic and refreshing as ever, "the game mechanics play it safe". He goes on to say that "the characters are delightful, but the level design isn't." We gave it a glowing 90% in our Nier Replicant review, sharing the view that the welcome improvements don't hinder the unique charm of the original version.

(Image credit: Guerrilla Games)

Meanwhile, there's great news for PS4 and PS5 owners this month: Horizon Zero Dawn is free to download until May 14 as part of Sony's Play at Home programme. That's right, if you redeem it before the deadline and you have a Sony box, you can bask in the open-world glory of one of the best games of the last decade for nothing. 

Originally releasing on PlayStation in 2017, Horizon tells the story of flame-haired heroine, Aloy, as she unravels the mysteries of a far-future world, reclaimed by nature and dominated by hostile machines. While the game has been available on PC since 2020, unfortunately the promotion doesn't extend to us.

However, if you take advantage of the free download on PS4 or PS5, you'll be treated to "an endless sense of wonder and awe," according to GamesRadar. It'll also help you "get ready for the sequel, Horizon Forbidden West, which should be out later this year." Here's hoping that counts for PC, too.

Nick Pino says Horizon is "an absolute must-play" and "one of the best games of the last generation." Not bad for a freebie.

You can find new episodes of Totally Rated across Future's websites every Thursday.

Harry Shepherd

UK — After collecting and devouring piles of print gaming guides in his younger days, Harry has been creating 21st century versions for the past five years as Guides Writer at PCGamesN and Guides Editor at PC Gamer. He has also produced features, reviews, and even more guides for Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and Top Ten Reviews. He's been playing and picking apart PC games for over two decades, from hazy memories of what was probably a Snake knock-off on his first rig when he was seven to producing informative guides on football simulators, open-world role-playing games, and shooters today. So many by now he steadfastly refuses to convey information unless it’s in clickable online form.