In the not-so-distant year of 2053, a young boy huddles in the ruins of a supermarket clutching a metal pipe. It’s summertime, at least by the old calendar’s reckoning, but snowflakes whip through the abandoned city streets. Shadowy figures approach, and the boy can think only of protecting his ailing younger sister. An ominous book lies on the floor nearby, tempting him with the power to take on any foe.
So begins Neir Replicant ver.1.22474487139…, a modernised “version upgrade” of the original, 2010 Japanese release of Nier. Like its sequel Nier: Automata, Replicant tells an earnest story that unfolds across a variety of genres, switching from character action, to platforming, to bullet hell, to text over an empty background. This new edition features a welcome refresh of the original’s primitive PS3 visuals, updated combat, new voice acting by the original cast, and a polished script. But the PC port? Not so fresh.
After the gloomy prologue, Replicant leaps forward 1,400 years to what appears to be a simpler and more idyllic time. Again, we’re introduced to a boy who is worried about his younger sister, who is sick with a mysterious illness. Finding a cure for her disease sets you on a path that winds through ancient shrines, a desert city carved from stone, a magical forest, and an underground military weapons factory, just to name a few.
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