Degradation of the Soul

Unpleasant truths laid bare.

Truths that betray the motivations of those who inhabit this mouldering world, and suggest that events are not always what you’ve perceived them to be. That encourage you to question the role that the protagonist has in this. And to consider whether what they’ve done is truly for the betterment of the world around them. NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… is an exhilarating narrative-driven JRPG in which you embark on a journey through a sprawling post-apocalyptic world to recover the ancient Sealed Verses, and to save those most dear to you.

Ambitious as that may be.

It’s an experience that remains wholly captivating throughout, and that constantly challenges you to alter your perspective on events as they unfold. With each successive ending affording even greater insight into details that have intentionally been left ambiguous prior to that point.

There are five different endings, each with its own requirements and each introducing something new on subsequent attempts. Of those, the fourth and fifth are arguably the most significant, as they fundamentally affect the progress that you’ve made thus far. But the first also has significance due to establishing a rather unusual mechanic. One that is steadily built upon with each ending thereafter. And one that directly contradicts the strongest beliefs held by the protagonist, while simultaneously providing further clarification as to the motivations of the main antagonist. Something that is as bold as it is satisfying. Mechanics as subtle (and as creative) as these are rare, but they contribute to the experience in unexpected ways and serve to make it a memorable one.

It was rare for the main campaign feel uninspired or monotonous, but The World Of The Recycled Vessel, a relatively lacklustre post-completion DLC, definitely did. Unfortunately, it eventually became necessary to visit this hellish domain, as only through it can you acquire the final three weapons and (more importantly) witness every ending. I didn’t really enjoy its gruelling gauntlet, nor did I feel that it contributed to this experience in any meaningful way. So it’s unlikely that I’ll revisit its content again. Even to farm rare items that are otherwise unobtainable.

I’d prefer to forgo its thoughtless busywork.

Having completed NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… in its entirety on Hard difficulty, I was pleasantly surprised by how consistent the challenges were. Having to utilise various strategies to overcome the toughest opposition complemented the calculated combat perfectly.

I rarely felt overpowered, nor could I ever mindlessly mash buttons to dispense with trifling encounters. I thought that once I’d collected the Sealed Verses, assigned numerous Words, and fully upgraded different weapons that I’d be able to. But I was never able to. Which is a testament to the efficacy and complexity of the combat mechanics, as I had to carefully consider how best to defeat each variant of Shade. Hence why I highly recommend NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… to those seeking an unforgettable adventure through an unusual series of events, as this truly has been a one-of-a-kind experience that I won’t soon forget. I have nothing but the highest praise for its countless successes, but to write fervently about its narrative would only spoil it for those who have yet to experience it for themselves.

Have a nice weekend, all!


The Fisherman of Legend

Beasts beneath the shifting sands.

What began as a quest to catch a humble Shaman Fish soon became an obsession, as each fish requested by the ageing fisherman was rarer than the last. I’d normally avoid fishing like the Black Scrawl. But this was a surprisingly satisfying process of discovering where best to catch certain fish, which bait to use, and then tirelessly fighting for supremacy. It was certainly more engaging than revisiting The Aerie for the hundredth time seeking Eagle Eggs. But such is what I must do to satiate my compulsive (and somewhat concerning) desire to collect things.

Such desires only lead to ruination.

Or suffering through content that isn’t particularly fun to acquire things that I’m unlikely to ever actually use, as best describes the time that I spent with The World Of The Recycled Vessel. Even if the acquisition of those weapons was beneficial as it unlocked the third and fourth endings.

Not that I’d ever suggest that The World Of The Recycled Vessel is indicative of the quality of the content in NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…, as it’s a relatively uninspired experience that barely contributes to the main campaign. Were it not for the weapons obtained there, and their importance in unlocking a further two endings, it could be entirely dismissed, as it only seems to serve as a means to acquire experience and rare items otherwise. It’s also a slog on the highest difficulty. The toughest enemies are easily capable of instantly defeating you, and their heightened statistics render your weapons largely ineffective. Even when they’re fully upgraded. These frustrations did lead to discovering creative uses for the Sealed Verses, though. As it quickly became tiresome whittling away at nearly impervious opposition.

Truer words have rarely been spoken.

I’ve enjoyed the combat besides that, though. There are various kinds of Shades to encounter, and each presents its own challenges and requires its own approach. Knowing how to chain together basic attacks, how to capitalise on opportunities with the Sealed Verses, and even which types of weapons are favourable
is crucial. Especially during boss encounters, as they often regenerate some of their health should you fail to reach the next phase in time. Healing items are also fairly limited. So you won’t be able to endlessly heal through damage taken.

You’ll need to carefully consider encounters.

Defeating hordes of Shades results (as expected) in the acquisition of experience points and innumerable items, while some encounters also (rarely) unlock new Words. You can apply these to both your weapons
and the Sealed Verses to alter their capabilities in numerous ways.

I’ve been anticipating the release of NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… since last year, and it has vastly exceeded every prior expectation. Having not experienced the original release of NieR RepliCant (or NieR Gestalt) I’m unsure as to what may have been added, removed, or altered with this version. I’ve also yet to uncover any information that directly connects these events to those of its sequel NieR: Automata. But I’m certain that one of the five endings will hint at how the two are related, or that the unsettling truths unveiled with each successive ending eventually explains how things came to be as they were. Not that they need to be directly connected. But I’m curious as to how the creation of YoRHa relates to the events taking place in this decaying world, and how certain events seemingly spiralled out of control.

Have a nice weekend, all!


Emotions Are Prohibited

For the most part.

NieR: Automata is an exhilarating experience which flawlessly blends intense action with a deeply emotional story to deliver a truly unique adventure. It also boasts a number of endings, various character perspectives, deep character development mechanics, and multiple weapons to collect. There’s a rather unique use of the New Game+ mechanic, too. Each main ending will open up a new Route, which allows you to experience different perspectives or entirely new portions of story with different characters.

Most of your progress will carry over, though.

So when you’re starting Route B (or beyond) you’ll have the same weapons, side quest completion, inventory, and general collection statistics. That said, there will be some weapons or side quests which are only available on these different Routes. But it’s well worth experiencing the collection of main endings to fully understand and appreciate the story.

I’ve particularly enjoyed the various side quests as they tend to explain more about the history of the world, the different characters, and even (at times) hint about some of the later story developments. It’s interesting as those story developments are often restricted to the main quests, but NieR: Automata continually rewards you for going out of your way to do as much as you can across the rapidly deteriorating world. It’s a pretty large world, too. There are quite a few things hidden throughout the locations you’ll visit. There are also a number of smaller endings you can experience by doing certain things in certain places. Which, again, is interesting, as often you would humorously suggest but never be able to actually do those things in other titles.

For those who aren’t really interested in the story and the side quests, the combat is incredibly satisfying and the range of weapons you can collect is diverse and enjoyable in its own way. Each weapon will perform differently both when they’re first obtained and when they’re fully upgraded. Often with the weapons gaining new, unique, and powerful abilities as a result of investing time and resources in them. There are also countless other customisations you can make to the characters to change how they perform in combat and even in the field.

It’s an extensive adventure in several ways.

There’s an absurd amount of attention to detail in the world, which truly shows that it was a labour of love and care as there are so many minor (seemingly insignificant) details that are intentionally highlighted. Alongside a rather mysterious and constantly evolving universe which is quite unlike any setting I’ve seen before. It really does have something for everyone.

I’ve immensely enjoyed my time with this title. It’s one of those rare occasions where everything comes together in the most satisfying way, where the combat is fluid and the controls are tight, where the world is interesting and intentionally kept mysterious, and where you will enjoy exploring the various locations because the soundtrack is incredibly good. There is so much to say about NieR: Automata but it’s one of those stories that’s best experienced as blindly as possible. However, I will say that this title has repeatedly surprised and impressed me and that it has exceeded any expectations I may have had regarding it. I highly recommend this title and can almost guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Have a nice week, all!