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Nier

Odysseus

Ninja Potato
AKA
Ody
A lot of people are upset, but you gotta respect the way they really managed to string the whole community along and get everyone invested. I've never played Nier and I was hyped for this lol. SE should take notes.
 

Torrie

astray ay-ay-ay
So I've returned to this game. And it makes me want to scream about it from the rooftops.

I had my fair share of trouble with the opening mission last year, but since then I've learned the controls properly and carried on on Normal. And honestly? I FREAKING LOVE THIS GAME. And it's incredibly hard to advertise it to those who haven't played it yet without spoiling much, hahaha.

I've already done 2B's playthrough and I'm currently in the middle of 9S's route. And I cry all the time. All these sidequests about death, and loss, and loneliness, and grief? An outside perspective on human existence? Machines copying human patterns not fully realising what they're actually doing? Androids having emotions prohibited and experiencing them anyway??? Goliaths named Marx and Engels??? I'm. So. Mind. Blown.

Backtracking was growing tiresome at some point, but then the game introduced teleport. What a relief. Besides, each location constantly offers new quests. I'm doing my best to do them without help and only looked up just a few things here and there.

Hacking isn't always easy, but I keep trying.

The music is insanely good, and it alone can make me put the controller aside and cry a little more.

If you haven't played it yet: DON'T GOOGLE ANYTHING. Go in as blind as possible, because you'll be fully submerged in this world and get your heart broken again and again and again, and that's the feeling worth playing for.
 

Torrie

astray ay-ay-ay
I have finished Automata and I'm nOT OKAY—

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

CAN YOU HEAR THE NOISE
MY HEART HAS SHATTERED INTO COUNTLESS PIECES
IT HURTS SO SO SO MUCH
BUT WHY DOES IT FEEL SO SO SO GOOD

There is no single game or even story that has ever moved me this much and made me cry this much.
You know what's funny? I had low-key spoiled the game for myself before I even knew what my experience would be like. Years ago, I stumbled upon a video titled somewhat like one of the most violent spoilers to Nier Automata. I thought back then: oh well, I'll probably never be able to play this game. So I watched it. It was a scene of 9S hysterically stabbing 2B's body numerous times. I was... astonished and disturbed, to put it mildly, but I hoped I would forget all about it if I ever got my hands on the game. And I was right.

Some time later, I stumbled upon a review of Nier, and the reviewer had done his best to make his video spoiler-free. He highlighted a number of various mechanics/genres used in the game, the atmosphere, the combat, and mentioned a few times that the plot was so indescribably complex that it would demand a few playthroughs and first-hand experience so he'd better shut up right now. Also, 2B's and Adam's butts. However, it took me another long while until I was finally able to play it.

So here I was, finally playing it and having very vague memories of that spoiler. For the life of me, I couldn't remember anything except that somebody was slaughtering someone, and that's that. It wasn't until I was past that scene when I realised what it had been and what it had meant all along.
My mind wanders around the world of Automata, and I'm still amazed by the depth, despite the stylistic simplisity at times. Not only the side quests build this world, they paint it with blood, sweat and tears. A lot of tears. A red thread running through every single event in the game is loss. Be it the loss of one's comrades, beloved, memories, identity, sanity, meaning of life; literally every single character, playable and non-playable, loses something or someone dear. And I didn't expect it to trigger me so much, but I really craved that pain multiplied with every quest hitting me in the heart like 9S's stabs.

The very fact that androids had to deal with their feelings despite their moral code creates the internal conflict in the game, plus the whole duality of both androids and machines being human-like, with the former having some sort of consciousness and the latter being powered by algorhythms. Aren't we all just the same? Doing silly things just because of certain patterns that we picked up along the way? Being operated by ancient synaptic circuitries and trying to overrun past traumas? An existential crisis at its finest.

2B and 9S's relationship is so masterfully created like an intricate pattern that it makes me want to play this game all over again from the very start, and then erase my memories and then do it all over again. It was the same with FFXV - I couldn't let go of its world and characters until I did every possible thing that I had enough patience for.

It was worth taking my time to play it because it wrecked me the most beautiful way when I needed it most. Also 9S reminds me of someone I know, and it just adds to the hurt, but let's not elaborate on that.
I still have a few unfinished quests: colosseum trials, collecting enemy intel, upgrading weapons, messing with Emil, and collecting the rest of the endings. I couldn't have done some of the stuff without enabling auto-chips, but I'm not ashamed of that, because progressing with the story and spending more time with the characters is more important for me than getting frustrated by a gameplay predicament.

I hear there's an anime based on the game? I MUST SEE IT ASAP.
Also I've ordered some unofficial merch on one of our biggest local market places, haha.

Thank you for bearing with me and thank you for not spoiling anything.
I hope I can play Replicant one day as well...
 
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cold_spirit

he/him
AKA
Alex T
Just received Grimoire Nier Revised Edition in the mail today. Finally, after preordering over a year ago, my collection is complete. I have the game, soundtrack, and lore book of both the original and remaster. Definitely in my top 10 favorite media experiences.

PXL_20230903_034242832~2.jpg
 

Torrie

astray ay-ay-ay
Meanwhile I've finished watching the anime. I'm pleasantly surprised by how refreshing it looks. Not visually, mind you, it's still good old anime with some repurposed 3D scenes (I wonder if that's what is called cel-shading?). But the scenes don't follow the game blindly, some are cut out, some are extended, and some are drastically changed without altering the main narrative. It's a great introduction to the story for those who don't see themselves running around the map doing quests, learning combat or grinding, as well as it's a fantastic addition to the gameplay experience for those who have dilligently played it at least three times. Also it didn't fail to make me sob a few times... again.

As for the game itself,
and I gave up on my data in exchange for the possibility to help future players. No regrets at all.

I'm downloading Replicant at the moment. I hear the gameplay isn't as engaging as in Automata, but the story is very much worth it.
 
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Rydeen

The Sauce™
Am I the only one that didn't like replaying the same thing? I loved Nier Automata, and although I understand the narrative purpose, I feel like it was unnecessary to the experience and messed up the pacing.

Still need to play Replicant. But I've just been too depressed for a Taro game, unfortunately. :monster:
 

Torrie

astray ay-ay-ay
Am I the only one that didn't like replaying the same thing? I loved Nier Automata, and although I understand the narrative purpose, I feel like it was unnecessary to the experience and messed up the pacing.
Tastes and gaming preferences surely differ. :monster: I loved playing as 9S and being able to see his perspective and hear his comments. Doing some obligatory quests felt a bit like a chore, but I'd already accomplished most of the doable side quests by then and was excited to see some unique new ones available to him alone. I was also surprised that the characters don't actually spend that much time together story-wise unless you're determined to complete your quest log.

Still need to play Replicant. But I've just been too depressed for a Taro game
I've started it. 6 hours in and I already wish it was at least a bit sadder, haha. I didn't expect to get a (sort of) medieval/rural setting. The side quests are mostly tedious, the plot progression is slow, and some fantasy elements seem out of place, but maybe it's just me. I really hope it gets more depressing the more you play, but so far it feels like a typical fantasy RPG with predictable features and some familiar faces here and there.

One thing to point out though is that some of the said features, or places, or characters were referenced in Automata, but without playing Replicant there was no way I could recognize them. Buuuuut it's a kind of a remake/remaster, so I wonder if some of such things were added to the game retroactively. I haven't checked.
 

Stiggie

Pro Adventurer
AKA
Stiggie
Meanwhile I've finished watching the anime. I'm pleasantly surprised by how refreshing it looks. Not visually, mind you, it's still good old anime with some repurposed 3D scenes (I wonder if that's what is called cel-shading?). But the scenes don't follow the game blindly, some are cut out, some are extended, and some are drastically changed without altering the main narrative. It's a great introduction to the story for those who don't see themselves running around the map doing quests, learning combat or grinding, as well as it's a fantastic addition to the gameplay experience for those who have dilligently played it at least three times. Also it didn't fail to make me sob a few times... again.

As for the game itself,
and I gave up on my data in exchange for the possibility to help future players. No regrets at all.

I'm downloading Replicant at the moment. I hear the gameplay isn't as engaging as in Automata, but the story is very much worth it.
I'm waiting for the dub of the new episodes to come out.
 

Torrie

astray ay-ay-ay
I really hope it gets more depressing the more you play
Just a couple days ago I was complaining, and then boy did the depression level skyrocket in no time.
I'm loving it in here.

Marking all of this as spoiler in case you haven't played it yet.
I met Emil. OH. MY. GOD. His house. His goddamn house. It's so disturbing and creepy, and it's absolutely colorless with the main characters being the only ones alive. It took me a while to realise that the entire house had been petrified, hence the monochrome, but dang if it isn't good storytelling. And after fighting Shades that evaporate in pools of blood on the carpet, Nier leaves bloody footprints everywhere until they dry out. The chills!

Emil... I only knew him as that weird-ass looking machine from Automata, so I'm extremely curious to learn more. Again, the game takes its sweet time to get the events unfolded but I don't mind that anymore. Guess the characters have grown on me, really. The scene between Emil and Kaine after the fight at the manor had a crucial message for everyone struggling with their image of self due to trauma of any sort. By the way, I'm still curious about Kaine, too. I love the way she swears. She's got nothing left to lose. I thought A2 was tough, but Kaine is totally unhinged, and I think it's beautiful.
A timeskip leaves me wondering about all those events we don't get to see. It's a top-tier fanfiction territory and a booster for your imagination. So Nier is all grown-up and handsome and skilled and everything now, huh? I wonder if he'll manage to revive Kaine. Just give her Supersoft, alright. I hope the second half of the game will toss more fascinating events my way.
And one more thing:
The masked people and their countless rules is one of those "crying screaming throwing up" moments because later on in Automata we learn that it's just the way this civilization died and was replicated by the desert machines who mindlessly wear the same masks and live by the same rules without questioning anything because they aren't even capable of it *sobs* See, now these games hurt me on meta levels.
 
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cold_spirit

he/him
AKA
Alex T
Awesome, glad to hear you're enjoying the game. Like Automata, Replicant has a non-tradition plot structure. I'll provide a non-spoiler guide below, but I'll still wrap it in a spoiler tag just in case you want to go forward completely blind. Hmm, maybe even hold off on even viewing it until after you've seen the credits roll.

Replicant v1.22 has 5 endings labeled A, B, C, D, and E. It should be acknowledged, however, that getting these endings won't be as... engaging as it was in Automata. Which is to say it's repetitive. The short of it is that you'll need to replay the second half of the game at least three times to see everything. Sorry!

Ending A: Play the story until you see the credits. Easy!

Ending B: After beating the game, you'll be put back to after the timeskip. Play the story until you see the credits roll. Quite a few scenes are remixed or replaced wholesale this playthrough, so don't skip anything.

Ending C & D: After beating the game again, you'll be put back to after the timeskip. Obtain all 33 weapons. You don't need to level them up, just obtaining them is enough. Then play the story. A few new scenes are added. After beating the final boss, you'll be presented with a choice. This is were things get a little complicated...

Choosing the first option will get you Ending C. After viewing it, you'll be put back to after the timeskip like the endings before it. I skipped this one in my most recent playthough. You can watch it on YouTube later.

Choosing the second option will get you Ending D... and it opens the path to Ending E. I will further spoiler tag my non-spoiler guide.

After getting Ending D, start a new game. Play the game normally. I don't want to spoil anything more. In the moment you'll think "is cold_spirit trolling me?? Everything is the same! How long is this going to go on!?" All I can say is that I said sorry at the start. But as long as you keep playing, you can't miss Ending E.
 

Torrie

astray ay-ay-ay
Hmm, maybe even hold off on even viewing it until after you've seen the credits roll.
Thanks, I'll keep in mind you've left it here, but going forward almost completely blind has really been the best strategy so far.

I am enjoying it a lot indeed, but man, I hate most of the fetch side quests. I already ruined a lot of them and most probably I'm going to ruin a lot more because I don't feel like wasting so much time; it's just a video game, alright. I also hate farming items. Whoever made the most needed items the rarest and the most randomply dropped... Oh, and whoever designed maps and access to those key locations you always run between.... Give them both a slap in the face from me, will ya.
 

ForceStealer

Double Growth
I also think Nier has the worst fishing minigame in all of video gaming. (I only played the original, maybe they improved it in Replicant 1.22)
 

Torrie

astray ay-ay-ay
I also think Nier has the worst fishing minigame in all of video gaming.
I wouldn't say the fishing mechanics are that bad. What's annoying is that the game tells you literally nothing where to find the necessary fish. Nier reminds me a lot of the classic FFVII and other old RPGs where quests didn't even use to be marked as quests. Thank god you have a quest log in Nier, but you still just run around hoping to come across something that you need.

Gardening is such a pain in the back. I've been thinking of growing a Lunar Tear, but it's so time-consuming and the results are so RNG that I might give up on the idea.

Oh, and another thing!
I was wondering why the protagonist gives off such strong Noctis vibes.
They both share the same English VA, Ray Chase. LMAO. Why though??? I sometimes can't concentrate on the dialogue because all I can hear is Noctis :monster:
 

Torrie

astray ay-ay-ay
So I've watched the credits roll... And now I have QUESTIONS.
Hope the further I play the more I learn.

I'll provide a non-spoiler guide below
The game told me something about ending B, but I was distracted and didn't pay enough attention, lol. Your guide makes things easier. Replaying the same chunk of the story sounds like hard work, so... we'll see how much I'lI manage.

Never in my life have I seen all the staff listed in the alphabetical order. I spotted 2B's and 9S's VAs too, but they were credited as (? ? ?), and now I have even MORE QUESTIONS. Haha. I definitely love the way these games just mess with us players.
 

Torrie

astray ay-ay-ay
While everone seems to be gushing over VII Rebirth, I... I've finished all the routes in Replicant. Yes. All of them. And I feel like I need to write this out as some sort of closure, because this game, too, has given me a lot more food for thought than I expected.

I mean, I remember hearing here and there that Nier games are genius but not for everyone, and something deep inside me kept telling me that I therefore would undoubtedly enjoy them, and I was right. I'm so glad that I was right.

Route B did its job incredibly well but in such a subtle way. All those extra scenes hit home a bit too hard and at first I kept screaming into the void: What are you doing, game??? Why are you making me sympathize with the enemy??? And then I REALIZED.

Route C&D was where it really did feel repetitive despite a few more extra scenes, and that's what diminished the emotional impact of the previous play through. Being in The Aerie was particularly hard, as Weiss brilliantly put it, What a soul-crushing place..., so I even had to disable the BG music while I was there for the third (fourth? fifth? sixth?) time. It did make it a bit more bearable though.

Route E... Let me just say, I'm beyond happy that I had made it all the way towards it and hadn't opted for watching it on Youtube. This is where I lose my eloquence, because it was oNE OF THE MOST SATISFYING PARTS OF THE GAME. Shall I spoiler-tag it further too?
I lost it when Kaine suddenly became playable. I had been hoping to be able to control her in route B or C&D (which, obviously, was not meant to happen), and finally running as her all over the place was soooo delightful. And then. And then! Then she met the Admins, and when I heard 9S's voice (okay, not technically 9S but his VA), I lost it again. Just having both games coming together felt so meta and so surreal. But literally in the next room Replicant became Automata, and I could only proceed howling and making inarticulate sounds. Re: voice actors, I watched somebody's analysis videos on YT later and they used JP clips of the game. And, interestingly, it was pointed out that both 2B VAs, English and Japanese, had to alter their delivery quite a bit so as not to sound identical to their role in Automata, but it was a deliberate choice of the same voices. Hmm. Hmmmmmm.

After completing Replicant, I STILL had questions, so I looked up the lore online and eventually came across this blog: Something Very Special on tumblr, and I quickly got submerged into the numerous essays she had written-- way better and clearer and with so much love and passion for the game than anyone else could ever express it. And actually thanks to this blog, I finally found an answer to one of the core questions the game left me with: If the lore is so extensive, why on earth is there so little backstory in the game itself? And here's why:

Something Very Special said:
See, here’s the thing that I really grew to love about NIER– it’s a fundamentally small story. Its ramifications are world-shattering, but the story itself is very small. It’s not about the conflict between Gestalts and Replicants, it’s about love, and the great and terrible things it can do. Love between brothers, between lovers, between fathers and daughters, brothers and sisters, a ragtag messed up family. The greater conflict is the backdrop and driving force, but the story isn’t about that so much as it’s about all the tiny tragedies that you bear witness to on the way to the end.

Call it post-game blues, 'cause I'm not ready to let go of Nier's world just yet.
 
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