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Nier Replicant hands-on preview: Very charming — and very weird

After 11 long years, Nier Replicant is finally available in the West. This is excellent news if you were one of the 12 or so people waiting with bated breath for this particular version of Square Enix’s oddball action/RPG. For everyone else, Nier Replicant is shaping up to be a memorable and heartfelt game, albeit with essentially the same pros and cons as last time around.

For those who aren’t up on the minutiae of Square Enix releases, a game called Nier came out in 2010 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. In the West, this game cast you as a middle-aged man trying to find a cure for his sickly daughter, teaming up with a foul-mouthed woman, a talking book and a skeletal young sorcerer to do so. (It makes slightly more sense in context, but the weirdness is definitely part of Nier’s charm.) However, in Japan, the game was called “Nier Replicant,” and starred a teenage boy trying to find a cure for his sister instead. Beyond that, the story and gameplay were just about identical.

Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139…. (yes, that is really the game’s full name, and no, I will not be trying to write that out from memory) is a PC, PS4 and Xbox One remaster of the original Japanese game, released in Western territories for the first time. Square Enix provided Tom’s Guide with an early review copy of the game. While we can discuss only three areas from this much bigger game, these levels help set the tone for a strange, charming title.

(Image credit: Square Enix)

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