Nier is an action role-playing video game developed by Cavia and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in April 2010. In Japan, the game was released as Nier Replicant for the PlayStation 3 with a younger main character, while an alternative version titled Nier Gestalt with an older main character was released for the Xbox 360; Gestalt was released outside of Japan as Nier for both platforms. Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139… is a remaster of the game, released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows on April 23, 2021.
The game is a spin-off from the Drakengard series, and follows the fifth ending of the first game, the events of which have left the planet Earth in a state of decay. Set over one thousand years after this, the game puts the player in control of the protagonist as he attempts to find a cure for an illness, known as the Black Scrawl, to which Yonah—either his sister or daughter, depending on the version—has succumbed. Partnering with a talking book known as Grimoire Weiss, he journeys with two other characters, Kainé and Emil, as he attempts to find a remedy and understand the nature of the creatures known as Shades that stalk the world. The gameplay borrows elements from various video game genres, occasionally switching between them and the main role-playing-based gameplay.
Nier was designed to have gameplay that would appeal to players outside of Japan, where Cavia is based; additionally, the Gestalt version of the game has an older main character for the same reason. The music was composed by Keiichi Okabe, head of Monaca, a music composition studio, and several albums have been released. Nier was released to mixed reception; reviewers praised the story, characters and soundtrack and were mixed in their opinions of how well the disparate gameplay elements were connected. The execution of some gameplay elements was criticized, notably the side quests, and the graphics were regarded as substandard. Despite this, the game acquired acclaim among players over time, becoming a cult classic. Nier sold 700,000 copies prior to the release of the 1.22474487139… version. A sequel developed by PlatinumGames, titled Nier: Automata, was released in 2017.
Players take control of a middle-aged man in Nier Gestalt and a teenaged boy in Nier Replicant, named by the player. The player directly controls the main character through a third-person perspective to interact with people, objects, and enemies throughout the game. The player can also turn the camera around the characters, which allows for a 360° view of the surroundings. The three-dimensional world is divided into areas separated by loading screens, and the player can move freely throughout these areas by walking, running, jumping, and climbing ladders. In some rooms and buildings, the camera swings to the side and the main character is restricted to moving as in a two-dimensional platforming environment, while during certain battles the camera pulls up to simulate a top-down shoot ’em up or other video game genres.
While traveling the player is frequently attacked by monsters, which include shadowy figures called Shades, large animals, and robots. Defeating these enemies gives the player experience points that can increase the main character’s power, and money that can be used to purchase items. The main character can attack these creatures with either a one- or two-handed sword, or a spear. These weapons can be customized to have greater damage and abilities using materials that can be purchased, dropped from monsters, or scavenged around the world. Multiple different varieties of each weapon type can be acquired. The player can also use magic spells, which require enough energy from a constantly regenerating amount to cast. These spells include projectiles and large shadowy fists, among others; new spells are acquired in the first half of the game by completing specific battles. In addition to the main plotline, Nier includes numerous side-quests, which give the player experience points and money, as well as fishing and farming segments.