March 4, 2015
NieR Replicant vs. NieR Gestalt
I just got through Ending A of NieR Replicant, and since I haven’t blogged in a while, I figured I might as well talk about something that’s happened in my gaming life. One day I’ll get to talking about Ar tonelico 2 but today is not that day.
Anyway, as someone who is still heavily working on her knowledge of Japanese, playing NieR Gestalt first in English was a good thing. When I got a bit too tired to decipher all the words, or when the voices were a bit too fast for me, I could fall back on my knowledge of what happened in NieR Gestalt to get me through. This was pretty helpful with figuring out what to do on side quests, as sometimes I just didn’t feel like reading that text. I just wanted Nier and Weiss’s commentary, anyway.
Tone-wise, I feel like there was a more obvious difference between Replicant and Gestalt in the first half of the game. This makes sense as teenager vs. middle-aged man is a lot different than young man vs. middle-aged man. Papa Nier comes off as “not really thinking about things so he doesn’t know some things” whereas Brother Nier has more of a lack of experience that comes with youth. Without getting too spoilery, the character arcs try to fit with the established events of the story and it doesn’t work quite as well for Papa Nier as it does for Brother Nier. Nevertheless, both games pay special attention to how they relate Nier to Yonah, the daughter/younger sister as well as how they relate Nier to Emil. Interestingly, the relationship between Nier and Kaine feels relatively the same in both games. That might be due to some things being lost in my lack of mastery of Japanese, though…
Otherwise, there isn’t a huge difference between NieR Replicant and NieR Gestalt. Even though young Nier is pretty cute with how he calls Grimoire Weiss “Shiro”, which is “white” but also sounds like a dog’s nickname, even when he’s a grown man, I actually prefer the English voices for everyone. Brother Nier does grow up to be pretty attractive with a good voice to match, but I enjoyed the rough grumbling of the English Nier and Weiss over the more cool sounding Japanese voices. All the voices are well-done, though, in both versions of the game. If only they didn’t bleep out all of Kaine’s curse words in the Japanese version…
My favorite part of the game is still the last dungeon that leads up to the endings. Even with a replay I felt incredibly moved by the intensity of the events. I took my time with my playthrough of NieR Replicant, but even if I ran straight through the events (I covered most of the quests I cared to in this first run so I can easily get the other 3 endings) of the second half of the game, it’s still not quite the same scale.
Anyway, I am quite glad to have picked this game up for ~$15 US when I was in Japan. I have definitely enjoyed comparing my first and second experiences with NieR with some Japanese practice mixed in. Unless you are learning Japanese like me or a huge NieR fan, it’s hard to advise you to get both Replicant and Gestalt because they really aren’t that different. For anyone wondering how difficult NieR Replicant is in terms of Japanese level, I’d probably put it about the same level as the newer Shining games, with the additional bonus of easily available walkthroughs of the Gestalt version that can be used if one wants to figure out a quest. Main story-wise, there really isn’t any difficult vocabulary or combinations of kanji like I saw in Tales games. Now that I’ve been thinking about which JLPT level test I might conquer this December, I think someone with N3-N4 could probably understand most of the main story.