What is it about the Nier games? Most of the time, I’m content with just completing the game once or twice and I’m pretty much done with it. This happened with The Last of Us, Catherine: Full Body and Persona 5. These are games I enjoyed but never really thought of replaying them extensively to squeeze out all it has to offer. There are some exceptions to the rule, such as my experience with Final Fantasy VII Remake and the Resident Evil 2 and 3 Remakes. Nier: Automata is also included in this prestigious list and the remake of its prequel, Nier Replicant does as well.
However, I have recently reached a point where I can safely say I’m officially done with Nier Replicant. Unlike Nier: Automata, I haven’t gotten all the trophies available nor have I upgraded all my weapons to their maximum level. What I did do, though, is get all 5 endings, even the new ending specifically created for Nier Replicant’s re-release. Yes, I managed to get Ending E, which can only get obtained by playing through Nier Replicant’s main campaign at least 3 times!
I kind of wish I just looked it up on YouTube because, in all honesty, it wasn’t worth the trouble.
Okay, since I will be talking about a huge segment of Nier Replicant’s story as well as a couple of the endings, I will be putting up the obligatory SPOILER warning now. So I suggest you only read on if you know what’s going to happen in all of the endings… or you don’t care. Anyway, SPOILERS incoming!
Let’s go start with the game’s 4th ending, Ending D. The protagonist, who I’ll be calling Nier because that’s how I named him, defeats the Shadowlord but Kaine, Nier’s lingerie wearing badass companion, goes berserk and he has no choice but to take her down. He is then given a choice to either kill Kaine to end her suffering or sacrifice his very existence in order for her to recover fully. The latter choice leads to Ending D, with Yonah, Nier’s sister, thinking Kaine defeated the Shadowlord to rescue her. This also leads to all your save data being deleted, which makes sense because you did sacrifice Nier to save her, right?
After getting Ending D, restarting the game has you playing as Nier as a young boy once again, going through the story as if nothing happened. However, once you fight the Aerie boss for a second time once more and get the cutscene of Kaine nearly dying, she wakes up seemingly from a dream. The game then continues a few days after the events of Ending D. Kaine decides to go visit Yonah to see how she’s doing but gets distracted when she encounters someone being attacked by a lot of Shades. After rescuing him, the man tells Kaine they’ve lost all contact with the community in the Forest of Myth. Kaine goes to investigate and sees robots emerging from the Divine Tree. She takes out the robots and enters the Tree to see what the heck is happening.
It turns out the Divine Tree is actually a machine and it’s revealed, because they killed the Shadowlord, the world cannot be saved anymore. The Divine Tree creates copies of Kaine to kill her but, before she’s overwhelmed, Emil (assumed to be dead in the regular game) saves her in the nick of time. The duo push on and eventually arrive in an area which looks suspiciously like the Copied City found in Nier: Automata. Kaine reaches an area with a floating box which supposedly contains the memories she had forgotten. After destroying the box, Kaine is transported to a totally new area again but, this time, it’s the virtual world of Nier: Automata. Basically, Kaine is in the machine itself.
Kaine then has to fight some of the bosses she, Emil and Nier had to defeat all by her lonesome but is overwhelmed by the Shade creature they destroyed in the Aerie. She gets flashbacks (in text form) of a horrific scenario where everything and everyone starts dissolving into dust. Kaine is eventually snapped out of the dream by Grimoire Weiss, another of her former allies. With his help, Kaine defeats the Shade and starts remembering Nier. She then wishes for Nier to come back. This leads directly to a cutscene where the Divine Tree blooms a white flower opens up with Kaine caressing the young version of Nier, stating that, even if the world will end, they will cherish each other with the time they have left.
Whew! That’s a lot to go through but, honestly, it just didn’t feel like it wasn’t worth all the time and effort it took me to get Ending E. There are some things I did enjoy about the path to get to Ending E. All the callbacks to Nier: Automata was a trip. The dream sequence Kaine had where everyone was just turning into dust was terrifying and, oddly enough, using only words to describe the horrors instead of showing a pre-rendered cutscene really enhanced the imagery in my imagination. The best thing about Ending E is you get to control Kaine! While she doesn’t have any magical powers for most of the time like Nier does (because she doesn’t have Grimoire Weiss), I do like her moves a whole lot better.
However, Ending E doesn’t really allow you to control Kaine for a serious length of time. You can only revisit a few areas so you don’t really get to see what happened after the Shadowlord’s defeat and how Nier and company affected the world. What’s happening with Yonah and her sickness? How is the town faring without Devola and Popola? Did the mailman from Seafront do anything with his life after reading the letter from the female Shade? Is the Kingdom of Facade in a state of decay without their king? Did the boy who lives in the Junk Heap die a horrible and painful death when he tried to actually kill the machines? For the last bit, I really hope so. I really hate the little turd.
Ending E also sort of diminishes the sacrifice Nier makes in order to save Kaine. The idea of him not ever existing is huge and deleting all your save games if you decide to do so makes a huge impact. Not as big as when you decide to offer up your save game in Nier: Automata to help a total stranger but big enough to leave an impression. However, once you do get Ending E, the last saved game with Nier is brought back! If they did this, at least delete the saves you made while controlling Kaine as you’ll now have to make another hard choice regarding which character or timeline you prefer to be your head canon.
The rewards for Ending E aren’t also all that spectacular. Once you get control of Nier by loading the previously deleted save games, you can run all the way to Kaine’s home and get her one-handed sword, which does a lot of physical damage. However, by this time, I already had my Virtuous Dignity spear maxed out and, because it can do a whole lot of strikes by holding down the Square button and helps you to move around incredibly fast by doing the running thrust, I didn’t find using Kaine’s sword all that useful anymore. You also get a new item in the Options called A Parting Greeting, which has all of the characters thanking you for playing the game. It’s nice but, unlike the horror store from the Aerie, I really would’ve wanted to see the characters all gathered around to thank you.
However, the biggest reason why I say getting Ending E isn’t worth your time is because how much time you have to spend to actually get it. It’s not actually difficult to get to Ending E but, boy, is it a tedious process! In order to unlock it, you’ll need to finish the game at least 3 times! Granted, you only need to play around half of the story each time and each time you run through it, you uncover more of the story, such as understanding what the Shades are saying and thinking about, what happened to Emil and how he seems to still be alive during the events of Nier: Automata and even how Devola and Popola have been engineering all the events from the start. You even get a new segment during the boss level at Seafront.
That’s all well and good but you still have to go through each and every story moment! You can skip the cutscenes but you still have to run through all of the dialogue and, even if you rush through them, it’s still takes up a lot of time! By your 3rd playthrough, you just want to rush through it all but you can’t! You still have to run to certain areas and beat all of the bosses! Oh, you also mustn’t commit the blunder of overwriting the save you made prior to getting Ending C because, if you do so after getting that ending, you’ll have to play through the game one more time when you could just reload that save and play through that segment to unlock Ending D!
Going through the game several times isn’t all that hard because Nier and company should already be leveled up enough that all Shades and even bosses feel like a cakewalk and all you have to do is mash the attack button to defeat everything in your path most of the time. It’s still extremely tedious but it only gets worse as, once you do get Ending D, you’ll have to now play a good chunk of the game from scratch! You’ll have to start a new game after getting Ending D and play up to the point where Nier and Kaine take on the Aerie boss a second time! By this time, it’s super tiresome and, even when you do start the path towards Ending E, you’re just sick of it all.
It certainly doesn’t help matters that the ending is just bonkers! Kaine sprouting out from a giant flower while cradling a naked adolescence Nier in her arms is just so weird in so many ways! I’m betting it’s just going over my head and it’s not referencing Nier: Automata but, more likely, calling back to the Drakengard series, which is where Nier sprung up from. Maybe Drakengard fans got a huge kick from it but it just looks weird (and kind of creepy) if you don’t have that point of reference.
I’m officially done with Nier Replicant. After playing through the game several times just to get Ending E, I can’t really bear to play it anymore because I’ve gotten so sick of going through the same things over and over again. If you really want to see the ending, I suggest looking it up on YouTube and watch a Let’s Play of the entire thing to avoid all the pain. That will save you around 10 hours of your life and not kill the joy of playing what is actually a fun game.
Have you actually played through Nier Replicant several time to get Ending E? Was it as painful for you as it was for me? Let me know in the comments section below!