Nier Re[in]carnation, the review of the mobile spin-off



Nier Re[in]carnation brings the charm of the strange Square Enix series to mobile platforms, introducing some features in a gacha structure.

After the clamor that has sparked with the impressive success in Japan, the review of Nier Re[in]carnation allows us to look a little ‘closer this strange project by Square Enix, which fits precisely in the groove now trite RPG gacha, but at least interpret it in the particular style of Yoko Taro and his varied series.

The aesthetics is of a level hardly found in similar productions within this genre, leading to atmospheres and characterization really special, able to stand out Nier Re[in]carnation easily, even in the midst of hundreds of similar titles. But beyond this, the game is in all respects an RPG with turn-based combat and gacha elements, with some aspects of gameplay that are also less developed and deeper than we are now accustomed to seeing in countless other competitors – more or less anonymous – that crowd the mobile landscape.

History

The story begins with an unknown girl waking up inside a world called The Cage, guided by a strange floating being identified as Mama, who is meant to act as narrator and reference point for tutorials and explanations within the game. The scenario is composed of various areas characterized by different recurring elements, each of which is still made up of huge towering structures and seemingly abandoned, among which the Girl of Light, as it is simply defined, is found to wander initially aimlessly.

Mama seems to have a partial knowledge of the world around her, but her figure is rather ambiguous, since she still seems to follow a purpose, immediately directing the girl towards what soon becomes her mission: to discover mysterious statues called “dark scarecrow” scattered around the environments and activate them to start various sub-stories, able to unlock items, rewards and characters, as well as enrich the knowledge of The Cage. These are memories, about the relationship between automata and humans and much more, which transport us to different times and in various places to discover the mysteries of that fascinating world now in ruins, all characterized by the typical dreamy touch of NieR.

The beautiful aesthetics of Nier Re[in]carnation is really the distinctive element of the game, alternating the evocative 3D graphics with the huge metaphysical structures of The Cage to the various styles and different atmospheres of the stories in 2D, which allow you to range between very different environments and inspirations. All this is also accompanied by a high-profile soundtrack, another feature that has become emblematic of the series NieR and resumed in full even in this spin-off mobile.

Gacha RPG in the style of Nier

The exploration phases in 3D with the Girl of Light are the least interactive ones

The gameplay is divided into two main phases: the exploration of The Cage controlling the Girl of Light under the guidance of Mama and the various stories that emerge upon activation of the statues, which usually stage the narrative sequences in 2D interspersed with various turn-based fights. Nier Re[in]carnation turns out to be a kind of anthology story, in which the main story of the girl is grafted various background provided by the many sub-stories activated by the statues scattered around the game world. Some of these are self-contained, many others are instead linked together to tell larger stories but all are characterized by the typical melancholy tone of NieR and focused on various characters who can then be conquered through the gacha system.

In the stages inside the memories, the game becomes a kind of 2D scrolling

Beyond this layered and interconnected narrative, which slowly unveils the secrets of the mysterious The Cage through the various stories to be discovered, the two phases also propose rather different game mechanics: the exploratory part is essentially contemplative, allowing you to observe the architectural wonders of the setting with very limited interaction, being able only to advance along a predetermined path, while the action takes place mainly within the stories, where the fights are also concentrated.

The combat system of NieR Reincarnation is turn-based and semi-automatic

The turn-based combat system is semi-automated, in the sense that even without resorting to auto-play it still provides that part of the actions are carried out independently, especially with regard to standard attacks, leaving the player to select attacks and special abilities once you have filled the bar, then being careful to the various periods of cooldown. From this point of view, Nier Re[in]carnation offers absolutely nothing new compared to many other similar mobile RPGs, indeed the combat system is probably even less deep and challenging than many others seen in recent productions of the genre, which is rather disappointing if you think of the remarkable action phases to which the series has accustomed us.

The various characters in NieR Reincarnation belong to different tiers based on power and rarity in the gacha system

This necessarily involves a net pay to win drift, considering how in-app purchases of currencies become virtually mandatory to obtain the rarest and most effective characters. It must be said that Nier Re[in]carnation does everything to reward the player with a large amount of rewards and various currencies, but the rates of obtaining the most valuable characters are so low as to make it very difficult not to resort to microtransactions. It’s a different story for character, weapon, minion and memory upgrades, which can be done through regular engagement on main quests, event quests and PvP mode, all of which can provide good amounts of materials and currency to invest in these areas.

Note how the game also provides for various collaborations, starting with the inevitable partnership with NieR: Automata that characterizes this first official phase, with the presence of some of the well-known characters of the chapter in question.

Comment

Nier Re[in]carnation does not overturn the typical structure of mobile RPG gacha, proposing a combat system not very exciting and a management of characters that has almost nothing original. Its strength, which emerges in a rather obvious way, lies elsewhere: it is found mainly in the construction of the game world and its particular narrative, all played on sad and melancholy tones, but able to evoke dreamy atmospheres and extremely fascinating. In this sense emerges the typical touch of the series of Yoko Taro, staging a game really atypical as narrative and aesthetics in the face of a gameplay definitely trite and unoriginal. A strange contrast too, which can increase the curiosity about this title, whose test is still recommended to all, being well aware of the perverse mechanisms that a free-to-play gacha always brings behind.

PRO

  • Fascinating narrative with memorable characters and situations
  • Beautiful to see and hear
  • Pretty generous with in-game currencies to collect through gameplay
  • Uninvolving and rather trite combat system
  • Unoriginal character management, set on microtransactions
  • Have you noticed any errors?
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