Something that seemed impossible has become possible. A sequel to Nier has been made. Nier: Automata will be coming to the PlayStation 4 next week. Since this is a sequel to the original game, taking place after its D ending, now seems like a good time to go over the 2010 title. Especially since the original could be a rather complicated game. Hopefully, you’ll find yourself in a better place to follow 2B and 9S.
Editor’s Note: There are going to be so many spoilers for both Drakengard and Nier here. So many.
Let’s start by going over the viruses that are causing the problems we see in Nier, before moving on to the important characters. Nier is a spin-off of the Drakengard series. Specifically, the first game. The E ending of Drakengard gets weird, bringing Caim the warrior and Angelus the red dragon to Tokyo, Japan in 2003. They go through a dimensional rift to defeat Queen Grotesquerie. Caim and Angelus are defeated by fighter jets after completing their task. The invasion of the Queen Grotesquerie and Angelus brought the White Chlorination Syndrome virus and magic to our world. (The former was a result of the queen’s death, while the latter was due to the red dragon.)
Now, here’s how the White Chlorination Syndrome virus ties into the Black Scrawl virus we’re seeing throughout Nier. You know, the whole reason Nier is trying to save his daughter, Yonah. People of Earth were infected by the White Chlorination Syndrome. They decided to create Replicants, bodies immune to this virus, that they could put their souls into. Their original selves would be Gestalts, and these were supposed to go into the Replicants to survive. After the 1,312 timeskip into the future, Nier puts us in a world where the Replicants have their own sense of selves and souls, which means the original Gestalts can’t go into them, lose their bodies, and become the shadowy shades that Nier and his allies fight. When Shades are afflicted by White Chlorination Syndrome, then their Replicant counterparts fall victim to the fatal Black Scrawl.
Grimoire Weiss and Noir were to be the keys to curing both viruses. Each of these books can speak and use magic because they each have Gestalts inside of them. In addition, Devola and Popola, the twins who live in Nier and Yonah’s village in the beginning of the game, are androids who were designed to help facilitate the reuniting of the Gestalts with their Replicants and have been spending the last 1,300 years making new Replicants and managing Gestalt and Replicant data. While the Shadowlord, Grimoire Noir, Devola, and Popola want to permanently merge the Gestalts with their Replicants, Grimoire Weiss is opposed to this, however, and has allied with Nier.
Okay, now let’s get to Nier’s actual story and heroes. Nier is attempting to save the life of Yonah, his daughter. (Though in the Japan-exclusive Nier Replicant, Nier is Yonah’s elder brother, but let’s go with the Nier Gestalt version that was released worldwide.) There are actually two Niers. The Nier we are controlling is Replicant Nier, who is concerned with the health, wellbeing, and safety of Replicant Yonah. He uses Grimoire Weiss and travels alongside Kaine and Emil to save his daughter first from the Black Scrawl, and then after being captured by the Shadowlord. The Shadowlord is actually Gestalt Nier, a very rare Shade who underwent an experiment and managed to keep his sense of self even after becoming a Gestalt. He is also trying to save Yonah, albeit the Gestalt Yonah that is constantly in a state of relapse due to contact with Grimoire Noire. This means Replicant Yonah will always have the Black Scrawl. Because Gestalt Nier is trying to save Gestalt Yonah by forcing her to merge with Replicant Yonah, other Shades are relapsing.
Nier’s other major characters are Kaine and Emil. Kaine is a hermaphrodite who dresses as a woman and wears a Lunar Tear in her hair. When her grandmother was killed by a Shade, Kaine was gravely injured and possessed by a Shade named Tyrann. After joining Nier in the name of revenge, almost being taken over by Tyrann at one point during the journey, she eventually began to feel and open up again. Emil, on the other hand, is a the seventh experimental weapon designed to fight against Legion weapons infected by White Chlorination Syndrome. He has Eyes of Stone that petrify anything he sees, and ended up fusing with Halua, the sixth experimental weapon and his sister, to gain her magical abilities. This changed him to the skull-faced character we see throughout the rest of the game, though granted him the ability to control his petrification power. Both Kaine and Emil love and are completely loyal to Nier.
Now, let’s move on to Nier’s ending D. It is a continuation of both endings A and B. Devola and Popola attempt to stop Nier, Kaine, and Emil, but Emil sacrifices himself so Replicant Nier and Kaine can go on to fight and kill the Shadowlord, Gestalt Nier. They learn the Gestalt and Replicant Yonahs have been fused by Gestalt Nier, but Gestalt Yonah says that she feels Replicant Yonah deserves the body and leaves to reunite with Gestalt Nier, so Replicant Yonah can be with Replicant Nier. Kaine begins to walk off, but collapses due to Black Scrawl. Nier fights and defeats her, then learns from Tyrann that he has to either kill her or sacrifice himself for her to live. He chooses to give up his entire existence (which also erases all of the player’s saves and keeps you from ever having a Nier in the game with that name again) so Kaine can live. Yonah then believes Kaine was the one who saved her and thanks her. Kaine has a memory of Nier after picking up a nearby Lunar Tear. Meanwhile, as an aside, we see that Emil has survived the encounter with Devola and Popola, though he’s now just a head.
With that, you should be 100% prepared for Nier: Automata. Though, if you have time, you should really play Nier. It’s a wonderful game and the fifth ending, ending E, as it’s quite interesting.
Nier: Automata will come to the PlayStation 4 on March 7, 2017.