Easy Guide to Play the Nier Series in Order – What to play first?

You might have heard of the critically acclaimed Nier series, from Final Fantasy creators Square Enix. Nier is a semi-linear action RPG that features hack & slash combat mechanics rather than turn-based combat.

Notorious for being confusing and featuring multiple endings, the Nier series can be intimidating for a new player. Those itching to get into the series must follow the chronological or release order. In this case, both orders are the same.

This guide has been put together for new players looking to get into the Nier series.  Let’s take a look at the definitive order to play the Nier games.

1. The Definitive Order to Play the Nier Series

Easy Guide to Play the Nier Series in Order - What to play first?
NieR Re[in]carnation

Generally, the chronological order and the release order for a video game series are separate from each other. In Nier’s case, both are same. 

Take a look at all the Nier games in their definitive order:

  • NieR (2010) / Nier: Replicant ver.1.22474487139 (2021)
  • NieR: Automata (2017)
  • NieR: Automata Become as Gods Edition (2018) 
  • NieR: Re[in]carnation (2021)

You should be fine if you follow this order to progress through the Nier series. It is worth noting that Nier: Re[in]carnation is a command-action RPG for mobile devices.

2. Which Nier game should you play first?

Easy Guide to Play the Nier Series in Order - What to play first?
NieR Automata Game of the YoRHa Edition

It depends on the kind of player playing the series. If you wanna skip to the action and see what the fuss is about, start with Nier: Automata. If you want to avoid spoilers and play the series as it was intended, start with Nier: Replicant, which is a remake of the 2010 game.

Nier: Automata is the sequel to Nier: Replicant. It features fast-paced combat, an easy-to-follow story as well as alternate playthroughs, which preserves the charm of the game. Nier: Replicant, on the other hand, is a remake of the original 2010 game, Nier. It features a notably slower combat system with expanded lore and additional quests.

3. Do you need to play the Nier series in order?

Easy Guide to Play the Nier Series in Order - What to play first?
Nier Replicant ver.1.22474487139

You do not need to play the Nier series in order. The story for Nier: Automata, although taking place in the same universe, is completely unrelated to Nier: Replicant. There are some callbacks and references to the first game but nothing critical.

The creators of the series have stated that playing in order isn’t necessary. Nier: Automata takes place in the same universe as Nier: Replicant, which is also the same universe as the Drakengard series, but the stories aren’t related significantly.

4. How is Drakengard related to Nier?

Easy Guide to Play the Nier Series in Order - What to play first?
Zero – Drakengard 3

The series creator Yoko Taro imagined Nier as a spin-off or a spiritual successor of the Drakengard series. Yoko Taro and Caia games are behind the Drakengard series. It is not necessary to play the Drakengard series to understand Nier.

Nier follows the fifth ending of the older RPG. The fifth ending leads to the creation of the Nier universe. The setting starts with the Earth in decay, a thousand years after the previous story.

5. Is Nier: Replicant a remake of Nier?

Easy Guide to Play the Nier Series in Order - What to play first?
NieR Replicant/ NieR Gestalt

Well, sort of. Nier Replicant is indeed a remake of the 2010 cult classic by the same name but with a catch. In the U.S., Nier Gestalt was released, which is a version of Nier Replicant that featured an older protagonist. But the story of Gestalt was largely the same as in the version of Nier released for the PS3 in Japan.

The remake featured a younger protagonist with upgrades to the game’s combat and visuals, as well as the addition of new lore and quests. In spite of the upgrade, the combat is notably slower than its sequel, Nier: Automata.

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6. About Nier: Automata

Nier: Automata is a 2017 action role-playing game developed by PlatinumGames and published by Square Enix. It has been stated to be a sequel to the 2010 game Nier. 

The game is set during a proxy war between alien-created machines and human-crafted androids. The story follows the android 2B and her companion A2. Every new playthrough of the game unlocks additional story elements. The game combines role-playing elements, hack-and-slash and bullet hell styles of gameplay.

Vansh Gulati

Vansh Gulati

Meet our very own Hinata Shoyo! - There is no anime or manga that he’s not aware of. Also the go-to guy for all things Epic at EML. He’s on a journey to discover life one bottle of sake at a time!
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