Nier Replicant

I’ve been meaning to get into the Nier series for quite a while now. Even before NieR Automata had become a beloved worldwide phenomenon, people were recommending that I play the previous game, NieR Gestalt (which was just called NieR here in the west, but that’s a whole other matter).

Anyway, NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… seemed like the perfect jumping on point. Even though I’ve still never played any of the Drakengard games (which are set in the same universe as the Nier games), NieR Replicant should be a great place to start for anyone who wants to experience the NieR games in the proper order.

So far, I’m really enjoying NieR Replicant, though I have a few complaints. My number one complaint is that the dodge roll is mapped to R2, which feels completely counterintuitive. In fact, even after 12 or so hours of the game, I die all the freaking time because I tap circle to dodge. My muscle memory simply won’t accept that R2 is the dodge roll button.

Nier Replicant

Video games from different development studios — especially when those studios are in different countries — tend to do things differently. There’s always some variation between control schemes, and I don’t think it’s possible to standardize this when so many games are so different from one another. It’s something I’ve mostly grown used to in my decades of game-playing.

That said, I feel like in the past ten years, the circle button has sort of become the unofficial dodge button. I don’t know for certain which game popularized this, but I suspect it was Dark Souls. From Software’s masterpiece surely wasn’t the first game to map circle to dodge, but it seems like before Dark Souls came out, the dodge button had a tendency to be all over the place, while in the post-Dark Souls world, a lot of studios have started mapping dodge to circle by default.

As you get deeper into NieR Replicant, you will be dodging a lot — especially once the game starts throwing red orbs at you in situations that almost resemble bullet-hell games (this was deliberate, as NieR creator Yoko Taro loves genre-flipping).

Nier Replicant

For anyone who’s played Dark Souls (or any Soulslike, really), having the dodge roll maneuver mapped to R2 just feels wrong, and it can lead to countless heat-of-the-moment deaths when your muscle memory takes over and you start thumb-slapping that circle button.

This wouldn’t be a problem if you could change it. I believe Assassin’s Creed Valhalla doesn’t have dodge mapped to circle by default, but I was able to change it and have a pleasant dodging experience for my 200-plus hours with that game. NieR Replicant offers no such relief.

Now, here’s the thing that really grinds my gears: You actually can customize controls in NieR Replicant. However, the face buttons are in one customization menu:

Nier Replicant Controls

While the shoulder buttons are in the magic menu:

Nier Replicant Controls

This means I can swap X and circle if I want to, or R2 and L2, but I can’t swap circle and R2, which is what I really want to do. (In fact, I might move attack over to R2, move jump to the square button, move the action button to X, and move dodge to circle — if I really want to have things my way). But I’m not allowed to do that.

NieR was first released in April of 2010, predating Dark Souls by about a year and a half. So it’s maybe not fair to get too fussy about what it does with it’s dodge button. Still, in 2021, with the release of NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…, I would hope this could be addressed.

As is, I’ll still keep pressing through NieR Replicant. The characters and world have me hooked, and I’m curious to see where the story is going (I’ve somehow not been spoiled yet). In the meantime, though, I’m going to be dying a whole bunch because every time I want to dodge, I press circle before remembering that R2 is the button I was looking for. And that’s something I guess I’m just going to have to get used to.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Zachary Alvarado
Zachary Alvarado
1 year ago

Ugh, I am w/ you 100% on this. I don’t know why the shoulder buttons can’t be remapped. I also want dodge on Circle/B, especially since they were fully customizable in Automata. Why is it 2021 and button remapping still isn’t industry standard?

Oh well, I don’t want to refund the game, since I want them to know there’s a PC market out there (PC player here), but it looks like this is getting dropped way down the backlog queue.

Last edited 1 year ago by Zachary Alvarado
1 year ago

I’m with you too, but at least the PS4/PS5 let you remap the controller buttons.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x