While an “upgrade patch” is now in the works for NieR Automata, PC fans of the series were rightly concerned about the potential state of NieR Replicant’s (ver.1.22474487139) PC version, the remastered edition of the Automata’s predecessor. Sadly, we can confirm that NieR Replicant has a lot of issues on PC, but thankfully many of these problems can be addressed through some basic modding.
Let’s be clear here, as it stands, the PC version of NieR Replicant is poor but workable. While fan fixes will get the game running today, Square Enix needs to address the game’s many issues with patches. This article will look at NieR Replicant’s PC performance, how PC gamers can achieve more stable framerates, and what hardware is required to achieve a solid 60 FPS framerate at 1080p 1440p, and 4K.
Please note that future patches and future updates to Special K may make some of the information in this analysis out of date. At the time of writing, this data is accurate. ,,
– Fixing NieR Replicant – Special K
– 1080p Performance
– 1440p Performance
– 4K Performance – Strange performance issues…
– Conclusion – Square Enix needs to fix this…
Testing Methodology – Our New Test System,With NieR Replicant’s PC version, we will be using our new Games and Graphics Card test system, which is powered by AMD’s Ryzen 9 3950X processor and PCIe 4.0 storage.
More information about this system is available here, where we have detailed why we have moved to Ryzen for our GPU and games testing.
CPU & Motherboard – AMD Ryzen 9 3950X and ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Formula
There is a lot to consider when building a new games testing system. Will this system stand up to the test of time. Does this system contain the features that new games will require, and are we choosing the right CPU platform for the job?
With the next generation of consoles coming with Zen 2 processors and support for PCIe 4.0 storage, it was logical to choose a Ryzen-based test platform. Intel’s current offerings do not offer PCIe 4.0 support, and we cannot build a new test system knowing that it will be outdated as soon as games start to utilise faster storage mediums.
With ASUS’ ROG X570 Crosshair VII Formula, we know that we have a motherboard that has capable VRMs to withstand the punishments that a hardware test system must face. With X570, we also know that we can upgrade to Zen 3/Ryzen 4000 should we ever need to.
Memory – Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB Series DDR4 @ 3600MHz
Having chosen a Ryzen processor for our new test systems, we needed capable memory modules which offered clock speed that would allow us to get the most out of our Ryzen processor.
3600MHz memory is the “sweet-spot” for Ryzen 3000 series processors, offering high levels of memory bandwidth while settings AMD’s Infinity Fabric speeds to optimal levels. With this speed in mind, we decided to opt for Corsair’s Dominator Platinum RGB series of DDR4 modules, as it offers us a great aesthetic, has modules that offer our optimal memory speeds and has relatively tight timings given its clock speeds.
SSD Storage – Corsair MP600 2TB PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSD
As we mentioned previously, future games are going to require fast NVMe storage. Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will make fast SSD storage a baseline feature of new gaming systems.
PCIe 4.0 devices are an obvious choice for those who want SSDs with the most potential throughput, making Corsair’s MP600 SSD a great option for us. With 2TB of storage available to it, it offers us more than enough storage for even the largest of PC games. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare/Warzone will need a lot more 50GB upgrades before we would even dream of filling this SSD.
Case – Corsair Obsidian 500D RGB SE
When it comes to PC cases we require two things, a large case (to accommodate large GPUs) that’s easy to access and looks good on camera. When new graphics cards start to flood in, we need a case that can look good on video. Beyond that, when testing new graphics cards, we need an enclosure with a side panel that’s easy to take on and off, speeding up our testing procedures.
With these requirements in mind, Corsair’s Obsidian 500D RGB SE was a perfect fit. It is large enough to accommodate any graphics card without interfering with a front-mounted AIO liquid cooler, and it has a hinged side panel to make component switching fast and straightforward. For our use case, this chassis is perfect.
Power Supply – Corsair RM1000i
Your power supply is the most important part of any test system. There’s a reason why rule number 1 for PC building is no never cheap out on your power supply.
Over the years, we have used many test systems which have been powered by Corsair’s RMi series of power supplies, and the reasons behind that are simple. They are 80+ Gold rated, making them very power efficient, and we have never had an RMi power supply fail on us. If you read our PSU reviews, you will know that these units are solid performers.
Corsair Link is also a useful component of Corsair RMi series power supplies, as they allow us to see how much power the unit is using at any given time digitally.
We have also paired this unit with Corsair’s premium braided cables, which gives our test system a more premium look.
Cooling – Corsair iCUE H150i RGB Pro XT
While we are keeping our Ryzen 9 3950X at stock clock speeds, we do want to do what we can to keep it cool under load. We also want to do what we can to keep our system as quiet as possible. With this in mind, we have decided to use Corsair’s latest 360mm H150i series All-in-One Liquid Cooler.
With the iCUE H150i, we can control the units fans, pump and RGB lighting with the same software as our other system components and keep AMD’s Ryzen 9 3950X cool with relative ease. When testing graphics cards, keeping other fan noise to a minimum is a must, as this allows us to properly judge the noise levels of specific graphics cards or other system components.
Full System Specifications
,Fixing the game – Enter Special K
When we started playing NieR Replicant, we were disappointed by how poorly the game ran on our test PC. With an RTX 3070, the game frequently sat at framerates of between 40 and 55 FPS at 4K, with reported GPU clock speeds that are lower than 1,000MHz and single CPU cores on our Ryzen 9 3950X that were running at 100% load.
Something was clearly wrong, and based on the chatter that we found on Steam’s forums, we were not the only PC players to face performance issues. Strangely, many of these performance issues disappeared at lower resolutions, though frametime issues persisted.
An early report from Kaldaien, a prominent PC modder, claimed that NieR Replicant contains “b0rked gamepad code”, alongside other issues. In this report, a PC game modification tool called “Special K” was recommended, and instructions on the mod’s Discord page were already available to allow PCs to achieve more stable performance when playing NieR Replicant.
Please note that ideal settings within Special K will change depending on your PC’s hardware configuration. That said, we followed the Discord group‘s recommendations and were able to achieve a fairly solid 60 FPS framerate lock at 4K on our RTX 3070 graphics card.
Before using Special K, our framerate moved between around 45 FPS and 53 FPS. Afterwards, we were mostly at 60 FPS with a few minor dips. As we will detail on page 5, these performance dips are not because of Special K.
For the most part, we ran Special K in its stock configuration, making the red boxed changes to NieR Replicant to make the game stable on our test system. These settings work on both AMD and Nvidia hardware configurations and were able to give us stable 60 FPS framerates on most of the hardware that we tested, at least when our GPUs were powerful enough to hit that performance target.
For the latest instructions for using Special K on NieR Replicant, head over to the Special K Discord page.
While NieR Replicant’s 60 FPS lock is far from ideal, especially for users of high refresh rate monitors, stable 60 FPS performance is fairly easy to achieve within NieR Replicant. While we did need to utilise Special K to make the game run correctly on our test system, almost every graphics card that we tested was able to run NieR Replicant with relative ease.
Sadly, graphics cards like AMD’s RX 5500 XT and RX 480 experiences some minor performance dips, the game remained playable at 60 FPS across large sections of the game. Higher-end graphics cards delivered a rock-stable 60 FPS with no major issues. We can really see why AMD’s RX Vega 56 and Nvidia GTX 1070 were selected as the recommended GPUs for NieR Replicant’s PC version.
, ,1440p – Older GPUs will struggle
At 1440p, we can see why graphics cards like AMD’s RX Vega 56 and Nvidia’s GTX 1070 are Square Enix’ recommended graphics cards for NieR Replicant. Based on our testing with an RX Vega 56 and a GTX 1060 (which barely dipped below 60 FPS at 1440p), we can see why these GPUs are ideal for this remastered Edition of NieR.
Below we can see that AMD’s RX 480 and RX 5500 XT struggle to maintain 60 FPS framerates at all times at 1440p and that Nvidia’s GTX 1060 also suffers from frequent performance dips. If set up correctly, NieR Replicant should run well on most modern systems at 1440p, which is great news for fans of this mid-range screen resolution.
, ,4K – Strange problems, very strange problems…
At 4K, NieR replicant has a strange issue. Having too much GPU performance can result in framerate dips. Yep, having too much spare GPU performance can cause performance dips. Even with our Special K fixes in place, NieR Replicant has some strange issues on PC…
With our Nvidia RTX 3070 and Radeon RX 6800, we experienced performance dips at 4K as neither graphics card would maintain their full clock speeds under load. Both graphics cards ran with frequencies that frequently dipped below 1,000MHz, as both graphics cards appeared to be moving between various power states. This results in odd results, such as AMD’s RX 5700 XT delivering more stable performance than AMD’s RX 6800. As we have said before in this analysis, Square Enix needs to fix this game…
At 4K, graphics cards like Nvidia’s GTX 1080 Ti and AMD’s RX 5700 can maintain a mostly stable 60 FPS framerate, and higher-end GPUs like Nvidia’s RTX 2080 Ti and Radeon’s RX 5700 XT can maintain a very stable 60 FPS lock. It’s strange that higher-end cards struggle to maintain similar framerates, but that is due to how poor NieR Replicant’s PC port is.
While 4K performance is playable on GPUs like AMD’s RX 6800 and Nvidia’s RTX 3070, it is annoying that full framerate stability isn’t achievable thanks to NeiR Replicant’s buggy nature.
, ,Conclusion – Square Enix needs to fix this!,It should go without saying that PC gamers shouldn’t pay £49.99 for a PC game that requires mods to work correctly. Square Enix should be ashamed of how they have launched NieR Replicant, especially after the poor state of NieR Automata.
Factors like NieR Replicant’s 60 FPS lock are forgivable, but not when the game has a bug that can lock the game to other framerates on non-60Hz displays. Likewise, a 60 FPS lock is ok, assuming that those framerates are easily achieved. NieR Replicant already has two major black marks from PC gamers, stemming from the game’s performance issues (when unmodded) and framerate cap bugs.
It is in no way acceptable that a PC game should release for £49.99 and have these issues. Even a basic level of Quality Assurance should have revealed these issues before launch, and PC gamers deserve better than to be treated like this.
Users of ultrawide displays should also know that NieR Replicant runs with a pillarboxed 16:9 resolution, giving users of wider monitors black bars at the edges of their screens.
Special K to the rescue
Thankfully, many of NieR Replicant’s early issues can be addressed using Kaldaien’s Special K modding framework, allowing PC gamers to bypass some of NieR Replicant’s largest performance issues. Thankfully, installing Special K within NieR Replicant is a simple process and can deliver some impressive results.
Using Special K, we can achieve a stable 60 FPS framerate on most of the graphics cards we tested. That said, NieR Replicant faces other issues that can make the game sub-par, especially on ultra-high-end PCs.
Strangely, graphics cards like AMD’s RX 6800 and Nvidia’s RTX 3070 can stutter at 4K, even though some lower-end GPUs can offer a locked 60 FPS framerate at 4K. NieR Replicant is not demanding enough to keep some high-end graphics cards in their high performance/high power state, resulting in framerate stutters, even with Special K installed. While further tweaking may address this issue, this issue only exists because Square Enix did not release NieR Replicant’s PC version in a fully workable state.
NieR Replicant is a fun game that has an engaging story and a satisfying combat system. That said, its poor port quality mars the game’s PC version. Square Enix needs to patch this game to deliver the performance and stability that PC gamers deserve.
Unless you are willing to mod NieR Replicant to get the game running, you should avoid this game until Square Enix (and Toylogic) patches the game’s issue. You shouldn’t pay this game’s asking price for a PC version with so many issues. While the game runs better than NeiR Automata did at launch, that doesn’t forgive the fact that this game still needs mods to run correctly on modern systems.
We will update this review if NieR Replicant’s PC version is updated. Until then, PC gamers should utilise Special K to get the game running correctly on their systems.
You can join the discussion on NieR Replicant’s PC version on the OC3D Forums.