How to play the NieR series in chronological order

NieR franchise is a series of aRPG games that shares the universe with the Drakengard series. It is a series of stories set on a decaying earth where man-made androids must fight against an invasion of machines from another world. The series is praised for its compelling story and graphics, as well as its ability to characterize emotionless, nameless androids as full-fledged characters. For the storytellers among our readers, you may be looking for a way to play the series in a chronological timeline rather than release order. It’s important to note that most NieR games can be played as standalone experiences, so you don’t have to limit yourself. Having said that, in this article we will outline the chronological order of the Drakengard and NieR games so that you can enjoy them on your next playthrough. We will only consider the released games and disregard all additional material such as novels, comics and anime.

Related: The Nier: Automata “Church Door” Mystery was a very well-crafted modding hoax

All NieR games in chronological order

Drakengard 3

Released: 2014
Platform: Sony PlayStation 3

Image via Sony

Although Drakengard 3 is the third game in the series, it acts as a prequel to all subsequent events. The game focuses on Zero and a dragon Mikhail as they roam the world to find and kill five sisters who rule five regions. As the story progresses, the player learns her reasons, and the events of this game initiate the story of the original first game, Drakengard.


Released: 2004
Platform: Sony Playstation 2

Image via Sony

The story of Drakengard follows the conflict between the Union and the Empire. You play as Claim, a Union prince on a warpath to exact revenge on those who deposed him. As the name suggests, dragons play an important role in the story, helping our protagonist but also against him. Most importantly, one of the possible endings of Drakengard leads to the creation of the NieR universe.

NieR Gestalt / NieR Replicant / NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139…

Released: 2010, 2021
Platforms: Sony Playstation 3, Xbox 360 (appearance); Sony Playstation 3, Sony Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC (replica)

Image via Square Enix

Looking at the titles, one might get confused as to what they represent. But all these titles essentially represent the same game just released for different platforms and markets. There are slight differences in the protagonist between Gestalt and Replicant, but the story remains essentially the same. The game is set a thousand years in the future after the events of Drakengard, during which the earth has fallen unrecognizable and creatures known as shadows stalk the world. NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… was released in 2021 and represents the modern remaster of the two versions of the game.

NieR Automata

Released: 2017
Platforms: Sony PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC

Image via Square Enix

Probably the most famous game in the franchise, Automata follows 2B, one of the artificial androids unleashed to protect Earth from machine invaders from the afterlife. There’s a wide variety of characters to play and interact with, as well as a variety of different endings and story beats that reward multiple playthroughs.

NieR reincarnation

Released: 2021
Platform: Android, iOS

Image via Square Enix

Reincarnation is a standalone mobile game set after the events of Automata. Set in a dark realm called The Cage, the player must interact with ghosts and scarecrows to relive various memories from the NieR world in a story-like format. As a mobile version, the game differs significantly from its predecessors, both in terms of gameplay and the way it tells its story. But it will surely scratch that itch if you want to keep playing in the NieR world. How to play the NieR series in chronological order

Curtis Crabtree

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