Why NieR Reincarnation is Not “Just Like SINoALICE” or “Just Another Auto Battler”

Last Updated on August 9, 2021

Within the first week of NieR Reincarnation‘s release, many people who went through the first 4 or so story chapters repeated 2 specific things:

  • This is just like SINoALICE
  • This is just an auto battler

I’ll explain as best I can why both of these statements don’t make that much sense.

The Difference Between SINoALICE and NieR Reincarnation

Let’s see what makes SINoALICE and NieR Reincarnation different from each other. This isn’t about trashing SINoALICE. I’ve played it since day 1 of global release and still log-in daily, and my cleric is over 140K in points. But the difference in quality in the games – with the edge being clearly given to NieR Reincarnation, is starkly apparent.

My SINoALICE account, with Cleric as the main class.


The story in SINoALICE is much smaller and less detailed in comparison to NieR Reincarnation, which is continuously focusing on very heavy world-building and character development, and overall adding a lot to the lore of the NieR franchise. There are more visuals and interactive elements story wise in NieR Reincarnation, while SINoALICE primarily relies on reading two or three paragraphs of white text with a dark background with usually little to no visuals.

NieR Reincarnation Story
NieR Reincarnation Cutscene

Gameplay and Battle

SINoALICE‘s gameplay revolves around “maining” a specific class (Breaker, Cleric, Sorceror, Gunner, etc). And its battle system is about using a weapon grid. NieR Reincarnation‘s gameplay focuses on unit and team building, of which I’ve explained in more detail here. Its battle system, while also wave based (which can also be seen in Exos Heroes and Tales of Crestoria, so it’s nothing new, nor unique to SINoALICE), revolves around using a team of 3 characters, and various types of skills being used – 2 for a character’s weapon, 1 for the character, and 1 for each character’s companion.

NieR Reincarnation Battle

PVP vs PVE Focus

SINoALICE has a heavy focus on being in a guild, focusing on one class, co-operative gameplay, and the daily guild wars which are real-time. By contrast, the majority of NieR Reincarnation is solo and PVE focused, with currently one solo PVP mode.

But what about Yoko Taro?

The experience between the two games could not be more different in terms of visuals, story, and gameplay. The only thing that ties these games together is Yoko Taro’s involvement, and related collaborations (NieR Automata, NieR Replicant, and Drakengard all had story events and playable characters in both games). Otherwise, I struggle to see why else people would compare the two so closely. What’s funnier is Yoko Taro actually has little impact on SINoALICE, as the majority of stories in the game are written by the developers at Pokelabo. While many of the stories in SINoALICE are definitely dark in tone, with some much more interesting than others, there is more repetition and predictability in SINoALICE, both in the story telling and its gameplay loop.

Overall, the games are two vastly different experiences and have little in common.

As for weapons and characters being in the gacha? Well, that’s not really something that comes to mind because many other games have either the same or a similar gacha system – Dissidia FF Opera Omnia and Genshin Impact are two popular examples.

And while a personal anecdote, I know of several people, including content creators, that couldn’t go past a day of SINoALICE but are enjoying and even covering NieR Reincarnation on a regular basis.

I Know What Auto Battlers Are and This Isn’t It

When I think of auto-battlers, I think of games like Princess Connect! Re:Dive (aka Priconne), Girls X Battle, AFK Arena, and so on. There’s very few things to actually do in battle in those games – usually it’s just toggling on a main skill. In Priconne, there’s automated basic attacks, and an active skill. You can turn off auto to manual the active skill if you want, and that’s all.

In NieR Reincarnation, the basic attacks, counters, and dodges are all automated and cannot be controlled, yes. But that doesn’t make it an auto battler. You have six weapon skills (2 for each character), 3 character skills (1 for each), and 3 companion skills (1 for each) total, that all run on a cool down. These abilities in battle already make the gameplay more complex than the 3 games I just mentioned.

It’s fine to like those games, I played them all for a while myself. But I do know how they work in regards to battle, and NieR Reincarnation doesn’t really come close. In NieR Reincarnation, turning off the auto button will let you have manual control of all the skills I just mentioned, which is more than just one. Regardless, most gacha games have an “auto” option that lets the AI take either partial or complete control of battle. That doesn’t make them “just another auto battler”. Besides, the option of using auto battle makes games more accessible, which is objectively a good thing.

The further you get into NieR Reincarnation, the more you realize how much building and optimizing your team matters, and it’s something I appreciate as I’m working very slowly towards 100K team Force. The weapon skills available in battle are dependent on the primary weapon you have equipped on your characters. The companion skills available in battle are dependent on the companions you have equipped on your characters. So there’s actually control and customization of what you’ll be able to use in battle, depending on how you’ve built your team. And you will likely need a healer character in much higher difficulty stages, even if some people might scoff at the idea.

All in all, there’s a lot more to the game than people might think, and the first few story chapters being relatively easy (which should be so everyone can ease into the game) doesn’t take away from that. Regardless, I’ll be enjoying it while I can.

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