NieR: Automata is a powerful game that not only draws gamers for its story but also it’s deep thinking theme. Asking the question of “what does it mean to be human?” and answers that in a series of multiple playthroughs. The graphics are by far one of the series best. While offering a unique playstyle as well. All of these things help make this game a contender for being one of the best games of this year. A sequel that goes against the textbook definition of a sequel, a jewel among all.
Nier Automata Review
A Complex Story That Rivals Humanity
NieR Automata is set over a thousand years into the future, after the original NieR. Following the events of the original’s fifth ending, Automata tells the story of two Androids known as 2B and 9S. They are part of an elite group called YoRHa, which is a group created by Earth’s remaining humans as a last ditch effort to fight against the machines. The game begins with players taking control of 2B. Along the way she meets with 9S who offers support in her missions.
2B and 9S are tasked into doing multiple main missions. As well as side quests that offer information into enemy machines. Not to mention, they also go around destroying humongous machines known as Goliaths. But 2B and 9S soon notice that the machines are developing a human-like mentality replete with human emotions too. Making this war a whole lot more than just humans versus machines.
The Philosophical Edge
The game wonderfully explores this concept. Machines actually gaining human intelligence. Something which is both frightening and cool. Automata does an incredible job demonstrating just how disturbing these machines can get. One particularly striking scene is the machines acting out sexual intercourse. Obviously, there’s no way the machines can actually achieve it. But they still practice the movements. They also do this with motherhood, family, and relationships as well. Pushing this even further, once the machines notice 2B and 9S, they created what could only be assumed as a womb where they gave birth to the game’s antagonists: Adam and Eve.
Automata’s Robot Personalities
It’s obvious the machines conceived their own version of creation. Just as humans created them and Androids, the machines tried their hand in the process. Not only that, but then there’s the concept of emotions in the game. Nier: Automata makes this concept quite disturbing, yet also heart wrenching. For example, there is a boss similar to an Opera singer, which is obsessed with becoming the most beautiful machine out there. She accomplishes this by collecting the bodies of fallen androids. Not only is there a concept of vanity here with the boss, but also of loss. Although Androids are forbidden to feel emotions, it’s apparent both 2B and 9S certainly do. In seeing the loss of their fallen comrades, they become enraged and hurt.
The Core Combat
Combat is very much like Platnium‘s other games, which is a good thing. Generally speaking, you have two buttons for attack, which tie into your different equipped weapons. One button for one weapon, and the other button for the other weapon. You can jump, double jump, do a slow “hover” fall, and air-dash, which help you get around the environment and discover secrets. You also use pods (detailed below) to deal ranged damage to enemies. This happens with prolonged weak fire, or with recharging super attacks.
One the best aspects of NieR: Automata is how it uses camera angles. Some levels involve fighting using a birds eye view. While others may require a platformer side view, or even a third-person perspective as well. Using all three views interchangably creates a difficult, yet active battle experience. No two battles are alike, and this is a good thing. Battles are also very fluid. Keeping players engaged, while encourgaging the use of different techniques in achieving victory.
However, boss fights also aren’t just about defeating machines. You can also connect with other players via “the network” so they can help in boss fights. This makes it easier to focus on the boss’s patterns and what active role they have in the story. Connections are made with players by repairing their fallen bodies. So, if Player A died in the boss battle, Player B can repair that body and have an AI control the body. If not, Player B can collect the players parts to gain chips for their pods.
Pods are probably the most important game item. They’re with you from the very beginning and are the only range-aspect of the game. Using different types of guns they can make boss battles a piece of cake. Depending on the difficulty of course. They also utilize the chips that players collect to bring out special abilities such as, auto-heal and defense boosts. This is ultimately how players can personalize their character. For example, if players are experiencing difficulties with a fight, the chips in these pods can help alleviate some issues, depending on their arrangement. However, be careful, as removing certain things from the pods like showing the HUD, subtitles, names, etc. actually removes the options entirely. So, upgrading them is important because they can help turn the tide in battle.
The weapons in the game are also their own story. Players should focus not just on leveling up their characters but also in leveling up their weapon as well. By completing various battles and side quests, players learn the story about both their character and weapon. The good thing about weapons is player’s can choose their favorite weapon and stick with it through the adventure, because the weapon grows with you.
Other Gameplay Options
Players can also ride on animals by using items called animal bait. Animals become useful for long treks through the game. Riding animals is fun. However, due to the lack of variety in beasts, (boars and moose are the only two animals), it gets old quickly. Hopefully though, more options become available in the future. If riding isn’t your style, players can also use flight units. They are actually the best options in the game for a long journey. The ability to fight in the air is almost similar to an Atari spaceship game, and is super fun. Giving players a nice addition in gameplay, without feeling forced.
Following the original NieR’s format, Automata also has multiple endings. There are about six that are vital for discovering all the parts of the story. This does mean players have to watch some of the same scenes several times, but they play in different perspectives. After a certain amount of time, players can progress into the second half of the story. Allowing the introduction of new characters like A2, and understanding their story archs as well. Thus giving the game great replay value. Although, it may make some tire of the gameplay faster as well. Mostly, I found the extra story well worth the slog.
Epic and complex storytelling that gets you thinking
Awesome Ranged and close quarters combat
Not enough diversity in riding animals
May be too graphic for those with weak stomachs
Overall Score: 9.0 Out of 10 NieR Automata has truly won my heart in every way. And although there are some easter eggs, its stand-alone story doesn’t need the first game to be enjoyed at its fullest. The memorable characters like 2B and 9S are just scratches on the surface of Automata’s story. And through experiencing the multiple endings it fleshes out even more. Not to mention, the added variety in gameplay styles pulls you through each fight with utter joy.
Automata has a unique style that’s all its own. I had very high expectations for this game, and it has completely exceeded them in every way. Certainly something any Action game or RPG fan should play. It’s not surprising in the slighest that NieR: Automata is up for so many awards, it’s one of the best of 2017 for sure.