Are you a fan of androids, robots, Science Fiction, Anime and RPG’s? Did movies like Blade Runner, Castle in the Sky, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Akira and Ghost in the Shell catch your eye? Does Philosophy intrigue you? Do you enjoy the weird and unusual? On March 7, 2017 the video game that I believe answers all of these questions “Yes!” was released; And that game is Nier: Automata. I raved excitement in an article about the NieR: Automata Demo. And that excitement carried over to the full release of Nier: Automata. Platinum Games has delivered in a very big way here and I’m here to share how they’ve done it.
Into the Eye of the Story
Nier: Automata starts in a similar manner as the Demo but with a slight variation; where the Demo starts you alone as 2B (the main character), the full release starts you as 2B leading your squad into a mission. With this added scene we find out what circumstances lead to 2B being alone (only to shortly partner up with 9S as a companion). Any human under these circumstances would fall to pieces but being that 2B is an Android she is programmed to serve. Designed to complete her mission. This attitude might be off-putting at first but the world and story of Nier: Automata soon lead our protagonist (and ourselves) to question all that we ever knew.
The real adventure starts where the demo ends; both 2B and 9S use their Black Boxes to self-destruct and wipe out the robotic goliaths. After you self-destruct you wake up on the YORHA Base of Operations. After some mild exploration you’re sent on an urgent mission back on Earth to fight the Robot masses.
Like all great Science Fiction, Nier: Automata poses questions, philosophies and circumstances that we tend to take for granted on a daily basis. Questions like “What is it to feel emotion?” and “Why are we here?” These are heavy topics to tackle but in the world of Nier: Automata the questions seem and feel a little lighter. And looking for the answers is as much of a journey for you the player as it is for 2B and 9S.
Such heavy topics are beautifully intertwined in the majestic weird world of Nier: Automata. As both 2B and 9S follow orders while also questioning them during the Android/Robot War they discover their true purpose, their true selves, and if we’re lucky we the players get to experience this self discovery too.
Ready, Set, Fight!
Nier: Automata doesn’t break any boundaries when it comes to combat. 2B has both a light and heavy attack option along with an evade that offers a neat shadow replicant animation effect. The combat hasn’t changed from the demo, it’s very fluid and feels natural. The ease with which you can chain melee combinations together with your artillery POD is effortless.
I do have a major gripe with the combat system in Nier: Automata, I’ll call it the “Overkill” animation. When you chain enough melee hits together on a Robot enemy the “O” icon will pop up and if you press the button in time 2B enters into an “overkill” animation. This animation varies depending on what weapon you have equipped and which enemy you’re attacking. The problem is that the “O” button rarely pops up and when it does it isn’t easily visible, which means you miss out of these great animations.
Another chance at viewing great action animations is when you perfectly time your dodge of an enemy attack. If you time it correctly your dodge creates shadow replicants of 2B and when you press an attack button after the dodge you trigger one of many attack animations. I’ve seen a Shinobi style katana slice through a robot. A hack and slash skyward sword combo similar to those seen in Devil May Cry. And I’ve seen a High Noon final shot.
Nier: Automata offers great action and a compelling weird story. The visuals while sometimes bland create a world of charm and mysticism.
What a beautiful View!
The post apocalyptic world in Nier: Automata tends to be simplified yet beautiful like the morning haze on a Southern California beach. It’s a world that I didn’t mind getting lost in as I ran from one end the map to the next. Areas to explore vary from vast desert expanses, if you wander far enough into the sand storm you’ll discover an oasis, to a Circus wonderland theme park occupied by rogue friendly robots. There’s even an Ewok type tree village occupied by similar friendly rogue robots. The charm and wonderment of each location allows you to immerse yourself into the world of Nier: Automata. It’s also easy to get caught up in leveling up through the standard RPG ‘grind’
Let’s See that in an Instant Replay
Nier: Automata offers hours of replay value. I can see myself playing this game for years to come. Yes, I said years because I like to take my time and it’s that great of a game. There are plenty of trophies to chase. Plus, there are collectibles to discover everywhere. It also doesn’t hurt that DLC is already being offered only a month after its initial release.
You have been Judged
Nier: Automata might not be perfect. The Map, while charming in an old school gaming way, is horribly designed. Some button icons pop up too quickly which means you miss a combo in combat. Or a button icon pops up when you discover something new and/or interesting but your companion 9S is standing too close so you talk to him instead. These issues aren’t enough to keep me from enjoying the weird charm of Nier Automata. The story is immersive and forces me to not only ask question but looks for answers, both in the game and in the real world. A game that makes you think, who would have thought. It’s wonderful I would suggest picking it up as soon as possible. It doesn’t hurt that Amazon is currently offering Nier: Automata for $49.99.
Go out and pick up Nier: Automata today, you won’t be disappointed. “For the glory of mankind.”