NieR: Automata tells the story of androids 2B, 9S and A2 and their battle to reclaim the machine-driven dystopia overrun by powerful machines.
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This game proves that shmup mechanics just do not work in a 3d plane. It was a good try, but now we know. I found the lock-on gun you have to be satisfying if underpowered, but the melee combat is just slightly bad because you can get locked into some long animations and take damage.
“Everything that lives is designed to end. We are perpetually trapped in a never-ending spiral of life and death...I often think about the god who blessed us with this cryptic puzzle...and wonder if we’ll ever get the chance to kill him.”
These are the first words spoken in NieR: Automata, and their implications and intent reverberate throughout the game - echoing over and over throughout the smallest details and largest revelations, including the game’s structure itself. Even as you slice through it as 2B, a physical manifestation of the duality of sex and death, the world reveals itself to be saturated with questions of philosophy, metaphysics, and ontological conundrums - constantly asking, "what is choice, what defines life, and does it even matter?" Through multiple endings that circle each other and spiral on top of themselves, both the player and the characters are given the opportunity to discover and question these ideas themselves. Unlike literature, games, as an art form, have a tendency to offer too much to the player, diluting personal experience and discovery for the sake of spoon-fed meaning. However, NieR: Automata deftly eschews offering these types of answers, instead forcing the player to come up with an interpretation on his or her own. This could be seen as frustrating to some - just another exercise in nihilism that the game offers, but with the many layers and nuances within the game's world and narrative, it's more satisfying to discover a variety of meanings than to be handed one nice moral wrapped up in a bow. If there's any one unified message within NieR: Automata's spiraling, splintered world, it's that you are responsible for discovering truth and meaning for yourself.
All of this philosophical contemplation is juxtaposed against fairly pure action gameplay. Though the combat isn't as deep as something like Devil May Cry, there is enough variety and flexibility to keep things interesting. Being able to equip two different sets of dual weapons is really nice, and each of the weapon combinations have different combos and animations. Being able to further customize character builds through plug-in chips (which also have sets you can switch between) enables the player to be prepared for any type of encounter. All of the characters control incredibly well and are very responsive, so world traversal feels great as well, and quality of life features are there - fast travel, increased movement speed, etc. - to keep things moving along. Though the game doesn't force you to use all of the combat tools on the lower difficulties, I found that bumping it up a bit gives more incentive to try out new tactics and use different combinations of chips and weapons. NieR: Automata also offers several arenas with increasingly difficult challenges and qualifying rules, so that the player can make the best out of the sleek combat system if they are interested in doing so.
NieR: Automata's unique implementation of philosophical world-building and narrative as well as smooth action gameplay combine to make a truly great game that is both intellectually engaging and fun to play.
⌚ Time to finish - 36h (100% complete - I did buy 8 grindy trophies from in game store, so I guess I grinded the money for it than the collectibles, before that I had all but 8 trophies, 16 unlocked endings, and 80% quests completed, not to take away from those that true plat it). My first plat game ever, and would totally recommend everyone do it!
🤬Difficulty - starts of medium goes to easy.
🔊 Soundtrack - awesome. Some songs are still in my head. My fav is the song that plays in pascal's village.
🌄Graphics – Very bad. This is one of the worst parts of the game. Its not bad enough to detract, but there is no color. However, considering the female chars are so well designed if you are into that I doubt you will be looking at anything else in the world. :P
🌦 Atmosphere – great. Music adds alot.
📚 Main Story / Characters – This is the 2nd biggest problem with the game apart from graphics. The story could have been amazing. But the story telling is poor. Both needs to come together (story + story telling). Here the story telling falls into the usual Anime tropes, mixes way too much philosophy, assumes you know so much background info, drips info at you via audio during combat, which I cannot follow since I don't want my ass whooped. Throws bits in hidden items that you have to find and read, hidden endings, etc etc. Its a mess. I had to watch a story summary after the game to understand what happened. Even then I am not sure. Sure there is no game like this out there that marries philosophy, sociology, and sci-fi. But please do a better job with it. However i stuck to it because there are super fun pieces like combat, boss fights and set pieces that trump all this!
🤺 Combat – Awesome! Sure it gets trivial after you lvl up but i dont care. Its fun mix of bullet hell, hack and slash, side scroll, and more. I loved it. Some of the boss fight set pieces are soooooo awesome. I can picture them even now. This is the best part of the game.
🧭 Side Activities / Exploration –Definitely worth exploring. If you played enough rpgs you can guess the side quests. But i am a sucker for completion and side quests. I did up to 80% side quests and felt it was enough as finding the other 20% was getting hard and i only needed 80% for my trophy.
🚗 Movement/Physics – Super fluid. This studio is known for it. You play 3 chars, 1,3 play the same. They are fluid and awesome. Feels so good controlling it. 2, plays very differently, but i loved his style. There are a few moments where the camera gets wacky but execusable.
📣 Voice acting – Excellent.
🥇 Best thing about the game - ACTION, combat set pieces! Lots of fun Easter eggs to discover. These were so fun to do. Its clear the amount of time they spent thinking about these, maybe they should have spent it on graphics upgrade. :) I don't think those trophies can and do exist in any other game.
👎 Worst thing about the game - Story telling and anime tropes
Pros far outweigh the cons. Play it, enjoy it. Live in the world and experience it as much as you can. Sure there are better games but this one still not to be missed. The combat sequences and each chapter finale are amazing. Bonus, its fun to plat. Go discover what the game has to offer including the side bonus stuff!