From creative director Yoko Taro (creative is really an understatement for this guy), NieR: Automata is based on the much lesser-known Drakengard fluff all the way back from the PlayStation 2. Though it shares its roots with that title, you don’t need to retrace your robot history as this game stands on its own.
The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting where there is a war between the remnants of humanity (androids named YoRHa) and machines from an invading world. You control YoRHa No. 2 Model B or “2B” who is tasked to wipe the earth of the invading robots. Joining the protagonist on her missions is 9S, a male android who is not so much skilled in combat as 2B,but makes up for his impressive hacking ability.
Adding to this Nier: Automata’s Director Yoko Taro’s brilliant writing and triking art design bleeds its very best at this game, which I believe is his greatest work. I mean, where can you find a game where you have the option of killing yourself from the inventory menu? (Thus immediately going through an ending sequence) Where can you find a game where each weapon has its own backstory? I really got to hand it to this guy and I’m looking forward to more from him in future releases. The translation of his work via the game’s eye-candy graphics and not to mention the impressive soundtrack is unconventionally inspiring.
At its core, the game is a hybrid action role-playing game set in an very manageable open-world setting that, after a few missions, feels familiar in a sense that it doesn’t feel as intimidating as say the world of Witcher 3 or the like. And I mean that in a really good way, because the game doesn’t need to follow on that mold as the idea they want to present here is ,of course, over-the-top action similar to Bayonetta. To be honest, the game really reminded me of a previous title – Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Some might be discouraged when I say that, but don’t be. This game is great for points that I will discuss further below.
In its very basic sense, combat mostly evolves around alternating on quick and strong attacks that varies from the different weapon styles. Combining any two types creates over-the-top flashy animations with devastating results. Aside from this you can also trigger other John Woo-esque sequences by attacking after doing a dodge cartwheel or holding down one of the attack buttons. It is literally a dance that makes you look a professional choreographer. And the best part? The combat just gets better and better as you progress through the story.
On the other hand, 9S’ own skill with a blade makes him an equally important as an AI-partner, which compliments to the already-impressive feats of 2B which, combined makes for a really jaw-dropping performance.
Like I said, the game is an action rpg, but to be honest, for those of you who tried the free demo before you would know that this is actually a crazy mix of different types of genres that seamlessly interchange during your course of play.
At one point you are hacking and slashing your way in third-person style through some robots, then it becomes a 2D platformer….
…And then becomes an analog twin-shooter that at the end becomes a one-on-one flying fist-fight with a transformed base (The same base you explored earlier, that became an actual boss). The transition is frantic and crazy, and it is what I actually expected from developer PlatinumGames.
When you are not exploring or doing the many side quests, The story attempts to uncover its mystery behind the alien invaders. The mechanical monstrosities that are once believed to be mindless are now demonstrating human-like behavior, from then on it really got me engaged, as plot twist upon plot twist is slowly being unraveled. I wasn’t expecting the game to be that good story-wise, since I was thoroughly invested believing the game was focused more on the action and visuals, but I was wrong. You will really learn to love and appreciate the lore of this game, and want to strive seeing all the multiple endings.
NieR: Automata is a crazy, amazing, beautiful and highly engaging journey full of wild and insane ideas that really just goes up in scale. Partnered with intense and fast paced combat presented greatly both in visual and audio, this game is one that should really stay “NieR” to your gaming shelves.
There’s really not so much titles that surprises me nowadays. Most games are basically re-implementing tried and true gimmicks partnered with a new innovation here and there. Square Enix’s NieR: Automata, well, is generally like that… But it does so in a crazy and amazing fashion! One that I will likely to remember for a long time.
- Eye-catching over the top visuals
- Great soundtrack
- Good cast of characters
- Engaging and addicting combat
- Seamless transitioning from different types of gameplay genres
- Loading times
- Some hiccups at framerate but not too disturbing
- Theme might not appeal to some players at first
Final Score: 9/10