Nier: Automata – Review
Follow Genre: Action RPG
Developer: PlatinumGames
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PC, PS4
Tested on: PS4

Nier: Automata – Review

Site Score
9.5
Good: Story, Atmosphere, Pretty much everything the game has to offer
Bad: Somewhat awkward camera angles, Poor map to work with
User Score
10.0
(5 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (5 votes cast)

This might as well be the game most gamers have been waiting for to be released, not because the original Nier game was such a success, the contrary in fact, but simply because the trailers alone of Nier Automata looked so damn good. On paper this game is the sequel of Nier, which was released back in 2010, Nier Automata doesn’t really follow the events of the original Nier game, and the only comparison that can be made is the overall grim atmosphere that surrounds the entire world. Other than that, the games are loosely tied to the Drakengard series, but again, this game stands firmly on its two feet, without requiring knowledge of the aforementioned games. Robots, Androids, Humans and Aliens are fighting for survival in this peculiar, yet story driven adventure.

Nier Automata

Story

We propel around 3000 years into the future, where mankind is all but obliterated. The last hundreds of thousands of survivors have fled to the moon, and orbiting outposts, as our planet was invaded by aliens, who manufactured hordes of machines to wipe out our species. Now, humanity has deployed androids to fight for them, to finally turn the tide of this war, hoping they can repopulate Earth, which in a way has actually benefited from the lack of human beings scurrying on its surface.

You’ll be playing as one of said androids who are trying to recover the Earth from the alien presence. Nonetheless, your last mission doesn’t exactly go as planned, because you, 2B, lose all your allies during the battle, and all of them are damaged beyond repair, or can’t even be restored in a new body. Nonetheless, you team up with 9S, a support android, who is a bit on the chatty side. While androids are not really permitted to show and/or have emotions, 9S certainly shows a lot of them, and as time progresses you start to open up as well.

To keep this section as spoiler-free as possible, it’s easy to say that you will get a new mission, which is actually on the surface of Earth, to support the resistance, while performing chores and missions for your commanding officer. Before long you feel rather conflicted to destroy the robotic presence on Earth, as all of a sudden you encounter robots who show emotions, who chat about family, who want to live a peaceful life, and so on. Due to this, you start working on both sides of the fence, to truly find out what is going on. When all of a sudden humanoid beings show up, preaching about assimilating the human race, for study purposes, you know you’re in for a treat.

Nier Automata 1

Overall the story flows at a steady pace, but if you’re like us, and love a lot of the side-quests, it’ll take some time before the events start to unfold, and before that strange feeling in your stomach finally knows its place. You’ll be rather conflicted from the moment you have to attack robots that scream for help or shun you for attacking them, simply because you have to. If you mess around with side-quests a lot during this time of the game, it’ll take some time before that awful gut feeling will dissipate.

Graphics

While not everything is crisp and crystal clear in the world of Nier: Automata, the game is still breathtaking at many different occasions, when you wander into a new territory, or when you’re under siege by yet another mammoth boss, or even simply when wandering through a stage and taking a closer look at some of the sceneries and the characters that find themselves entangled in the events of this nearly destroyed world. Overall the game will drop you in a central hub, which looks a bit bland, but the further you press on, the more new areas open before you, allowing you to explore a very varied world.

The characters of this world are appealing, even though the robots often look very similar, it’s the bosses, your own character and some key characters that truly stand out among the masses. Your attacks look spiffy with nearly every weapon type, and sometimes the game presents you with different fixed camera angles that show you beautiful backdrops. The latter can sometimes be a bit frustrating though, as the fixed camera perspective isn’t always easy to work with in the midst of combat.

Nier Automata 2

Sound

Epic might be a great word to describe the soundtrack of this game, but even then, it would sell the music rather short. The music, as expected for a game that’s being published by Square Enix, is simply amazing, and extremely cinematic. The music itself is rather tranquil, even in combat it has a certain soothing effect, while still getting you hyped enough for the battle to come. In some ways the music feels as if it’s a mix of classical music, with inspirations from the old Ghost in the Shell movie, but at cheerier moments, such as in the robot village, it even has a ‘Loco Roco’ feel to it, with a fairly childish, but oh-so-enjoyable vibe to it.

There’s a sufficient amount of voice acting in the game, which mainly triggers during voice messages and main story quests, which stand out thanks to said qualitative voice acting. It would have been nice if everything was voice acted, but with the amount of people that cross your path, it would have become a very expensive undertaking to develop this title with a completely voice acted narrative for the side-quests.

Gameplay

Nier: Automata is an action-RPG through and through and has many straightforward gameplay elements. Nonetheless, the game doesn’t really hold you by the hand, and sets you free in a world that will slowly open up, as you complete more and more quests. There is no real pressure of following the main storyline, if you’d rather spend time exploring (the unlocked segments) and doing sub-quests, to gain experience or simply please your completionist drive, then you certainly can.

Nier Automata 3

Combat is more of a hack and slash kind of style, which means you’ll be able to move around freely, and hack away at the robotic enemies that are trying to stop you. Other than your basic weapon attacks, you can also use your pod, which is pretty much the flying robotic equivalent of Navi from The Legend of Zelda, who can also blast away at your enemies. With the shoot button pressed down, you’ll be able to do a constant stream of damage to your enemies, but it proves to be rather tricky to work with the targeting system, which makes sure that combat doesn’t become too easy.

Running around in a fairly open world has its benefits for character development, as you’ll encounter many NPCs who offer side-quests, who will in turn reward you with items. One of the key items in this game are ‘chips’ which you can implant in the available slots, in order to provide your characters with bonuses. In a way, this is pretty much the same as a gear system in many other games, seeing these chips can help you with attack benefits, but also defense boosts and even things like HUD upgrades are possible. The latter allows you for example to see the enemies’ health status, or even mark items on the map, but you can also simply remove these chips and go for a full damage build if that’s what you fancy.

Overall, as stated above, the game lets you do as you like, which often results in you running from point A to B over and over again to complete some smaller quest, to gain experience before you dive into the main story again. Dying in this game has no real consequences, safe for having to recover your body. If you skip that last part, you’ll lose a hefty amount of your stuff. Nonetheless, newcomers might better consider playing this game on easy difficulty, as it will still hold a fair challenge, especially during the very impressive boss battles.

Nier Automata 4

While minor remarks may be things such as somewhat awkward camera angles at times, or a fairly annoying map to work with, this game doesn’t really have any flaws or cracks in its foundation, and this is what grants fans of the genre with a very entertaining and exciting experience.

Conclusion

Nier: Automata is one of those games that people buy a PlayStation for, because of exclusives such as this (not completely accurate, as it’s also out on PC). The beautiful environments and enthralling story will immediately get you hooked, while the satisfying gameplay, the fun quests and the amazing boss battles will motivate you to press on. If you were still on the fence about this one, we can easily say that you should give this game a whirl, it’s certainly worth the time you have to spend on it.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (5 votes cast)
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Nier: Automata - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 5 ratings

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