One might find it difficult to describe Nier: Automata in a single sentence. Stylized as NieR: Automata, this game is a welcome mash-up of a third-person action RPG, a side-scrolling and overhead-scrolling shooter, a platformer, and a twin-stick shooter. It tells the story of machines and androids endlessly battling for the future of humans, all while discovering a bit of humanity in themselves. Ultimately, this game is as diverse in its beauty as it is with its gameplay and storytelling. This NieR Automata review will cover all of these gameplay styles, its deep, intricate story, the breathtaking visuals, captivating music, and so much more.
|Type of game:||Action RPG|
|Total Play Time:||19 hours, 60 hours completionist|
|System Requirements:||CPU: Intel Core i3 2100 or AMD A8-6500
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 VRAM 2GB or AMD Radeon R9 270X VRAM 2GB
RAM: 4 GB
OS: 64-bit Windows 7 or better
HDD Space: 50 GB
The World of NieR: Automata
Nier Automata was met with generally favorable reviews (PS4 – 88, PC – 84; via Metacritic) and nominated for several awards, including “Game of the Year” and “Best Storytelling”.
In the following sections, a thorough look at the overall atmosphere, a feature of the characters, an in-depth look at the story, and a brief view of the DLC will all take place. “Prepare yourself, proxy!”
Atmosphere and Location
In 11945 AD, a dark, distant future awaits. Humanity has fled to the moon. A machine army from a foreign world has forced the retreat. Combat androids were sent to Earth to fight in humanity’s place.
Welcome to battle-worn world of Nier: Automata!
This post-apocalyptic world is stunning in its details. At times, proxies and machines are battling in an ancient machine-making factory. Gliding androids down the sand dunes could be a game in-and-of itself!
The visuals are breathtaking whether moving through the back alleys of a machine town, seeing a machine-acted play, navigating the dark forest, or walking around the android control station in space.
PlatinumGames did well with the use of Open World gameplay.
Speaking of gameplay, there is no shortage of variety here. With different playable characters comes different styles of gameplay. There are mini-games, shooter elements, and third-person action with melee and ranged assaults. The camera will even pan away and take an overhead position while flying mechs to a new location.
The voice acting, sound effects, and music are all captivating. The music, especially, resonates long after playing the game. The game won “Best Score/Music and Audio” no less than four times, not to mention the lengthy list of nominations and runner-up placements.
The game has multiple playthroughs with the player controlling a different character on each playthrough. Each character has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, along with their unique perspectives on the story. The characters have their own personalities and play styles, too.
The game starts off with the player in control of YoRHa No.2 Type B, henceforth “2B”.
2B is the lead protagonist on the first playthrough, Branch A of the game. Stoic, strong, quiet, 2B is one for taking actions over talking it out.
When in the open world, the player controls her from a third-person perspective, mostly engaging in hack-and-slash style gameplay. There is an art to it, though, as a precisely timed block will allow for a powerful counter-attack.
In some settings, such as The Factory, there are camera shifts to platforming and side-scrolling. Her story is one of redemption and a discovery of empathy.
YoRHa No.9 Type S, or “9S” (Nines), is the main playable character on Branches B and D.
Nines is emotional, formal, and ultimately reckless due to his feelings. His arch is one which traverses the most as his passions get the better of him.
Gameplay-wise, Nines can defeat characters using a hacking mini-game. His role in the story ends up being one of the most profound.
Finally, YoRHa Type A No.2, referenced as “A2”, is the main playable character in the third playthrough, Branch C. Her gameplay is similar to 2B’s, with the added benefit of Berzerker (sic) powers. She comes from an earlier time period, making her an older model than our other protagonists. She’s highly aggressive compared to 2B and Nines.
Each character has control of Pod Assistance which can provide ranged attacks.
The spectrum of antagonists and supporting characters is extensive, showcasing a broad range of emotions and personalities amongst them.
Story is where Nier: Automata really shines. It has multiple endings, some which cannot be completed without completing multiple playthroughs, referred to as “Branches”.
The complexities of humanity’s retreat to the moon and the eventual rise of sentience with the machine army cannot be fully vetted without running through each playthrough and all endings.
The game starts with 2B and Nines meeting for the first time. They’re blasting into an ancient factory that creates more machines for the invaders. They manage to break through, finding a hole in the defenses, and can continue with their ultimate goal of removing the machine threat permanently from Earth.
It doesn’t take long to discover something unique is happening, though. A new threat is witnessed while on a mission in the desert lands. The machine network has birthed a physical representation of itself into two android-type forms: Adam and Eve.
Battling this new threat leads to the discovery of a plot which threatens to shake the foundation of everything the androids know to be true.
2B and Nines will meet several allies along the way, many of whom shall require their assistance to complete both menial and important tasks.
In their adventures, another protagonist is met. A2’s story is merely flirted with in Branches A and B, though Branch B broadens that view for the player. The meat of her story – and the revelations that story holds – are in Branches C and D, along with the game’s stunning conclusion.
Will a new future be forged? Or will the mistakes of humanity continue to weigh on the lives of the androids? Will the sentient life of the machine army finally end the war?
The game should be played through to the bittersweet end to find out.
DLC & Expansion Packs
Only one DLC was released for the game. 3C3C1D119440927, the NieR Automata DLC’s name, included three outfits, one for each of the main protagonists. 2B’s outfit is “Revealing Outfit”, “Young Man’s Outfit” is available for Nines, and A2 is able to wear “Destroyer Outfit”.
Along with the new outfits, a series of subquests were released. Included in these is a coliseum battle with Square Enix CEO, Yosuke Matsuda, and PlatinumGames CEO, Kenichi Sato.
The game can be long with the multiple playthroughs, that much is true; however, it is the story which helped win this game multiple nominations for “Best Story” and “Game of the Year”. The genre skipping nature of the game, and the story being told from different perspectives, grants this game the ability to stand the test of replayability.
Nier: Automata has everything a fan of RPGs could hope for: Excellent visuals, a deep, enthralling story, diversified gameplay, and an award-winning soundtrack. In short, this game is worth every second spent vetting its woven tales.
What do you think? Did you love/hate the game? Let me know if you have any questions or concerns!