Yeah I know, we’re back to Square Enix games. I nierly (>_>) didn’t even pick this game up. It was only after attending PAX East and seeing it featured at the Square Enix “booth” that I really became interested in Nier: Automata. And I am damned glad I did. I still have a ways to go in the game so this is more of a first impression/first look type of article than a full on review, but everything it’s shown me so far has earned it a spot in my favorites.
I won’t really go into the story, both because I’m still figuring it out and I don’t want to spoil anything. That said, the basic premise is that Earth was attacked by aliens and their machine armies in the very distant past. Losing the war, humanity was forced to flee to the moon. Now, they send android warriors back down to the planet to fight the machines. You play as the android 2B as she carries out missions on Earth’s ruined surface. I don’t know what I was expecting exactly when I first looked into Nier. I was expecting a hack and slash type game, after getting a quick glance at the demo (didn’t actually play it). What I found was something else altogether.
What keeps blowing my mind as I play is how often the game switches gears. At heart, it’s an open world action game where you have free reign to explore, unlock new areas as you go, etc. But it opens with you flying a fighter plane type unit, shooting down enemies. And this comes up a few times. At some points it’s an RPG, an action game, a side scroller, has you piloting a mech, it’s crazy and loads of fun to never know when it’s going to switch things up on you.
Combat is challenging and unforgiving. This isn’t a title where you can just roll up and wreck everything that crosses you. Much like a Dark Souls game you actually need to learn your enemies maneuvers in order to deal with them efficiently. You’ll unlock a variety of weapons as you play, allowing you to mix and match them to best suit your personal style. 2B is powered up by installing plug-in chips that enhance things like melee, defense, etc., but there are also options for disabling the HUD to make things more difficult, or even automation chips to let the game handle things like evasion or ranged attacks if you’re having trouble.
I have very little negative to say here. I f****** love this game. But at some points the camera will either zoom out or take a weird angle that makes combat extremely difficult, particularly when the enemies blend in with the ground. Honestly…that’s it. And on that note, I’m going to wrap this up and get back in there. Once I beat the game I’ll put a more comprehensive and in depth review, but seriously, give Nier a shot. You won’t regret it. Til next time, happy gaming!