Feels like forever since I’ve done this…how do I word again? Think I’ve nierly forgotten how to write…I’m so sorry. Blame Blackatron, he’s a bad influence.
Anyway, welcome to my full review for Nier: Automata. I finally made my way through the entire game, which wound up being much more complex than I originally thought, but I’ll get into that in a sec.
Fair warning as always with these types of articles, there will be some spoilers. I will do my best to minimize story points, but in talking about the game play/design I may give away a few details. If you’d rather experience the game blind, go do that.
I don’t want to say too much about the story because I don’t want to really give anything away. In essence it doesn’t deviate too much from what I talked about in my previous article, but it does get much deeper than just androids fighting machines. It stayed engaging throughout, and did an eerily impressive job of showing the struggle of the androids and the machine life-forms they’re fighting, dealing with human feelings and emotions. It makes you wonder what it really means to be ‘human’ when androids and machines can be just as if not more human than the real thing.
Nier also caught me by surprise with their story was assembled. As you could probably guess from looking at the cover, there are three main characters and you’ll control each of them at various points. The story opens with 2B as expected, but once you’ve played through her story the game ‘ends’ and the credits roll. When that’s over though you can follow another route and replay the story from the perspective of the second character, 9S.
Now, at a glance it felt like just a re-run with a different character. Albeit a much more irritating one than 2B. 9S can only use one weapon at a time, but is capable of hacking. While this both allows access to areas and chests 2B couldn’t access and deals a shit-load of damage, the mini-games induced by hacking range from easy to the most rage inducing thing ever. But I digress. 9S’s play-through provides additional perspectives and more information about the events of the first part of the game. While it’s cool to experience the shift in perspective, I thought that might be all there was to it. At the end of his segment, the credits roll again, but with a much different scene playing in the background. When you relaunch the game shit really hits the fan and the game becomes increasingly manic from there onward, and you eventually get to play the third character, A2.
Speaking of credits, the game literally has an ending for every letter of the alphabet. No joke, although many of the endings are. A-E are all serious, with E being the final, true ending, but the others are triggered by random death events (such as using 2B’s self destruct ability while inside the Bunker) or going against the story-line (such as trying to explore when you first take control of 9S rather than follow orders). And for the record, ending E has got to be one of the most epic finishes to a game I have ever seen, both in terms of execution and story. I cannot even bring myself to ruin this for you, you have to experience it for yourself.
I mentioned in my first article that the game was an open world action game, and technically that holds true for the full length of all chapters save for the final few. Nier: Automata holds true to it’s chaotic nature by keeping up the mode switching the whole way through, reaching a point where you’ll be switching back and forth between two different characters at random points where one is fighting normally and the other pilots a flight unit. It’s craziness and I loved every second of it.
The music in this game was another major factor in tying everything together. Keiichi Okabe, the composer for both this game as well as the original Nier, outdid himself. Every region, every scene has music that enhances and completes them to a tee. Just walking through the ruined world and listening to the music can evoke feelings of loss and loneliness. Combat music is heart pounding and exciting. Every song fits perfectly where it plays and enhances the game in a way I haven’t noticed in other games. I never buy soundtracks and I bought this soundtrack.
Sorry if I ramble a bit here. I have so many great things to say about Nier: Automata it’s hard to actually put it into words. But was there anything I didn’t like about the game? Hacking. But that probably speaks more to my own ineptitude then anything else. I really can’t think of anything to fault the game on, which again is rare for me. Give this game a shot, if you like action games, if you’re looking for something new, any reason at all really. Nier doesn’t disappoint, 10 stars out of 5. See you all later this week, and as always, happy gaming!