“DO YOU THINK GAMES ARE SILLY LITTLE THINGS?”
Finally, after my initial review of this game recently, I can now present my final thoughts on the sequel to 2010’s NieR!
NieR Automata is game from the eccentric mind of director Yoko Taro. It’s a collaboration between him and Platinum Games, developers known for their character action games with focus on style and looking cool. It stands as a testament to how if a dream team like Yoko Taro and Platinum Games were to collaborate something truly special will end up being the product. It’s a game that long time Drakengard and NieR fans wanted viciously and now they have finally got it. As of this review I have gotten all 5 main endings and have clocked in about 24 hours of gameplay.
The story takes place after an unknown amount of time after the first NieR game, and if you follow Yoko Taro’s work at all you will also know that this game takes place after a stage play as well. Yes, a stage play. Yoko Taro is known for his use of mixed media to tell the stories of his games and for some that could be a good or bad thing, depending on if that stuff ever gets localized. The world is in ruin after an alien invasion as they wiped out most of humanity using machine lifeforms. What was left of humanity escaped to the Moon where they developed Project YoRHa to combat the aliens. You play as YoRHa unit No. 2, Model “B” or 2B for short. You and your companion 9S are sent to Earth to clear out enemy machine lifeforms for a local resistance, but some of the machine lifeforms are acting a little bit strange and as things get complicated it’s your job to take care of it. The story in my opinion is extremely well done and the characters are written quite well and it kept me engaged throughout as I wanted to know more and more about what was going on. It’s certainly a rollercoaster of emotions and that famous Yoko Taro suffering as the appeal of his games comes from his extremely dark storylines and characters. And though I wasn’t feeling any of that horribleness that comes with his games the later acts in the game sure do crank it up a notch and it made my stomach sink. Though not much experience with Drakengard and the first NieR is not needed to play this game it is ideal that you know everything as small things in the story make you have some real “Oh my God!” moments, so doing a little homework before playing is highly encouraged.
Good gameplay is something that Yoko Taro fans wanted to years and when it was revealed that Platinum will be working in collaboration with Taro I believe everyone was a little more than overjoyed as the combat in this game is absolutely fantastic. From the second you are given control you can feel a certain tightness and control over your character. It feels amazing just to move even. Top that off with Platinum’s combat and you have yourself a treat as fighting enemies feels cathartic and fun I never got bored of fighting waves upon waves of enemies. Now this is by no means at all the most mechanically deep game like Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising but the amount of options, weapons and upgrades keep things always interesting and if a little more effort is made then you can have some really cool looking fights and combos. This being a Yoko Taro game means that it will have some good amount of variety in its gameplay, once second you’re playing a hack n’ slash and the next you’re playing a shmup it was always a pleasant surprise every time something new was introduced and those sections never stay too long that they get annoying. It is also set in an open-world which is kinda sorta empty but for some reason it feels like there’s countless things to do in it. The placement of buildings and other platforming structures are designed with a certain flow in mind and simply running around was enough to keep me entertained because of the tight controls. It is an RPG so you will have our fair share of side quests which can range from simple and boring fetch quests to some of the highlights of the game. Getting all the endings is also not that hard. You have to repeat the first playthrough a second time for Ending B which can sometimes feel boring but the slight changes in the story pushed me forward as I moved towards Ending C, D and E the route to the last three endings is the same one and after the second playthrough you are treated with an entirely new set of things to do and story to progress through. A lot of people might put the game down after Ending A but I encourage you to keep playing until Ending E as its the best way to get the most out of the story.
It isn’t a big surprise that this game has absolutely amazing music as previous games in the series did as well. Its beautiful and haunting and the sheer amount of it is insane, there is like 5 versions of the same song ranging from vocals to instrumentals to even 8-bit chiptune style and they all dynamically change to fit the situation. I, personally will buy the soundtrack the second it’s up on the Square Enix Store whenever that will be.
I played the game on a regular PS4 and displayed a resolution of 900p. It’s a game with certain style to it so I feel like it will age well and not look to bad in the future. A lot of dull and washed out colors are used but with high contrast greens in the open world for grass and trees. Amazing lighting is what makes this game look so nice as the colors are brought to life through his lighting. The world has gone back to its original state after humanity was wiped out so mother nature has taken back her place and it just looks beautiful. Character designs are also striking and great. Especially the main YoRHa androids who looks especially great. Although the enemy designs are also great I kind of wished that there were more that were more out there as I felt like I was just fighting upgraded versions of smaller enemies at times.
The game runs at an almost silky smooth 60fps with slight dips in the frame rate. These frame rate dips usually happen when exploring the open world but rarely ever happen during combat. Overall I didn’t mind it too much but I know a few people might.
NieR Automata is a special game, a miracle even that a Yoko Taro game has amazing gameplay that compliments the story. An absolutely amazing story that I still think about after beating and a great amount of replay value. Even though it’s ideal that you do some homework before going into NieR Automata for the best possible experience story wise you can still play it and have a good time no problem. The success of this game could mean more Yoko Taro directed games and even more collaborations with Platinum. Here’s hoping for more in the future.
I would give NieR Automata a 9 out of 10.