NieR: Automata is a hack and slash RPG developed by Square Enix and PlatinumGames Inc. and is a sequel to NieR. This action RPG will keep you invested in its amazing thought provoking story, wonderfully crafted characters, excellent combat, and beautiful visuals. NieR: Automata is one of those games that offers a lot, yet I can only explain so much, as the game would be spoiled.
Pros and Cons
-A fantastic, emotional story with wonderfully crafted characters
-Amazing combat with interesting upgrades
-The beginning of the game is quite difficult for the first playthrough
-Dodging requires you to time a button press right, plus the lock-on system is not very good
-Some Plug-in chips should not be upgrades at all, but instead, features that are optional as some Plug-in Chips can even play the game for you
The story takes place in the year 11945 during The 14th Machine War; humanity was invaded by aliens that were armed with bio-machines. The remaining parts of humanity fled to the moon where they would be safe from the machines. The Council of Humanity tasked YoRHa, an elite military force of androids, to fight off the aliens and their machines and take back humanity’s home planet. You play as YoRHa No.2 Type B which is usually shortened to 2B, who is one of the androids assigned to the mission to help a resistance camp, as well as look into the disappearance of a few missing androids who were sent on a prior mission.
NieR: Automata tells us a story from possibly one of the best perspectives. You play as an android that is not allowed to feel any emotion, while the environment provokes emotional responses from the player. As you progress through the story, the game tries to invoke a strong sense of justice and frequently attempts to trigger emotions and thoughts about what is about to come. 2B however, does not feel anything as she is an android, and emotions are prohibited and are to be never shown. Yet the environment that you traverse through will stimulate your emotions as a player seeing machines that start families, make friends, and feel pain. There was a moment in the game where 2B’s operator was crying and telling her that she admitted her feelings to another girl and got rejected. You, of course, can’t help but feel bad for her, but 2B just goes on to says she is not the person to be helping her with the situation. We also get characters like 9S, who has their emotions enabled and states that he can’t help but feel emotional. The characters in NieR: Automata are well crafted and have a great deal of depth, allowing them to shine as characters.
The story is honestly amazing and to get the full experience you will need to play until ending E. It may sound tedious at first but the experience is definitely worth it, the second playthrough may get repetitive but it does have some moments that make it shine. As soon as you get to the third playthrough, however, everything is different and that is when the game truly shines for its story.
I have a lot to talk about when it comes to the gameplay. The combat is well executed and defeating enemies is very rewarding with the flashy combos you can pull off. When you level up, you will get a boost in all stats like your health, weapon stats when you upgrade your weapons at shops, and damage that your pod can dish out with Plug-in Chips.
However, the game can be a bit difficult for new players just starting out. The sole reason for this is that you will not have a good grasp on things like dodging. If you happen to die before you enter the area of the game that allows you to save, you will have to start from the beginning of the game and the start is at least 40 minutes long. Dodging is also a bit difficult to get used to because it's somewhat of a quick-time event, there is no way to just do a normal dodge or even a method for the game to properly teach you how to dodge.
Pods are these small robots that will accompany you on your mission throughout the game and have many useful abilities that you can equip. You can make your pod glide for you so you can cross chasms that are too big or reach places that are too far away. There a total of three Pods where two of them you have to find located in different areas in the game, and with these Pods, you can use more abilities that you can buy in shops. There are Pod Programs that you can get that will give your Pod a special ability like R010: Laser or A060: P Shield to name a few.
Plug-in Chips are upgrades that can help you in combat and can come in five types.
1. Attack types help you deal more damage in combat, like adding a shock wave to your weapon or doing increased damage.
2. Defense gives you defensive upgrades like defense to melee damage or giving you more HP so you can tank more hits.
3. Support will give you the ability to use healing items automatically or give you an EXP gain.
4. Hacking will help you with your hacking, you can get a hijack boost, or make your enemies combust.
5. System chips add things to your HUD, like having a mini-map, giving you HUD objectives, or even giving you locations to save. Plug-in Chips can be upgraded up to level 8 but only some chips can go up that high.
The Plug-in Chips are useful and can help you in combat in many ways to suit your play style. However, there are specific Plug-in Chips that can automatically take over combat from the player's control essentially playing the game for them. These are only available in easy mode but they should not really be a part of the game as a whole in my opinion as it takes away one of the best parts of the game. On top of that, some Plug-in Chips should not even be upgrades like displaying your health or the mini-map, as they should be more of a standard HUD option that most gamers would of course want by default.
The soundtrack is really well done fitting the mood of the environments/scenes with a lot that really shined for me. Finding the best ones to showcase was not an easy task but the two best ones I can think of would be the City Ruins and the Amusement Park theme.
The graphics for the NieR: Automata are very beautiful. Many areas have been injected with life giving the player much to look at. Even in the more barren areas of the game that consist of older neglected environmental elements just felt amazing to look at. The surroundings give you a sense of curiosity prompting you to explore every nook and cranny of the available area. Now I should note that I did not use any graphical mods to make the game look better for my playthrough, but if you have the hardware to handle it, you can enhance the visuals even more with available mods.
I'll put the link here for the mod at the end of the review.
The game was tested on a NIVIDA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB with 16 GB of RAM storage and an AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50. I had no problems with the game but I did experience a few second freeze-frames on fighting one boss.
NieR: Automata is a wonderfully crafted game and has so much to offer that I wish I could talk more about but only so much can be said in a review without containing spoilers. If you are looking for a game that has an amazing story, great characters, a wonderful soundtrack, and fun combat, then look no further than NieR: Automata, as it has everything you are looking for in an RPG. The story is about 25-40 hours long depending on how focused you are, taking even longer if you take on side quests and attempt to find hidden parts in the areas, but it is well worth experiencing and will leave you wanting more.