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NieR: Automata – Ghost in the Shell

REVIEW – Yoko Taro is back, after a lukewarm reception of Drakengard 3 he went back to the drawing board and decided to provide a sequel to probably one of the weirdest spin-offs yet – NieR. His games are usually the saddest of the industry, and while their gameplay mechanics have not been the best (Hell Drakengard 1 was a cheap Dynasty Warriors knock off), the story has always been worth to see through until the very end.

 

This time, however, NieR: Automata is being developed not by Cavia, but instead helmed by PlatinumGames. Luckily this means that the combat and gameplay elements are in good hand, although those expecting Devil May Cry or Bayonetta depths of combat might be a little disappointed. Still, it bodes well for the project that both Square Enix and Sony have been pushing marketing to the maximum. While it sounds like a childish game aka – Killing robots with Android Girls that are in miniskirts similar to Onechanbara: Bikin Samurai Squad – it tells the tale of three characters that regularly face the cycle of death, sorrow, and destruction. This is the world of NieR: Automata and Yoko Taro welcomes you to it.

Glory to Mankind!

NieR: Automata is the sequel to a spin-off of the original Drakengard series which was an old PS2 exclusive back in the day. The series is all over the place regarding overall lore and story due to time travel, fate, and parallel universes, oh and multiple endings per each game. Fortunately for new players NieR: Automata can be enjoyed without going crazy over the lore of the franchises. Although if you are familiar with it, you’ll get a few callbacks to previous games and characters.

The gist of the story is that in the future Humanity is on the verge of extinction due to aliens invading Earth. The remnant of Humanity flees to the Moon, and from there tries to take back the planet by sending androids to do the dirty work. You are 2B on a mission initially to clear the local area of a Goliath class enemy (Gigantic Robots), and after the mission goes as planned, you are tasked with various missions to help the Android Resistance.

While it does seem nothing specially, the story goes to places when might not expect, including the concept of free will, AIs, and finding the reason to live. Underneath all the killing of mindless robots, the game can provide a deep meaning to it an overall plot. The side quests are also written fairly well, and provide just enough of an incentive to go through with them. Although beware, as there is a lack of fast travel within the game for at least 50% of the way. So if you commit to a side quest be ready for lots of running from one place to another – which might be annoying to some of you. It does flesh out the world for the player, and luckily these side quests are well written and do not just consist of: Defeat 50 enemies.

If you hear the story, then you’ll enjoy it, but to enjoy it thoroughly, you’ll need to replay this game a few times.

Combo BREAKER!

The gameplay of NieR: Automata can be best described as DMC Lite. Some weapons and upgrades can be bought for our character, and even some combos exist, but nothing extensive. You have your two weapon slots, one pod that can have multiple forms of attack, plug in chips that add a boost to your character’s attributes, and finally a leveling up system. Light, heavy and charge up attacks also exist for all of the weapons. However, there is no need for the player to master combos, to be effective. Weapons can be bought from vendors, or earned by completing side quests. Also, all of the weapons have their own unique story which can be unlocked gradually by upgrading them over the course of the game. Plug in chips can be earned from enemies, but also from other players’ corpses. Optimizing these chips is important, as well as setting them up in a meaningful way.

The combat in NieR: Automata is easy to use and difficult to master, especially on Hard and Very Hard. While there’s not a lot of depth to it, the parry and dodge options will have to be used by the player a lot. Especially when most of the enemies will take massive amounts of health off from the player on Hard difficulty.

91G5pNQkLpL. AC SL1500

There’s also a hacking mini-game that becomes more prevalent when playing as 9S. Although it does end up in some of the boss battles, breaking the flow and mixing up the combat. It is more of a quick shoot’em up section than a legitimate hacking section like in Deus Ex, but there’s also parts where you control an aircraft and there it also shump.

The gameplay in NieR: Automata is varied, and includes many different game modes for the player to enjoy throughout the story.
The Sharpness of the Blade

Speaking of varied, NieR: Automata takes place over a multitude of different landscapes, from City of Ruins to a massive Desert, and even an Amusement Park. The world is colorful and great to look at, and the enemies while sometimes feel the same, do look visually different depending on which section of the map we are playing on. While the style of the game is perfect, its details are lacking, and in particular on the PS4. No doubt it looks great on the PS4 Pro, but some jaggies was seen, and how visually unappealing some of the sections look is a tad bit disappointing. Sure the Amusement Park level looks great, but the City of Ruins is just weak regarding realization and level of detail. Also, some of the texture looked muddy and washed out.

While the visuals regarding resolution and sharpness can be something of a hit and miss, the sound effects and music are top-notch. The boss battle themes were particularly great, and get the adrenaline going for the player.
Time and Time Again

In the end NieR: Automata is a great Sony exclusive for 2017, and while the graphics are not the best, the music, combat, and story makes up for this shortfall for the overall package. To fully enjoy the story, though, this is a game that needs to be replayed a few times. Oh and Yoko Taro’s depressive storytelling is not for everyone, so if you are the faint of heart, it is best to drink some before playing the game. An entertaining game, with some minor issues, and epic boss battles, hopefully, we will see more from Yoko Taro and the world of Nier.

-Dante-

Pro:

+ Great story, and themes
+ Epic boss battles
+ Music is one of the best in video gaming history

Against:

– Graphics are not the best
– Lack of fast travel (initially) can be a pain
– Has to be replayed multiple times to get the full story


Publisher: Square Enix

Developer: PlatinumGames

Genre: Action-Role Playing

Release date: March 10, 2017

REVIEW – Yoko Taro is back, after a lukewarm reception of Drakengard 3 he went back to the drawing board and decided to provide a sequel to probably one of the weirdest spin-offs yet – NieR. His games are usually the saddest of the industry, and while their gameplay mechanics have not been the best (Hell Drakengard 1 was a cheap Dynasty Warriors knock off), the story has always been worth to see through until the very end.   This time, however, NieR: Automata is being developed not by Cavia, but instead helmed by PlatinumGames. Luckily this means that the combat…
It is not the deepest game, but it is one of the most interesting games of 2017.

Nier: Automata

Gameplay - 9.3
Graphics - 7.7
Story - 8.4
Music/Audio - 9.6
Ambiance - 9.2

8.8

EXCELLENT

It is not the deepest game, but it is one of the most interesting games of 2017.

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