Nier: Automata Review

Batshit, but bloody brilliant

Most importantly – is it ‘Au-tomata’ or ‘Auto-mata’?

I settled on the former after a time, but I still don’t really know.

Alright, so who or what is Nier: Automata?

That’s a somewhat harder question to answer. Nier: Automata a videogame, and a sequel to 2010’s Nier. Set god knows how many years after its predecessor, Automata throws you balls deep into a war between androids and robots for control of earth.

Sounds ridiculous already.

I’m not even DONE yet, son. The androids are trying to reclaim earth for humankind, who’ve jetted off to hiding on the fucking moon, because aliens bloody invaded, and created the robots to kill them all off. There’s explosions and melodrama and you fly jets and hack into mainframes and dudes with no genitals and you spend most of the game wearing a blindfold.

All robots MUST DIE

Sounds like they got pretty excited when they were coming up with the plot.

It does.

So how’s it play?

Very well! Similar to the original, Nier: Automata ties multiple gameplay styles together, though you’ll spend most of your time hacking and slashing your way across a post-apocalyptic Japan. You know the fare – light attacks, heavy attacks, dodge, jump, sprint. It’s an easy enough system to get the hang of, but timing is key in order to parry attacks back at the evil robots. But are they really evil?

I dunno, are they?



Anyway, you’ll spend most of your time exploring a small-ish open world. The first few hours find you wandering through crumbling city streets, but eventually you make your way to desert and forest areas, as well as some more unusual and bizarre locales that I’ll let you discover for yourself.

Yes, you, the one person reading this weird blog PLEASE TELL YOUR FRIENDS I’M IN TERRIBLE DEBT.

And as you rip through robots of different shapes and sizes, either with your trusty swords or thanks to your floating robot buddy and his gun, you acquire gear upgrades, new weapons, and the like. Along the way, you’ll meet NPC’s that hand out side-quests. Most of them are fetch-questy, but it gives you a good opportunity to revisit locations, fight new enemies, and discover hidden treasures.

2B or not 2B? Actually yes, this is 2B, and her companion 9C. Fighting for victory. Rhymes

Sounds pretty RPG-y?

In parts. There are also side-scrolling shoot-em-up sections that harken back to games like R-Type, as well as bullet-hell inspired twin stick shooter elements, which come together predominantly in the hacking element of the game.

But whereas its predecessor was more of a jack-of-all-trades, master of none, Square Enix have drafted the help of Platinum Games (of Bayonetta fame) to create Automata’s gameplay systems. And combined with the series’ creative director Yoko Taro’s batshit but brilliant themes and world building, it comes together as a unique and incredible experience.

Good to know! So it plays well. But how’s it sound?

Superb. Similar to its predecessor, Nier Automata’s soundtrack excels. Every single track is memorable, and it also brings a couple of compositions from the first game to stoke the nostalgia fire. It’s probably one of the greatest game soundtracks I’ve ever heard – kudos to music director Keiichi Okabe. Truly he should be scoring films and the like (he might already do that, I haven’t checked).

People often don’t give enough credence to the importance of a great soundtrack, do they Dom?

They certainly don’t, Dom.

So is it good bang for your buck?

Well the three – yes, three – playthroughs that are necessary to understand the story as a whole took me to about 35 hours altogether, and I was left entirely satisfied come the final credits. So…



Wholly appropriate battle gear

So should I buy Nier: Automata with money that I’ve earned?

Abso-mata-loutely. That doesn’t even make sense. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry…

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