Nier: Automata was released in Japan on February 23, 2017, and as a fan of the prequel I have been waiting for this title for quite some time now.
Since the game was scheduled to be released in Europe and North America on March 7, 2017, the delay was too much for me to bear, so I decided to purchase it from the Japanese PlayStation Store.
After spending several hours with my coworker trying to figure out how to buy a game without knowing a single Japanese word, I finally managed to download it. Here is what happened next.
So, my journey in Nier: Automata started early in the morning, and almost ended the next day when something hilarious happened.
In my Nier Automata review I will not insist on the game’s story, simply because I have a strange feeling that I missed a lot, even if I unlocked all trophies.
What I can tell you though, is that Platinum Games developed a game with a story that you will never forget.
The action in the game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, after the events of the first game in the series. The humanity, which was almost destroyed, was forced to flee to the Moon after an army of machines destroyed Earth.
To retaliate, the remaining humans, sent an army of androids back to Earth, in order to liberate our planet. These robots are known as YoRHa units, and they are the protagonists in Nier: Automata.
When the game starts, you play as YoRHa No. 2 Model B, or simply 2B, who is a female
android. During the game’s prologue, 2B encounters YoRHa No. 9 Model S, or 9S. Unlike her, 9S is a male android who was designed as a reconnaissance unit.
Once you complete the prologue, you are sent to the Resistance Camp where a large number of tasks await. These tasks are divided in main quests and sub-quests.
As in most RPGs, for completing them you receive XP, various items, and gold. But, there is more than that in Nier: Automata.
Without knowing what is about to happen, I focused on completing the game’s sub-quests followed by the main quests, which most of the time end with a boss fight.
Now, here is the funny part. After one of these boss fights, a long cutscene started, followed by the credits.
Obviously, the first question that popped in my mind was: “That’s it?”. It was immediately followed by anger, thinking that I spent almost $90 (yes, because of the currency) on a video game that ended in less than 10 hours.
At that point I was very disappointed by both PlatinumGames and Square Enix, but I decided to start the game again to see what I have missed.
After another cutscene similar to the first one in the game, I was amazed to notice that instead of playing as 2B, I was able to play as 9S. Then, it hit me: “This game requires multiple playthroughs! Oh…the joy!”
So, back I was in the game, happier than ever. After the second playthrough which took over 30 hours, I started the game again, but this time with another character. Each time you play the game you will receive new quests, along with those shared between characters.
As I said, I will not insist on the story, and I will definitely avoid all spoilers in my Nier Automata review; however, just so you know, the video game is longer than you think.
Now, let’s talk about how the game was designed, and some technical stuff.
The world of Nier: Automata is simple, yet very complex. The developers managed to outline the sadness of a post-apocalyptic world, which is almost lifeless. Most creatures you will encounter are boars and elks, the rest of them being robots you have to fight against.
But in this simple environment there are countless secrets waiting to be discovered. The game includes many secret areas, or zones that can’t be accessed unless you play as specific characters.
Your playground is divided in sub-zones, meaning that from the City Ruins, which is the central area, you can travel to other smaller zones. You will have to explore a desert, an amusement park, a flooded city, and a factory.
The fast-travel system allows you to save time if you prefer to be teleported instead of walking or riding.
Yes, Nier: Automata includes a riding system and even if you can ride only elks and boars, it’s still fun to hit some annoying robots while moving at high speed.
If you don’t like to ride the poor animals, you can simply travel on foot and maybe stop near some water sources and try to catch some fish.
Don’t expect to experience a fishing mini-game as complex as in Final Fantasy XV though, because you will be disappointed.
To fish in Nier: Automata you only need to cast your line and reel in when the time is right.
The combat system is probably the best I have experienced in a long time. While 2B is a trained killer, 9S is a mastermind.
When you fight as 2B, you will notice her fluid moves and combos that can last several minutes. As 9S, you are able to hack your opponents and control them if you wish.
The hacking mini-game in Nier: Automata is one of the things that I didn’t enjoy later in the game. Think about it as a Space Invaders clone. It is fun at first, but it becomes annoying and repetitive later.
Another thing that I didn’t like was how the 3D map was designed because it can be extremely confusing when you look for specific areas.
These two things though, can be overlooked and should not stop anyone from playing the game.
Even if Nier: Automata is considered an action role-playing game, you will experience a mix of elements specific to the hack-and-slash genre, as well as some areas where you have to test your platforming skills.
Last, but not least, Platinum Games introduced one of the most interesting features for trophy-hunters.
In Nier: Automata you can buy trophies if you only wish to get the platinum. Indeed, you can do this only after you finish the game, and you need a lot of gold, but it is an interesting take which I truly enjoyed.
While playing the game, I encountered two bugs that have been patched one day later.
It is a game with a very strong story-line, a beautiful environment that begs to be explored, and some of the greatest features I have ever experienced.
One of them can be observed in the video below (starting at 11:38). Thank me later for that gift, unknown player!
So, if you ask yourself: “Should I buy Nier: Automata?” the answer is “Yes”. Buy it, play it, enjoy it.
Disclaimer: We have reviewed the game on a PlayStation 4 console. Our Nier Automata review is not endorsed by PlatinumGames and Square Enix, and we didn’t receive a free copy to review this title. We have purchased the game just like everyone else (and we are happy we did it).