Title: Nier: Automata
Director: Yoko Taro (ヨコオタロウ)
Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: Ps4, Microsoft Windows (Steam)
IGN Rating: 8.9 (as of writing)
Warning: Blood, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, Violence
Also sexual themes…sort of XD Nothing explicit but it was really a WTF moment XD
This review contains spoilers.
Taken from the Game Website:
The distant future…
Invaders from another world attack without warning, unleashing a new type of threat: weapons known as “machine lifeforms.” In the face of this insurmountable threat, mankind is driven from Earth and takes refuge on the Moon.
The Council of Humanity organizes a resistance of android soldiers in an effort to take back their planet. To break the deadlock, the Resistance deploys a new unit of android infantry: YoRHa .
In the forsaken wasteland below, the war between the machines and the androids rages on. A war that is soon to unveil the long-forgotten truth of this world…
I initially bought this game because I liked the character design of 2B. I also played the demo and decided I really liked the combat system XD
I am just a casual gamer, meaning I only play a few games that catch my fancy and I mostly play them for the story (or the visuals). For this game, I didn’t know anything about the story nor have I ever played or heard about the preceding games Nier Replicant/Gestalt and the Drakengard Series.
So I bought it for shallow reasons. And what do I get in return?
Deep, dark and inescapable feels.
Emotions are prohibited.
At first glance, this game disguises itself with silly or nonsensical things like 2B’s character design which I love and hate at the same time. I love it because I dig the Gothic Lolita look and I hate it because I really have no desire looking up her butt every time she climbs up ladders. Then there’s also the fact that she wears high, pointy heels when she’s supposed to be a battle android designed to fight in a high speed battle against large machines. The reason, apparently, is that the director just likes girls.
Welp, fine. It’s his game anyway. And it really does look nice lol XD
But beyond the fan-service, this game is actually pretty mature and deep. It’s practically dripping with subtext at every turn, particularly existential and nihilistic themes. I LOVE IT.
But I have to admit, this game is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, especially if you are sensitive to themes like that. This game had several scenes showing machines committing suicide and while it shouldn’t bother me one bit, knowing that the machines had developed some sense of self-awareness makes the whole thing dark and disturbing.
The game repetitively asks the question “What’s the point (of all this, of life, of this war)?” and I can’t help but ponder about that as well. Talk about impromptu flashback to my Philosophy class back in college XD
Seriously, if I try to pick apart all the philosophical stuff this game talks about, this review would go on forever XD
“The machines don’t have feelings. You said it yourself.”
The game itself has 26 endings, one for each alphabet, with endings A to E being the main endings and the rest gag endings.
During the first play that would give ending A, the player controls YoRHa No.2 Type B (Battle) or 2B, and is treated to a pretty straightforward narrative involving fast paced fight scenes, most of the time hack n’ slash, sometimes top level shooting and sometimes side-scrolling. This game is unique that way— forcing the players to play different formats all throughout the game, keeping things fresh even after a few hours of playing the game. One might think the game to be shallow with the simpleness of this play through.
But wait! There’s more!
If the player continues playing after the credits roll the first time, the second route that would give ending B would start. The players are taken back to the beginning of the game, but this time as 2B’s partner— YoRHa No.9 Type S (Scanner) or 9S, an android who specializes in “hacking” the enemy machines, attacking them from the inside. Because of 9S’s more perceptive nature, the players are given a substantial amount of new information that wasn’t present in the first play. So even if you are playing the same story line, the different gameplay as well as additional information and sidequests made playing the game a second time very rewarding. 9S tends to be a bit OP though since you get to keep your level after ending A while the enemies remain at level 1 or 2 at the start.
Also, the revelations in the second play seriously made me feel like a humongous b*tch for having killed all those machines and it simultaneously endeared me to the unique storytelling of the game. This is definitely one story that can only be perfectly executed via this medium (video game). I have no doubt that if this story is turned into a book or a movie, most of its impact will disappear.
Then the players get to the third play which gives ending C and D (depending on your choices at the end) and discover that everything is a lie and everything you did up until that point was meaningless all along. There is a twist that also separates the plot from other dystopian, sci-fi stories. In a cruel twist of fate, the characters I have grown to love (
and ship together) ended up separated by death and I had to watch the remaining half, 9S, fall deeper into madness in his quest for vengeance. 😥 I don’t think I’ve felt this sad about a video game since playing Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.
In the third play, the players interchangeably play as YoRHa Type A (Attacker) No.2 or A2 and 9S. Another thing I find unique and refreshing in a game. I liked how their narrative were separate at first and then come together for a pretty tragic ending.
Yep. This dang game ends in tragedy
dang you Taro. One that leaves you feeling really hopeless for days ( at least for my case because I got too attached to the characters XD ). You have been warned.
But if you truly want a happier ending for the main characters, there is one which is the Ending E. I’m not gonna reveal it here though because it’s probably the one thing that entirely separates this game from the rest of the games in its generation.
The only thing you need to know is that you need to get Endings A to D first. XD And make sure you are connected to the internet XD
“A future is not given to you. It is something you must take for yourself.”
This game may not compare to other games in its generation when it comes to graphics or world-building and some aspects of the game could be improved, like more diverse enemies for example or adjusting the levels of the enemies for later playthroughs. But these things weren’t enough to affect my enjoyment since the rest of the game is superb, particularly in the game experience area. This game is seriously emotional with its underlying themes being sadness and hopelessness. It was hard for me to keep my eyes dry especially in the third play 😥
The combat system is really great too. I loved how flexible it is and the animation is really fluid and dare I say it— mesmerizing XD
But maybe that’s just the frustrated animator in me. I haven’t even tried out all the chips I managed to hoard to customize their combat styles nor have I even tried the other types of weapons. I really should try more of it out next time XD
In addition, the game’s soundtrack is 100% GOLD. I can’t stop listening! It’s so perfect and I have no doubt that it contributed heavily to the game’s atmosphere. I have always believed that a game’s soundtrack makes or breaks the game more than the graphics XD
Although the graphics are important as well..it depends. XD
The characters in the game are pretty endearing too with their different personalities and quirks as well as sorrowful backstories. Even the side characters. I especially loved 9S’s character development, as painful as it was. The voice actors, both Japanese and English, did a wonderful job at bringing these characters to life. Whether playing with Japanese dub or English dub, I have no complaints.
The way the game jumps to different point of views, between the androids and the machines, ensures that the players could understand all sides present in this “war” and make it nearly impossible to pick a side. That’s what I think this game is all about— telling a story about how futile and meaningless wars are. Because in this game, there is no winner. There are only pawns and victims. </3
This game is truly a work of art. It’s far from beautiful and even goes out of its way to show how ugly life can be which is very bold for a game. Usually, games try to be as beautiful or heroic as possible because games are usually a way for people to escape reality. But this game went outside the boundaries set by other games in such a way that it wasn’t just trying to be edgy. Rather it was trying to make a point. And what a great job it has done! XD
That’s what makes this game unique. I definitely recommend it.
Glory to mankind.
My rating: 9.5/10 (seriously, can’t they make a version where 2B wears the same spandex A2 is wearing and not a thong leotard thingie? Sheesh =_=)
Recommended to: Gamers searching for a unique gaming experience and isn’t squeamish about tragic storylines 😥
Favorite character: 9S ❤
Favorite quote: “There’s an important lesson here: The more of a fool people take you for, the more you’ll learn of their true nature.” – Weird Machine ❤