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NieR:Automata Featured Review
NieR:Automata Review by: Minuano - 9.3/10
I didn’t regret it. Not one bit.
NieR:Automata allows you to take control of three androids, known as YoRHa units. Who you play as is determined on what section of the story you’re in. Your objective is to eliminate the machine lifeforms (it’s important to note that “androids” and “machines” are not the same in the context of this game) as they are the reason that the remnants of the human race had to leave Earth and inhabit another planet temporarily. You fight to destroy the machines so that the humans may return to Earth. Throughout the progression of the story you learn more and more about these machines and the “secrets” of YoRHa, including how some of the machines are actually peaceful.
There are several different types of playstyles featured in the game. You’ll primarily be playing in third person inside an open-world environment, but some of the areas in the game will switch it up on you, such as a 2D plane when you’re crossing a long bridge, as well as the Astroids/Touhou-like gameplay that will throw you into a controllable airship to shoot at flying machines, but that’s usually reserved for a small handful of core story missions.
The art direction of NieR:Automata is beautiful. The setting is a post-apocalyptic world, barren of most natural living things besides plants. As such, you’ll see overgrown plants growing along broken-down buildings, areas that were “abandoned” such as a large factory, and even an old castle taken over by the machines. Each area that the game has you play through is vivid in its design, while not being too overbearing in the context of a world devoid of most of its life. You’ll still gasp at how luscious the forest is, you’ll be surprised at the attention to detail that the abandoned factory has, but at the same time it reminds you of just how lonely this world is. It’s a perfect mix.
However, I am knocking out two points. It’s not the game’s fault, but more Square Enix’s. Square has a reputation of making bad PC ports for their games, and NieR:Automata is no exception. The cutscenes lag, and some textures were not imported properly. Square has still not released any patch for this issue, although it is fixable with a commonly known mod for the game. Had this issue never occurred, or if Square released an official patch, I would give it a 10.
I’m sure most people have heard about at least a little bit of the soundtrack. It’s most likely the most praised thing about the game, and rightfully so. I think the only other game that holds an inkling to this game’s soundtrack is Persona 5. It’s not even so much about the soundtrack itself being as amazing as it is, but the placement of where each song plays as well. As an example, there’s a track reserved for these two side quests relating to finding a lost family member, and when it plays it always brings a tear to your eye as you see the two finally reunited after being so worried for each other. The game is filled with both feel-good and feel-bad moments, and they always have the right track playing to supplement the feeling that they want you to feel.
If you’re a sucker for good soundtracks in games, then the soundtrack of NieR:Automata by itself is enough for you to buy the game. The overworld theme, the various boss themes, everything is beautifully composed to fit just right where it plays, but also being more than good enough on their own to open up YouTube and get a playlist of the best songs from the game.
I suppose SFX and voices also fit under this category… there isn’t really too much to say about the SFX, but I think the voices are excellent. You can hear the emotion in character’s voices a lot which I think is hard to capture for the emotional rollercoaster that this game puts you through. You can hear the pain in a character’s voice when they’re angry, you can almost imagine the voice actor themselves is crying when a character is sad, as well as normal conversations actually sounding *normal* and not just read off a script.
I wasn’t too sure how to approach this. I actually left this one for last despite it being in the middle of the review because I wanted to reflect on everything else first before I really determined how I felt about it. I’m going to say that the game is extremely addicting for your first playthrough. Once you start, you won’t want to stop until you’re finished. If you hadn’t completed all of the side quests in your first run, it definitely warrants another playthrough to do so. However, I will say once you have done that, it doesn’t exactly warrant another playthrough once you’ve seen and done everything. I realize that, of course, applies to all story-driven games, but NieR:Automata is sort of a special case where you sort of want to leave it alone once everything is all said and done, unless you loved the game as much as I do (which I’m sure you will! ;) ). Perhaps it’s a “satisfied, no reason to go back” feeling that I’m trying to describe, which inherently isn’t a bad thing. I’ll just only be taking a point off for the lack of replay value unless you’re into reliving the story multiple times, which I’m not usually.
I realize some of what I have to say about the depth may belong more in the story section but hear me out. The side quests of this game are not your average side quests where you go do a random event and get a prize, like in most open world games. The side quests actually add A LOT of lore to the overall story of the game. They reveal important things about characters you thought were irrelevant, they reveal personality traits about certain main characters that you would have never suspected otherwise, and they reveal stories of the past about some of the more popular areas that you’ll visit. It’s no joke to say that you haven’t really experienced what NieR:Automata has to offer if you just did the main storyline. You can complete the main story in about 20 hours, but getting the full experience doing all the side quests probably doubles or triples it, and it’s completely worth every second to see new interactions and faces, and to learn more about the beloved characters. There’s so much depth to this game, it’s almost ridiculous especially when you consider the fact it’s essentially a hidden goldmine given that you do have the option to just completely ignore all of the side quests and only play the main story.
Disregarding the PC port drama, I think this is where the game might fall behind just a bit. The main storyline is *excellent*, don’t get me wrong, but there are a couple of things that kind of make you want more. Fundamentally, that usually isn’t a bad thing. The fact that you want more usually means you really enjoyed the game. I think it’s a bit different here, though. I guess what I’m trying to say is that although there aren’t really any plot points that were left unclosed, you may still end the game with a couple of questions on your mind, rather than a completely satisfied feeling. Besides that, I think the story is beautiful. I’m not going to get into any spoilers or core plot details that I haven’t already explained, but I guarantee you will fall in love with the main cast of the game, and your emotions will connect with theirs. You’ll feel sad when they’re sad, you’ll feel good when they complete a feel-good task, and you’ll be angry when someone wrongs them. I believe this to be a product of the excellent storytelling that this game has to offer. The story does progress in two to three parts, depending on how you view it. The first part is the first half of the game, the second part is a retelling of the first part from a different perspective, and then the third part is a continuation of the first half of the game, from the second perspective. It might be a bit confusing at first, and you’ll initially not be too warmed up on the idea of essentially playing the same part twice, but you’ll be surprised on how much the second part adds to the first.
I don’t think I have too much to say about this. It’s definitely not the hardest game in the world, but it does take some initial getting used to. Luckily, stuff like perfect dodges and counters have pretty generous frame windows that allow you to perform them more often than not, and once you learn how to fight a specific type of machine you have the formula down and it’s easy from there. Some of the bosses are pretty challenging, and the fact that the game does NOT autosave (sort of part of the lore that every time you save you are uploading your consciousness data to the YoRHa servers, and when you die you essentially respawn with a “new” body with the last uploaded data) likely scares players from doing anything that they think they can’t handle, but you’ll find the game is a bit more forgiving than it seems on the surface. You can get back anything you lost by going to the spot you died and re-absorbing your corpse. It’ll even mark it on the map for you in case it’s been a while since you saved.
NieR:Automata is one of my favorite games of all time. I’m even doing *another* playthrough of it recently, and I almost never replay games that I’ve completed before, but I just love this game too much that I feel like I need to experience it again. It’s one of those games where you wish you could erase your memory of it so that you can experience it again and be amazed by your first impression of it.
I had actually cut out a lot of my first draft as I felt it was more me fanboying over the game rather than actually adding anything to the review. I probably missed a few spots as well, haha. Although I think it is important to be able to point out the flaws in something, even if you love it, I still come up short when I try to think of true flaws that this game has. Overall, I’ll be giving this game a
Graphics 8 Sound 10 Addictive 9 Depth 10 Story 9 Difficulty 6
Buying this game, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I almost never buy games at full price, and wh...
Graphics 8 Sound 10 Addictive 9 Story 9 Depth 10 Difficulty 6
Review Rating: 5/5 Submitted: 01-12-19 Updated: 01-12-19 Review Replies: 1
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Furret 01-11-19 - 10:53 PM