When the likes of Square Enix and Platinum Games collaborate, we are bound to get something exciting. NieR: Automata is just that. It manages to bring to life the post-apocalyptic world of the original, with new game mechanics, and the fast-paced combat system, to provide a solid action game that must be on everyone’s wishlist.
Platforms: PS4 | PC
Reviewed On: PS4 Pro
Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Square Enix
Distributor: Megarom Games
Release Date: 7 March 2017
NieR: Automata follows the story of 9S and 2B – two androids that have been assigned to investigate Earth in order to help in the fight against the robot threat that pushed humans away from their homes and to the moon. A few thousand years ago Earth was invaded by aliens, and these aliens used robots to fight, and ultimately brought an end to humanity. There are an odd handful of humans that survived the invasion, and they have built rebellion camps and safe havens for other humans who might find shelter. While NieR focuses on the strange adventure of 9S and 2B, there is much more going on behind the main quest. Some robots are friendly, and if anything they actually have emotions and feelings. They love, and feel sorrow, they even feel pain, as if they had their own hearts.
With this mystery surrounding these robots in mind, 9S and 2B set off to uncover the truth behind it all, and the characters and personalities they meet along the way are all memorable. Pascal the adorable robot that runs a village for machines that are off the network is one of our favourites.
While the story seems simple, NieR has multiple playthroughs and every time we thought it was over and we completed it, another chapter started with a new character. NieR: Automata can hit a good 30-hour mark before completing it. But it is the great combat system that makes Automata so enjoyable, as it is a blend of Bayonetta, with a touch of Devil May Cry. This combinations results in a very addictive hack and slash, but then again not as complicated as the combo system in Devil May Cry. Each weapon in NieR: Automata has a specific skill set to it, and that is the way you will handle your weapon. The Ancient Overlord, for example, has a 4-combo slash, and the Engine Blade has a 4-combo attack. Working together with this system will result in a better combat approach.
While we were not facing off against massive robots trying to rip us apart, we were exploring the gorgeous open world, collecting resources, and discovering everything NieR: Automata has hidden away. You could just play the game from start to finish by focusing on the main missions, and it would be no problem with leveling and difficulty, but once you enter a new area, the quests given by random NPCs are quite fun. We had to search the barren desert for a lost robot, deliver items to a wanna-be robot Kim Kardashian, and even search city ruins for a dead android.
NieR: Automata has a lot going for it, and it could be the hidden jewel of 2017. Most of this comes from its unique art style, gorgeous soundtrack, and the combination of these two things into one experience. Every boss fight was backed by a stunning orchestrated tune, with a touch of vocal work in it too. The boss battles take you from an abandoned amusement park as you take down a corrupted puppeteer, to fighting a massive robot that emerges from the ocean like Godzilla. We were always surprised at the amount of love and detail put into the every battle. It was perfect, and complimented the game’s great vibe.
We cannot say anything bad about NieR: Automata, rather praise it for its superb action and great combat. While the story is sometimes a hit and miss, the game successfully merges great RPG elements, with an enjoyable battle system that gives the game its appeal. If you are looking for a great hack and slash, with a solid story and awesome action, this is the game you want.