Nier: Automata is a game that, for me, is very hard to put into words. It blends its dystopia world with an elegant soundtrack that left me feeling peaceful, rather than depressed. This game truly has some of the most beautiful music in it, and somehow it fits perfectly. On top of that, the gameplay is so smooth and intuitive it makes for an excellent action RPG.
Nier: Automata takes place in a dystopian world where humans are seeking refuge on the moon while the Androids fight the more primitive alien machines down on Earth. You play, mostly, as battle Android 2B while she completes missions on Earth and starts to unravel some of this world’s secrets.
This game is an action RPG but it mixes a few other elements into it as well. When you take control of 2B’s partner 9S, you’ll be hacking a lot. These hacking moments are very similar to Bentley’s hacking mini games from Sly Cooper, for those who might be familiar with that. There are also moments where you will be flying in the sky and this game embodies an arcade-style shooter.
At its core though, this action RPG shines in its combat and world traversal. It is an amazing feeling commanding these Androids. Both 2B and 9S run extremely fast and can make short work of the open world. On top of that, they both fight so smoothly.
Combat is mostly hack and slash, but you can dodge and dance your way around a group of enemies and it is a really fun experience. Because 2B is a battle Android, she is way more suited for combat than 9S, and has excess to a huge array of weapons. She can wield two weapons at a time, and these weapons can be upgraded using materials found in the world and dropped from enemy machines. I spent a lot of time gathering materials to make my weapons stronger and I loved it.
9S is a Scanner model Android designed primarily for gathering intelligence, so he only has one weapon. His other ability is his hacking which he can use to hack enemies and cause them to explode in combat. Outside of combat he can unlock certain doors and chests with this hacking ability, as well. When you play as 9S it is good to explore the world all over again and find all of these secrets.
Both characters can be upgraded with upgrade chips and you can swap these out whenever you want to. These can help add extra buffs for bonuses that can turn the tide in battles. I liked that it felt like you were upgrading an Android, and feeling those upgrades first hand.
2B and 9S have a strange relationship, considering they are Androids. While the story left things pretty vague, it’s easy to see 9S starts to care for 2B. Even 2B, the cold battle Android that frequently mentions that emotions are prohibited, has moments of genuineness with 9S. It’s in those moments that the story starts to break through is otherwise confusing and overwhelming nature.
There’s a lot going on in Nier: Automata and a lot of this is information you’ll have if you play the first Nier title. Without it, you’ll still be able to enjoy this game and its story, but the first game will flesh out the world and the state of that world for you. Automata’s story can stand alone on its own, it’s just that there may be some higher appreciation from those who have experience with the first title.
Regardless, Nier: Automata was everything I wanted from an action RPG. The smooth game makes for an enjoyable combat experience, and there are plenty of options in upgrade chips and weapons for you to be able to try out different combinations. It is easy to see that this title is a PlatinumGames title because they know how to do combat in their games. Just buckle up for the story and the ride that this game will take you on because it will definitely be a crazy one.
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