This is one game that is hard to define a genre for. It encompasses so many amazing styles of game-play that it’s hard to choose one that outlines it. In that way, it truly is a unique piece of storytelling. Right from the start you are throw into a top down space ship shooter that brings back memories of games you used to play many years ago. In simpler times, when games were not so complicated but still equally fun to play. From there it morphs into a full fledged modern third person role playing game. Then transforms into a side scroll-er platform game. Nier Automata never really stops transforming itself into varied styles of game play through the whole campaign. So, in that way it plays homage to games from previous generations and playing it almost brings a sense of nostalgia.

Nier Automata

The Graphics of Nier Automata

This is hard to describe since it has so many types of game-play involved in the main story line. However I’ll talk about the main third person role playing section as that is the largest. It is at par with any modern triple A game and has a very cinematic look to it. The environment is open world and there is a fair amount of stuff and side missions you can do while you roam around. The map isn’t the biggest I’ve seen in recent games but it is big enough. There are unique and cleverly designed sections in the world map that gives each section a very distinct feel. The overall style is post-apocalyptic so it has that dark element of destruction and regrowth to it. The enemies are well designed and have unique story lines to them.

Nier Automata

Story of Nier Automata

This is where the game truly shines in its own. Without giving away any spoilers, the story has multiple story levels to it. The game is reported to have 29 ending to it, so you can well imagine. The two-main character are 2B and 9s. The first play through is from the eyes of 2B who is an android sent to earth from a space station orbiting around the planet. The main story is that aliens invaded earth and defeated the humans. Who then ran away to the moon to keep fighting and launch their counter strikes. They are using androids who are in charge of this space station.

The aliens brought with them the machines. So, the aliens and thier machines are fighting the humans and their androids. The first play through is as 2B. the second one is from the eyes of 9S and the third one is by another character in the game.

The game only properly ends after you do all three play-throughs. Even after that there is an additional 2 more endings you can see by doing events in another order.

Nier Automata

Criticism of the story line for Nier Automata

This brings me to my first criticism. After you play as the main character 2B, the game end. The credit rolls just like you normally expect from a game. I would probably uninstall the game at this point if I had not known there is more content. So you continue on with the same game save and restart the game but this time with 9S. Most of the game story is identical to the first time since they were mostly together. However, the game play does differ a bit with 9S’s ability to hack into machines. The second game play has some unique missions when they are not together but it is mostly a repeat of 2B. You learn more about the story while doing so. The game ends again and the credits roll … again.

The third play through … is not a repeat play through. It’s a totally new game with all new content which is a very important part of understanding what is happening in the story and the game. Without it, the game is incomplete and you walk away with no understanding of what is really going on.

My question is …

Why is this integral part of the game hidden away? Unless someone reads a review or someplace online they would completely miss this part. Playing as 9S is not interesting as they story missions are the same mostly. The reason can only be an effort to make the game seem like it has a lot of extra content or to boast 25 hours of game-play etc. Which is a shame, a nice game like this doesn’t need cheap tactics like that. This also takes away from some of the greatness of the game.

Possible Solution

What they should have done is just done one play through including 2B’s story, 9S’s unique parts and the third one’s complete story. Then roll end-credits once and not play tricks to try to come up with marketing lines like the game has 29 endings. When your basically rolling credits after every couple of hours.

Nier Automata

Game play of Nier Automata

The game certainly crosses many genres and has a lot of varied game play so that it does not get tiresome. However, the way to defeat bosses can be very cheesy and don’t require much thought. If you’re playing on easy then you literally don’t even have to press a button or move a stick. You just hold the controller and everything is done for you. It’s a new style of easy mode I haven’t seen in any game before.

So, it is highly recommended you use normal mode at least, to not ruin the game.

Now this bring me to the second and final criticism of the game. When you start playing you are not told clearly enough how important it is to work with your chips and assistant. There is a lot of variation you can do with the small assistant you are assigned. It is integral to upgrade it in a certain way to ever be able to finish the game.

What the issue is …

This is not clearly told and left up to you to find out for yourself. Yes, you are pointed towards the fact that It can get new powers but never to how much customization you need to do and chips to use. Don’t get be wrong, self-discovery is fine but the problem comes when the game puts you in a situation without a store of method to upgrade your assistant. That is when you realize what you forgot to do and there is no way to add those elements at that point. So, a bit more of a nudge towards understanding your assistant would have been nice and maybe saved me some grind work and a nasty surprise when I got stuck with a difficult boss.

Nier Automata

Verdict on Nier Automata

Of course, buy it and play it. It’s a unique and amazing game. It is a maser piece for sure and has an amazing story and exciting game play. However, to be “game of the year” it needs to defeat some other amazing contenders this year. I think the story play-through trick they did has let the game down slightly in my mind. It made some of the game play boring for me. As I was forced to grind though to get to the unique parts I wanted to play. Let’s see what other games come out this year and how good they are.

Rest assured it will most positively be in the top 10 of this year, perhaps even top 5.

Nier Automata

 

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