Post-Apocalyptic world overtaken by machines:
NieR: Automata is a story driven action roleplaying game set in the post-apocalyptic world released for PC and PlayStation 4. The game took place couple thousand years after the first NieR. Earth has been invaded by machine life forms deployed by aliens, and human survivors have fled to the moon trying to take back Earth. Our protagonist is an android named 2B undertaking such mission.
NieR Automata is good that the story stands alone on its own. You don’t need to play the original NieR or Draken Guard to enjoy this game. After beating the game, you get to control other characters during the next run through. The timeline is the same, but you get to see things from a different angle. The more you play, the more sides of the story are revealed.
Your first mission after reaching the resistance’s camp is the good old collection chore quest by Maintenance shop owner. The game features a lot of these chores side quests, which makes the first run of the game 25 hours in contents on the first run. That is a lot of content compared to most of Platinum games’ other production.
Graphics and music are the main selling points of the game:
What is better than a girl wearing thigh high stockings and mini skirt? Of course, a girl wearing thigh high stocking and mini skirt slashing enemies with her unproportionate big sword. Yeah, that’s right! This is why I bought it.
NieR: Automata features an open world for us to explore. In this dystopian future, the world has been destroyed with overgrowing plants. The surroundings are gloomy and depressing most of the time. It’s a little boring as everything looks pretty much the same in the post-apocalyptic world, but it does match the setting of the game.
The way Platinum dealt with open world graphic is to make things in a distance blurry and in monochrome while more details and color are added as we get closer. I know a lot of other games use this feature already, but it works particularly well in the world that is full of particles in the air like NieR. At least, it made the game run fairly smooth on my PS4.
Switch between game modes with seamless transitions:
NieR: Automata is quite different from other action RPG games. It’s presented to us in various view angles, and the system seems to be built to the core of the game. To name a few, the normal mode is like Devil May Cry, then there are vertical scrolling like Raiden for aircraft fights and horizontal scrolling like Metal Slug that offers the possibility of fast-paced dodging. Best of all, we get to use the same key for control, and the transition is seamless.
Areas you have not visited has fog of war. You need to find save points to claim new hub and reveal the area map. There are items scattered around the world for you to find. When you turn on the network you can see other player’s corpse, then you are presented with a choice to repair them and gain an extra ally or loot their body for extra resources. Either way, you will see a message they left after their brutal death.
NieR: Automata is a challenging J-RPG game. There are levels for character and weapon. The unique feature is that under-leveled character can be compensated by player’s skills which eliminate some of the grindings. Which brings us to the Plugin system.
Plugin System expands the versatility and play-styles:
The plugin system for our android protagonist offers versatile builds and allows for different play-style. The number of activated plug-ins are limited by the memories slots available. Plug-ins offer stats upgrade, player’s user interface upgrade, and movements. One thing worth mentioning is that when you die, only the memories are transferred, and all purchased plug-in will stay in your previous corpse until retrieved. If you die again before recovering them from your old body, they will be lost.
The stats upgrade is self-explanatory but the user interface upgrade is quite interesting. Some of the UI upgrade we can alter includes mini-map, save point location, damage value, fishing spot, enemy data, and even experience gauge. The movements activated through plug-ins includes Counterattack, Charge attack, shockwave, and life leech. There are many UI and movements that will feel essential, so plan the plug-in system wisely.
2B’s movement feels smooth and genuine thanks to physics implementation such as running into bushes will slow you down. You can dash instead of running to move faster, or slide down on hills of sand dunes like in “Journey”. Double jump and grab onto the pod from high elevation allows gliding. There are two weapon slots for us to equip with one fast light attack and one slow heavy attack or both light attacks.
Platinum Games – created Metal Gears Rising Revengeance. It is extremely satisfying slashing through enemies. NieR: Automata is very skill based, not only your character gets better gears, you get better too. You don’t have to grind like most J-RPG for the level. You can win if you have good skills too.
Worth to buy at $60 for me, but compared to other games in similar styles, the game is worth it to buy.
Story by: Yoko Taro
Released: 2017 March
Developer: Platinum Games