Is Nier Automata Good? Is Nier Automata Worth it?

Is Nier Automata Good? Is Nier Automata Worth it?
Don't be deceived! This game is more than just anime girls in maid costumes.

Is Nier Automata Good?

When I first got Nier: Automata, I was already expecting it to be good. The reviews said so after all, but the they don’t nearly cover how great the game is. Even when I already knew parts of the story, I was still left going ‘what the fuck’ at every corner. There’s always something new being thrown at you, whether in terms of gameplay or story.

Nier Automata Plot

Nier: Automata is set in the distance, post-apocalyptic future where alien machines have taken over the earth. Humans have fled to the moon and left man-made androids called YoRHA to fight off the machines. You start off playing YoRHA No.2 Type B, or 2B for short, alongside the scanner android 9S. Eventually, you’ll come across the third main character A2, a rogue android.

Of course, it’s never that simple. Machines start to feel and long for peace, and you find out that there’s more to this war than what you’re told. Now, I don’t want to give away too much. Let’s just say that there are tons of secrets to find, each one more shocking than the next.

You’ll start to feel more attached to each supporting character as you learn more about their creations and programming. One particular scene with the machine Pascal would leave you feeling numb. Basically, there’s a lot of philosophical and existential themes that you really ought to find out for yourself.

Another notable feature of Automata’s story is that it comes in three character arcs. Just when you think the game’s over, it’s just getting started. The credits will roll the first couple of playthroughs, but don’t put the game aside just yet. There’s so much more to happen that it’s almost insulting. How dare they keep so much content for an unsuspecting player to possibly miss?

Play from Three Perspectives

If you’ve been browsing around the net, you’ll have people saying that you need to go through three ‘playthroughs’ to actually finish. While they’re not exactly wrong, it’s not exactly a playthrough in the strictest sense, rather you’re playing from three different perspectives. Like I said earlier, there’s more content even after the credits roll.

The first playthrough has you playing solely as 2B. It’ll then give you the option to start a New Game Plus where, this time, you’ll be playing as 9S. This second playthrough follows the same story as the first with a shift in perspective, objectives, and interactions. Though, it’s still roughly the same. The third, however, is where things really start to build up. An entirely new experience that continues the story from the previous two plays, and you can start playing as A2.

Each of these gives new insights to the story and the combat style even changes! There’s also a spike in difficulty and tragedy by the third playthrough. All three make up the true story and can take well over 50 hours.

What About The Gameplay?

Automata works like your usual action RPG with heavy and light attacks, dodging, aerial attacks, and the likes. Alongside your characters are Pods, little robots that shoot an endless stream of bullets. For most of the game, it plays like this up until… it doesn’t. Camera shifts to 2D or wide shots to make way for platforming, side-scrolling shooting, and vertical shooting will keep you on your toes.

The beauty of this game is that just when you’re feeling comfortable, it throws you into a whole different gameplay. Playing as 9S introduces a whole new feature where you hack into your enemies and go into a 2D bullet mini-game, and that’s just the start. A great thing about it is that it’s done strategically and fitting of the context. The shift in gameplays seems random, but it actually makes sense given that scenario.

Lastly, you also have a choice between four kinds of weapons: short swords, long swords, spears, and bracers. One of the best things about this game, for me, is really the diversity. If you’re not into changing styles, then maybe it’s not for you (but it’s worth a shot anyway, though!).

Customizable

The game features a ‘chip’ system that give you a whole range of status buffs and HUD changes. This includes, but are not limited to, being able to see your HP gauge and save point locations. They’re bought in shops or found near fallen enemies, and you can even stack them up to make them better. Chip slots are limited though, so you can personalize what chips to use for a unique experience.

It’s incredibly user-friendly, too, even for first-timers in the series. You can even go near hands-off by setting the game to Easy and equipping chips to do everything for you. Auto-dodge, auto-healing, and auto-attack functions that you can equip to your heart’s content, so you can adjust to a play style that works for you. If you’re looking for a challenge, bump the difficulty up to Hard (tried it, probably not going to touch it again anytime soon).

What About The World?

The game has an open world set up, where the areas you visit are called Zones. A variety of different locations are found ranging from city ruins and desert wastelands to forests and abandoned amusement parks. All of them explorable and visually astounding. You’re often made to wander around deep and complex areas, but because of the limited budget, don’t expect it to be as large as other games.

Invisible barriers, obviously, still exist as well as areas that you view but aren’t inaccessible by any means. There are a lot of corners and hidden spots that make it perfect for exploring. Though, distinguishing what you can and cannot access makes it pretty hard to move around. There’s also the slight issue with some spots not looking as polished as some, but it’s nothing too terrible to look at. Lighting also needs some adjusting as it can be near blinding at times.

What About The Side Quests?

Alongside the open world are various quests that make you revisit every location. Many of them are definitely worth playing with lots of lore to find. Others, not so much. A lot of them do give you some valuable insights on the machines living there, and the locations themselves are always offering something new every time you enter. That said, going back to the areas so often can make them seem boring over time.

What About The Soundtrack?

One of the things that hit you like a brick is how amazing the soundtrack is. Just when you thought the soundtrack from the original Nier cannot be beat, composer Keiichi Okabe managed to exceed expectation. They sound equal parts mysterious and whimsical, perfect for many of the Zones in the game, but also have soft tones befitting a setting of ruin.

There are over 40 songs that are broken down into soft and dynamic parts. All of which are made to go seamlessly to every scene in the game. Songs don’t play in a single loop like most games, and there is a constant shift between the soft and dynamic parts depending on the circumstances. The harmony between what you see and what you hear is brilliant really.

Multiple Endings

True to its series, Automata comes with multiple endings, and one for every letter of the alphabet, too! Yeah, you read that right. That’s 26 different endings, but don’t worry because only five of them are actual endings. The rest are just some variation of ‘game overs’, but all of them have their own unique quirks!

The real game endings are actually endings C to E. The first two are just kind of like half endings with the devs not-so-subtly encouraging you to stick around for more. You get the first two endings in the first two playthroughs but if you think it ends there, it doesn’t. Far from it. Actually, it’s just scratching the surface, and there’s a dozen more hours of playthrough where shit really hits the fan.

Ending E is the final ending of the game and according to Yoko Taro himself, it was the supposed ‘happy’ ending. But honestly, we are not happy. We are very very not happy! If anything, you’ll feel a little empty, maybe a little depressed after it, but it was so brilliant that I’d go through it again anyway. There’s even a little bonus bullet sequence in the credits that I won’t say anymore because it’s something you’d want to experience yourself!

Should You Get It?

Yes! Without a shred of doubt. Nier: Automata isn’t just a game, it’s an experience. One that you’ll have a hard time finding anywhere else. It’s not perfect, and I’m sure other people can find more faults in it. But, even some of the people who didn’t like it says that it’s a game worth playing. Immersive, thought-provoking, and just down right crazy all in one beautiful game.

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Born from anime and raised by RPGs, I've probably spent way too much time geeking out in fandoms. Might as well take it a step up and make a living out of it!
Gamer Since: 2005
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Final Fantasy XV
Top 3 Favorite Games:Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward, Sid Meier's Civilization V,
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