Set in the very distant future, with mankind on the brink of extinction from Alien forces and their machines that roam earth, Humanity created project YoRHa and developed androids to help them fight back. You control android model 2B, with support from another androids model 9S, under the command of the YoRHa commander to investigate the surrounding area. You travel through an interesting world ( that unfortunately looks pretty dated as the environment and animals look flat and poorly detailed) to uncover the mysteries that is shrouded by destruction and strangely acted robots who seem to be emulating human behavior. You somehow feel a connection to them despite having to tear their helpless metal bodies apart.
2B has two different types of strikes, heavy and light. Combos are dependent on the type of weapon you're using, lighter weapons tends to have more hits (2-4) while heavier weapons may have 1 or 2 hit combos. You can equip two sets of two weapons that can be accessed on the fly by pressing up on the directional pad. I always tried to switch in the heat of battle to see if I could string along more combinations, but I never got the feeling it worked, or worked as well as it should have. There wasn't much flair to the fighting but game does like to toss out plenty of baddies your way so while I found combos to be lacking, there always seemed to be some entertaining fights that keeps you engaged, especially the boss battles that puts what you know to the test. There are also some cool transitional scenes where the cinematography pans you in an out really highlighting the surrounding area do give you a more in depth look and also creates some drama.
You are also equipped with a drone (known as a Pod) that shoots all sorts of projectiles from regular bullets, to more powerful attacks based on what upgrade you choose. The little guy comes in handy but its challenging to control him and your character at the same time. Your Pod is upgradable that helps make your character stronger by pluging in these chips can either be found or bought. There are 3 variety of chips that help your attacks, defense, and support. The presentation of the menu system is pretty neat as there is also a "systems" category which has all your HUD information, so nearly everything you see on screen from the mini map, health, hit markers could all be dropped. Each chip has a value and that value represents how much space it takes up. If you're looking to free up some space maybe you don't need every system chip. The game borrows an element found in the Souls series where if you die you lose your plug in chips and must recover your body before you die a second time. There are also bodies of other players who fell in battle scattered across the world. Upon reach them you can either retrieve some of their chips along with money and experience, or revive them where they will be controlled by the computer.
Platinum offers a surprising variety of gameplay elements that keeps up the traditions while offering something new and exciting. The game will switch between fights on land, and battles in the air, from a top down view to a side scrolling Resogun type shooter. It is an interesting blend of new and old that keeps you on your toes to adapt to the new changes. This is all accompanied by a soundtrack that is pure gold. It was tranquil and mysterious, it brought joy and sadness, and when it picked up it added suspense and excitement into battle. I felt its presence all of the time, and it seemed at certain pointed, it was the sole reason why I felt the story had such a desperate feel to it. It is one of the best OST I have heard in a game in some time. The voice acting is also surprising pretty good with convincing (although exaggerated at times) performances. I expected something more average for lack of a better term.
NieR: Automata flashes potential of a great game but kind of fizzles out what seemed to be a short game by RPG standards as completed it just a tick over 16 hours. The plot didn't really deliver any sense of closure or answers to the many questions you ponder about. There also isn't much outside of the main story that captivated me. Sure you had side quests but these characters meant nothing to me and the rewards meant even less. The gameplay was solid as I expected but it never really seemed to capture momentum, things just ended too soon. I am left unsatisfied.
:Review ending A:
Through my first 16 hours and the completion of ending A, my feelings towards this game was pretty negative. I had no idea how Nier was structured so when I thought I had beaten the game I thought that was truly it. After completion of the first ending you are greeted with a message to continue playing but I thought it was merely just a ploy to get you to replay the game. I didn't want to replay the same story as I thought about quitting, but I decided to see how different the game played. As I accumulated more hours I started to appreciate the game much more, and with every ending the overall game grew. I found myself on the edge of my seat, constantly looking to learn more about what the hell was going on. Between the first 16 and the last 16+, it felt like a totally different game.
The second playthrough control of 9S who accompanied 2B throughout her journey. He offers a bit of different perspective of the story and his play style is completely different. You can try to hack your way through waves of robotic killing machines but 9S is notably weaker since he isn't a combat model. His specialty is hacking which pops you in and out of the real world into a mini game of bullet dodging as you attempt to destroy the machines core. These sections could get pretty intense but it can get a bit repetitive. However, it is so fluid that it doesn't break up Nier's fast pace action. Eventually the game bounces between 9S and another combat android model so you are constantly dabbling in the different gameplay elements.
The story ended up becoming a roller coaster of emotions, a far cry over what I experienced initially. The characters began to develop, especially 9S. You felt for these android units fighting a never ending battle. I even felt sorry for these sentient robots who became to develop personalities and wills of their own. The game throws some gut wrenching decisions your way, including the very end to ending E where you are given a tough choice in such a brilliant way attached with a powerful message. One thing that that I wish I had before playing was the experience of playing the prior games. Although it is not completely necessary, knowledge of the story prior would help put things into context despite what other may have you believe. There are plenty of hints, couple of characters, and dialog that reference the other games.
NieR: Automata flashed potential of a great game and in the end turned into a great game. While I foolishly judge the game a bit too quickly, I was able to appreciate what the director Yoko Taro was looking to do. It has a great story, great developments, and a fun and engaging combat system that challenged you in many ways. Nier was quite the journey that really just started when you complete the first ending. Ultimately I was left with one feeling
**2017 Game of the Year Nominee**