Nier Automata: PS4 Review
Released by Square Enix
Finally, after a blistering 30 minute demo, the full release of Nier Automata is upon us.
And it's quite something.
Part of the Nier series, but yet also standalone, this latest is quite the epic, and in many ways, slightly undefinable.
Loosely, the game's set in the distant future…
Invaders from another world attack without warning, unleashing a new type of threat: weapons known as “machine lifeforms.” In the face of this insurmountable threat, mankind is driven from Earth and takes refuge on the Moon.
The Council of Humanity organizes a resistance of android soldiers in an effort to take back their planet. To break the deadlock, the Resistance deploys a new unit of android infantry: YoRHa .
In the forsaken wasteland below, the war between the machines and the androids rages on.
A war that is soon to unveil the long-forgotten truth of this world...
Playing as an automaton 2B in the demo is a thrill, and as you initially fight your way through an industrial complex, taking on hordes of robots left behind in a war that have been powered up, the game finds new ways to engage you in the button-mashing process.
However, after the end of the prologue (which doubled as the quite shocking demo earlier this year), the game becomes something else - a sort of philosophical post button-smasher that carves its way into your soul.
Open world gaming is the key here and while you go through areas that wouldn't be out of place in The Last Of Us, battling robots and watching the story progress, it's quite the story. Consciousness, emotion, humanity et al all figure into the game as you go through various side missions as 2B.
With an android sidekick and a robot shooter on your shoulder (more or less), you can take on the bad guys in whatever manner you want. Your Pod takes chips and can be developed into a fighting machine or you can play an equal part - it's a real boon to those games which simply have AI hang back and never get their virtual mitts dirty.
It's the way the game changes what it is while you're playing it that makes it such a pleasant and surprising game. From the actual visuals changing from 3D to 2D to Manga-style cut scenes and to actual sequences changing tact, there's a lot going on here - if you're willing to be patient.
After the initial factory take-down, the game slows a little and the pace needs to be adhered to as it becomes a quest-style shooter and one that ponders a bit of existentialism as well. Chaining combos comes at the same time as the duo ask whether there is more to life than they thought (for goodness sake, the lead is 2B!!). But there's plenty to shoot to as well here, with 2B able to instruct 9S on how to play the combat of each level.
The bond the duo have is great to behold and gains a resonance after the ending - and to say more, is to spoil.
All in all, Nier Automata is more a game of fluidity and combat, as well as rich exploration. It's a great journey to take and one that's definitely worth diving into.