For the Glory of Mankind: Nier:Automata Review
Nier:Automata: The End of YoRHa Edition, henceforth referred to as Nier:Automata is a game that transcends being just a game. It’s a work of art that is beyond explanation. It is an experience that everyone should embark at least once.
As mentioned earlier, the question of whether or not you should play the game is irrelevant; instead, the question of when you experience the game is one that needs to be answered. Not only does the game feature multiple styles of gameplay, or an immaculate soundtrack, the story and themes presented about philosophy and the human experience is something not many forms of media successfully explore.
Now, I’ve mentioned a lot of different aspects about this game, and you’re probably not convinced on why you should play this game. Just give me a few minutes of your time, and you’ll understand where I’m coming from.
What is Nier:Automata?
Nier:Automata was originally released in 2017 developed by PlatinumGames, published by Square Enix, and directed by Yoko Taro. This game was originally released for the PlayStation 4 and Steam. In 2018, it was released on the Xbox One with the Become as Gods Edition and ported to the Nintendo Switch in 2022 with The End of YoRHa Edition. Nier:Automata is the sequel to Nier, which was released in 2010, and Nier is a spin-off and sequel to the Drakengard series. For those unfamiliar with Yoko Taro’s work, most of his games delve into philosophical ideals, and they also feature multiple endings. In the case of Nier:Automata, there are 5 main endings, A-E, with F-Z being funny game over sequences.
How Does Nier:Automata Play?
Now, after all that info, you’re probably wondering what kind of game is Nier:Automata. In essence, Nier:Automata is an action RPG, where you control one of the game’s protagonist and fight machines in an open world setting. While fighting with equipped weapons, players can also use support pods with special abilities to turn the tide of the battle. Also, the game allows the player two loadouts for weapons that can be changed in real time. This adds another level of complexity to the combat. Besides real time fighting, the game also “bullet hell” style shooters, reminiscent of Space Invaders. Needless to say, there are many styles of gameplay all rolled into one game. This does make the game difficult when trying to separate all the styles apart or when they mix multiple styles together.
Personally, I enjoyed this style of gameplay and it fit the feel of this game very well. Now, it did take some time getting adjusted to the different styles, and it was quite jarring when the gameplay switched suddenly, but after getting the hang of it, I enjoyed the variety the game provided. I’ve seen all over the internet that the main style of a beat ‘em up that the combat is simple and easy. Now, while I do agree that the combat can become easy, with the variety of weapons and weapon types in the game, the fights never got boring. It also helped that each protagonist had special abilities that helped differentiate themselves from each other.
What Happens in Nier:Automata?
When it comes to stories and themes, I’m not going to delve too deep into anything specific. The story is something that the player needs to explore on their own, and hopefully without spoilers. Now, with that said, I do have to say that the story of Nier:Automata is beautiful. The typical progression of the game requires 4 playthroughs in order to understand the full story. Now, that might seem like a lot, but after the second playthrough, some options open up to ease this process.
In general, the story is a thoughtful and tearjerking one. It brings a lot of philosophical ideals to the table, and exploring these themes is what made me fall in love with this game. There is a lot of subtle storytelling found in the small bits of lore scattered throughout the world. Having to find some of these pieces, while also piecing together everything by yourself, is a different take on conventional storytelling. This artful way of expressing themes made me invested in learning more. And even when I had time to progress the plot, I would take a break from the main story to explore and find new tidbits of information about the world you play in.
The last aspect of this game that I’m going to cover has to be the soundtrack. Nier:Automata has one of the best soundtracks of any game I’ve ever played. Being an open-world game, the OST features a variety of different songs that all fit the environments around it. My favourite song from the game is the Amusement Park theme. When you first walk into that location, the song is strangely uplifting and haunting at the same time. It was at this point when I realized that the music was top tier. Other songs, like the overworld theme, fits perfectly with the City Ruins. Besides the main songs, the game features retro styles of the same songs, similar to what you find in an 8-bit game. These songs only appear when a certain character’s skill is in use, but it adds another level to the world building.
If you couldn’t tell how I feel about this game until this point, it means I failed as a writer. Even so, Nier:Automata is a beautiful game. With fun gameplay and an open world, anyone can enjoy the game, as there is plenty for anyone to do. With a wonderful soundtrack and a solid story, the game pulls you in and holds you tight until the final credits roll. This game is 100% worth checking out, no matter what.