Thank you Kinguin.net for supplying us with a review code for this game!
NieR: Automata is the sequel to 2010’s Nier which is part of the Drakengard series. Sadly, I haven’t played the other games so I can’t tell you how much better or worse it is compared to others in the series. The story in this title is quite intriguing and the characters are well developed and likable. While there's plenty of action in this game, there's a lot of mysteries to solve within it as well. Your job is to find out the source of the alien robots and why they have taken on a life of their own. Not all of the robots are hostile either - should you wipe them all out or let the peaceful ones survive? The choice is yours.
The main character is a female looking android named 2B and early on in the game she’s accompanied by a young male appearing android named 9S. 2B is very mission focused and straight to the point while 9S is more talkative and tries earn the respect and approval of 2B. Their mission is to eliminate the alien machines that have populated the planet and have caused the remaining humans to flee to the moon. These human designed androids are humanity’s last chance for survival and repelling the alien threat once and for all.
2B is a fighting class android and is quite powerful if given the right weapons and software to use. 9S is a good support unit and can be programmed to be offensive, supportive, defensive, or balanced in combat. Hacking plays a role in some of the boss battles and 9S excels at hacking and thinking outside of the box in tough battle situations.
Both 2B and 9S have pod devices that provide support fire and powerful attacks that require some time to recharge after use. Besides the pod you start off with, two more can be located in the game if you’re diligent in looking for them. Sadly, you can only have one pod activated at a time. Switching between pods and weapon sets is easy to do and the menu system is extremely well designed by offering automated tweaking or customizing things on your own (with risks and warnings).
The battles are quite fun and there’s something special about converting evil robots into scrap metal. The bosses are massive and extremely intimidating. Many of them have multiple phases to beat before they finally go down. Sadly, given the game’s limited saving functionality I lost significant progress when the game crashed to the desktop after beating a tough boss.
Some of the androids you’ll be fight against are very humanlike in appearance and even bleed when attacked. Androids can apparently be choked to death too which doesn’t make much sense to me. If you’re connected to the internet when playing, you’ll be able to loot or revive corpses of fallen players to aide you in your journey. Like the pods, you can only have one revived ally at a time.
Fallen players and some of the android characters in the games have some partial nudity going on. When you get down to it, they’re not much different than a naked Barbie or Ken doll. There’s no details on the chest other than muscles and contours. Nothing differentiates the males and females below the navel, but some rear ends are shown.
The outside world is nicely detailed with the lush vegetation and limited wildlife encompassing the planet. You’ll see birds in the air, you can catch fish in the waters, and you're able to ride the boars and moose wandering around the city ruins. You’ll have to give the animals some bait in exchange for an opportunity to ride them.
The audio in this game is superb. The background music and voice acting are both exceptional and pleasant to listen to. You can definitely tell which robots have evolved and express their emotions when talking to them.
In the beginning you’re restricted on where you can go, but you’ll be free to wander and play this game as you see fit early on. There are lots of side-quests to accept from fellow androids, defectors, and even friendly alien robots if you decide to let them live. Depending on your actions you’ll get to experience multiple endings. I witnessed the A ending and if I’m not mistaken, there are twenty-five more to see if I want to continue playing this game and unlock even more of its unique story. Needless to say, there is plenty of replay value in this title.
Aside from the violence and Barbie doll nudity, there is a fair amount of language. The Lord’s name is taken in vain and other cuss words are used throughout the game. Not surprisingly, some of the excluded words were found in the names of some of the fallen players. Throughout my journey I did not find the F-bomb, but I saw every other word.
Religion is not particularly shown in a good light in this game and that’s all I’ll say without giving away any spoilers. In her opening monologue, 2B expresses her intent to kill God if He existed. (While 2B kicks butt in battle, God would totally win BTW). As a regular churchgoer I often sing worship songs to God and give Him all the glory. The motto in this game is “For the glory of mankind.”
Despite the many moral issues, NieR: Automata is a very fun and thought provoking game. The battle system is fun and challenging with various game difficulties and endings to extend total gameplay time. My only complaint is the number of crashes I have experienced while playing. Hopefully the game gets patched and runs smoother for others.