Having not played Nier on the PS3 I had no idea what I was in for with this game, all I knew is that my friend wanted me to play the original because he knew that it would be my sort of game and I did love the demo as it felt different from anything else I was currently playing.
Nier Automata (or just NA from here on) is the sequel to Nier which is also a sequel to a game series called Drakengard, however, like me you will not have needed to play any of the previous games to understand what is happening in NA…….not that it’s clear from the beginning what is happening anyway.
It’s a difficult task talking about the story without ruining anything so I will stay away from spoilers. The game is very different to anything I have played previously and takes a few play trough’s to unlock the whole storyline which just improves with each play through.
NA is essentially an action based RPG. You level up, equip and upgrade weapons and acquire new skills much like Kingdom Hearts. What makes this game stand out however are the different elements to combat and the way it keeps things fresh by changing around characters with different fighting skills or switching between shooter levels or from 3D to 2D. As well as weapons you can upgrade your robot body by acquiring new chips and replacing them from your existing ones. Some of these chips are fantastic, you can do the usual upgrade of strength or defence, you can improve your speed or even equip chips that will regain your health when you attack or be attacked which pretty much makes you invincible.
While this game will win no awards for its graphics, it still looks very impressive at times, you will although notice that in other places it can be quite blocky and rushed. Unless you are driven to play games that look great this isn’t really an issue. Platinum Games don’t have the funding that others do and the combat and style of the game are more than enough to divert your focus. The only time you may actually pick up on this is the start of the game. Unfortunately your first play through may be tough going due to the lack of story. I urge anyone playing to keep at it as the game keeps this from you on purpose and you will understand more later on.
NA is not afraid to mix things up and completely change situations and the way you perceive characters which I find both brave and cleaver of the developers. NA is unlike anything I have played before and at times very cleaver with its story and tiny details that can be overlooked. Just one of those details comes from fishing which you can do throughout the game in lakes, sea or even the sewer. The fact that you use your pod companion to do the fishing while a fishing seat appears propping up your character just made me smile.
I played through the game to platinum in around 60 hours on Normal which I felt wasn’t too difficult and only died twice. On your travels you can get help from other players as if you die you will leave your body behind on the network for other players to either pick up your items or repair in their game and have it fight alongside them.
This also works for yourself and your own body, much like Dark Souls you can travel back to where you died and reclaim your body which you will receive your any exp or chips you lost when you died.
My only issues with this game are minimal. Sometimes the game gets a little too silly by the fact that you can receive multiple endings which you can pick up for doing the most random things. This means that if you haven’t saved for a while you will lose a lot of your play through. If you take away one thing from my review it would be to save often!
Someone reviewed this as the best game you never will play and I would agree with that. Released around the same time as Horizon, Zelda and Persona 5 it’s likely that this will be overlooked by most that would enjoy it. It’s simply fantastic and the soundtrack is beautiful!