Nier Automata - Review
Nier: Automata, arriving in Europe on March 10 for PlayStation 4 with support for PS4 Pro (and PC version coming out on the 17th), is a bit of a spin-off, but also a bit of Nier's sequel, Action- RPG released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2010 and coldly received by critics, mainly because of a rather poor technical realization. Which did not stop him from becoming a cult for a passionate group of players, fascinated in particular by the brilliant inventions of the director Yoko Taro, with whom I had the pleasure of chatting a few weeks ago (and I confirm that he is crazy in the head, yes ).
With Nier: Automata, Square Enix (publisher of the saga) makes an interesting move, combining the insane genius of Yoko Taro with the maximum competence in the Action area of PlatinumGames, the team of Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Wonderful 101 and others. We have already had a taste of what can be obtained from this combination in recent months with the demo of the game (still available on the PlayStation Store, I recommend you download it), which also offers the opportunity to begin to appreciate the music of Keiichi Okabe and his team Monaca, who will be the soundtrack to the game. But it is really a simple taste, because the surprises that the full game reserves are innumerable and range over many, many fields.
The first thing that strikes you about Nier: Automata is that in an hour or so you've gone through almost a dozen different genres and game styles, without even realizing it. This is one of the strongest and most fascinating features of the product, and it is worth talking about it for a while. Basically, Nier: Automata is an Action-RPG, with a third-person view. But during the course of the adventure the game is continuously transformed, changing style and genre, often becoming a Shoot'em Up, but also many other things. The ability to switch from one genre to another, in most cases without even too obvious detachments, is often sensational and surprising, as well as tasty, refined and competent.
To make you understand the depth of everything, I tell you that the Shooter phases are often very different from each other and range between different subgenres of the discipline in question. We move from Bullet Hell Shmups to Dual Stick Shooters, often mixing the two and alternating between horizontal scrolling and vertical scrolling, with excursions in the shooters to the Panzer Dragoon. And all this both while telling a plot (with the same protagonists who go from Platinum style ground fights to shootings on flying exoskeletons), and with real mini-games, delicious Dual Stick Shooting pills with a strong retro taste, which in turn they may have the ability to fit into classic Action-style fights.
Did you understand little? Perfect. Rightly so. And it's not even over here, because the game occasionally gives up on a desire for 2D Action-Platform with horizontal scrolling, which at a precise point of the adventure even flows into a very Metroidvania moment, so I stop and I say "Ua '!". And of course. It doesn't end here either, because there are also small flashes of graphic adventure and other tributes to different video game genres.
The gameplay, as you may have guessed, is quite varied and in many of its parts, as I said, decidedly refined. The contribution of Platinum Games is absolutely evident in the basic Action component, which accompanies most of the fights on the ground during the exploration of the open world (we will also get to this) and in the boss fights. As for fighting with normal enemies, do not expect a depth at Bayonetta, because the combat system of Nier: Automata is certainly more "light" and above all necessarily also influenced by the development and customization of the protagonists, with RPG elements certainly more relevant to what they can be in purely Action games. But the style is that, with a lot of dodging on R2 that can become a perfect dodging if performed at the right time (just like in Bayonetta), all accompanied by very tasty and very "Japanese" animations.