NieR: Automata review - an RPG unlike any other

Author: Kwiść
Date: 2017-03-19 15:40:00
The review was based on the PS4 version. Also valid for the XONE version

Having been a gamer for over twenty years, sometimes I miss times when almost every title launched was something completely new and mysterious. Sometimes when I was surprised at every turn by a previously unknown genre or mechanics. Unfortunately, the more we play, the less we experience similar moments. The industry is constantly evolving, but these changes are slow and most often do not impress us as much as they used to.

Fortunately, every now and then there is a piece of work that is so different from what we are used to, that we can again feel like the beginning of our adventure . A title that surprises us and is still a mystery to us, even after several dozen hours of fun. That's what Demon's Souls was for me and that's what NieR: Automata is - one big surprise.

Surprise 01 - history

The action of the game takes place on Earth, but in a very distant future. Our planet was taken over by intelligent machines long ago, and humanity had to escape to the moon. The war, however, still continues. On the human side, there are combat androids, and one of them is the main character of the game, i.e. 2B (read in English the same as the verb "to be").

While the very beginning is perhaps not too surprising, what happens next amazes us almost all the time. The plot turns out to be full of twists that completely change our perception of various characters and events several times. Everything is terribly confusing, but logical and sensational at the same time . After completing the game, the main characters remain in our memory for a long time, as well as the entire script. A real treat for fans of the android story.

Surprise 02 - the end is just the beginning

Speaking of endings, we'll find exactly twenty-six in the game. Yes - you read it right. It is true that most of them were prepared rather in the form of a joke (the first finale can be known after a few minutes of gameplay), but even these long and extensive end scenes are here several, which is rather difficult to call a standard in today's productions.

To make it more interesting, you need to play the game several times to unlock them . I will say even more. It's almost mandatory to complete it at least three times! Fortunately, each subsequent approach differs from the others quite significantly, both in terms of available quests and gameplay mechanics, but anything else I would write would be a huge spoiler. You have to check it yourself. Really worth!

Surprise 03 - machines dreaming about mechanical sheep

The main storyline is great, but what's even better are the characters in the game world, specifically the robots living in it. The opponents we fight, and also talk to, look absolutely grotesque. Spherical heads, large round eyes and bodies resembling a tin dumpster. These funny little people are not just ordinary killing machines, however. After many centuries of living alone on Earth, robots began to be aware of and need to understand the previous inhabitants of the planet . It is their inept attempts to imitate people that are the strongest point of NieR: Automata .

During our adventure we meet, among others the robot of a philosopher specializing in existentialism, a robot with depression that wants to kill itself, or a robot that goes mad with unrequited love. We observe the inept attempts of machines to create a religion, kingdom or nation. Some of them try to have children (in a very human way ...), while others try to raise them. All these scenes seem comical on the one hand and incredibly real on the other. They allow you to look at human behavior from a completely different perspective.

Wouldn't things that are so important or obvious to us seem absurd to someone from outside? Why do we need religion, nation, love or family? What are these concepts and ideas for us? NieR: Automata encourages you to ask yourself a lot of questions to which it has to find answers . It may sound a bit pathetic, but it is not like that in the game - all thanks to the ubiquitous humor. The robot community is humanity reflected in a very crooked mirror. This strange picture is definitely worth taking a look at.

Surprise 04 - gameplay

NieR: Automata is, in theory, an open-world RPG. We have main and side quests here, a lot of items to get, an extensive system of character development and crafts. There is even fishing! All the most important elements of a typical RPG. However, one hour of fun is enough to quickly find out that Automata is a position that cannot be pigeonholed . The first five minutes? Classic shoot 'em up. Another five minutes? Twin-stick shooter. Moments later, a scene resembling an X-wing flying inside the Death Star. When we finally land, the game turns into a slasher characteristic of the Platinum Games studio. Take it easy - just for a few minutes. Then the camera rotates, and we feel like in a two-dimensional platformer.

The work of a real madman, but also a genius , because contrary to appearances, all these elements create a wonderful, complementary whole. While in the case of most titles, after a few hours of playing, we know almost everything about the mechanics of the game, here surprises await us even after 15 or 20 hours of fun.

Surprise 05 - metroidvania RPG

The construction of the world is also interesting, which brings to mind games known as metroidvania. The Vending Machine universe is large and open, but we return to individual locations many times to complete a side mission or discover previously unavailable secrets . Some may call it irritating backtracking, but thanks to this solution, over time, we care more and more about the world around us and we start to feel part of it.

Surprise 06 - Graphics

The visual setting is also a surprise, but unfortunately not positive in this case. To put it mildly, from the technological point of view, the game looks average, even for the previous generation of consoles. We have angular models, poor textures and outdated lighting here. It's like we went back a good 10 years in time. NieR: Automata, however, resembles Demon's Souls and the first Dark Souls in many ways. The technology may be outdated and the textures are not the prettiest, but it all fits the climate of a post-apocalyptic and depressive world. It is also important that the game usually runs smoothly, which is important in the case of a title with such a fast and agile combat.