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Nier:Automata – Review

Updated: Dec 4, 2022

This review contains spoilers.

 

Videogame Name: Nier:Automata Platforms: PS4, Windows Get it on: Steam Genre: RPG My score: 7/10 – could have been better

 

Introduction

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Coming as the sequel of Nier, Automata’s atmosphere is kindred to the previous title, and is much welcome. It comes, of course, with interesting technical advantages over the predecessor, and with wonderful cinematics.

Nier’s soundtrack was enough to convince me to try the title. The demo and the overall success convinced me to play it.

In the end, I can say that Square Enix could do much more with it. Of course, I find the title enjoyable, but I have some perplexity, which I’m going to point out below!

For the Glory of… what exactly?

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World is in the hands of machines, which have some sort of hive-mind. You are part of Yorha, a special division made of bio-machine soldiers. And, well, you’re a beautiful one, of course!

A cutscene introduces you soon enough to the story of the world: mankind had to leave heart, and its last stand is an outpost on the Moon.

You are soon involved in exploration quests on the Earth’s surface.

The gameplay so far works fine: flashing air fights and epic clashes with giant machines are great.

“For the Glory of Mankind” is Yorha’s motto: they fight for mankind to stay alive and maybe conquer back the planet. Throughout the story, though, I missed the message behind the story: many things happen, but no clear point is brought up.

There are many suggesting scenes, and there is also some interesting questioning by the main characters, NPCs and antagonist. Nothing reaches a clear conclusion, or a conclusion that I could appreciate. The world is left as it is, nothing changes or evolves alongside the story.

Characters & Backgrounds

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The same applies for the characters: there is a very interesting character design: 2B and 9S are nice, Adam and Eve (the antagonists, in some sense) are too.

The bond between 9S and 2B is displayed from the beginning. While 2B follows the rule of not expressing emotions, 9S disagrees. With the development of the story, we see a more sensitive 2B. Again, even here, I find no climax. There are challenges to be faced, and 2B does not stop anytime. This is not necessarily good: I always found everything nice to be played, but never found an actual dilemma, neither in my choices nor in the choices of the characters.

Aesthetics & Setting

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I spent some time thinking about the optimisation of my chips, and the interface conveys the right message: I can place chips physically inside the 2B’s memory, and is nice, as you feel like working with an actual artificial being. There are lots of setting-driven cool features, like the O.S. chip (which is required) and a self-destruction function.

When you die, your body and chips are left behind. You can leave a message describing your death, as other people can find your body (but not collect your chips, while you can, and should). Messages are very appropriate, and aligned with the setting. I always found myself spending time writing them properly. Some come up nice too.

Soundtrack

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The soundtrack is aware of its predecessor. It keeps the same tones, and is perfect for the setting. Of course, I was not expecting soundtrack to be a downside: Nier’s soundtrack is my favourite videogame soundtrack. Automata’s one lacks the lustre of the previous masterpiece, though: there is nothing of the calibre of “Ashes of Dream – New”, and I was hoping for that.

Conclusions

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Nier:Automata failed to ignite in me passion. It is an enjoyable title, but I found nothing to be remembered, apart from style and some good soundtrack pieces. I’m not completely disappointed, it could be actually worse than that, but Square Enix is not giving me anything special here, and I’m surprised. I suggest this title if you look for some nice gameplay and action, accompanied by a good background music and nice cinematics, but that’s all about it.

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