NieR: Automata

NieR: Automata

“What’s the difference between a human and a machine? Is it worth living an existence without any inherent meaning? These are the questions I ask as I roam the ruins of civilization, a soldier in an eternal war. Anyway, here are my panties.”

That’s the NieR: Automata narrative experience in a nutshell. Iconic character design is admirable, but it’s disappointing that a game with a story so layered, symbolic, and fervently diegetic as this would stoop to such distracting fanservice. I feel the need to mention this because it feels so beneath the rest of the game, which, while noticeably imperfect, is so batshit insane that it’s absolutely worth playing anyway.

It’s telling that Platinum Games’ signature hyperactive beat ‘em up gameplay feels relatively tame here. Yeah, you’re doing acrobatic dodge moves and swinging around weapons taller than yourself, but you also hack robots via bullet hell shooter, battle newborn humanoid hiveminds, and self-destruct by removing your own OS chips. There are tons of ideas here, so not all of them are fully realized – particularly the open world, which is too appropriately lifeless for its own good. It needs a middle ground between difficulty settings, and the controls are pretty convoluted, but the combat comes with satisfying depth, and the soundtrack is spectacular. The bottom line is that you may be annoyed by NieR: Automata, but you’ll never be bored.

6.5/10
6.5/10

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