NIER: AUTOMATA (PS4, PC)
Platinum Games, Yoko Taro
Square Enix

RPG, 3rd Person Fighter
Release Date: 10th March 2017 – PS4 (UK), 17th March 2017 – PC (UK)

SUMMARY
Android warriors fighting against aliens for the future of mankind, but as a routine campaign unravels and suspicious events occur, the honourable intent of the mission is thrown into doubt…


“Everything that lives is designed to end”

Releasing a game in the same monthly window as a shiny new Zelda title with its new console to match and another PS4 exclusive heavyweight in Horizon is pretty horrific timing to be put mildly, but Nier: Automata is a RPG masterpiece that will shine through and should be reserved prime position in any gamer’s collection regardless.

Combining the good old fashioned hack-and-slash flavour with in-tandem shooting that’s not aggravating to use; are two elements that work thoroughly well together with nuances and specialised strikes between the components breaking up the overall fight style into a melee of fluid combinations, options within weapon selection are limited but add to play rather than being a cumbersome detriment. It is quite frankly an absolute pleasure to play, and that’s not a statement to make lightly.

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The game boasts stunning design with a world that is sufficiently open to explore gratuitously, but is still linear enough to hold a focus, whilst side quests do pale at the core storyline, to the open world gamer it ticks plenty of boxes as it shifts from factory, to carnival, to overgrown natural layouts and character to environment interaction is relatively high for a fight based game.

Bosses are all individual and pose credible threat that make the player thrum with adrenaline as they battle against a striking soundtrack, short cut-scenes bleed harmoniously into game-play and are often used to ramp up the tension at pivotal points within these major battles.

Most notably the core characters you can quickly grow to love and anguish over, as like its predecessor the game’s storyline is broken into multiple endings which range from mild and relatively pleasant to the entirely soul shattering; sit in the shower for a couple of hours and reassess your life.

The game-play ranges from a variety of camera shifts which seamlessly blend between the games core third person camera view to various styles including traditional platformer horizontals and top down views depending on the circumstances or puzzle solving element of the segment.

A minor issue of battling the camera comes with the perspective switch, particularly to aerial; sometimes it can make seeing enemies difficult to impossible, especially in dark areas which is far from great, however the fighting style somewhat caters to this as the game offers lock on abilities which allows for easy minor enemy destruction, unless of course the player has chosen a higher difficulty level.

The story centres around androids 2B, 9S and an older model called A2 as they go around the old world (Earth) trying to defeat machines in hopes of achieving recolonisation by humanity; which has fled to the moon.

Within this storyline it shares a lot of history and lore with its ancestors, however no prior experience with these games is necessary, which is beneficial for new players who may not be familiar with its prequels, additionally the different level of polish produced by Square Enix and Platinum games; it makes Nier look particularly dated

This game is certainly not for everyone, part of Yoko Taro’s genius is his stories are convoluted and heavy which aligns itself best to gamers who’s prime concern is storyline, something that may clash with its battle heavy gameplay, the voice acting within the game doesn’t always hit the mark and furthermore the mesh of various game style elements may confuse and irritate rather than excite all players.

VERDICT
At a time when a gamer is spoiled for good choice in new releases Nier: Automata is a game we would heavily recommend. It is delightfully charming to play and absorb, an excellent return for a story franchise that seemed the least likely to receive a successful spin off and seemingly a work that begs for more collaborations between Square Enix, Platinum Games and Yoko Taro.

Rating: 9 out of 10

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