PREVIEW – Nier: Automata’s demo hit the Playstation Network a couple of days ago, and we decided to see what has changed for the franchise since the original Nier back from 2010. The series has always been a weird mix of genres, and this is no different with this entry either. While this series started with Nier, but its roots are embedded in an older series called Drakengard which was obscure, and weird Dynasty Warrior clone (that somewhere along the line had giant babies as bosses).
There is a minimal connection between Drakengard, Nier, and NieR: Automata (Drakengard’s fifth ending is the beginning of Nier, and Nier’s E ending sort of leads to NieR: Automata). The creator of the franchises, has stated in an interview that the game is standalone, so there’s no need to have played the previous game, but fans will encounter Easter eggs and characters from the original Nier.
So what changed with NieR: Automata, and how is it different compared to Nier? The world has become a little bit brighter, the land is no longer barren, it is full of plant and animal life. However, humans have fled to the Moon after an Alien race attacked Earth. To fight against these aliens, Humanity has created androids that fight on Earth to take back the land against the invaders.
It does seem like a cliché story, but with Yoko Taro ( creator of the series) there is always some twist and turn to the overall plotline. It is also important to note that most of the series is characterised with what I can only call as a sort of nihilism and eternal sadness. When looking back at the previous entries, they did not have a happy ending, as even the “best endings” were usually bittersweet. With that note let us see what NieR: Automata‘s demo offers us.
Special Unit Sexy Androids Go!
We take on the role of 2B, a combat android who is part of a team sent out on a mission to deal with a Goliath Class monstrosity (Gigantic Robots). The demo provides a brief glimpse at the story, and the mechanics of the game, and what we can expect in the final product, and boy does it have a lot of mechanics. Platinum went all in with this game when creating the overall gameplay for Automata. It feels like Metal Gear: Revengence and a mix of the original Nier. So it has its RPG elements, but also flashy combat, and even some bullet hell sections.
The main fighting system while similar to Revengeance it feels a bit more automated (haha), and it is easier to pull off massive combos against the enemy. In the demo, we have two types of swords, a drone that is good for long range attacks, and a laser charge attack. One sword is for massive attacks, and one for light strikes, plus both allows the player to cut down incoming projectiles.
It is a fun hack n slash gameplay, but the ease of pulling off massive combos can feel annoying for some, especially when the game sticks a player in an attack animation. Even though the RPG elements are included in the demo, there is not much shown. A few upgrade paths and potential new weapons are hinted at, but nothing substantial. The bullet hell sections are interesting, as it pulls out of the third person view, and shifts it over to a top-down 2D view to better accommodate the gameplay mechanic. It looses some of its graphical flair with this move, but it is necessary to survive these parts of the game.
The characters designed in the game, are rather great looking, especially 2B who is a cold, stoic, and merciless killer while looking like an early 20s lady that has barely any clothing on her. Her eyes and her fellow android’s eyes are covered by a black cloth for some as of yet unrevealed reason.
The general enemies felt a bit too easy to deal with in the demo and did not provide much resistance for me. There were two bosses that were, however, long, and tough to deal with in this small preview. The last boss battle introduced us to a final gameplay mechanic that was an aerial combat vehicle which allowed us to defeat the giant mech boss. All in all the characters and the environment seems well designed enough, and the gameplay looks to be on par with most triple AAA games of 2017.
Fancy a quick death?
NieR: Automata looks fantastic, and the graphics are top-notch, especially on the PS4 Pro. The game will support the 4K resolution and will try to keep the game’s 60FPS. It is admirable that hey will try to do this, especially in a game that is so hectic. It will have varied enough gameplay, but I am worried that the combat might be a little too simplistic. Still, from what we played the demo, NieR: Automata looks
to be a true AAA effort from Yoko Taro with an actual budget this time around. Let’s just hope it sticks the landing, and the latest entry in this weird franchise will not be a disappointment.
NieR: Automata looks and feels like a great game based off what we played in the demo. It has great graphics, fun combat, and an interesting story. Hopefully, it will have enough content to last a full game.
Could be good:
+ Great Combat
+ Interesting albeit highly depressing story
+ High-quality graphics
Could be bad:
– Too many bullet hell sections
– Could have a confusing story
– Voice acting might not be the best
Publisher: Square Enix, Koch Media
Genre: Action role-playing
Relase date: March 2017 (PAL: 10th / NA: 7th)