Nier Automata

Surprising, brilliant, and magnificent are some of the proper ways to call NieR Automata. This game was a surprise as I did not play the first NieR game. The pairing up of SquareEnix and Platinum Games was a great partnership. This is by far the greatest game Yoko Taro has ever made. It is an all-time classic and the mixtures of genres into one package should be a model for the evolution of gaming. NieR Automata is a fantastic RPG.

Nier Automata's story derives from one of the extra endings of Drakengard and is set thousands of years after the original NieR game. You follow the journey of andriods 2B, 9S and A2. As androids they have no real names and are named after series models. Not only that but they are created to serve mankind who has tasked them in defeating alien robots that took over the world and forced mankind to live on the moon. 2B the ever strict combat leader is set on achieving the goals set forth by the android program Yorha. She is focused and determined to get the job done. 9S is a scout who assists and fights along 2B throughout the story. As the story progresses you get to do a second playthough with him as the playable character and he unearths a lot of information that leads to the game's final act. You control A2 in the final playthrough while you switch back and forth with 9S. Confused? Let me explain.

In order to complete the game fully you have to play through the game with 2B. Once that is completed you are given the option to replay the game but this time as 9S. Now most of the second act is the same as the first, however, huge revelations are unearthed by 9S that are crucial in understanding what really is going down on earth. Once you complete this playthrough you are then taken to the final act of the game. Here is where many gut wrenching decisions are made by our characters and the battles between androids and the robots conclude. I will not spoil the game as the main draw is the way the story unfolds and how Yoko Taro has set up the story through this model. It is genius. 

The story is accompanied by fast-paced action. NieR Automata is an action RPG. You go around hacking and slashing your way around the world. You have two types of attacks and the really good thing that platinum implemented is a dodge action that helps you get away from the enemy but if used correctly can launch enemies when you attack right away. The actions are seamless and very fluid. In addition, each character has a robot pod that provides support fire or protection which can be set which way you want. There are areas that are not inhabited by enemies at all but when you are surrounded by them the fast-paced action and dodge mechanics make the experience exhilarating.The camera angle is actually not as jerky due to the quickness of the action which is a good thing. You really do not get that lost but can when you are shooting with your pod and an enemy jumps away. The good thing about the fluid structure is that you do not have to pause the action too much as there are abilities you can set to help you like for example using a healing item when you are below 25% health. Other items that can be equipped to your stats increase health, strength, movement speed and etc. Finally the game goes from action RPG to dualstick shooting sequences. These are really enjoyable as it changes the pace of the game and most importantly are used at the perfect moment. The transition is beyond smooth and many developers should take notes of this.

NieR Automata tells an interesting story but the other highlight is it's musical score. Automata has the best soundtrack of the PS4 by far and will go down as one of the best of all time in gaming history. The melodies are smooth, provocative and fast paced at times. Each tune makes perfect sense in whatever fashion it is used. Another thing is that many songs have three versions. A low slow melody, a medium version and a high version which mostly takes place during fight or flight scenes. The chaos language lyrics sung during the game are a masterpiece. Main composer Keiichi Okabe and the other composers have created a musical soundtrack that cannot be rivaled. 

Graphically the game is not like those jaw dropping AAA games that have come out but the detail to the characters and robots are outstanding. The action animation though is really good. The flying swords and the dodge dashes are beyond awesome. These little things make Automata a great experience. The final dungeon which consists mostly of black and white colors is a sight to hold. Again, it is not a CG spectacle kind of game but the artistry must be commended.

The only gripe with the game is that the quest markers can be confusing. Red dots are set on your map which is actually a semi 3D model of the game world. At times you can be in the area of the marker but the quest points could be somewhere higher or lower but you cannot tell and must look around a lot. Just a small issue.

In the end NieR Automata is a masterpiece. This is SquareEnix's best game in a few years and the best overall by Platinum Games by far. It might be the dark horse to win game of the year. The story of 2B, 9S and A2 is a magical one of narrow minded behavior evolving to the realization that there is more to life than what is predetermined and that going against that norm is part of life. Life is also finite and the heart breaking scenes make the experience more rounded. The action is fun and the music is an eternal wonder. Even if you have not played the first game you can hop right on in with this indirect sequel. Nier Automata is a masterpiece and one of the best games ever made.

Score: 9.6


  • Music is an all-time great.
  • Very intrigue story.
  • Game structure is a hit.
  • Fast-action pace is great.
  • Endearing characters and evolution.
  • The best game made by Yoko Taro and Platinum's best.


  • Quest markers can be confusing.


NieR Automata won 3 awards in 2017 and was nominated for 2 others. 

2017 Game Awards
2017 Overall Game of the Year
1st Place - Best Music/Sound
1st Place - Best Story
2nd Place - Best RPG
3rd Place - Best Action Game