Nier: Automata Review | The Masterpiece You (Probably) Wont Play

Steam games unter 10 eurosteam game analytics NIER:AUTOMATA™ gameplay Let me begin by saying that Ive worked on this review for 7 full days Ive played Nier:Automata over 2 days And Ive devoted the other 5 to preparing this video I literally didnt upload a single video to my channel this week so that I could work on this review where I typically upload about 5 times per week And Ive put in that amount of work for two reasons Firstly, if youre anything like me Youre not gonna play Nier: Automata You look at the cover image and it looks like some weird Japanese hack and slash starring some kinky French maid dominatrix And you say, no thanks. You see the bullet hell sequences and its weird 8-bit stuff And you think, gimmick, Im Good I get it, and that was me 7 days ago. but the reason Im making this video is because Nier is so unbelievably worth playing that if I can convince a single person to play this game after this review then it wouldve been 7 days well spent. The second reason Im making this review, is a little more personal. Ill admit that for the past 7 days. Ive felt like a bit of a crazy person. And have seriously questioned my own judgement as someone who appreciates video games Ive scoured the internet for a single reputable review that I feel acknowledges and expresses how much of an unmitigated achievement Nier: Automata is But Im yet to find one If you scan Metacritic youll find that most of the more respected publications are scoring the game at around 90% which is obviously an excellent score but if you actually read or watch their reviews as I have youll sense a disconnect between what they are writing which is typically gushing praise and how they finally score the game For me, the scores do not match what they are writing or saying because these reviewers are describing a 10/10 experience and yet putting a 9/10 at the end of it The closest I got to a review that did this game justice was Jim Sterlings but this is also the perfect example of the phenomena Im describing Jim declared Nier one of the most important games ever to be released And so eloquently dropped the mic by the end of his review saying if history forgets this game, then fuck history He then when on to score the game 9/10 None of this makes any sense to me at all If these publications are holding back I can only guess why because they certainly arent explaining it in their reviews Perhaps Im crazy and Nier is just a really great game like a whole bunch of other really great games out at the moment or perhaps Im not crazy and Nier is the caliber of masterpiece thats true value, can only be discerned many years after it arrives And after its impact has had the chance to permeate other experiences that follow it For now, Im going to bet the house on this latter statement Ill proudly stake what little credibility I might have on the assertion that I think the entire gaming industry, while celebrating Nier: Automata Is drastically understating how incredible and important it is Nier: Automata is a rare breakthrough moment in the history of our medium and its for this reason that Ive poured so much love and care into this review I want there to be at least one review out there that calls this game for what it is. A masterpiece. That is an absolute must-play for anyone who appreciates video games or good story-telling or incredible music or true innovation in any of the elements I have just listed Ladies and Gentlemen, I humbly submit to you my review of Nier: Automata If you ever watch a street performer youll notice something very important about the way they structure and deliver their performances More than any other type of performance they constantly seek to exceed and reset your expectations Such that in the very limited time that they perform for you which is typically only 2-5 minutes They deliver something that is not only above what you expected but beyond what you could have imagined when you first passed this person on the street. In regular intervals the performance is ratcheted up to continue to delight the crowd. Its all about the performer using every second available to them and to make each one of them count such that the audience is so impressed and so overwhelmed with the scale of the achievement. That they feel practically forced to drop dollars into the hat Because they got well and truly more value than what the couldve anticipated when they first took the risk to stop in the middle of the street and watch some random stranger perform for them I bring up this example because as I played through Nier: Automata achieving all five of its truly worthwhile endings. I couldnt help but feel that the people who made it would have also made really great street performers because every second of Nier: Automata has at its core an urgency to delight and surprise to challenge expectations, and reset them just when the player thinks they found their measure Where other games are willing to drop a great moment or surprise and the rest on the laurels of that moment for hours Nier is ferociously seeking to deliver you the next great moment as quickly as possible With an equally ferocious desire to ensure that the new moment is both different and better than the previous one Some days later I watched an interview with the games visionary Yoko Taro who said this, But Nier is more than it surprises A lot more. Nier is one of the most technically, thematically, visually narratively and orally congruent experiences ever delivered by any medium ever Be it in film, or television, or music, or theatre or whatever... It joins a rare pantheon standing alongside: Dark Souls, Metal Gear Solid, Ghost in the Shell, Evangelion and any other number of instant nerd culture classic experiences That completely dazzle, and force us to rethink things as we attempt to make sense of them And as with those other classics understanding the greatness of Nier is as much about understanding the achievement of its individual elements As it is about appreciating the greater than the sum of its parts magic. That is achieved when they are combined So, lets explore those parts now Many of you will no doubt remember Evangelion I remember watching Evangelion for the first time when I was a teenager and for me both then and now Eva provokes so much in me all at once. Its a deeply thought provoking exercise because it asks and answers spiritual moral and logical questions While telling an intensely personal story about family, friendship and love. Theres a pervasive emotional and rational intelligence to it That you cant find in many other experiences And I bring it up here because Nier is imbued with the same emotional and intellectual gravitas That made Eva so wonderful The premise of Nier is simple You are an android, 2B and along with your squadmate, 9S You are the vanguard in a battle against evil machines that have taken over Earth Humans have fled to the moon and are eager to return once the war is won You begin with a standard mission brief, Kill a target and from there the story begins to evolve What emerges, slowly at first, and then at blistering pace is a deeply engaging brilliantly written brilliantly acted story About a group of people all connected in fascinating ways Who seek to explore and understand the complexities of a world that is clearly keeping a great deal from them And the desire to understand more about the characters and the world, creates in you, the player, a genuine sense of urgency to push forward the story In a way most other games can only hope to achieve And I think this reminder of how good a video game story can be is rather timely. I played Nier: Automata immediately after playing Mass Effect: Andromeda. And for me the difference was striking Mass Effect is a game that prides itself on the strength of its Narrative and my intent here is absolutely not to belittle Mass Effect: Andromeda But I must confess here that in my view, the sharp intelligent and poignant writing of Nier: Automata contextualizes the failure of Mass Effect: Andromeda even more To deliver on its core promise And even contextualizes the much lorded achievement of the recent, Horizon: Zero Dawn As I think about other games Ive played recently I find myself reflecting on the stories that they told as compared to Nier And in my view the difference in quality and originality is huge. But I suppose I could say that about a lot of narrative driven games Not since Metal Gear Solid 1 have I had my video game narrative expectations so drastically reset in such a short time. And the story does not relent for 35 hours When you think youve finished Nier: Automata you absolutely have not, not even close After your first 15 hour playthrough you unlock a new game plus which allows you to replay a large portion of your first playthrough But from the perspective of another character There are many out there who feel like the second playthrough of the game is a little too like the first and I certainly agree with them While the new perspective provided by the new game plus mode provides incredible perspective shifting moments They do come somewhat infrequently when compared to the pace we might like. In my view it would have been better to deliver these moments through some other more condensed means. Be that as it may I wonder if there wasnt some method in Platinum Games madness here I remember reading an interview with the creator of Metal Gear Solid Hideo Kojima about his infamous decision to make us play Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 2 And his response always stayed with me. He said, and I am definitely paraphrase here The only way that I could continue to develop Snake as a character was to allow you to view him from the outside The player themselves cannot be the myth or the legend for true mythology to exist it has to be something outside of ourselves something we cannot be or even touch The second playthrough of Nier allowing you to play through the perspective of 9S Delivers on this idea. By being able to observe the heroine 2B from outside herself You gain a new appreciation for her strength and motivations as a character While new plot details are slowly drip-fed throughout the course of your second adventure. Its an exercise in repetition with the intent of evoking attachment familiarity and at times awe as you see 2B fight alongside you and for you Its a narrative device that I think will find as many admirers as detractors But I applaud it for the courage of its intent and because enough effort was put in to make sure the experience was meaningfully different from the first playthrough Whatever your view of the second playthrough, the third will again thrill you and the 3 additional endings that branch from this are the real endings of the game. The third playthrough is a totally different story from the first Using only the game world as the constant Everything else has changed And the result is that your first 2 playthroughs begin to feel more like a prologue to these final acts. I cannot speak more of it without spoiling details But suffice it to say, this is not a 15 hour game it is a 35 or 40 hour game And the game uses every single hour of that to deliver an ever evolving deepening and gripping story from start to finish As I reflect back on the epic that is Nier:Automatas story I am reminded of the feelings it evoked in me more than the specific plot points A genuine connection to the characters A desperation to learn whats coming next A willing suspension of disbelief and a constant thought process of decoding clues and hints and minor character tells to deduce their meaning in the context in the broader story Like any great thriller or suspense Nier knows how to engage the emotional, and logical parts of your brain in equal measure And the convincing characterisations will win over all but the most cynical viewers. You dont need to be a fan of Japanese anime or sci-fi to appreciate Niers narrative. It stands on its own two feet the way any great story does But the game world in which Nier: Automata is set is either by design or by accident, a masterstroke of level design Anyone who has played Dark Souls will know the compact and inter-connected design of the original game With the fire-linked shrine serving as your literal half and rest of the game branching around it but Nier takes this idea further by compacting the world even further and choosing to use it as more the theater stage than the traditional video game environment to turn to the Dark Souls example, the Dark Souls world maybe is connected But you visit each area only once to progress through the game And subsequent visits are typically only to use this space as a thoroughfare access to get to a new area Nier sets up a number of key landmark areas Nier sets up a number of key landmark areas and then reuses these spaces to tell different stories in one large square just outside of the resistance camp which is sort of the base I fought a giant oil rig mech And I chatted with the wreckage of another one and I flew through there in a bullet-hell sequence And I fought to protect my squad mate from a group of androids all gone haywire This was literally all in the one game space that I kept revisiting again and again over the 35 hours and while some may call this laziness on the part of the developer. I call it genius I developed a level of familiarity with the space that I achieve in so few games because the truth is we rarely grow connected to the environments we play in all come to truly know them that is in single-player story driven games at least But here I came to know the world intimately and every return to a landmark reminded me of the two or three or five incredible story combat moments Ive had there before and how far comes since that time We fondly remember the firelink shrine in Dark Souls because it felt like home and it held memories for us Here in Nier almost every part of the map becomes its own firelink shrine a place brimming with familiar memories as we move either to or through each of these areas Were not loathing the backtracking, but were nostalgic Its a strange sensation to be feeling when an experience is still so fresh in your mind and all the while you find yourself captivated by the beauty of the world the drab decaying city ruins tells the story of a lost civilization The forest Kingdom invokes genuine or as we gaze up at the towering castle Ill never forget the first moment I arrived at the amusement park to see its Disney star facade and fireworks are bloom each space within this small open world is striking and carefully constructed because space is at a premium Where games like fallout or Skyrim or Ghost Recon create vast tracts of empty forgettable space between its major set pieces Nier invest something special in each space it creates and creates a visual signature that you cannot but appreciate but perhaps the biggest star of the open world is the music so lets talk about that now To understand the utterly incomparable magnificence of Nier:automata soundtrack you need to understand a few things Firstly each song is a delight there are around 40 of them in total and not a single one of them is weak they are beautiful they are interesting they are haunting and they are totally rich where many games can have two or three standout songs Nier has 40 of them It completely astounds me that someone can have such an incredibly consistent taste in what makes excellent music but clearly the games composer Keiichi Okabe is one such person the second thing to appreciate about Niers soundtrack is the way that each song has essentially been deconstructed into seven parts With or without vocals being two of those and within each of those there are three layers quiet medium and dynamic finally many songs have been rendered into an 8-bit version to fit the hacking mode minigame Youll often be engaging in when youre playing as 9s the breadth of the soundscape and its deconstructed layers enables the composer to convey a very specific intent or emotion consistent with the location where that moment is taking place Take the scene at the amusement park for example Which is unquestionably one of the strongest and most striking moments in the game Here at the opening we hear the basic stems of the amusement track titillating and hinting of the wonder waiting inside Notice the playful xylophone creating that real theme park sense. Thats whimsical and familiar Next lets up the intensity as we get closer to the center of this strange and mysterious world that were exploring Finally lets hop on a roller coaster and prepare for sensory bombardment as the track is fully unleashed to marry up with the chaos of the gameplay Its absolutely dazzling, and its just one example there are dozens more of these moments in the game literally dozens as I wrote over the space of a week it became apparent to me that the English language is missing a word to describe the perfect fusion of sound and visuals a word that succinctly says that yes this sound belongs with this image If such a word existed it would apply to every moment of Nier:automata Sadly no such word exists at this time, but as I searched for this word that didnt exist I was reminded of another word Synesthesia which is defined as the production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body Looking back on Nier I realized that this is absolutely the perfect word to describe its effect on you as you play it as so much of the simultaneous stimulation across all of your senses is guided by the incredible score Nier soundtrack is in my view the best video game soundtrack in the history of video games Better than Shadow of the Colossus better than journey better than hotline Miami better than doom or Chrono Trigger Or cross or persona 4 and yes, even better than Tony Hawk 2 it is simply the most inspired music selection ever to grace a video game and so expertly delivered on a technical level that it beggars believed that this is the first most of us will have heard of this composer Keiichi Okabe has long been known to fans of Nier and Drakengard but he will now be known to the entire gaming world and by God are we the better for When I first saw trailers and coverage for Nier:automata my first reaction was to ignore it because theyve had gimmicky I thought the gameplay looked Im not a fan of hack-and-slash combat because I typically find it quite dull and nor am I a fan of bullet held twin-stick shooter gameplay since I find it gets pretty boring pretty fast Im also not a fan of games that deviate too far from their core gameplay loops in the name of providing gameplay diversity since I find that diversity is typically at the cost of that core gameplay loop And its typically a step down from what wed expect so when I saw that Nier had all three of these things I very quickly determined that Nier was not for me It was only on the advice of a friend that I gave the game a chance And I would not change my mind on the matter had I not seen for myself How well each of these components actually work, but more importantly how hermetically and mechanically linked they are the core of Niers combat is a platinum game style hack and slash game Think Bayonetta meets Devil May Cry and you have the general gist of it. It must be said that the combat feels incredible Its a little bit awkward at first, but after a small amount of time with the system it gives a way to a feeling of true connectedness with your character with the shallow button-mashing style of play Intelligently augmented by a brilliantly implemented dodging system plus a drone at your side that lays down constant fire Between his special abilities like a giant laser cannon youre gonna do a lot of fighting in nier and after some 35 hours I can say that at no point did I tire of charging headlong into a group of enemies Ready to cleave them in half Even now as I say these words 35 hours behind me I longed to log in again and start fighting It is absolutely wonderful while theres plenty of weapons and graceful combos to be had the true strength of Niers combat lies in its enemies Theres only around a dozen or so of them in the game But they evolved throughout the course of your playthrough to gain new abilities, and theyre combined in different ways and in different locations to tremendous effect a lone spearman is easily managed But 20 spearmen chasing after me means I need to adapt to tuning highly different fighting style or I risk being skewered 10 floating enemies at once is fine But put a few ground troops into the mix as well, and I quickly find myself needing to adapt my combat style yet again Youre always gonna be pushing the attack button in this game No doubt But your brain will always be engaged because the diversity of enemies and enemy combinations will make every single encounter feel fresh and interesting in ways you could never expect But this is only the beginning of Niers gameplay diversity in addition to a 3d hack and slash mode the game often pivots to deliver a 2d side-scroller experience And then suddenly it puts you in a mech and is delivering a 3d bullet-hell experience And then suddenly you have to hack a machine And it delivers a 2d bullet health sequence inside of the machines AI world There are in essence 4 gameplay modes in NIer at all times and Nier is totally unafraid to move between them when you least suspect it to awesome effect and the genius of this diversity is that its actually not as diverse as it might appear Because of the thematic and mechanical congruence I alluded to earlier The 3d hack and slash gameplay is often peppered with its own bullet hell dodging style play through your pod a sidekick youre also constantly firing your weapon not unlike a bullet hell game when the camera switches perspective to 2d your entire move set from the 3d game is intact making the transition seamless when youre in your mech during the bullet health sequences youre still dodging through attacks as you would in the 3d hack and slash moments and during the unique hacking sequences. Youre still dodging some projectiles and shooting others Youre still dodging some projectiles and shooting others just as you do in both the hack and slash mode and the bullet hell mode and the hacking sequence actually makes sense because youre an android and of course you can hack in to the machine world in order to destroy its AI where other games awkwardly parachute in random game modes to keep things interesting The result is typically something cheap and compromised because it isnt properly woven into core gameplay mechanics in the case of Nier you get the sense that there is one gameplay system at work the entire time and youre simply able to enjoy it from variety of perspectives Its genius because its at all times flawless except that maybe theres a bit too much hacking during some of the playthroughs Theres a great deal more tunia that I havent discussed yet. Theres its subtle and intelligent handling of deep philosophical I deas its genuinely interesting sense of humor Its remarkably elegant progression and upgrade system, and its hit and miss open-world sidequest structure But I feel to cover all of these things in the way they should be covered would push this already very long review into the feature-length movie territory of no, thank you, I have better things to do I spoke earlier about synesthesia Which is the phenomenon where one sense stimulates the other sense Nier: automata is game design synesthesia every part of the game lends itself to complimenting accentuating and enlarging the other parts of the game and it happens in almost every second of its 35 hour duration the title game of a generation is not one that can be given during the generation itself But can only be given long after that generation has finished I remember when the Last of Us was released which was at the tail end of the ps3 life cycle and many people immediately labeled it the game of the generation because it was certainly a very accomplished experience but in retrospect I wonder if other titles such as Mass Effect 2 or the Bungie led halo 2 or 3 or of course the seminal Dark Souls Had more of an impact on the trajectory of our medium during that generation in this way no one can responsibly say that Nier is the game of the generation, and Im absolutely not saying that now, but mark my words Nier will unquestionably be spoken of when those games of the generation lists are compiled the director Yoko taro is a man with a cult following behind him But I suspect he will now join the ranks of other named bosses like Hideo Kojima of Metal Gear fame Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo Fame or head otaku Miyazaki of Dark Souls Fame as the influence of Nier ripples across our medium for the next five or ten years Yoko taro will be a man that we unquestionably see more of easy allies the game critics calm that true authorship is a rare thing in videogames a statement so true in so many contexts and especially here where taro has crafted a marvel of an experience that deserves the status that no one else seems willing to give it masterpiece Yoko taro Keiichi Okabe and the entire Platinum Games team thank you so much you have given me an experience I will never forget and I hope that this review will prompt at least one more person to have that experience as well steam vr games 2021 Nier: Automata- I cant recall ever being so captivated by a game. At least not in the last decade. I think maybe Im going a little crazy. Regardless, I havent been able to string a single non-Nier related thought together this week as this review has all but consumed me. Even now, I am still deeply unhappy with it as I feel it does not do the game justice. But I know I wouldnt be happy with anything I produce at this point, so my hope is that you enjoy this review more than I did, and if you hadnt thought to purchase and play Nier, that you might revisit that decision. This cannot continue... Check out this week’s videos: Destiny 2 Release Date Revealed! 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