There are few things in the gaming world that even remotely resemble Nier: Automata. I have played my fair share of videogames across many generations of platforms, and nothing has compared to the thrilling ride I experienced playing this game. Starting development in 2014, I can say with ease that almost every bit of it was truly worth the wait, as the payoff results in an epic and complex story with an enthralling post-apocalyptic setting, impeccably fluid gameplay, and an emotionally melodic soundtrack – all of which culminates in a truly mesmerising tale which I will not forget anytime soon.
Where the game truly shines however, is with its gameplay. The combat alone is enough for you to purchase this game at the original asking price. It offers a variety of engaging genre styles – including the general RPG elements, hack-and-slash combat, and even side-scrolling mechanics. There are a huge range of gameplay genres at display here, and the game manages to seamlessly transition from one play-style to the other. You also have your own little POD which fires a swarm of bullets to keep enemies at bay – it’s weak, but effective. The combat is some of the best I’ve seen in recent years, and overall it is incredibly rewarding. Successful dodges allow for some stylish counter-attacks, and the array of weapons at your disposal are plentiful. It rarely boils down to a simple button-masher, and you’ll find yourself pressing three buttons at once to stay alive. Don’t expect the synthetic enemies to show mercy, as even on normal this game presents a firm challenge which will have you deploying tactics to thwart your adversaries. The gameplay is truly spectacular – movement feels fluid and kinetic, and you’ll find yourself truly mesmerised with the sleek and stylish combos being flaunted on screen.
Sometimes, you can tell how good a game will be depending on how well the music is, and the soundtrack of Nier: Automata elevates it levels above the rest. The game does an excellent job using sound to convey a variety of emotions throughout an entire playthrough. Calming melodies in small desolate villages blended perfectly with hectic and outrageous beats which make combat much more dramatic and tense. On several occasions, I just stopped playing and took a breath while I basked in the engaging echoes and vibrations of the score. The music just made almost every event comprising Nier: Automata feel much more impactful, creating a rich and opulent atmosphere. I revelled in the partaking of such a tremendous score so much that I am more than happy to pay full price for the soundtrack upon its release.
Despite my almost unanimously high praise of Nier: Automata, and as much as it pains me to say, it isn’t perfect, and where the game stumbles are with its graphics. There were many times I experienced a decrease in framerate, textures popping in suddenly, and at one point the game even crashed during a boss battle, which was frustrating due how the game lacks an auto-save feature. The game displays charming and spectacular environments – ranging from bone-dry deserts to breath-taking woodland landscapes; all of which were featured in a huge open world which at times felt like being in a spellbinding labyrinth. Despite its lacklustre graphical qualities, none of it was enough to break my immersion from the gorgeous environments in the weird yet wonderful world of Nier: Automata.
Nier: Automata is a fascinating game, one in which I am glad to have experienced. It’s a frenzied and elegant rollercoaster ride which featured far more overwhelming highs than lows. Utilising a fluid and fast-paced battle system in various sublime environments, topped off with a stunning soundtrack are just some of the biggest achievements the game manages to pull off. Despite its technical flaws, Nier: Automata is one game I recommend any avid gamer to purchase instantly.