Review – NieR: Automata
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Action RPG/Hack & Slash
Director: Yoko Taro
Release Date: March 10th 2017 (UK)
Getting to go back for a second playthrough in order to review Nier: Automata was brilliant as frankly, this is one of the best games I have ever had the pleasure of playing through and it pushes the boundaries of what I thought action RPG’s were capable of. Before the game released back in 2017, I remember hearing lots of amazing things about this game from reviewers before I had played through it. This sort of high praise always leads to me being sceptical that the project is going to meet my high expectations. I am happy to report that not only does this game meet my prior expectations, but it greatly exceeds them.
The characters in this game are so well crafted. You will form an immediate opinion on each of the characters when you are first introduced to them, but be prepared to have your opinion changed multiple times. Initially likeable characters will commit despicable acts and the character you thought was a cold machine, will do something genuinely heart-warming. Even though these characters are prone to committing acts that don’t necessarily match their character type, character motivations are always understandable, which is always a mark of great writing.
The visuals in this game are incredible, not only in the graphical sense. The way that certain shots are framed, the way that lighting is implemented in certain environments, the fluid animations, the vast, lush natural environment; all of it is utterly stunning. Combat looks incredible, cutscenes are well timed and effective, character design is fantastic, all of this adds to the impressive visual flair of the game overall.
The audio also plays a significant in the experience during your playthrough, as the soundtrack is so effective and well implemented. The tone is complimented by a different piece of music in each area of the game to the point that the music alone could tell you what area of the game that you are in without having to look at the screen.
The only negative feeling I have towards the game after finally completing it for a second time, was the exhaustion I felt towards the game’s ending. Without spoiling anything, this game ends multiple times, each ending is emotionally draining and leads to another even more complex layer of the game’s overall story, to the point that finishing the entire thing feels like an endurance test and I’m still not even anywhere near earning the platinum trophy!
I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into when I started the game for my first playthrough and that is how I would recommend most players go into this game because you will truly be blown away, but you should know how much of your life this game is going to demand from you. If you don’t have between 60-100 hours to spend, (depending on what completion rate you are aiming for,) then this will probably be too vast of an experience for you. And after finally completing the game in it’s entirety, I feel exhausted and I’m not in any hurry right now to go back to the game to tackle the remaining sidequests.
I feel that I have earned some time away from the game, at least for a few weeks. Normally I relish an epically long adventure, but even this pushed my limits of what a lengthy saga should be. This is the only thing that keeps me from scoring the game a perfect 10.
There is no denying that this game is very close to being a masterpiece and for those that do regard the game to be a perfect 10, I can see why. There aren’t any flaws within the game itself, mine is more of a personal problem and is proof to me at least, that you can have too much of a good thing. However, this doesn’t disregard what I said previously in any way, this game does so many unique things and it does all of them impressively well. This is still Platinum’s best game and I am glad that this fantastic experience is still receiving the high level of praise that it deserves.
2017 was an excellent year for quality game releases and before I played NieR, I remember finding it difficult to choose my favourite game. It is now extremely obvious. NieR: Automata is the best game of 2017, it is a genre bending masterclass in game design and it is one of my favourite games of all time.
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