I played a lot of video games this year; the most I have ever done in my entire life. I decided to keep up with new releases, and played whatever I could get my hands on if I was interested in it.
Earlier this year, there was one title I decided to skip out on due to income reasons. I finally got around to playing it, and I can confirm that it is my personal game of the year. That game is “NieR: Automata.”
“NieR: Automata” is an action RPG made in collaboration with infamous director Yoko Taro, known for the “Drakenguard” series, and developer PlatinumGames, who have made such titles as “Bayonetta,” “Metal Gear Rising” and “Vanquish.” This collaboration worked like a charm, because what was created resulted in both Taro’s highest quality game, and PlatinumGames’ best title in a very long time.
To start off with, the story of the game is unique in the ways that Yoko Taro writes. Fans of his previous works like Drakenguard and the original Nier will feel right at home with “Automata.” However, newcomers alike can enjoy the game as their first title in Taro’s insane world.
While in this post-apocalyptic world, you play as androids in a war against machines for humanity’s freedom. The game itself ask the question of “What does it mean to be human?”
The characters in the story face many challenges presented by the ever-changing world around them. The voice actors breathe life into the characters and gave fantastic performances for every character.
It’s a game that really stuck with me and made me very emotional at times. That’s how I feel about other games from Taro, but I also recommend “Automata” to newcomers not only for its story, but for the gameplay.
While previous games from Yoko Taro had deep and compelling stories, the gameplay in these titles can either be passable or a complete dumpster fire running at five frames per second. “NieR: Automata” is none of these and has the fun action gameplay PlatinumGames is known for with slight RPG elements.
The combat feels fast and fluid and there are a lot of ways to customize how the game works. Not only do you get items and weapons, but also chips you equip that boost your stats, grant special moves or add HUD enhancements.
Exploring the world of “Automata” involves a lot of investigating, but it is easy to navigate. Each area is distinct, and it is always clear where you need to go for your next objective and lets you proceed at your own pace.
While exploring the world, the game immerses the player in the beautiful and mysterious music of the game.
Each track is distinct and memorable in its own way. While you have the depressing yet vivid areas of the city ruins, in between a vicious battle with androids versus machines, or just visiting a familiar campsite from an old friend, the soundtrack delivers on making those moments impactful and memorable.
During most of these tracks, vocalist Emi Evans sings in different languages that are chaotic in nature but are familiar to the ears. It’s unique and gives the tracks the extra push that allow them to be confusing but have an emotional connection with the player. It’s so strange to describe that I recommend listening to them yourself, or play the game to hear the music in context.
Overall, I highly recommend “NieR: Automata.” It was my favorite game of 2017 and well worth the time I put into it. Yoko Taro has expertly crafted a product the mainstream crowd can enjoy for a multitude of reasons, and I hope this leads to future distinct titles from this famed director.
One more thing to add for people looking to pick up the game is to fully experience the game, play it until you get ending E. The second half of the game was the most memorable for myself, and you will see why.