Perusing my backlog of games, both digital and physical, it can be difficult to choose what to play next. But there’s something about a brand new game in your possession that makes you itchy to play it. A peek at what your journey with this game will look like, so to speak. The one to have the honor of being my game of the moment is NieR: Automata.
Considered to be a sequel to 2010’s NieR, NieR: Automata has been a critically lauded game originally released exclusively for the PlayStation 4 last year. During the time Automata came out I mostly stayed away from reading too much about the game. It’s not that I ever expected to have a chance to play it and I wanted to avoid spoilers. It’s quite the opposite actually. I never really thought I would get to play it, therefore, I believed there wasn’t any reason for me to read up on the game. Owning a PlayStation 4 is still not on my must-have lists, which means I would be missing out on plenty of the best exclusives for that console. Imagine my surprise and delight when it was announced a few months ago that NieR: Automata would be ported over to Xbox One. When it finally became available to play on the Xbox One as a digital-only download this past summer, my sights were set on owning this game and to find out what everyone has been talking about.
Entering the game with very little knowledge about the story and its world, I’ve been slowly uncovering all of it little by little. When the game starts there’s no easing you into it at all. You’re suddenly flung into the action as combat android 2B without preamble. Being in the middle of battle against aggressive machines, big and small, it’s an interesting way to get the player acclimated to the play style and situations you’ll encounter in the rest of the game as 2B. The beginning moments of the game is one big adrenaline rush without really having a ton of time to figure out 2B’s controls and attacks. You sort of have to learn everything on the fly with some pop-up instructions on how to do certain things with her. Despite not being able to practice 2B’s moves and skills, I was able to figure out her fight style and how to use her little support robot POD. From what I’m seeing so far, I love every minute of her combat moves and how she flits from enemy to enemy with balletic grace.
Battles can get intense and encountering gigantic machines make you wonder how are you going to take them down with just your weapons and POD? Luckily, another character known as 9S comes to your aid to help you in the fight against the machines. The way the intro into the game closes, it certainly wasn’t what I expected but it does indicate that this game will probably have plenty more moments like that one.
At the time of this writing, I’m only about an hour or two into the game. I’ve been taking my time exploring and interacting with anything and anyone I could. I haven’t played NieR, but that doesn’t appear to be a requirement, as Automata can be enjoyed without any prior knowledge of the events from the previous game. The gist of the backstory behind 2B and her companion 9S is that they’re combat robots created and programmed to serve the resistance of surviving humans against an invading army of machines in a post-apocalyptic setting. Earth seems to have been abandoned and crawling with these dangerous enemy machines. 2B and 9S are sent on missions to scout the area for intel and eliminate any more hostile threats. Just a few hours into the game and I already feel there’s something far more ominous lurking beneath the surface of 2B and 9S’s purpose. The unsettled feeling I get has pushed me towards continuing with the game to learn where the story is going and how it ends.
Speaking of endings, NieR: Automata has a total of 26 possible endings and will require multiple playthroughs of the game. I have refrained from reading what any of those endings are, but I did inadvertently discover one of those endings. While going through the shop to see if there’s anything I could sell, I noticed there was a chip in 2B’s inventory that was worth a lot of money and could be sold. Without really reading the description of it, I sold it off without much of a thought only to discover to my utter horror that the screen went black and mechanical sounds were heard in the background until it launched me back to the main screen of the game’s menu—as if I had completed Automata. Yes, dear readers, I have accidentally killed my 2B in the first run with the game. It’s sort of a joke ending in a way, which awards your curiosity while also acknowledging your stupidity at the same time. There’s no game over screen, like most other games would flash when you do something stupid. The game just ends and kind of says, “Thanks for playing the game but you were really dumb and cruel to sell off a vital chip that gives your 2B life.” Lesson learned and very well I might add.
Automata appears to be full of surprises and I’m excited to see what else I can find as I play the game. Have you played NieR: Automata? Did you love or hate the game? Let me know in the comments!