NieR: Automata for PlayStation 4

NieR: Automata for PlayStation 4
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Key Information
Square Enix
Release Date
10 May 2017
For Ages
18+ PEGI
  • English
  • Where To Buy
    Price History
    Price History for NieR: Automata (PlayStation 4)
    Our Thoughts

    The unwise would do well to be wary when first setting their eyes on NieR: Automata's cover art, because to a degree, it is misleading. Oh, make no mistake; the game DOES feature Gothic Lolita Androids knocking seven shades of something nasty out of a great deal of mechanoids, and there is a smattering of camp here and there to be sure. To the un-initiated, however, make note: this is a Yoko Taro game. And Yoko Taro is a very, very strange man.

    If the name is unfamiliar to you, Yoko Taro is the brainchild behind games like Drakengard and the original NieR, both of which flew under the radar slightly (the original Drakengard in particular), in large part due to their inaccessibility. Not gameplay wise- they, much like NieR: Automata, were 3D hack-and-slash action titles that reinterpreted the Beat 'em Ups of Yore in a slightly more modernised context. The inaccessibility came from things like the narrative, the characters, the themes and symbolism, the world building and the visual and audial presentation- as previously said, Yoko Taro is a very, very strange man, and the games he makes are really, really weird. Sometimes flat out uncomfortable and uncompromising in the things they present to the player, and in the past, that tended to relegate his works to Cult Classic status, such as was the case with the original NieR and Drakengard 3 (the original Drakengard, on the other hand, is contentious even amongst its actual "fan base"). And make no mistake, such elements are present here; the games themes are at times bleak and bare faced, dealing with grim topics and coming to often grim outlooks, and the way in which the story is conveyed gets borderline avant garde at times.

    It is somewhat surprising, then, that NieR: Automata is probably the biggest hit of any project the man's been involved with. It's practically a mainstream success, really.

    There are good reasons for this, mind, you, hence it being only "somewhat" surprising; the game was developed by Platinum Games primarily, a company well known for making tightly designed, ultra stylish, incredibly fun action romps that blend crazy visuals with buttery smooth gameplay that's easy to pick up but hard to master, and those are equally present here.  If anything, something that held prior Yoko Taro projects back (in addition to their aesthetics) was the fact that the gameplay was often not as tight as it could be- this was the biggest complaint even fans had with the original NieR, and the utterly dire gameplay of the original Drakengard is one of many reasons even fans of Yoko Taro don't exactly look back on it favourably. This greatly tightened gameplay, created by a company known for their devilishly good games, is probably acting as a good entry point for the general strangeness of the game itself; people are more willing to get engrossed in the downbeat world Yoko Taro brainstormed with his team now that the game is, by and large, actually fun to play.

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