356: NieR: Automata

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JaySevenZero
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356: NieR: Automata

Post by JaySevenZero » January 13th, 2019, 2:01 pm

Here's where you can contribute your memories and opinions of NieR: Automata for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

Friendly reminder to all that where feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but self-editing (brevity) is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mainly reading. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

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PocketCircuitFighter
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Re: 356: NieR: Automata

Post by PocketCircuitFighter » January 19th, 2019, 4:51 am

It's hard to sell a game to someone and say, "You have to play it multiple times to really get it". My co-worker did just that and I beat Nier Automata...once. And then I started route B and played for a few hours and then stopped. I found it too similar to the first playthrough, found the new content lacking. Then four months passed and I came down with the flu. In my sad sick state with too much free time, I decided to pick up from playthrough B again to see what my disappointed co-worker had been nagging me about.
And wow am I happy I did that. What an amazing game Nier:Automata is. It's drenched in this existentialist dread that, while at times tacky, ties in so well with the story telling. The music is astounding. It's aburd, it's funny, it's sad, it's human, and it's robotic. It made me emotional and it made me think about different perspectives. 2B and 9s. Those first few interactions felt so meaningless yet they mean so much to me now. It made me make difficult descions (poor old Pascal), Having all those names appear on screen and not knowing what it really meant only to give you the option to return the favor...it brought me to tears.
Now I'm the one going around work telling any of my co-workers who solicit video game advice to play Nier:Automata. And I tell them "You have to play it multiple times to really get it". And if they stop playing on the following playthroughs I'll keep telling them they should really at least get through the second playthrough. The cycle continues.

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Jobobonobo
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Re: 356: NieR: Automata

Post by Jobobonobo » January 20th, 2019, 9:06 pm

Over the last few years, there have been many games that I have loved to bits but NieR Automata has accomplished something that all those other games regardless of their high quality have failed to do in well over a decade: after finishing the game I went and replayed it straight again. They were different choices I missed, side quests I completely ignored. I wanted to see everything this bleak but beautiful world offered to me. For a modern game, its world is surprisingly small but each corner is filled with new surprises, the world changes as the story does and the stories of the inhabitants reveal that both androids and machines are complex, feeling beings with their own fears and desires. This world felt truly alive.

There are people who are able to discuss Automata’s story far more eloquently than I could but what I will say about it is that this game communicated a feeling that games have, in my recollection, never elicited in me: depression. Route C is legitimately emotionally draining in a way that really took me by surprise. The way that things just got worse and worse until the very end was something that really made me question if things were going to ever turn for the better. There was this genuine uncertainty that crept in as I kept playing and it only made me want to keep going. I had to know how this ends! And the true ending itself is one of the most bittersweet and powerful I have yet to encounter in gaming. Instead of being straightforward “good has triumphed over evil”, it sombrely says “There is a chance we can get out of this destructive and meaningless cycle, the odds are slim but a better future is possible”.

Especially worthy of praise is the soundtrack. Its dynamic use of adding and removing instruments or vocals as you travel its environments gives rise to a lovely mix of an ever evolving sound with some truly memorable underlying melodies. Just humming a few notes from NieR Automata and I could tell you when and where it took place in the game. Alongside others such as Undertale, it is one of the few modern games where from just one listen I knew this would be as fondly remembered as the soundtracks of Final Fantasy or Zelda games.

NieR Automata is an absolute triumph in terms of gameplay, world building, story and music. With Platinum, behind the helm, the combat is an absolute delight, your characters move with sublime agility and the mix of genres from hack n slash to Asteroids-like hacking games is melded together quite deftly. It has easily entered into my top ten list of favourite games of all time and it epitomises the incredible narrative potential games as a medium are capable of. Whatever will come out of Yoko Taro’s head next, I cannot wait.

Three word review: Machines are adorable.

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Re: 356: NieR: Automata

Post by Nyx-Fontana » January 22nd, 2019, 1:35 am

When I first played through Nier Automata last year it left me feeling very conflicted. At first the game wasn't even on my radar until friends of mine brought it to my attention, proudly saying that it was one of the best games they'd played this generation. I was unconvinced, but as I began to research the game on my own and look at player accounts and experiences being expressed in other forums I found that for the most part the people who had given the game a chance had ended up falling in love with Automata in some way. Some people even went so far as to say that the game changed their lives, as well as how they saw video games as a medium. Needless to say I gradually became more and more interested in the game and decided to play it myself.

Right off the bat i have to say that the soundtrack for the game is downright amazing, and only gets better as the game progresses. It's beautiful, captivating, and haunting in a way that will make some of the songs linger in your mind well after the game ends.

However, when it came to the gameplay of Automata it was very functional but lacked a certain amount of depth. Seeing as the game was developed by Platinum Games, who also provided us with Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, i was expecting the combat to have a wide assortment of combos to perform and weapons to use. There are quite a few weapons to choose from, however the combos that you are able to perform are very basic. Maybe i just didnt experiment enough with the different chips and skills, but i felt no desire to dig deep into the mechanics, i just used what seemed to be working and went on with my quest. Despite my disappointment with the combat, i did like how Automata changed the type of gameplay throughout each of the different routes of the game. From 9s' hacking mini games to the Touhou style of the flying mech battles, it was a nice change of pace from just straight up combat. Though none of these gameplay elements were in depth, they did a great job of implementing story mechanics through the gameplay itself.

Where the game kind of lost me was in its story. Routes A and B were a real struggle for me to get through, not necessarily because the story being told was bad per say, but rather it felt 'just ok'. I went into it knowing that in order to get the full story i would have to play through all of the routes, but by the time i finished Route B i was bored out of my mind and did not care about any of the characters outside of 9s and Pascal. The same feeling plagued me during the side quests of the game as well, which had you traversing the beautiful, yet empty world for longer stretches than i would have liked. I ended up selling the game shortly after, and did not return to it until i saw that it was on sale during a PS Plus Holiday special.

Route C was the turning point for me in the sense that it made me want to see the game through to the end. There is a certain scene in this route involving 9s and a bridge that just hit me like a fist in the stomach, i cannot stress enough how well the voice acting and directing was done for that scene. It is at this point where the game i feel begins to reveal its true colors, and it had me wondering where all of this would lead in the end. By the time i reached the credits of Route E i was glad that i had stuck through the game to the end, but i still couldnt help be feel like something was missing. I did not feel the wow moment that others did once they completed the game, but rather a 'Well that was interesting.' before going on to other stuff. I think there is a message that the game or rather its creator, Yoko Taro, is trying to say but at the time that message went completely over my head.

In retrospect i think Nier Automata is a game that anyone who is interested in philosophy or deep abstract concepts should at least try and experience for themselves to see if it clicks with them. The idea of whether or not a 'God' exists, or if anything we do in this life even matters are some of the more interesting themes that the game gives acute commentary on among other interesting existential topics. For anyone that plans on playing Nier Automata I would recommend playing it in bit sized pieces, as though the music is great and the story and gameplay are functional it can get very repetitive if you play it for long stretches of time. Allow yourself to savor the game like a fine wine, giving yourself time to think about what the game is trying to say to you, the player. Though the game didnt resonate as much for me as it did with other people, it may just turn out to be a very special game for you.

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