SPOILERS BEWARE FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T BEATEN THE GAME
For a game that has been out for nearly six months, you’re probably wondering why I’m writing this review now. The answer was that I was simply still playing Final Fantasy XV at the time. When I stopped playing, the hype for Nier had died down and I realized there wasn’t really any use in boarding an empty train. Around that time, Persona 5 had just came out, so I started playing that instead. Now several months later, I’ve beaten Persona 5 twice and stopped playing it for a while, I needed another game to quench my thirst, so Nier Automata finally took its place on my taste buds.
My first impression of the game was that it was hard. I didn’t want to make it too easy for myself, so I played the game on Normal. However even the very first mission was giving me a hard time especially with the boss. Auto-saving doesn’t exist in the game, and you had to find save terminals during free roam to be able to do just that. Even at Easy, the some of the enemies can still give you a hard time, especially with the ones blasting those purple energy orbs at you. The only way you can literally get by safely is using the Auto-Chip function, which the game will play for you and have a cool auto-evade technique that even I still haven’t figured out how to do manually. (At this point you don’t even need to touch the controller anymore).
The story has two real endings, but the “true” ending can only be seen if you play both endings and probably fits canonically in both. While you play, you’ll find that you “finished” the game after 2B and 9S defeat Eve. At first I thought it was weird because the story was so short. (I had spent two whole days playing it). Turns out you finished Ending A, and you’ll ending up playing Ending B next, which is basically A except you play in 9S’s perspective instead and some of the levels are different. Ending B really gives into the lore of Nier Automata a lot, and reveals some stuff that you couldn’t learn in A, like the secret behind the so-thought humans on the moon.
Ending C/D is where it really gets your heart. They both start out the same. YorHa gets infected, the Commander and the majority of the androids die along with the bunker, leaving 2B, 9S, and A2 the last ones left. Your final playthrough as 2B is by far the hardest yet my most favorite mission of the entire game. I’m guessing though its because it acts as 2B’s farewell mission, thus the game developers make it hard on purpose. At that moment, you can see the look on 9S’s face when he witnesses A2 kill 2B. What a heartbreaking moment…. From that moment on, the game constantly switches from A2 to 9S without notice and the transitions are fairly smooth.
Once you complete the main story, 9S and A2 will duel each other, and you’ll have the chance to choose who to side with. Choose A2 for Ending C, or 9S for Ending D. I choose A2 because I felt that 9S needed closure, like he went evil after being consumed in suffering and despair for so long. So I beat 9S, and was prepared to play the game all over again until I unlock “chapter select”. Yeah, I can go straight to the duel and choose 9S this time. Great, so I beat A2. Now what? Now, you must play through some bullet hell for the “true” ending, which was hard and annoying. Basically you play as a hacker arrow and shoot the closing credits. Sounds easy if you have Auto-Chips right? Nope, because you can’t do Auto-Chips for this one. At best you can ask for help online, but I eventually just gave up and watched the true ending online.
The game’s story is strong, but the ending can be left a little subjective. The gameplay is amazing, yet a bit hard if you don’t have support. The characters are well developed and the ending plot twist serves as a nice conclusion to this Square Enix masterpiece.