To be or not 2B.
The post-apocalyptic world of Nier: Automata thrives on its mysteries. Its ruined Earth setting is a playground of mayhem where fashionable androids lay waste to less complex looking robots. Its premise of a never-ending war is primarily straightforward. But if you know any thing about the game’s director, Yoko Taro, you then know to anticipate the unexpected. Which includes everything from a unique soundtrack steeped in vocals to a battle-hardened heroine who walks with the swagger of a supermodel. Automata also gives a well-executed and refined combat system, the amount of which alone makes Automata really worth the cost of admission.

You primarily see Automata from the perspective of a lady android named 2B who’s part of YoRHa, several artificial soldiers tasked with wiping the planet earth of its hostile robots and their alien creators. This conflict is even more poignant because of humanity’s displacement to the moon, an exodus that occurred more than 100 years ago. Joining 2B on almost all of her missions is 9S, a male android who lacks 2B’s dual weapon-wielding prowess but compensates with invaluable hacking skills. They start as strangers, but through the obstacles they overcome, an evident closeness starts to create. This is thanks partly to Automata’s sensational anime-as-hell archetypes and story beats.

Given that Earth is completely overrun with homicidal machines, making Earth hospitable appears just like a tall order. But this challenge is softened by the manageable size of Automata’s open world, which is the same as a tiny city. It entices exploration without feeling intimidating, and it’s really hard to get lost once you have tell you the same paths a couple times. A lot of the backtracking is due to the game’s numerable side quests, where you help your fellow androids on simple errands and kill missions. While almost all of these tasks aren’t especially memorable, they do add character to world. Furthermore, monotony is minimized by the capability of fast travel and swift steeds like moose and boars.

The brightside to be a robot exterminator in Automata is that your canvas of destruction may be the product of Platinum Games. Their penchant for feverishly fast and elegant combat is on full display with visuals that echo even the most outrageous attacks from Bayonetta. Combat evolves beyond mindlessly mashing on quick and strong attacks because of all of the bladed weapon styles. Combining any two types produces uniquely flashy animations and, moreover, damaging results. You can trigger other stunning maneuvers by attacking after pulling off a slick dodge cartwheel or by holding down either of both attack buttons. 9S’ own skill with a sword makes him a considerable AI-controlled contributor, and his capability to match 2B make the battles look positively frenzied. Given the demanding yet rewarding high-dexterity combat and the acrobatic skills of 2B, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to state that Automata may be the closest thing there is to a spiritual successor to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, also produced by Platinum.

You’re likely to use tools and techniques beyond both main attack inputs for those who have any hope of victory in ever encounter. Your pod companion–which echoes Grimoire Weiss, the floating book from the first Nier–provides you with various varieties of support. Not merely does the pod supply you with a sustained ranged attack, it’s another outlet for personalizing your method of combat. You can swap in a wide selection of passive performance boosting chips, offering you with stat buffs and helpful automated commands. Counting on your pod to automatically use among your health items whenever your HP drops below a specific point makes healing one less thing to worry about. Your pod lets you give attention to other survival concerns, like kicking ass and looking good along the way.

Given the demanding yet rewarding high-dexterity combat and the acrobatic skills of 2B, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to state that Automata may be the closest thing there is to a spiritual successor to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, also produced by Platinum.

If you ever go out of healing items and get murdered by enemy robot, however, you’ll lose your experience points if you cannot return to the idea of your last death. That is similar to the design of difficulty popularized by Dark Souls with yet another risk of loss: together with the suspense of potentially losing experience you’ve earned as your last save, also you can lose all your pod’s installed chips, apart from the required operating system chip.

While Automata resoundingly offers that specific flavor of stylish combat within Platinum’s best works, it never overshadows Taro’s distinct directorial handiwork and penchant for unconventional game and narrative design. It’s the sort of production that seamlessly blends story, hack-and-slash combat, and–believe it or not–an engaging bullet-hell shooter component. You do not question the infantile behaviors of several of the enemy robots because they’re so darn endearing. And you do not get a conclusion for 2B’s cosplay-ready gothic lolita outfits, how she manages to go smoothly through a desert in heels, or why a few of her comrades behave like self-involved teenagers. You merely go with it as a result of Automata’s captivating world and involving battles.

Gallery

Taro’s unorthodox method of game design is most beneficial exemplified by Automata’s multiple endings and the varying examples of substance in those conclusions. He’s not above novelty or gag endings, although real rewards will be the five major endings and the many journeys to each one. You do not get the entire picture until you reach those five endings. As you travel down these various paths, you are not only introduced to new events, but also given new perspectives to occasions you’ve already experienced. Your forward progress isn’t propelled by the mere compulsion to accomplish 100% completion; you’re simply pulled by curiosity to find out about what happened to Earth and humanity.

Because of Platinum Games’ knack for riveting and gratifying combat, Automata is Yoko Taro’s most exciting game to date. The combat mechanics click after hurdling a minimal learning curve, and the outcome is a skillful dance where balletic dodges complement wushu-inspired aggression. Moreover, this multi-ending trip is generously peppered with surprises and revelations, along with easter eggs that call back again to the first game and the Drakengard series that Nier spun off. It’s a meaty, often exhilarating trek that showcases Platinum Games’ and Yoko Taro’s unique mixture of genius.