Just as a preface, I utterly SUCK at controller based fighting games (I’m a KB/Mouse person). I played the game mainly for the open world exploration/story parts and also shipping the hell out of 2B and 9S (⋈◍＞◡＜◍)💕 So take what you will from this on how this review (aka mostly my rambles) is basically going to go 😂. Warning there will be heavy spoilers so proceed at your own risk if you have never played before.
It took me a really long time to finally sit down and play it because the intro of the game just THROWS you into battle, and if you suck at that crap like I do, you will run around in circles trying to figure out where to go not realizing you are actually supposed to BREAK your way free and climb a bunch of pipes. Personally I preferred the battle tutorial in FF15 and the intro to Nier was so jarring that it put me off of the game for basically a year until I finally decided to suck it up and actually get through the prologue. 😂😂😂
Once I got to the Bunker things finally became interesting because I could finally do stuff like save, explore my in game menu/items and actually converse with my commander as well as 9S. Once we got down to earth again I could finally do all the stuff I enjoy doing in the game:
Anyway I quickly realized this was my 2B x 9S otome game and I finally dropped everything else like a ton of bricks and kept playing through the story.
That said I think some of the localization wasn’t as good with some of these cuter scenes as I would have liked it to be, but yolo I can understand Japanese so don’t care 😂! Anyways moving on, for a while I was button mashing manually on EZ MODE but I still sucked so it was still really hard for me and I was still popping potions all the way up to where I had to fight the singing robot in the amusement park.
Eventually I discovered something called AUTO CHIPS. Because I was button mashing I kept turning them on and off not realizing this is literally “ez mode for people who don’t actually give a crap about combat and just want to see the story cut scenes”. 😂😂😂 Needless to say the game became even better for me after that because I could finally stop panicking and shitting bricks every time there was a boss fight and just let my pod and 2B blast and slice everything in my path (including poor animals who died until I realized about the Animal Bait and Satchel 😂).
I also then learned about plugin chips and made one specifically for taking screenshots with (which is sadly better if you play on PC version but I was on the PS4).
So then the yanhomo twins show up voiced by Namikawa Daisuke and Suzuki Tatsuhisa and despite them I guess being some kind of fanservice for the ladies the 2 of them just annoyed the hell out of me lmao. I mean the entire scene of some dude birthing another dude out of his stomach was creepy enough and it only hit me later on that that weird man baby robot we ran away from was actually now these 2 standing in front of me. 😂
Things really picked up when I got to the copied city where 9S was captured by Adam and 2B beat the living crap outta him m9(^Д^)ﾌﾟｷﾞｬｰ
My favorite scene after was 2B carrying her bae away to safety 💕(*´ω｀)
And so after some more story progression that I just couldn’t put down I reached my first ending, A.
Once you completed ending A you would then restart the game and play as 9S all over again. Fortunately you keep all your pods, skills, money and now you get the bonus of hacking into the robots. So despite it being the “same game” there was definitely difference as well as hidden cut scenes thrown in here and there to show and explain things that happened in the past.
The second run of the game truly made me realize how much fine detail they put into crafting this story and all the rando robots we mercilessly killed actually had reasons for doing what they do and I honestly kinda felt sorry for them. 😭
Once you completed ending B though the game actually CONTINUED from where endings A and B left off. Therefore, ending A and B are only half of the game. The truth and everything else in Nier:Automata actually lies in ending C, D and E.
I warned for spoilers at the start of my review so here they are. It’s revealed that Project YorHa was simply an experiment to try to give androids on earth motivation to “protect the humans” which had been extinct for many years. Referencing the previous game Nier Replicant, there was a Project Gestalt which was supposed to revive the human race. The human race began going extinct because of some black plague (Black Scrawl) so in order to save it they created Project Gestalt which would transfer human souls into newly created “replica bodies”. This didn’t work out cause the replicant bodies ended up growing their own minds and couldn’t co-exist with their previous souls. Then the first model androids Devola and Popola ended up wiping humanity – something that the ones in Nier Automata make a reference to. In Nier Automata, a bunch of aliens attacked Earth and created a robot army to protect them but then the robots got too smart and killed their creators leaving only a bunch of stupid robots on earth programmed to only “Defeat the enemy”. So anyway with no humans androids began to become demotivated cause even if they kill the robots there’s no purpose right. So Project YorHa was formed by the androids where they created a moon base (The Bunker) and claimed that it was inhabited by the last remaining humans so that androids had a reason to keep fighting. However it was all a lie and an experiment in which once the experiment finished, they would basically destroy all the YorHa androids and the bunker along with it by having a pre-programmed executable backdoor virus from the start.
And so everyone’s viruses start going off and attacking 2B and 9S, and infecting all the robots around them as well. 9S had noticed something was off so he started to cut off connection to the bunker for him and 2B. Unfortunately while he was successful in cutting off most of himself, 2B ended up getting the virus from all the YorHa androids she had to fight off. Not wanting 9S to die again, she crawled (and this part of the game was so painful in more ways than 1) to the forest where A2, a previous android Yorha Prototype, kills her upon request. 9S of course sees all of this, gets the completely wrong idea, and his brain short circuits him into yandere shota mode and he spends the rest of the game wanting to destroy all in his path including the whole robot network and A2.
With 2B gone, the game starts to flip you between either controlling 9S or A2 – both of your goals are the same. To hack into the information tower and to stop the supercomputer network that’s in charge of all the robots.
Eventually we get inside the tower where there’s a library of the past, one that looks very similar to the one from Nier Replicant.
Inside are more info on both Project Gestalt as well as the true secret of YorHa and how it was all an experiment and both 2B and 9S as well as other androids were just throw away lab rats.
Once you’re done fighting both robots and YorHa clones both with A2 and 9S eventually the 2 of them come up face to face and depending on who you choose to fight as, you will get either ending C or D and the 2nd time around where you can fortunately just chapter select right into the final choice, you will get ending E.
At the beginning when A2 showed up I honestly didn’t like her, she seemed so full of herself. However after playing as her, and seeing her change especially with the Pascal village part (😭😭😭😭😭) she really redeemed herself and sadly by then I had reached the end of the game. Ending E feels like a troll ending forcing you to “hack destroy” the credits which is basically impossible to do unless you get “friends from around the network” to help.
Once you defeat the credits you basically see the 2 pods discussing that now everything’s over, the androids are freed from the burden, the robot network system is dead (due to A2 tricking it into destroying itself) and the pods work on rebuilding 2B and 9S so the 2 of them can live happily ever after. Once I finished ends A-E I decided that you know what, I think I want to get that Platinum trophy after all. So I began doing the side quests and the one that I believe is the most famous one is Emil’s Memories which is a prerequisite for Gathering Keepsakes.
In Emil’s memories you look for lunar tears scattered across the open world and when Emil finds them he regains memories of his former creator and life during Nier Replicant. He gives you a key to his hideout which is filled with Lunar Tears that he was growing all this time. Once you are 9S en route to end C, you then bring 2B’s sword here as a final “burial” symbol of your memories together.
And the best part is in the intel if you’re still confused af, there’s a rage note by Jackass (yes an NPC named Jackass) who rage explains the whole game to you 😂
Only thing left for me at this point is just some trophies and fortunately in this game you can actually just BUY all the annoying trophies you don’t wanna bother getting (like the get all endings one or upgrade all weapons to max level one.)
So overall, despite a rocky start for me, I ended up really getting addicted and finishing up the game. There’s various challenge modes for combat if you’re into harder difficulty fighting, but if you just want to enjoy the story like I did and not care for the combat portion, is completely do-able thanks to easy mode and auto-chips so be sure to enable those if you need to! Lovely graphics, great story and extremely good music it’s no wonder this was one of the top tier games in 2017. If you still haven’t played definitely give this one a try, there’s even a free demo on the PSN store if you need further convincing. 👍