Now that I have finished both Nier games, I decided to go back and re-analyze the references and homage the FFXIV raid has to all the games. There may be spoilers for Nier games so click at your own risk! Disclaimer: These are mostly my own personal theories so there may be different approaches of how others may have seen this raid.
The Copied Factory
Boss 1: Serial Jointed Command Model – Probably roughly based off Auguste in the end of Automata the raid begins with this guy, the usual red orb spam and with Song of the Ancients playing in the background.
Boss 2: Hobbes – Again similar to all the little robots in Automata, he places 3 teams on each of their own arenas. These arenas are actually somewhat similar to the round arenas from the factory in Nier Replicant!
Boss 3: Engels – The iconic Automata boss, Engels is the 3rd boss of the Copied Factory. To this day his arm swipes still kill a many newbs. Bipolar Nightmare is the song that plays during this battle. One of the things Drakengard/Replicant fans might notice is it appears to be “snowing” near Engels general area, but it’s not snow – it salt – the remains of those struck with the White Chlorination Syndrome.
Boss 4: 9S Operated Walking Fortress – Here we are basically fighting 9S unknowingly aiding the enemy at the time of the raid release. 9S is riding a tank but sometimes he undocks to fly around and shoot some lasers. The song here is an original mashup of Weight of the World. And that concludes the first of the 3 raids.
The Puppet’s Bunker
Boss 1: 813P-operated Aegis Unit – The Bunker bosses are generally “evil” Yorha unit androids found at the Bunker at Automata so you basically have a lot of “P” model enemies riding various machines throughout the raid for the first 3 bosses. The only real iconic thing are the “locations” of all the boss fights. Boss 1 is located “outside” of the bunker which basically looks like the bunker crashed into the desert in Automata.
Boss 2: 724P-operated Superior Flight Units – Because they are just a pilot in a flying robot split by 3 teams the entire thing just feels like a weirdly long trash fight. That said, it takes place in another iconic area, the room where 2B & 9S would go to strap into their flying robo suits in Automata while up at the Bunker. We also get a chance to slide through the entire bunker itself and even stop by 2B’s room!
Boss 3: 905P-operated Heavy Artillery Unit – Again nothing special here other than “bad guy androids” but the location here is key. It takes place in the main center of the bunker where commander gets the virus and we end up fighting/attacking her. There’s even a video of operators on screen before the battle begins. The iconic song that plays in this boss fight is End of the Unknown.
Boss 4: The compound + Compound 2P – This boss is great but also bad at the same time. For those new to Nier probably are horrified seeing a bunch of puppets blob together to make a giant 2P but for those familiar with Nier, this is exactly how Adam formed when we first battled him in the desert. The biggest disappointment from the Nier side, is they chose to do a remix of a random FFXIV song, rather than using what would be the most appropriate song imo: Birth of a Wish. And that concludes the Puppet’s Bunker – overall mostly meh bosses, but definitely a huge homage to the scenery you find in the Yorha bunker. The nice part is you can visit both this and copied factory alone outside of the raid for screenshots and the like, including stopping by 2B’s room which is closed until the raid ends.
The Tower at Paradigm’s Breach
Boss 1: Knave of Hearts – The tower raid is interesting because it combines both Nier Automata and then kinda takes a detour into Nier Replicant and even Drakengard! Knave of Hearts is the iconic boss of Nier Replicant, the one you fight right before Nier goes into his 5 year time skip as it attacks his village. The BGM that plays is Emil (Despair) but sounds very much like Emil (Karma) from the latest Replicant OST. The entire raid takes place inside the tower so it’s interesting that you’re in this Automata area but the bosses are straight out of Replicant.
Boss 2: Hansel & Gretel – Again, another iconic boss from Nier Replicant. These two have almost identical attacks from the Replicant game in which one cannot be attacked when he has a shield on, and you only attack the one that doesn’t have a shield on. Of course XIV can’t make them unattackable, so it’s still attackable from the front for the tanks tanking it. You also need to keep them apart in FFXIV otherwise they join forces and become double the annoying lol. Being a Replicant boss again, they chose to play Song of the Ancients for these guys, one of the more iconic songs for Replicant.
Boss 3: Red Girl – This time we are back to bosses from Automata, the infamous Red Girl from the tower – aka the supercomputer that controls the network all the machines are hooked up to. Very similar with how her giant self sort of sits outside the arena and they even managed to capture her evil grin! Excellent!! One of the other great iconic parts is the hacking. At one point during the battle with Red Girl you end up turning into the hacking thing that 9S usually does and shooting down an orb to get out.
Trash Mob: While generally I don’t care about trash mobs in these raids – they actually put one of the Automata bosses Ko-Shi and Ro-Shi but they renamed them to Xun-Zi and Meng-Zi 😂
Boss 4: False Idol & Her Inflorescence – Ohh boy here is where we get into the Drakengard of things, and not having played the game, the best I can say is from all the references I’ve seen and read about to understand the setting of Nier Replicant. In FFXIV we basically have 2P and Red Girl combined into a giant being falling out of another dimension from the sky into a “modern day Tokyo circa 2003”. The reference is the god falling from the sky on Tokyo which causes the white chlorination syndrome to spread (aka salt everywhere) which was already hinted at when we got to Engels in the copied factory. But they’re kinda mish mashing everything into here including flowers which is from Drakengard 3. And hell while we’re on the topic of flowers, and Kaine from Replicant lovers those Lunar Tears, let’s throw Kaine bgm into the background while we’re at it. 😂 So overall it’s a big mish mash of Nier and Drakengard but overall it was a fun fight and a fun raid and hell you even get to killed by a flying Square Enix building if you want – probably some reference to the Automata DLC where you fight the SE boss or something. The Kaine bgm has also been remixed to include sound effects that happen while you fight that Drakengard god that falls out of the sky. The only thing I really don’t understand is what the deal is with the False Idol – perhaps a reference to the fact that Drakengard bosses were music games? One of the attacks she does shows “waves” that look similar to the ones produced when you hit a note in Drakengard.
So overall great raids with homages to various Nier (and Drakengard) games with bonus outfits and minions related to the raids as well as iconic songs for the orchestrion in game. You can get 2B’s full costume + hairstyle, 9S hairstyle, 2B & 9S minions and the iconic costumes for Devola & Popola as well as Jackass. The rest are just homage style outfits that look “similar” to what someone at Yorha would wear. So if you’re a Nier fan definitely make sure to add this raid series to your must-play list and if you haven’t started FFXIV yet, remember there’s that free trial up to level 60 😂😂.