There’s no way around it – if you played the original NieR, you either hold it in high regard or have no need to play it again because you find it mediocre.
While some gamers applauded its mature storytelling, incredible music and mix of different playstyles, another crowd of gamers complained about its disappointing visuals and weak combat. NieR has gained a cult following since its launch, which led Square Enix to do the unthinkable – craft an actual sequel! But this time, they’ve selected PlatinumGames to make sure NieR: Automata’s combat is a “cut” above its predecessor’s melee stylings. Along with a more action-packed battle system, this sequel will include the same awesome soundtrack and deep plot fans have come to expect from the series.
In order to get you prepared for the PS4/PC release of NieR: Automata, read up on its most important facts within this preview guide.
1. NieR: Automata Takes Place Within the NieR/Drakengard Universe
NieR: Automata has ties to the original NieR, which in itself happens to be a spin-off from the Drakengard series. It’s not clear how many years this sequel is set after the original game, but what is known is that this game follows the 4th ending of NieR. NieR: Automata retains the dark storyline and mature themes that were a part of its past predecessors. The video posted above does a pretty good job of explaining the ties between all three games and the overarching story that’s still being told.
2. The Story Follows the Exploits of a Fighting Android Codenamed “2B”
The plotline for this sequel places it within a post-apocalyptic world. The last remnants of humanity are embroiled within a constant struggle against an army of machines from another world. Earth has been overtaken by these vicious robots and caused humans to make the Moon their new home. The humans decide to send down a group of androids known as “YoRHa” in order to combat their mechanical foes. The YorHa take their commands from a massive base that stays close to Earth by constantly orbiting above it – “The Bunker.”
You’ll take command of a female android known as YoRHa No. 2 Model B (2B, for short). She’s described as a calm combatant who’s always ready to complete her missions with maximum efficiency. 2B fights alongside a more emotionally driven android named YoRHa No. 9 Model S (9S). Both 2B and 9S are constantly observed by YoRHa Model A No. 2 (A2), a prototype android who often chooses to go solo. Along the way, you’ll encounter other types of robotic personalities and characters from the original NieR. You may even hear a few quotes about a few of Drakengard 3’s characters…
3. The Game’s Combat System Has Been Crafted by PlatinumGames
Anyone’s who spent time with any of PlatinumGames’ action titles knows just how tight their combat systems are. Games such as Bayonetta, Transformers: Devastation and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance all feature protagonists who can wield a number of powerful melee weapons and tap into some sort of countering/slow motion mechanic when several enemies are onscreen. PlatinumGames and one of its main game designers (Takahisa Taura) are taking what they’ve learned from their past projects to craft the battle system for NieR: Automata.
Players will take control of 2B, who’s capable of dishing out light/heavy attacks with short/long swords, spears and bracers. 2B is also assisted by an airborne Pod robot, who uses ranged attacks from a 3rd-person viewpoint or when the game switches to a top-down one. There’s some light RPG elements at play here too, such as the ability to upgrade 2B with assorted “Chips.” In a move reminiscent of Dark Souls, players can choose to rediscover their deceased body after death. You can either recover your fallen body’s leftover items/EXP or choose to repair it. Succeed at reviving it and it will become a temporary ally; fail and it will come back to life as a foe you must defeat to gain an extra bonus.
For those of you who think they may have some difficulty with the game’s fast-moving combat, the developers have implemented an Auto Mode. Within this mode, 2B can utilize a collection of “Auto Chips” (Auto Attack, Auto Shoot, Auto Evade, Auto Program and Auto Weapon Switch) that makes the combat section even more of a breeze to play through. You can all those abilities in action in the trailer posted above. It’s best if you check out the game’s PS4 demo and see if your skills are up to par for NieR: Automata.
4. The Day One Edition Comes With Several In-Game Bonus Items
Pre-ordering NieR: Automata will automatically upgrade your version of the game into the “Day One Edition.” Along with reversible cover art for the game’s physical packaging, you’ll also be gifted with a helpful collection of in-game bonuses. The items you’ll receive includes the Machine Mask Accessory, Grimoire Weiss Pod, Play System Pod Skin, Retro Grey Pod Skin, Retro Red Skin and Cardboard Pod Skin.
Two of the cooler bonus weapons 2B can utilize during battle have been lifted from two other Square Enix games. The Engine Blade from Final Fantasy XV, plus the Cypress Stick from Dragon Quest are both included. What’s really shocking about these additional weapons is that they aren’t pre-order bonuses. They just need to be discovered and armed by 2B. You can see her mastery of both weapons in the trailer posted above.
5. The Game’s Collector’s Edition Has Been Dubbed as the “Black Box Edition”
Square Enix went all out for the Collector’s Edition of Nier: Automata. The “Black Box Edition” not only comes with the same digital goodies included with the Day One Edition, it also features a number of noteworthy physical gifts:
– Nier: Automata Game for PS4
– YoRHa 2B Figurine: a meticulously recreated and highly detailed figurine of the main protagonist
– Hardback Artbook: 64 pages showcasing stunning artwork and illustrations from the game
– Steelbook Case
– Original Soundtrack featuring 13 live recorded songs from NIER and NieR: Automata
– Collector’s Box