2B, or not 2B? that is the question.
Well the answer lies in wether you can live with some of the problems that arise with NieR Automata. Now it isn’t to say I do not like NieR as I have enjoyed playing it up to now but it’s sad to say my experience with NieR hasn’t been the best.
As an Android known as 2B it is your duty to fight back against machines that have invaded the world. The game starts you out in the deep end; you are flying through the air blasting away at airships R-Type style in a flying mech type suit which can also transform into a more humanoid stance mixing up the style of flight battle. After short period of time you are back on solid ground no longer fighting in a mech suit but as your Android self against a small army of robots. Combat is action based using a mix of standard attacks which are quick but weak and a more powerful attack which is slow but leaves you open to enemy attacks. Dodging is key and works very well especially early on as it will serve you well especially early on in the game.
First time loading up the game an on-screen message appears telling you that the game does not have an auto-save feature and you must play the game to find out how to save. At first I thought this was clever and a way of telling the mass who have got way too comfortable with auto-saves that you must save manually and punish those who don’t pay attention. This soon became apparent to me why this was not a good idea especially in NieR Automata.
During the prologue you find yourself on a mission; getting used to the various types of gameplay; the camera will pan from third person to a side scrolling shooting frenzy where you will be fending off hundreds of robots; probably taking a few hits here and there. The switch from third person to overhead and to vertical works really well; you will be required to jump certain obstacles and it never slows down gameplay and feels sleek.
After fighting my way through most of the Prologue I got to the first boss who destroyed me in a couple of hits; I guess I got too comfortable that I was auto-using my medical supplies every time my health got low yet who can blame me? The game does a good job of explaining how to perform all other actions but not how to use items. Sure you can use them from the menu like most other games but this takes time especially if you are taking a beating often which you will early on unless you are well accustomed to this style of game. After my defeat I was taken back to the title screen and I had to start again; my data file was there and I could continue but it took me back to the beginning. As a bit of an explorer it took me 45 minutes to get to the first boss but second time round I concentrated on just making it through the prologue as there are no save points and hordes of enemies; more than what you will find during some of your travels later on in the game. After the prologue I was able to take a breather and the game allowed me to prepare for my next venture. I was able to talk to NPCs, do some shopping and go to the menu to customise my character.
Customisation of 2B is done through chips; makes sense seeing she is a computer. Chips can give many benefits such as increasing maximum HP to allowing certain HUD elements being shown all the time such as experience you gain. 2B gains experience during progression from fighting enemies; you will gain more health, attack and defense. The game has a feature that if 2B dies you will respawn at the last save point where the player then has the chance to return to where they last died and either repair or retrieve their body. Retrieving the body will grant a small bonus of items and experience while the repair will revive the body as a temporary ally. An unsuccessful repair will see you fight off your former self in which you will gain a bonus.
The game has a very melanchholy feel to it throughout and this is due to the visualisation and music. The semi-open world in which NieR takes place is beautiful yet sombre; the destruction is apparent while lush vegetation has slowly taken over giant empty buildings, along with this you are able to explore the vast majority of the land and the music is very fitting of this. The game is very beautiful and doesn’t go overboard in very colourful graphics however I would of liked the menu to look a lot less monochrome so it never feels dull when having to access it.
During my way back to a camp after one of the missions early on I had noticed two of the buildings glitching out while all the other buildings were fine as I tried passing between these buildings the game gave me a message that read loading map; it had the loading symbol on screen but after waiting half an hour nothing had changed and I was forced to close the game; luckily I had just saved as I had not saved an hour prior to this.
Had this actually happened it may have been enough for me to turn it off and come back another time.