Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Final Thoughts on Nier: Automata

I beat Nier: Automata last week and I'm still exhilarated by the ending. What they did at the very end was nothing short of brilliant. A beautiful use of video game mechanics and conventions.

Overall, Nier: Automata was an excellent game. It played well and had an interesting story line. Combat was fun and fluid. The sequence before the final fight was beautiful. I liked a lot of the mechanics like skill chips and the auto-use chips. The game did quite well at reinforcing the idea that the main character was an android through game mechanics.

I strongly recommend Nier: Automata to everyone. One thing to note is that game says it has multiple endings, unlocked through multiple playthroughs. That isn't quite right, and it is a little confusing at first, but it's hard to explain without significant spoilers. Just keep playing, and you'll know when you've reached the true end.

Some thoughts on the "true end' are below the break. Lots of spoilers.

I loved, loved the sequence they pulled off during the very end credits. Presenting you with a hopeless fight, having other players encourage and then help you, and then offering you a chance to help others at the cost of your saved games was brilliant.

So much of modern gaming is aimed at keeping you playing. Have you done all the side-quests? Have you got all the achievements? Have you collected all the things you can collect? Have you reached the maximum possible level? Have you played through all the DLC?

Nier: Automata was willing to say that it's okay to stop. That you've done enough. And they reinforce that by actually convincing you to delete all your saves! All to fuel a mechanic that game tells you will get no recognition, no feedback.

That was outstanding, and fit perfectly with the story they were trying to tell.


  1. I have been waiting since November to read the rest of this post, and I'm so glad I waited! I just finished Nier: Automata last night.

    Strangely enough, I missed the offer to delete my saved games in service to others because the lead-in question simply asked if I wanted to leave any helpful words. Normally I would have answered yes to a question like that, but I just didn't feel like keying in letters with a gamepad from my couch. How funny and almost apropos that I rejected communication with others, the very thing that the pods had just identified as helping them to evolve beyond their original programming, in an attempt to avoid a small bit of hassle. I almost felt bad afterward, especially considering how quickly Pod 042 confirmed my choice and unceremoniously returned me to the title screen.

    In any case, I was really moved by the endings. The D ending that results from choosing 9S definitely feels like a punishment or warning to the player for choosing to support such vindictive behavior. The intensity of his physical and emotional pain was beyond anything I expected to see or hear. It was incredibly difficult to experience. The voice actor really deserves some recognition for that performance.

    I need some time to reflect, but I am surprised at how much this game and its characters have grown on me. It has been difficult to wind down after finishing. I cannot say that I have had an RPG experience quite like that in recent memory.

    1. Heh, this comment was pretty unexpected.

      Glad to see you enjoyed the game. The endings were really good.