Nier: Automata

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Nier: Automata
Nier Automata cover art.jpg
Developer(s) PlatinumGames
Publisher(s) Square Enix
Director(s) Yoko Taro
Producer(s)
  • Eijiro Nishimura
  • Yosuke Saito
Designer(s)
  • Takahisa Taura
  • Isao Negishi
Programmer(s) Ryo Onishi
Artist(s)
Writer(s)
  • Yoko Taro
  • Hana Kikuchi
  • Yoshiho Akabane
Composer(s) Keiichi Okabe
Series Drakengard
Platform(s)
Release PlayStation 4
  • JP: February 23, 2017
  • NA: March 7, 2017
  • PAL: March 10, 2017
Microsoft Windows
  • WW: March 17, 2017
Xbox One
  • WW: June 26, 2018
Genre(s) Action role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player

Nier: Automata[a] is an action role-playing game developed by PlatinumGames and published by Square Enix. The game was released for the PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows in early 2017, with an Xbox One port later in June 2018. Nier: Automata is a sequel to the 2010 video game Nier, a spin-off of the Drakengard series. Set in the midst of a proxy war between machines created by otherworldly invaders and the remnants of humanity, the story follows the battles of a combat android, her companion, and a fugitive prototype. Gameplay combines role-playing elements with action-based combat and mixed genre gameplay similar to that of Nier.

Production began in 2014, with series creator Yoko Taro, producer Yosuke Saito and composers Keiichi Okabe and Keigo Hoashi returning to their respective roles, as well as Square Enix artist Akihiko Yoshida in charge of character design. The story is based around themes similar to Yoko's earlier works, such as people's impulse to kill, while also incorporating issues such as confronting prejudice and escaping difficult situations. The goal was to make a Nier game true to the spirit of the original, while simultaneously crafting a better combat system. As a project entirely new to the developers, the staff at PlatinumGames faced multiple challenges when developing its gameplay and open world environment.

Upon release, Nier: Automata was met with very positive reviews, with critics praising the game's narrative, characterization, thematic depth, music design, combat system, and mixture of different gameplay genres, as well as its usage of the video game medium to tell its story, while criticism was leveled at the game's visual and technical problems. By June 2018, the game had shipped over three million copies worldwide.

Gameplay[edit]

An in-game screenshot of Nier: Automata, showing one of the main characters, 2B, in combat.

Nier: Automata is an action role-playing game in which players take the role of combat androids from the YoRHa units across an open world environment. In addition to standard navigation on foot, using a special item allows the player to summon a wild animal to ride, and in some scenarios pilot a flying mech to fight enemies.[1][2] As with the previous game, during navigation in some environments, the camera shifts from its standard third-person perspective to an overhead or side-scrolling view.[3] Some areas also include platforming elements, requiring the player to navigate by jumping between platforms or over obstacles. The player can complete side quests for non-playable characters found throughout the world. Shops available in hub locations allow the player to purchase items, including consumables which recover health.[2]

Combat is action-based, with the player fighting enemies in real-time in a variety of in-game environments. During battle, the player can use light attacks—which are fast but weak—and heavy attacks—slow and more powerful. The player can evade enemy attacks and, with successfully timed button presses, can gain temporary invulnerability and launch a counterattack that deals heavy damage. The player is also assisted by a Pod, a flying robot assistant that can launch customizable ranged attacks varying from simple gunfire to heavy-hitting hammer attacks. Pods can also shield the player from harm in various ways. The player is able to access four different weapon types in battle: short swords, long swords, bracers, and spears. While attacking, the player can alternate between both weapon types and attacks to create combination attacks. Attacks with different weapon types can also be charged and launched for increased damage.[1][3] Weapon Stories, a recurring element in both Nier and the Drakengard series, where weapons found throughout the world have unique stories attached to them, are also featured.[4]

As the player progresses they gain experience levels which increases health, defense, and attack power.[1] Character progression is handled through 'chips', items installed onto the player characters that modify their attributes; these chips provide benefits ranging from altering the HUD to granting status buffs. The number of chips that can be installed at once are limited by how many slots are available. Chips can either be purchased from shops, or picked up from defeated enemies.[2][5] If the player dies, they will respawn at their previous save point. The player can then find their original body, and either retrieve its items and experience to gain a bonus, or attempt to repair it. Depending on the player's success, the body is either resurrected as a temporary ally, or as an enemy the player can defeat for an extra bonus.[1] With online features enabled, the bodies of other players can also be retrieved or resurrected at the location in which they died.

Synopsis[edit]

Setting and characters[edit]

Nier: Automata shares the post-apocalyptic setting of the original Nier, taking place after the game's fourth ending.[6] While carrying over the Drakengard series' tradition of a dark atmosphere and branching storylines, no direct narrative connection is shared between Nier: Automata and the rest of the series.[7][6][8] Set in the year 11945 AD, the story revolves around a war between the remnants of humanity and the machine army of invaders from another world. The initial invasion forced humanity to flee to the Moon.[9][10] Humanity eventually sends down combat androids dubbed "YoRHa" to fight the invaders in a proxy war. While denied emotions and lacking true names, they have particular attitudes that distinguish them from their fellows.[9][10][11] The YoRHa are commanded from the Bunker, a reconnaissance base in orbit above Earth, and establish a self-sufficient Resistance on Earth to drive back the Machines.[12]

The main protagonist is YoRHa No. 2 Model B (B = Battler), or "2B" for short, a female-model YoRHa android whose main traits are being calm and composed.[9][10][11] She is accompanied by "9S" (YoRHa No. 9 Model S [S = Scanner] ), a reconnaissance android who displays more emotion than other YoRHa units; and observed by "A2" (YoRHa Model A No. 2 [A = Attacker] ), an obsolete prototype android of 2B's line with a taciturn personality who often chooses to act alone.[11] Other characters include the Commander, an android in command of the Bunker; Adam and Eve, twin humanoid machines whose motives are unknown; Pascal, a machine who dislikes conflict and wishes for peace; Devola and Popola, androids who aid the Resistance and are of the same model of similar beings that went berserk during the events of Nier; the various Operator androids who act as overseers for the YoRHa; Anemone, a resistance leader who helps the YoRHa; the Pods that accompany YoRHa units and act as combat support and communicators with the Bunker; and original Nier character Emil, who has lost his memories in the intervening years.[4][5] Other characters from both Nier and Drakengard 3 are mentioned.[12]

Plot[edit]

Nier: Automata opens with 2B and 9S opening the way for a future incursion into machine territory, working to clear out machine threats for the local Resistance. With help from Anemone and later Pascal, 2B and 9S defeat multiple machine threats. During their missions, they witness the birth of and later fight Adam and Eve, physical manifestations of the machine network who reveal that their creators were destroyed centuries ago. 2B and 9S also encounter A2, who is on the run from YoRHa. It is revealed that the machines are beginning to feel emotions and gather in groups, and some like Pascal's group have grown tired of fighting. 9S is eventually captured by Adam, who is killed by 2B. Deprived of his brother, Eve goes mad with grief and drives the machines under his command into a frenzy. 2B and 9S kill Eve, but 9S is infected with the machine's logic virus, forcing 2B to kill him. Despite his body dying, 9S's personality is saved in the local machine network, allowing his transfer into a new body and resulting in Ending A.

The second playthrough follows the opening narrative from the perspective of 9S, offering new insight into the machines and Adam and Eve. 9S also learns that humanity has been extinct since the events of Nier aside from a server on the moon holding humanity's DNA and history. YoRHa and its mission were created to keep the androids from losing morale. He also encounters a glitch when performing a standard server sync, and halts the procedure for both himself and 2B. Defeating Eve once more results in Ending B.

Starting the game for a third time continues the story rather than repeating it. The apparent deaths of Adam and Eve throws the machine network into chaos, prompting YoRHa to launch a full-scale invasion. 2B and 9S form part of the vanguard, but a logic virus attack turns every YoRHa unit aside from 2B and 9S hostile. The two retreat to the Bunker, which is subsequently overrun; the "glitch" 9S encountered was in fact a hole opening in YoRHa's virus defenses, leaving the entire squadron vulnerable. Infected herself, the Commander orders 2B and 9S to the surface before self-destructing the Bunker. 2B and 9S are forced to separate on the descent when attacked by rogue YoRHa, and 2B ends up infected with the logic virus. Saved from rogue YoRHa by A2, 2B uploads her memories into her sword and tasks A2 with completing her mission. 9S sees A2 kill 2B, and ignorant of their interaction angrily swears revenge against A2. Alongside this, a structure called the Tower created by the machines rises above the land.

The story then divides between A2 and 9S, with their respective Pods 042 and 153 interacting with each other. A2 continues 2B's missions against the machines. During her story, Pascal's village is attacked when machines begin going berserk, and when A2 and Pascal fight off a machine attack, the "children" of his village commit suicide in fear of being killed. Pascal begs A2 to either wipe his memory or kill him; A2 can perform either task or leave him. Meanwhile, 9S investigates the Tower and its purpose: he learns that YoRHa androids and machines are constructed from the same materials, and the Tower is preparing to launch something he assumes is a missile directed at the server on the moon. During his quest, 9S is tormented by the loss of YoRHa and 2B, and becomes emotionally and mentally unstable. 9S eventually gains access to the Tower with help from Devola and Popola, who sacrifice themselves to fend off the attacking machines. They are revealed to be the last surviving versions of the android type that triggered the end of humanity, as related in NieR, thus suffering persecution by other androids. They are programmed to feel perpetual guilt and try to atone for their actions. A2 follows 9S inside, where the machines' controlling artificial intelligence confronts them both. A2's backstory as the survivor of a precursor unit to YoRHa that was designed to be destroyed is revealed, and 9S learns that the logic virus attack on YoRHa was part of the plan to perpetuate the ruse of humanity's survival and trap both machines and androids in a repeating cycle of war.

When they meet at the top of the Tower, A2 reveals the truth about 2B; her real designation was "2E" (E standing for Executioner), a YoRHa unit designed to repeatedly kill 9S whenever he discovered the truth about humanity and YoRHa. 2B suffered greatly from her role, and wanted to help 9S through A2. 9S, by now driven insane and infected with the logic virus, challenges A2 to a fight. The player then selects which character to control. Choosing A2 results in Ending C; 9S is defeated and A2 first cures him of the logic virus, then sacrifices herself to destroy the Tower while Pod 042 takes 9S to safety. Choosing 9S results in Ending D; 9S and A2 kill each other, and in 9S's final moments the machine artificial intelligence tells him that the Tower has changed its function due to the machines' evolution and is instead firing an ark containing the essence of machine kind, including the still-living Adam and Eve, to find a new world.

During the credits, Pods 042 and 153 find that the data for 2B, 9S and A2 is still intact. If the player agrees to save the data, this triggers Ending E, the final non-gag ending in which the player must destroy the game's credits with the help of other players who sacrificed their save data to help the current player complete the game. Upon destroying all of the credits, Pods 042 and 153 reconstitute the three androids' memories and experiences and reconstruct their bodies; despite the possibility that the three would simply repeat everything, the Pods hold faith that they will forge a new future. Pods 042 and 153 then directly speak to the player, providing the player the option to delete their save data to help another player in the same way they were helped. If the player elects to do so, all of their save data is deleted; Pods 042 and 153 then bid the player farewell and thank them for playing.

Development[edit]

After the release of Nier, both director Yoko Taro and Square Enix producer Yosuke Saito wanted to create a sequel. When Saito spoke to assistant producer Yuki Yokoyama, Yokoyama was unwilling due to the original game's low sales.[13] After the positive fan reception of the original Nier, however, both Square Enix and the lead staff who worked on the original game were willing to continue the Nier IP, but also wanted to create a better, more action-oriented gameplay experience. As a result, they contacted PlatinumGames, which had developed a reputation for high-quality action games such as Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.[7][14] The collaboration was agreed upon on two conditions: that Yoko become director, and that he be present to help with production. The latter condition necessitated a move by Yoko from Tokyo to Osaka where PlatinumGames was located.[13] Although Taro was initially uneasy about the collaboration, the staff at PlatinumGames had been wanting to work on a Nier game since its release, and their enthusiasm and wish to remain faithful to the original assuaged his doubts.[8] Designer Takahisa Taura also wished to create a sequel to Nier prior to Square Enix approaching the company.[15] The original plan was to make the game for mobile platforms or PlayStation Vita—Yoko claims that they intended for it to be similar to farming simulator Farmville—but it was soon decided to develop the game for PlayStation 4 instead.[6][16] The game was co-produced by Saito and Eijiro Nishimura.[17]

Production for the game began in 2014, including six months of pre-production. It included many of the staff from the original Nier.[6][14][18] During production, the team took both fan and critic feedback on Nier and their later opinions on the game into account. The points they felt needed addressing ranged from character designs to gameplay to graphics. While improving on these points, they also carried over aspects that were well-received, such as the complexity of story and the game's music.[19] The majority of development was handled by PlatinumGames at their offices in Osaka and Tokyo, while outside staff such as Yoko were also brought in.[15] As Nier: Automata was a role-playing action game as opposed to Taura's previous pure action games, the development presented new challenges for him.[8][15] While Taura handled the action combat system, designer Isao Negishi created the RPG elements.[20] According to Negishi and programmer Ryo Onishi, a major difficulty was creating a title faithful to Nier, which required a shift away from the style of their earlier titles.[20] While designing the game's RPG elements, the staff at PlatinumGames were at least partially inspired by The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in the design of their sidequests, which they felt they would never be able to match.[16]

For the combat system, the team took the systems used in Nier and infused elements from other titles by PlatinumGames. Taura's main concept was that the combat system improve on the original and weave into the story.[8][15] An additional consideration was the inclusion of mechanics that would allow both casual and hardcore action gamers to enjoy playing.[21] It was also the studio's first attempt at an open world game: while their previous titles had used a story-driven linear structure, Nier: Automata boasted large environments linked by seamless transitions. A particular element noted by Negishi was the lower concentration of enemies in the world compared to that usually found in their other titles, as the open nature of the game required this. This was part of their efforts to fulfill Yoko's creative vision: by including less enemies, the team gave players the opportunity to "enjoy the still beauty of the game's desolate world". Required inclusions were the shooting elements, compared by staff to bullet hell titles, and combat which switched between top and side camera views.[20][21]

Scenario and art design[edit]

Yoko was the primary writer of the game's scenario.[19] Two subwriters were Haha Kikuchi, who worked on the scenarios of Nier and Drakengard 3,[17][22] and Yoshiho Akabane of external company Highestar.[17] The team defined the game's central theme as "agaku", a Japanese word meaning to struggle out of a bad situation.[23] Another theme Saito pointed out was "love", which he stated was unusual given that all the central cast were robots, which were not normally associated with emotions. According to Saito, a lot of time and effort went into creating the story and character interactions so they would match up to the original Nier.[24] When creating the story, Yoko was hesitant about adding Devola and Popola to the story due to their integral role in the original game, but eventually decided to feature them.[25] According to Yoko, while the scenario of Nier was "wet" in its emotional content, for Nier: Automata he aimed for a "dry" narrative concerning the world's inherent unfairness and the prejudices the characters are forced to confront.[26] A recurring element from Yoko's earlier work was his examination of why people kill, and the impact of killing on others—this stems from his observation of people coming to enjoy killing enemies encountered in games, which suggested to him that something was wrong or missing inside them.[27]

As with the original Nier, multiple endings were created, but the conditions for reaching them were not as stringent as the first game.[24] Yoko's desire for the game's conclusion was to make it "happy", which prompted skepticism from other staff members when reviewing his story.[7] The happy ending from Yoko's perspective was the fifth and final ending (Ending E). According to Yoko, the fifth ending did not come to him for some time as he was focusing on other aspects of the story. He felt that the characters he was developing were naturally leading him towards that ending rather than him designing it for them. The final ending featured a shooting sequence where the player literally fought their way through the closing credits; this was symbolic of the player and characters breaking out of a known system to find the hope of a new future. Yoko said this was representative of the story's focus on the future and systematic elements. The team also included the option for players to delete their save data, a mechanic used in the original Nier. This feature, which allowed players to sacrifice their save data to aid other random players in finishing the bullet hell sequence at the end of closing credits, was implemented midway through development.[28]

Using feedback about the original characters, Akihiko Yoshida was brought on as main character designer. While the team thought he would refuse due to his busy schedule, Yoshida was willing to join the project as a number of staff members at his company CyDesignation were fans of Nier. Yoshida joined a little later than usual in the process, so Taro gave him a general guideline of sleek designs with black as the dominant color.[7][6] As opposed to the original Nier, which was released in two versions with a different version of the main protagonist for western tastes, the team decided to have the game feature the same protagonist in all versions, focusing on creating a high-quality Japanese role-playing game rather than making adjustments for its western release.[8][19] This wish for a uniform international appearance was another reason why the team brought in Yoshida.[20] The Commander, Adam, and Eve were designed by Yuya Nagai.[29] Square Enix artist Toshiyuki Itahana handled the redesigns for Devola and Popola.[30] The enemy concept art was handled by Hisayoshi Kijima, while environmental artwork was done by Kazuma Koda, Yasuyuki Kaji, and Shohei Kameoka: environmental design was a collaborative effort with Yoko, and the team strove to make the environments appear like places players would visit in the real world. One of the challenges faced when creating the character models was making them seem alive despite their mechanical nature.[21][31]

Audio[edit]

Composer Keiichi Okabe, who worked on both Nier and Drakengard 3, returned as lead composer with his studio band Monaca, alongside fellow members Keigo Hoashi, Kuniyuki Takahashi, and Shotaro Seo.[19][32][33] The score was influenced by classical music, while recalling elements used for Nier such as the overall sense of melancholy. A change from the previous score was a shift to portraying a more mechanical and brutal theme and environment than Nier, which had focused on grasslands and villages. Another factor was the open world environment: rather than a single looping track, Okabe created multiple hard and soft tracks that transitioned into each other depending on situation and environment. Balancing of the music was carried out using the digital audio workstation (DAW) Pro Tools.[32] Another prominent return was Emi Evans, who provided vocals for the first game's soundtrack. Additional male vocals were provided by Shotaro Seo.[32][34] In addition, a theme song was created for the game, with versions sung by both Evans and new singer J'Nique Nicole. Nicole and Nami Nakagawa joined with Evans to form a three-part chorus for some of the musical work, including a boss theme featured in the game.[32] Several songs from the Nier soundtrack were arranged for Nier: Automata.[35]

The general sound design was handled by Masato Shindo, who was faced with a challenge new to the PlatinumGames staff: in their previous projects sound echoes had been handled by individual settings created by the team, but that would not work properly in an open world setting due to its scale. Instead, Shindo designed a realistic soundscape using a system to manage echoes in real time, determining how much reverberation to generate based on current surroundings.[31] Sound implementation was handled by Masami Ueda, and it was a greater amount of work than he had experienced on any previous project. One of the factors that helped with the smooth implementation was Ueda's previous encounters and good working relationship with Okabe.[21]

An official soundtrack album was released on March 28, 2017.[33] An additional sixteen-track album subtitled Hacking Tracks, containing musical variations for hacking segments, was bundled with first-print copies of the soundtrack.[36]

Release[edit]

In January 2014, after the release of Drakengard 3, Yoko expressed an interest in making a second spin-off from the Drakengard series, but did not specify whether it would be related to Nier.[37] Taro later confirmed in December of that year that he was working on a new game, but did not reveal any more details.[38] Nier: Automata was first announced at Square Enix's press conference at the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo under the provisional title Nier New Project.[14] Its official title was kept secret at the time as it would have spoiled aspects of the game's plot,[7] and because of concerns that Yoko's desire at the time to title the game Nier: Android would cause legal problems with Google's Android trademark.[39] At the time it was announced, the game was apparently 10% complete.[4] Its official title, along with a gameplay trailer and prospective year of release, were revealed at the 2015 Paris Games Week trade show.[9] Initially planned for release in November 2016, Square Enix delayed release as there were concerns about its commercial performance against other prominent titles: it was decided that a Q4 or Q1 release would give Nier: Automata more of a chance for commercial success. The delay gave the developers additional time to improve the quality and gameplay balance.[40]

The game released in Japan on February 23, 2017.[41] A limited Black Box Collector's Edition was created, featuring the game, a figurine of 2B, a special release of the Nier: Automata live concert, an artbook, a download code for a special item, and a special prequel novella.[42] The novella, which retells the events of Nier from the perspectives of characters Devola and Popola, was written by Jun Eishima, a regular collaborator for supplementary material related to the Drakengard series, in collaboration with Taro.[43] In the West, the PS4 version released in North America on March 7, and in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand on March 10.[44][45] In addition to the standard version, there was a Day One edition which featured reversible cover art featuring artwork by Yoshida, and a version of the Black Box Collector's Edition featuring the Day One edition with added accessory content, the 2B figurine, an artbook, and a 13-track soundtrack including tracks from both Nier and the earlier Drakengard games.[46]

In November 2016, Saito stated that an Xbox One version was up for consideration, and announced that the game would support the enhanced PlayStation 4 Pro model.[47] Saito later confirmed that an Xbox One version would not be developed due to low sales of the console in Japan, in addition to focusing on a single console so as not to compromise the game's quality.[48] However, it was released on the system outside of Japan on June 26 2018, subtitled as Become as Gods Edition.[49]

PC[edit]

The game was announced for a digital release on Microsoft Windows platforms through Steam.[50] A concern for both Square Enix and PlatinumGames with the PC version was potential piracy, which was expected to delay its release. When handling this problem, the teams considered using Denuvo digital rights management.[51] The PC version was released on March 17, 2017.[52] A fan patch fixed two major problems of the PC version, an error in the resolution setting and general performance problems even with beyond requirements hardware.[53]

During the initial launch, the game was region locked to certain parts of the world, mainly from countries located in Asia.[54] The official Japanese Twitter account for the game issued a tweet that it would be available in these countries in April.[55]

Downloadable content[edit]

The game also has had downloadable content (DLC) released for it. Titled 3C3C1D119440927, it was released on May 2, 2017, and features additional costumes and three new battle colosseums, including boss fights with Square Enix and PlatinumGames presidents Yosuke Matsuda and Kenichi Sato.[56]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic(PS4) 88/100[57]
(PC) 84/100[58]
(XONE) 91/100[59]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Destructoid9/10[60]
EGM8.5/10[61]
Famitsu39/40[62]
Game Informer7.75/10[64]
Game Revolution4/5 stars[63]
GameSpot9/10[65]
GamesRadar+4.5/5 stars[66]
IGN8.9/10[67]
PC Gamer (US)79/100[68]
Polygon8/10[69]
VideoGamer.com9/10[70]

Nier: Automata received "generally favorable reviews", according to review aggregator Metacritic.[58][57][71] The story was praised by critics, with Miguel Concepcion of GameSpot calling it "engrossing", favorably noting the unconventional delivery and Yoko Taro's direction.[65] Janine Hawkins of Polygon commented on the flow of the story that despite the use of multiple endings, the game did change aspects of narrative and gameplay even when revisiting parts of the game from a previous playthrough, in what she felt was the game being "highly invested in maintaining player momentum, in giving them every reason to keep moving forward, and that made the pursuit of those "true" endings all the more satisfying for me". Adam Cook of VideoGamer.com favorably remarked on the characters, specifically the relationship between 2B and 9S due to their initial differences and their interactions because of them.[70]

The combat was received favorably, with critics noting its improvement compared to previous games by Yoko Taro, due in part to the involvement of developer Platinum Games. Chris Carter of Destructoid enjoyed the variety of approaches to combat, animation and boss fights, stating that "Platinum's strength is that it knows how to handle just about every form of combat."[60] Similarly Sam Prell of GamesRadar called the combat "smooth and awe-inspiring", while also noting the use of "chips" to alter players' strengths and weakness for different combat situations.[66] James Kozanitis of Game Revolution called the combat creative, highlighting the repeated changes between gameplay styles throughout. However Kozanitis was critical towards what he felt were issues with scaling between harder and normal difficulty options, finding the former too difficult while the latter too easy.[63]

Mollie L Patterson of EGMNow praised the soundtrack by Keiichi Okabe for its variety and enhancing whole sections of the game[61] while Mike Fahey of Kotaku felt that it managed "to perfectly translate Taro's odd combination of drama and whimsy into a stunning series of songs sublimely suited to the events and locations they accompany".[72] Meghan Sullivan of IGN called the soundtrack "stunning", adding to the game's world that Sullivan was similarly favorable towards due to its design and variety.[67] Conversely, while Joe Juba of Game Informer did enjoy the world and character designs, he considered the graphical quality of the environments to be an "unremarkable visual landscape".[64] Similarly Jeffrey Matulef of Eurogamer described the world as being made up of "muddy textures and craggy landscapes". Reviewing PC Gamer, Andy Kelly, while favorable to the overall game itself, was critical of the PC port on release, highlighting locked 30 frames per second, visual issues and complete crashes of the game.[68]

In Japan, Famitsu gave the game extensive praise, with multiple reviewers noting the story's melancholy tone. It praised the environments as "desolate but beautiful", and gave general praise to the audio and gameplay, in particular the dodge mechanic and pod functions. One reviewer felt that the customization functions were "cumbersome", while another noted overly long load times.[62] The game also won The Game Awards 2017 category for best soundtrack.[73]

Sales[edit]

The game sold 198,542 copies during its first week of release in Japan, topping the charts and significantly exceeding the sales of the original Nier game in 2010.[74][75] In April 2017, the game was reported to have sold over 500,000 copies in Japan and Asia, including both physical shipments and digital downloads.[76][77] On a global scale it's been reported that over 1,500,000 copies of the game have been shipped worldwide as of the end of May 2017, including both retail shipments and digital sales on PlayStation 4 and PC.[78] By September 2017, the game had shipped over two million copies across both platforms.[79] By March 2018, the game had shipped over 2.5 million copies worldwide.[80] By June 2018, the game had shipped over three million copies worldwide.[81] Nier: Automata's commercial performance exceeded Square Enix's expectations, causing the company to comment that the title had shown "significant potential for future franchise development".[82]

Accolades[edit]

Nier: Automata was nominated for "Best Storytelling" and "PlayStation Game of the Year" at the 35th Annual Golden Joystick Awards,[83][84] while at The Game Awards 2017, the game won the award for "Best Score/Music" and was nominated for "Best Narrative" and "Best Role-Playing Game".[73] At IGN's Best of 2017 Awards, the game received nominations for "Game of the Year",[85] "Best PlayStation 4 Game",[86] "Best RPG",[87] "Best Story",[88] and "Best Original Music" (the latter for which it became a runner-up).[89] The game also won the award for "Best PS4 Game" at Destructoid's Game of the Year Awards 2017.[90] It won the "Best Shopkeeper" award for the character Emil and the "Best Music", "Best Moment or Sequence" (Route E), and "Best Story" awards, in addition to runner-up for the "Best New Character" award for the character Pascal and "Game of the Year" at Giant Bomb's Game of the Year 2017 Awards.[91][92][93][94][95] PC Gamer awarded the game "Best Action Game", whereas its other nominations were for "Best Story", "Best Mod" for FAR: Fix Automata Resolution, "Breakout Game of the Year", and "Game of the Year".[96][97] The game came 1st in a top 10 countdown of Best Games of 2017 by Wired Magazine.[98] Polygon ranked the game 4th on their Game of the Year countdown and in their list of the 50 best games of 2017,[99][100] GamesRadar+ ranked it 15th in their list of the 25 best games of 2017,[101] GameSpot ranked it 10th,[102] and Eurogamer ranked the game 36th on their list of the "Top 50 Games of 2017",[103] while EGMNow ranked it tenth on their list of the 25 Best Games of 2017.[104] The Verge named it one of their 15 Best Games of 2017.[105] GamesRadar ranked the game 9th in their list of "30 best PS4 games".[106]

The game won the award for "Best Sidekick" (9S) and "Best Soundtrack" in Game Informer's 2017 RPG of the Year Awards, while in their Reader's Choice Best of 2017 Awards, it came in third place for both "Best Sony Game" and "Best Role-Playing Game".[107][108][109] The game was nominated for the Big Apple Award for Best Game of the Year and the Herman Melville Award for Best Writing at the New York Game Awards 2018.[110] It was also nominated for "Best Audio", "Best Design", and "Game of the Year" while winning the "Audience Award" at the 18th annual Game Developers Choice Awards;[111][112] and won the "Role-Playing Game of the Year" award at the 21st Annual D.I.C.E. Awards.[113][114] In addition, it won the awards for "Excellence in Musical Score" and "Excellence in Technical Achievement" at the 2018 SXSW Gaming Awards, whereas its other nominations were for "Excellence in Visual Achievement", "Excellence in Art", "Excellence in Design", and "Video Game of the Year".[115][116] At the 17th Annual National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards, the game was nominated for "Character Design"; "Game Design, Franchise"; "Game of the Year"; and "Writing in a Drama",[117] and won in "Camera Direction in a Game Engine" and "Original Dramatic Score, Franchise".[118] It was also nominated for "Game Design" and "Game Innovation" at the 14th British Academy Games Awards.[119][120]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Known as ニーア オートマタ (Nīa Ōtomata) in Japan and stylized as NieR:Automata

References[edit]

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External links[edit]