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NieR:Automata is set in a dystopian future where there is a raging war with the machines and combat androids to protect humanity. In the demo, we play as 2B, a female combat android sent in to investigate a facility along with the assistance of 9S, a male combat android with a flying combat craft in the role called scanners. Their mission is to confirm whether they received the correct information about the detection of a gigantic machine and its plot.
NieR:Automata is no joke. Rarely do games throw you so deep into fights and bosses, let alone in-depth demos, but this one does. We walk right into a combat with drones and with just a little warm up, we are faced with a mini-boss who crashes in, literally. We call it a mini-boss not because it is small but because it is a shorter battle. From the world design to the clever use of machines, Nier: Automata does a lot right. The first step to a game being immersive is an intriguing world. Check. An empty world full of machines that are alive and vicious and a suspicious plot in the background kicks this one off perfectly. To build the environment event more, the orchestral music in the background blends well with the empty and suspenseful, and many times, combatting moments.
Second, the character we play as is engaging. Not only does the character design capture the mechanical aspect by having her blindfolded, she is incredibly competent and nimble. While their speech is robotic, they look incredibly human. Through their conversation, we learn about their mannerisms and the world they live in. Third, our enemies and battles are versatile. One of the biggest criticisms we’ve had in many games that are combat-heavy is their repetitive battle systems. Nier:Automata not only has various machines with different capabilities to fight against but the battles fluctuate depending on the area from top down perspective to a normal perspective, keeping its players on their toes. While it may be confusing, it is also refreshing to have the chance to see a bigger area. Last, a compelling storyline. The demo doesn’t dive too deep into the story but focuses mostly on the combat and other action RPG aspects. However, it does give us an idea of the attachment we may have with our characters. They are robots and also prohibited to have emotions and yet they also appear incredibly realistic and believable as a sophisticated AI.
Overall, NieR: Automata demo has impressed us quite a bit. Although we have not previously been exposed to the Drakengard series or know about the NieR universe, this is a beautiful first step with not only intriguing characters that we care about already but a plot that is engaging along with refreshing gameplay. The demo is about thirty to forty minutes to playthrough and well worth the experience. We’re definitely looking forward to playing the full game.
Nier:Automata is due for release first on February 23, 2017 in Japan followed by a North American release on March 7, 2017 and European release on March 10, 2017 on Playstation 4 and Steam.