It’s a light post since I’m in the middle of prepping for finals, but I finished NieR: Automata and I have a lot to say about it. But we also have fabulous new gif material in the form of Mass Effect Andromeda.
What was Played
This section will mainly consist of my thoughts on Automata, but the quick non-spoilery version of this is: fantastic game, incredible story, great characters, open world travel can get tedious, and there’s one major plot point that didn’t hit as hard as it could have. If you’re looking to play Automata I would suggest doing one playthrough, getting the five main endings, focusing on the main quests first and then go back and do as many sidequests as you want.
Hardcore Spoilers for NieR: Automata below
I focused solely on getting the five main endings in NieR: Automata this week and reading up on the other endings and content I missed both in-game and supplemental material. Before I point out my two grievances I want to say to that I do like this game and think it is fantastic, and this is not a full review. Its style, art, music, plot, and characters are all far above the average for any medium. But after finishing the game I found myself with more questions and a slight “that’s it?” feeling. This can be attributed to the fanbase hyping the game, specifically its bleak story, and Yoko Taro deciding to spread the intro material for this game across several mediums.
Automata is less of a direct sequel to NieR and more of a follow up to a stage play written by Taro called “YoRHa” that was performed by a Japanese idol group. If this game had just been called Automata in the same manner that NieR wasn’t promoted as a direct Drakengard sequel the sprinkling of NieR references would be more rewarding instead of frustratingly tantalizing. But that frustration is a testament to the writing of both NieR and Automata, as the frustrations with the story don’t arise from sloppy writing or plot holes, but a strong attachment to the characters and world. Towards the end it is revealed that 2B was actually assigned to 9S to eliminate him every time he came too close to discovering the truth of the world’s situation. 2B and A2 both reference 9S death at 2B’s hands as having taken place multiple times and it appears that Automata is doing some Zero Escape type “looping timelines with variations” shenanigans, but 2B and 9S had just been assigned to each other multiple times for three or so years. The plot point of 2B and 9S technically knowing each other for multiple years and 2B having to kill 9S several times without him remembering was not explicitly stated, and would’ve had much more punch if that had been spelled out more clearly. I don concede that I may have missed a file that explained this, but I would also say that a plot point like that shouldn’t be that easily missable. That’s not to say Automata flubs every attempt at subtle emotion building, Operator 21O might be the best character in this game, but the fact that you’re left scratching your head at the main emotional knife twist undercuts the impact of several key moments. That said, Automata does hit almost all of its other key moments. 2B, 9S, A2, and the supporting cast are all great with a couple of exceptions, like the Commander who doesn’t get any development or any real story relevance.
Spoilers end here
The only other major flaw in this game is its open world. No matter how many times you hear it as you dash across the landscape the soundtrack remains flawless, but pre-fast travel sprinting across the world to do side quests feels like a boring chore no matter how fun the combat is or how great the writing is. Once the fast travel system is usable that nitpick is mitigated but the side quests do slow down the pacing of the game somewhat, and getting pulled away from the main story doesn’t feel good. And neither does the sand sliding.
Those two gripes aside, Automata excels in every department and holds its own in the crazy video game spring of 2017, this game and Persona 5 will definitely be fighting each other in several departments when GOTY discussions roll around.
I also took real quick looks at Hyper Light Drifter, Oxenfree, and The Banner Saga. Hyper Light Drifter is a Zelda meets Dark Souls action RPG, Oxenfree is another “teens and supernatural forces” narrative focused game, and The Banner Saga is Oregon Trail with grid-based SRPG combat. All are great so far but I’ll probably play through Oxenfree first since I’m still reminiscing about Night in the Woods. I got all three of these games through the PSN 2 for 1 sale, where if you get two games from their list, you can choose any game that’s the same price or lower. In my case I got Banner Saga 2 and Oxenfree from the list, and that allowed me to get Hyper Light Drifter for free, which was not on the list.
Mass Effect Andromeda Might Not be Great
You can’t always judge a game, especially a narrative heavy one, by the quality of its graphics (see The Walking Dead Season 1), but Andromeda looks rough.
There may be patches down the road, and there hasn’t been anything truly game breaking, but this level of roughness after five years of development and Dragon Age Inquisition makes this “quality” questionable. There’s been rumors of rumors about Andromeda having a troubled development, but those have yet to be confirmed by anything or anyone. Early impressions of the characters and story range from “meh” to “pretty good”, but Andromeda is a massive game so that could go either way in its 60+ hours.
GIF Sources: thanks GAF
“Hanzo main” is now Officially an Insult
I like my insults as fresh as possible, farm to table. And the farm of all insults is children.
Persona 5 Update
Persona 5 still isn’t available in North America. BUT! if you get the standard version of the game you get a controller skin!
Also, there are reports of Amazon cancelling Take Your Heart Premium Edition pre-orders. Atlus has said that the problem is on Amazon’s end and to contact Amazon if your pre-order has been cancelled.
VA-11 HALL-A Update
VA-11 HALL-A still isn’t out on the Vita.
What’s on the Plate
I’m going to focus on Oxenfree and a Hard difficulty playthrough of Automata while I wait for gaming’s next great
comedy open world RPG in Andromeda.