DeathscytheX

NieR Automata

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NieR was a good looking game and this one looks even better then it. I might have to pick this up when it comes out (I played the demo for the first one and loved it but sadly I couldn't afford it so never actually got to play it).

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I downloaded the demo that came out today and damn, I can't wait for this game to come out. I uploaded a clip of a part of the boss battle. There were a few little boss battles leading up to this and they were pretty epic. The combat is really good and the level design is pretty interesting. It constantly flips from typical 3D open area fighting, to side scroll, to top down. Hopefully this doesn't lead to wonky camera angles in the full game when you transition between parts of areas.

My only gripe is the health system. I don't mind consumables but the way you access them is not very good. You have to hit down on the D-pad and select it with O. But you have to time it kinda right. If you hit down and press O too fast it doesn't activate properly, if you wait to long, the pull down list goes away rather fast. Another issue is there are 3 types of HP consumables small/med/large and you can toggle them. With how fast paced the action is, you don't really have a lot of time to look down and pick the right one if you need it during battle. There are also offensive and defensive buffs that as far as I can tell, can only be accessed from the pause screen... which is even worse because they only last 15 seconds... that's something you want to be able to access on the fly.

Either way, I'm definitely getting this. Its very Steampunk God of War/Contra/Ninja Gaiden. lol I assume you can upgrade your abilities later in the game since there are level ups and seemingly a crafting menu.

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https://www.vg247.com/2017/01/31/nier-automata-will-have-multiple-endings-and-youll-want-to-set-aside-about-25-hours-to-get-the-true-one/

Quote

Nier Automata will have several different endings, and it’ll take some work to see the best one.

“To get to the true ending, the team tells me around 25 hours,” Nier Automata producer Yosuke Saito said in a video Q&A on NeoGAF.

The first Nier had four endings, although you didn’t have to go through four complete playthroughs to see them thanks to a generous new game plus system that plonked you back down part way through the game after things really kicked off.

The first and second endings didn’t have much variation, merely confirming the fate of a couple of characters, although the second playthrough provided a great deal of extra story context which made the trip more than worthwhile even before you got to the epilogue.

The third and fourth endings, however, gave players the choice over another character’s fate, and if a player made a specific decision, would thereafter wipe their progress completely, but prevent them from ever using the same character name in subsequent playthroughs.

It was pretty cool stuff, and we’re naturally interested in seeing what the followup will do to top it – but Saito did note that Nier Automata’s endings “won’t be unlocked in the same way as the previous game” and that we’ll have to figure out how to get them on our own.

Perhaps that means we won’t need to complete multiple playthroughs to see the true ending, which will be a relief; 25 hours may seem like a lengthy time, but Saito said completionist playthroughs of Nier Automata will run 55 to 60 hours.

Nier Automata releases in March for PS4, while a PC version is waiting on a release date. Elsewhere in the Q&A, Saito said high Nier Automata sales could bring about a Nier remaster, and teased the possibility of extra costumes. Platinum Games designer Takahisa Taura said there’ll be more Easter Eggs and also a text adventure section, like in the first Nier.

Nier mastermind Yoko Taro answered some questions, too, but if you’ve followed him anywhere you’ll know in advance they were pretty light on details, though fairly amusing.

 

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I still haven't played this demo. The trailer looks good, but I'm wondering why everyone looks so similar as if they're all clones.

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After debating between HZD and this, I went with this because I felt it was shorter and would be easier to knock out before Mass Effect.

 

The Good

Combat is fluid and rewarding. Dodging is extremely forgiving requiring zero timing to get right, when you see an enemy do their big attack animation, you can start spamming it in the middle of your combo chain. You combo chain will continue and the dodge will happen before you take damage. It may sound lowskill, but screw it, I like it, but sadly I think they did this for another reason I'll go into later. My only gripe about the combo system is that successful dodges sometimes result in a knock up air combo... obviously smaller bosses aren't going to be knocked up, but you continue with the animation attacking air and missing out on DPSing the boss. Other than that, combo chains are easily strung together with light and heavy attacks. Any weapon can be slotted in the heavy and light attack arrangements. This will effect their maximum combo ability in which both are noted in the weapon stats without having to slot and find out.

Weapons are upgradable through materials and currency, both which are dropped from defeated enemies. These upgrades increase power, max combo ability, and may add buffs like faster attack, discount from vendors when equipped, etc. Weapons are purchased through vendors and found in hidden locations. Each that I've acquired have different styles of attack. You have two weapon set ups you can swap on the fly via the UP button on the D-pad.

Since you're an android you can upgrade your abilities with chips. These chips give a variety of things like auto-consuming health when down to a % of HP, reduced damage taken from melee/ranged attacks, HP increase, to even drop rate % of loot from enemies. These chips all cannot be equipped as you get them however. you have a limited amount of space to install software, and each take up a certain amount of space depending on the quality and what they do. Chips can be fused with like chips to increase their abilities... which in turn may make the final product take up more space. You can purchase more slots to equip more/better chips and you also have 3 set ups you can configure and swap too if you so desire.

The big boss fights are wild and engaging. I've fought 3 so far and they were all very different fights, as a whole, the combat never gets stale. As you get better, newer types of enemies show up with different attacks, and different means to take them down. The game's ability to transition from 3D hack and slash, to side scroller, to top down scroller, to twin stick shooter is incredible. It never feels out of place, because the transitions are so smooth and just work with the situation.

The more unique thing about this game is the online connectivity for a single player title. After the intro mission you are given the option to go online. Its completely worth it for you and others that play the game. What this does is allows you to see where other players have died in the game. While you'll never see an active player screwing up your game like Watchdogs, you can use their corpse to loot for random chips and money depending on what they had equipped, or you can repair their remains and it becomes a temporary AI  ally that will fight along side you for as long as it can. What is interesting about this is that it will use what ever weapon the player was using when they died. When you die, you lose a small amount of items and money. I believe this is what gets passed on to another player. You can still retrieve your items back if you go back to your remains. You have a generous amount of time to get back to it, but stray for too long and it will disappear... and if you die before getting back to it, it will disappear. I almost left it once because I wandered into a place that I shouldn't have... but when I realized I dropped my best chip (health regen per kill) I had to go back to get it and run out. What is humorous is that you'll see bodies scattered everywhere around boss fights. XD You can only revive one dead player at a time however, so you can't have an army of android corpses to take down the boss for you. These AI fight really well, but they are severely limited outside of that. You can leave them behind real fast if you do too many complex things... they can't jump up buildings with you, and if you have to glide down on your pod, they'll just clumsily fall to their demise and explode. XD  This system also doesn't seem to be region locked. I've come across players with Kanji names. So hopefully people that get this game late will still have lootable corpses the other players left behind no matter what part of the world you're playing it in.

The voice acting is really good, and the character models are nice... I don't know why they all cover their eyes with cloth though. Maybe its too avoid a Mass Effect situation. Oh, and there is full button map customization. This should be standard on every game this generation... not just NieR and Overwatch. Presets are lazy and need to go away. I was very satisfied as I only wanted to change 2 buttons... other games would make me have to deal with 3 other buttons being in places I didn't want them just to arrange shoot and dodge where I wanted them.

The Bad

I have a feeling this game is more side quests than anything.... damn there are a lot of side quests and they are the only decent way to level up. Combat gives XP, but not much. These side quests have a lot of variety and I don't mind them, but this game is lacking in the fast travel department. The world isn't that big, but running to the zones I need to go to gets a bit meh. I guess they want you to enjoy the white thong booty jiggle as you run naurto style in a short skirt that they spent so much time realistically animating. Getting places isn't that bad, because when you access a new area, you're generally given a short cut on the way back to come and go as you please... but I still would have liked a wp system since there are so many side quests that make you go to another part of the map. (I'd say the map is the size of Destiny's Old Russia with a bit more verticality) Another issue which makes this worse is that even though you can run really fast, rocks and bushes will make you trip up and slow you down to regular run speed making you have to start your speed running back up. I can forgive this on things like bushes and trees... but rocks on the ground in a narrow path is pretty stupid. And this was intentionally done, because there is a really nice animation for it... programmed pebble clipping. -_-;

The saving system is ancient. WTF? Why did they do this? There is no auto save. If you die you don't have to start where the last time you saved was, but if you turn the game off, I assume you do. You can save at terminals... which should have been waypoints... and I think you can save anywhere withing a generous proximity of them by hitting option. The main purpose of the terminal is to download map info and check your emails for lore/mission updates/etc. There are also rest stations where you can save and choose to quit the game, I think this option just refills your HP bar if its not 100%. You can just save and quit normally without having to lay down in a bed. Either way, its an old system, and they let you know at the start of the game that there is no autosave which is more of a head scratcher... because clearly the infrastructure for autosave is there since it caches progress to a point if you die.

Invisible walls are everywhere in this game... places that look explorable like a doorway or something you can jump up onto are often blocked by that old 90's invisible barrier. This is the first Japanese game I've bought in years that wasn't Zelda or MGS. Its the first SquareEnix game I've bought in who knows when... Maybe like 3 console generations? If this wasn't a hack and slash I wouldn't be able to look past it... because the game is a sandbox world style adventure.... with weapons hidden in secret locations you can only find by exploring. It gives it a pretty dated feel. It doesn't ruin it... but better design choices could have been made. Invisible walls would work if they didn't have so many open doorways.

The main map doesn't have a dedicated button, you have to hit option and then select the map tab even though its first, and then go to map... this is off putting since the mini map can only do so much for you in any game. Plus there are to ways to access the main hub where your map is by default... they could have made this a mapping option. As much as you can access on the fly from weapon swap to consumables, the map should have been a no-brainer

The Ugly

Frame rate drops are pretty common on this game. I'm starting to worry that this will become a habit for some developers that make these games for the PS4Pro and don't optimize them well enough for the old PS4. It only happens in the core area where there is water and tall grass, much like Zelda BOTW. The game isn't very colorful by a design choice, so they could have spent some more time optimizing the shaders to fix this. The frame rate issue is why I think they made the dodge so forgiving. This game its somewhat about timing for maxium DPS, as getting hit can fling you far from the enemy and even ragdoll you at times.

Dated programing.... ugh Some of this stuff just makes you go WTF? Pressing option or the touch pad will send you to your main hub where you can view your quests, loadouts, and pod configurations. The quick access options aren't perfect for panic situations, and accessing the main hub is still desirable at times. If you jump and try to press these buttons, it just sends you to a regular pause menu... you have no access to customize anything for no reason whatsoever. So if you're in a tense boss fight and you jumped to avoid an attack... you have to wait until you land to swap something out. This is really irritating, something similar happens when your main AI companion is talking to you, you can't interact with any vendors or turn in quests until he STFU. It will even have a red X on the interact button... I get that they don't want you to miss vital info maybe, but then when you kill something and try to loot a drop, some dialog may start and you skip half of it mashing O trying to pick up the damn loot and then YOU DO miss out on info. I mean really? C'mon, who still designs like this? I've also had a main quest pop at random and until I went and did it, I couldn't turn in any side quests... I literally just arrived at the NPC when it popped and I walked all that way for nothing.... again fast travel. It wasn't a long walk (60 seconds tops), but it was still stupid.

In conclusion for now

It may sound like I'm trashing the game, but honestly I love it so far despite these flaws. I just thought I'd put it here because I know a lot of things like that matter to other people so much it would be a deal breaker. Despite no auto save there is plenty of opportunities to save manually and its very quick. If you want a hack and slash that requires strategy but has forgiving controls, this is worth it so far. I have my next main quest, but I'm too busy running around trying to upgrade my weapons and do side quests... While I may complain about the running around, I found myself saying "I'll just turn in these last few before calling it a night" for about 2 hours. XD The story is intriguing and I already see a few plot twists developing, I just don't know how they are going to play out. I'll post again when I beat it.

Sledgstone and Strider Hiryu like this

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Update: I unlocked fast travel. 😑 I guess I was too caught up doing side quests, the 3rd or so main quests turn all those terminals into WPs. 

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I'm surprised it doesn't have an auto save feature. It's like a throw back to Final Fantasy X where you have to manually save all the time. I thought Square Enix didn't do that anymore. Maybe its something the devs don't have experience with or have access to with their game engine. It looks like PlatinumGames are the same developers of Bayonetta. Maybe the Bayonetta games didn't have auto saves either.

I'm glad there is fast travel. Screw walking everywhere. lol.

So if you turn the online connectivity off will your character still drop their gear when they die? I hate mechanics like that. For me I like playing a single player game because I have the option to pause it or turn it off at any point. Having to walk back to my dead body to pick stuff up before I shut a game off sounds like something that would piss me off quickly.

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Yes, you will still drop gear. It's mostly money and consumable buffs I never use. Most the buffs in this game last 15-30 seconds so I don't bother with them. You won't drop weapons, that would irritate me. 

Since you're an Android, when you die your consciousness gets loaded into a new body, which is why it's a mechanic I guess... Like fast travel is just your conscience being loaded into a new body that pops out of a vending machine. XD

When you pick your lost items back up the game will give you the option to restore any chip you lost back to how it was. Now that I'm decked out with auto heal and heal regen on kills, I don't see myself dying anymore tbh though. As it stands now I get 30% of my HP back every kill and I can regen HP after taking no damage for 3 seconds. I can basically run around using my ranged and regain all my HP. When I was dying, I didn't have any good chips. Now my HP is almost doubled, health packs are auto consumed if I drop below 30% HP on top of all my regen chips. 

Also I'd like to say that the sound track to this game is stunningly beautiful. In an age where we've transitioned to ambient background music, this game brings back that old style, heavy thematic background melodies that are amazing. They also transition and evolve as you move from zone to zone.

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Well thats an interesting concept on fast travel. Have you come across any big FPS drops during boss fights? I always liked consoles because we never had to deal with minimum specs, upgrading graphics cards, etc. But if this becomes a more standard practice I might buy more of my games on PC instead since my PC is actually much better than a console for a change.

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Oddly enough, no there were no frame rate drops during any of the boss fights. I think this has to do with them being contained in an isolated area. The game takes weird artistic directions at times. There are sequences in black and white, and there are a lot of colorless boss fights, as well as colorful ones... I think most the frame issues are just from the open world core area when you turn corners and run into grass and water. Plus I've noticed some texture pop ins at times.

I "beat" this game just a few hours ago. I put that in quotations because apparently there are multiple play throughs with different POVs. After I beat it, I'm now playing from 9S' POV. It will be interesting because the we did get separated a few times, and I already got to see what he was doing at the start of the game which was pretty much the demo. There are many unanswered questions so I assume there will be at least one more play through after this... I'm hoping, which will be completely different from a totally different character's POV.

The first play through took me a little more than 16 hours. I doubt this go will take more than 3-4 as I wont get that load of side quests. I kept all my gear and level from the first go around. 9S' style of fighting is meh... he only has light attack and hacking. You can hack enemies and make them explode. Each hack depends on the size of the enemy. I prefer 2B way more. The best thing about 9S is that he can open chests and doors with hacking that weren't accessible when you were playing as 2B. So now I'm getting more weapons and goods to upgrade my weapons even more.

The centerpiece of this game is its boss fights and main quest sequences. Man they are amazing show pieces. I got some footage saved I'll edit later and upload. Some of the supporting cast in this game is great. The voice work is outstanding, even though the lip syncing is really off at times. You can tell the dub doesn't match up well with the lip expressions at times. The words are just completely different and this isn't cel shade, so it cant be helped. Overall I'm impressed with this game, I just hope it gives me a reason to play as 2B again with fully upgraded and new gear. I'd like to slot some of these newer weapons into the heavy attacks that 9S doesn't have.

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There are endings for ever letter in the alphabet apparently, but a lot of them won't be worth it for me when I looked up how to unlock them. I'll watch them on YouTube sometime. 

I'd buy DLC for this game, which is rare for me to say for a non MP game. I enjoyed the combat, and the various styles of gameplay. 

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I finished the second play through and the ending was similar overall with some minor differences. The overall play through was different enough to be enjoyable. 9S is too OP though and it makes for stale gameplay. His 1 weapon set up is lame and makes his combat so boring it encourages to you to just hack enemies and kill them instantly. 

When 9S hacks there is a progress wheel that had to fill to go into hack mode, this obviously is affected by the strength of the enemy. Once you get in you complete a twin stick shooter puzzle that also is effected in difficulty by enemy strength. If you fail you take damage, but honestly they aren't too hard. So basically you can hack a boss 4 times and kill them. 

The pods are too difficult to upgrade as well. I looked it up and it seemed to be a grind not worth doing. This happens to weapons after level 3, but I haven't been able to get enough mats for my pods to even get 1 upgrade. 

I do plan on getting some more endings, but I'm going to start Mass Effect and come back so I don't get burned out. 

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Well the last PS4 update totally screwed up uploading videos. I keep getting errors and there doesn't seem to be a working solution right now. So here is someone elses gameplay of the same mission I wanted to upload. This is one of my favorites, I just wanted to show off what yo don't get to experience in the demo.

 

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https://www.vg247.com/2017/04/04/platinums-action-rpg-nier-automata-exceeds-one-million-in-shipments-and-digital-sales/

I'm happy to here this, as its well deserved. I was afraid this game would be lost in all the big guns that came out shortly after it like HZD and MEA. I'd definitely like a sequel to this game, rather than another massive time jump from the previous title.

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I'm hoping this will encourage Square Enix to make more single player RPG/action games like NieR and the upcoming FF7 remake. If I didn't have such a backlog of games I would pick this up.

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