Have you ever finished a story or a series that you were really into? And when that final page is flipped or the last credit scrolls off the screen, you find yourself sitting in a daze, somewhat unsure of what to do with your life? As you slowly come to terms with the fact that it’s over, you reflect upon the whole experience, and what you took away from it. Following that, you are either at peace with the world, or you are constantly gushing about whatever it is you finished.
When I got through NieR: Automata’s last main route, I experienced that moment of daze. I also am somewhat, but not completely ashamed to say, that I leaned more towards the latter of the aforementioned after-paths. For a month after completing the game, it was all I would recommend to those around me. Even now, it is still my go-to when someone asks for a recommended game.
If you have read anything about NieR: Automata, you’ll find the general consensus is that it’s a pretty great game. Despite that however, I have met more gamers who haven’t played it than I’ve met who have. This isn’t particularly unusual though, given the times. The current gaming market is saturated with so many games that people often have to select only a few from an array of great games, either due to costs, time limits, or any other number of reasons.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great time to be a gamer. However, it does come with its own issues. It can be quite easy for a great game to go underappreciated or to quickly fade into obscurity. Often times, we will choose a game or two out of some recently released ones, but rarely go back to the one’s we didn’t choose. After all, by the time we finish the ones we selected, we’re caught up in the next batch of new releases.
I’m not saying that NieR: Automata has gone unnoticed. In fact, the game has done very well, especially considering the record of its predecessor. Nevertheless, I feel the need to bring it up in hopes that anyone who overlooked it or decided not to play it will at least give it a second thought.
I’ll be forward with you; NieR: Automata is now my favorite game, and the first game in my recollection that I actually wanted to replay. While the separate elements of the game, from gameplay right down to the language-drifted soundtrack, are each outstanding in their own right, it’s the way all of them are brought together that really makes the game shine. I can’t imagine wanting to do without any of the elements of NieR: Automata. Even the side quests, which have more than a few dubious errands, still contribute to the world through small, interesting stories.
Even if you doubt that you will play the game, I still encourage you to give the soundtrack a listen if you’re a fan of music. Of course, asking you to check out over three hours of music might be a bit much. So here are a few of my recommended favorites:
Voice of No Return (A calming and/or sad song, depending on your mood.)
Wretched Weaponry - Dynamic (Pretty epic and pretty beautiful.)
The Weight of the World (One of the few songs with understandable lyric versions. There are Japanese, English, and French-ish [one NieR's crafted languages] versions. Take your pick, they’re all beautiful renditions.)
I could go on about all the pros and cons (and go on even more about the music), but those have all been re-hashed across many reviews. My goal here is not to convince you to play NieR: Automata - though if you believe you are susceptible, I highly recommend Skill Up’s review on youtube; he does a thorough and eloquent job of presenting the game. Instead, I am simply asking you to give NieR: Automata a chance.
It may be strange to say this, but I would be despondent to see NieR: Automata fade out as “just another okay game”. It is a refreshing and rich experience that changed my perspective on just how much games are capable of accomplishing. Video games are a medium that combine play, art, music, and story into something new. Often times, those elements can work together, conflict, or simply not interact at all. The elements that make up NieR: Automata however, are synergized further than any game I’ve played, resulting in what every game should ultimately aim to be: an experience that is greater than the sum of its part.
Also, two quick notes to anyone who wants to play it: Avoid the PC version unless an update fixes its issues, and please don’t stop after ending A or B, cause it really picks up after that.
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