Nier: Automata (2017) is a role-playing game, that span off from the Drakengard series. It's set in an alternate future where there is a war between alien machines and human androids. But this isn't a game about winning the war. It's more focused on the plight of a combat android, her companion, and a fugitive prototype.
It's a hard game. You explore the world on foot, encountering characters and combat as you go. The battles are fought in real-time using a range of attacks. As well as this there are platforming elements as well as more pure shooting sections. As you progress you gain experience and level up health, defence, and attack power. Alongside the main story are side quests and shops in which you can purchase items to help you on your way.
The story branches depending on your choices and how well you do in combat. There are 27 different endings in total so players often complete the game multiple times to experience these. However, it is possible to get all of the endings without starting over.
Running through both this story and the interactive elements are unusual themes drawn from the plight of these robots in the midst of the war. This takes it to the heights of the history of philosophy, challenges human exceptionalism and even touches on the meaning of life.
This is kept from feeling too airy fairy by being rooted in a harsh narrative about these sexualized battle androids. As Chris Plante put it, "you kill robots who spend their days raising children, having sex, reciting literature, building and destroying societies, and obsessively seeking any meaning whatsoever. You claw for the meanings of being and not being. And all of this, somehow, despite the odds, works."
Our examiner, Andy Robertson
, first checked Nier: Automata 3 years ago. It was re-examined by Jonah Monaghan
and updated 14 months ago.