Games: Nier: Automata on PS4 upgrades Japanese role-player

Neil McGreevy

Nier: Automata (PS4)

By: Square Enix

DESPITE a wonderfully miserable atmosphere and fantastic time-sink story, the original Nier hardly set 2010 alight on Western shores even while it sold like sushi in its native Japan.

But with a legendary developer at the helm, its long-overdue sequel is something to get excited about. With Platinum Games calling the shots, Nier: Automata gives the Japanese role-player a shot in the arm, with its sprawling plot and side distractions mixed with the developer's hyper combat.

The result has Platinum's DNA all over it – part Bayonetta, part Vanquish with a dash of Transformers: Devastation and the incredible boss designs of Revengeance.

Opening in March 11945, Earth's cities are reduced to shells and androids must face off against a race of aliens and their machines – all the while engaging in plenty of Philip K Dick robo-philosophising.

In practice though, Nier involves tearing open post-apocalyptic robots like sardine cans as a bad-ass android in a maid's uniform. No, really.

As 2B and her scout unit ally 9S, the game turns clearing out hordes of baddies into an art form. From wielding katana to piloting humongous mechs, the terrifically kinetic gameplay is a gateway drug to RPGs for action hounds, with a massive open-world chock full of oddball characters needing trounced with its blisteringly fast and tactical combat system.

Being a Platinum game, the sweet swordsmanship and flashy fisticuffs allows for savage combo strings and devastating projectile attacks from your Pod, which can be geared up with lasers and homing missiles.

Adding a dash of strategy, you can upgrade your weapons, customise your drone and a install customizable chips to boost 2B's abilities.

Genre-wise, Nier is all over the shop, with 3D beat-em-up sections seamlessly transitioning into Castlevania-like platformers, bullet-hell top-down shooters and even riffs on Metal Gear and R-Type.

It's a taster menu of crazy delivered in silky-smooth 60fps and with a magnificent soundtrack than trumps even the original.

Mashing up anime, role-play and mech battles, Nier is like Comic-Con stuffed into a game.

In a year already brimming with quality action RPGs such as Horizon and Breath of the Wild, it'd be a shame for Automata to get lost in all the noise, but it really is the developer's best game since Bayonetta 2.

For both fans of adventure and blistering action, Platinum has given Nier, my god, to thee.


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