Thursday, 16 March 2017 10:22

REVIEW: Nier: Automata (PS4)

Written by Brett Hale
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Nier: Automata is the latest instalment in the Drakegard series, well technically its a spin off and it serves as a sequel to the 2010 game Nier. Nier Automata is developed by Platinum Games, games associated with them include Bayonetta 1 & 2,Transformers Deverstation and they were developing Scalebound for Xbox One before it got cancelled.

Neir Automata is set in the exact same world as the 2010 Nier game, a post apocalyptic world. Now as I’ve never played Nier nor any of the games associated with Drakegard, I got onto google and researched the shizzle out of it, and Nier: Automata gets its dark atmosphere from the Drakegard series and I can say for certain that this takes place after Nier.

The game starts right off the bat having you inside an aircraft flying over water, before long you're losing other aircraft to enemy fire. You're able to shoot and move around freely, and not only is it an aircraft but also a cyborg. It's not long before you're playing as a human looking android character. She’s called 2B and she’s accompanied by her flying mini robot that’ll defend her, but she also has someone very much like her called 9S, he’s helpful and will attack enemies as well. There are plenty of other characters you’ll encounter on your journey in the game, but 2B and 9S are the main characters. The story centres around the local resistance, you’ll do missions and quests along the way. Now, as a side note, there are two endings.

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Now this is an RPG at heart, but with all sorts of gameplay elements not seen in many games for the genre. What sort of elements I hear you ask! Well ranging from twin stick shooting, side scrolling when sometimes walking/running or when in an aircraft you'll have a top down view element. But mostly it's a standard third person style game. Attacking is a breeze. I found myself using just a few buttons and that was all I needed, from light and heavy attacks to using your floating robot, guiding him at times where to shoot. Your controller sticks are used for moving around and panning the camera angle. You can if you choose customize your layout or choose from the three pre-made options.

Nier Automata has four difficulty settings, easy, normal, hard and very hard. No other settings need to be tweaked, though after about an hour of playing as part of the story you're asked to change some settings if you choose, I found this not necessary. There are quite a few weapons to use, I stuck with the default swords as they seemed to work well, but as you get through the game you’ll be able to use other weapons, which leads me to the pause screen, the hub for the game. You’ll see your map among other options such as quests, skills, intel, system settings, and weapons. The pause screen is pretty bland and ugly, enough so that Gordon Ramsay would say it's worse then undercooked chicken and would ask “Did you f****** season this s***?”.

This game has a teeny tiny annoyance that I seem to forgot most of the time, no auto saving. You’ll need to find the old vending machine too save your progress, luckily I didn’t forget too often. When you come across water, you can use your robot helper to catch fish, unfortunately I never caught anything #sadface, like every RPG you'll need to buy and sell items, and this is present in Nier Automata. Also scattered around are orbs which you can pick up and when killing enemies they’ll drop hologram looking spare parts that can also be sold. Now if you choose to turn on the games network features, this does nothing more then show you dead bodies of other players. You can choose to ignore or pray for them, though praying for them will give you a reward. But that’s all that’ll happen when you turn it on, it's a single player game no matter what.

Nier Automata isn’t ground-breaking with its visuals or soundtrack but it does have a shine that’s sort of hard to pass off. Firstly, the music heard throughout the game is amazing, it sets the scene while making it not so bad in those quiet moments where there aren’t many conversations. Environmental noises sound good as well, from the different types of terrains you’ll walk on to the sounds of animals and flowing water. Voice acting really caught me off guard with this one, its up there with big AAA titles. But that’s enough about sound, lets talk visuals and frame rates. Not counting PC, there are two ways you can play Nier Automata, either on the PS4 or on the PS4 PRO. Both support 60fps within reason, what do i mean? Well while doing some youtubing I found many videos that tested both PS4 and PS4 PRO versions of the game and when it came to frame rates and it doesn’t perform too well on the standard PS4. It can hit 60fps, but can drop as low as 30-40fps. Now on the PS4 PRO, it can maintain 60fps most of the time, though it did tend to drop a bit here and there. 

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Now I played the game on my PS4 PRO and 99% of the time I rarely saw much drops in frame rate, but it wasn’t perfect. When it comes to the games resolution, the standard PS4 runs at 900p whilst the PS4 PRO will run at native 1080p. Yep, you didn’t read that wrong, the game does not run in 4K on the PS4 PRO. Nier Automata did get a PS4 PRO patch which bumped up the resolution to 1080p, enhanced shadows & created more foliage and added motion blur, which that makes movement look so much better then on the standard PS4. The game is 98% colour and the other 2% is monochrome. Even though it's not in 4K resolution on the PS4 PRO, the visuals are still gorgeous. Also, depending what type of display you have your PS4 PRO connected too, when looking at picture quality of the standard PS4 verses PS4 PRO side by side, there is a significant difference that cannot be ignored. Though, the game is totally worth playing on either system. There is certainlly no need to go out and buy a PS4 Pro, But that’s not to say it isn’t worth playing on a standard PS4, cause it totally is.

This game is certainly different to other RPG games and for that I fell head of heels for it. Nier: Automata has some epic battles that didn’t have me raging, though at times it was awkward with the strange nudity that is shown. For the fact it shined so much on the PS4 PRO, I doubt I could play it on a standard PS4, that along with the great story that’s told and its mostly fast paced gameplay, Nier: Automata is 100% worth your money? Even if you don’t own a PS4 PRO, the game is still great and shouldn't be passed up.

.....Glory to mankind.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, PS4
  • Developer: Platinum Games
  • Genre: Action / Adventure, Role-Playing, Action, Adventure