On paper, it’s surprising that NieR Automata even exists. The original game didn’t really sell that well and only became a critical darling after its release. Its bizarre concepts didn’t really feel like they would lend themselves well to a sequel. Designed by Yoko Taro, an auteur along the same lines as the greats like Hideo Kojima and Goichi Suda, NieR Automata is a strangely captivating experience that keeps surprising you and almost always has your attention.
For those worrying about whether they must play the original NieR or not to understand Automata, you really don’t. The story takes place years after the original and very little returning characters are here. The story is still as twisted as the first game – creepy machines have forced mankind to flee to the moon, and mankind sends back androids to fight them and claim back Earth. But while the characters of NieR Automata are literally robotic, they’re awesome to watch as they take down the greatest of enemies with aplomb.
NieR Automata’s story is told in an incredibly unorthodox manner, much like the original game. During my time with the game I could unlock three of the many possible endings. It sounds strange for a game today to almost demand repeat playthroughs to get the full picture, but the twisted and warped tale that Yoko Taro wants to tell works regardless of what approach you take. It’s sufficient to play it through once but almost integral to finish it multiple times as more and more layers of the story are peeled back.