Ah NieR, the little game that looked like it wouldn’t, but then did, achieving success in the hands of the cult fans, an endearment that has led to this, a sequel. Now don’t get me wrong, I am personally a big fan of NieR, though I will admit it took me a while to get around to it. Still, I consider it a mark in the positive column that even five years after its initial release, it remains a fun and thought provoking RPG experience. So, for those of you out there who also underwent journeys through a dying world, relish and resound in the news that a sequel is very much real and very much titled NieR: Automata.
Set sometime after the events of its predecessor, Automata tells the story of yet another war, this time between the remnants of humanity and an army of machines…who are from a different planet. That’s right folks, just when you though the quirky couldn’t get quirkier, robot aliens have come down to take over what is left of Earth. The protagonist and primary fighter of said living alien robots has been revealed as YoRHa No. 2 Model B (2B for short), an elite female model combat android tasked with ridding Earth of these mechanical invaders. Now, those more knowledgable than I have noted that YoRHa is also the name of a stageplay written by Taro Yoko, who just also happens to be the creator/director.scenario writer of the NieR franchise. The play itself also bear a number of similarities to the as-of-now revealed plot of Automata. Personally I just though the name sounded similar to Yonah, the protagonist’s daughter from the first NieR title (or his sister if you played NieR Replicant).
With the original production company Cavia having gone under back in 2010, this sequel will instead be handled by PlatinumGames (in partnership with Square Enix). Known for games such as Bayonetta and Vanquish, the company is well versed in providing players with fast paced, over the top combat scenarios in which to relish. From the short trailer revealed, it is easy to see Platinum’s influence on the gameplay mechanics, with 2B initiating much longer combos and more acrobatic maneuvers than the previous lead. That being said, the gameplay still retains the same queues from the first game, quelling a fair amount of doubt that it will stray too far from its source. If that doubt existed within you that is, personally I believe PlatinumGames to be a solid fit for the franchise, just compare the finishing blows of NieR and Bayonetta, they are rather similar in execution. As a legacy mechanic to the NieR, a small robot also appears to act as a replacement for Grimoire Weiss, leading me to believe magic, or a very magic-y science, will be prevalent within Automata.
In discussing the actualisation of a follow-up NieR title, producer Yosuke Saito said:
“NieR struck a chord with many passionate gamers. It was something so special that we felt compelled to heed the fans’ call for a follow-up. To create the ultimate action-RPG, it dawned on me that a collaboration between PlatinumGames and Square Enix would be a dream come true.”
Ah well, enough of my probably biased excitement. Why not check out the trailer and see for yourself if this is the kind of game you could get into. It might even make you want to play the original, but fair warning, that game is tough to find in Australian stores. Trust me.