Games: Nier Automata
Just a few days ago I finished Nier: Automata. I could not stop thinking and processing it ever since. So in the end I decided to "put my thoughts on paper", or in this blog, being prescise. The reason is that I think I need to structure my thoughts about it. And I just wanted to have 2B's butt somewhere in my blog.
During some time I will constantly update this article with new information and thoughts.
Anyway. Possible SPOILERS.
Though I'll try not to give away too much.
First I think it's worth watching this great review, which adresses everything in this game perfectly, and in really good sync with my own feelings about it. I would suggest mostly listening to it, because there may be some minor visual spoilers in the footage.
Now onto some of my own thoughts about it.
Analysis. Story and gameplay
I think that Nier: Automata is a great game, even if you don't like this genre (I don't really like slashers like this), or anime (I'm not an anime fan, though I like some things about it). I can't say that it's perfect in every aspect of it. Gameplay is simple but fun, and I was not bored by it till the very end. Story is of the game is very emotional and touching. Who would have thought, huh? They did have to leave you a final text message in the end, that explains what was going on all this time, but even without that after beating the game I had a pretty solid understanding of all, considering that I did not do all side quests, and did not find all lore pieces. I was just playing it sort of casually.
But the way this story is presented... As all Yoko Taro games, it's about his socratic vision and thoughts about the meaning of life. The game even starts with basically the main question it further tries to explore. With words: "We are perpetually trapped in a never ending spiral of life and death.". And even the very beginning of the game supports this. Because it's hard, long and you can't save. So it's likely that you'll die a few times during the intro sequence. And each time you will hear this phrase... Getting basically caught in the spiral, until you get out of it. I just love how they mixed story with the gameplay element here, it's great. The whole game and story supports this 'spiral' theory.
They give you bits and pieces of the story to gather yourself into the whole picture, and I love this way of story telling. But unlike other games, you won't miss anything if you skip even a lot of side quests.
And all this leads to the conclusion that's very natural, and that you actually have to fight for. Yes, litrally, you have to fight ending credits (again, literally) to get the True Ending. Like in - shooting them. Credits.
And even the name of the main character support it, at least in english version. 2B or not 2B. Yeah, nice move there.
So yes, it's a question that's been asked a million times. A question that was discussed so many times. And yet this game has a really nice take on it. In a form when machines try to find the meaning of their existence. And presenting it from Machines and Androids points of view.
!I love the idea behind the machine war. That to keep the meaning of their existence they actually had to stop themselves from fulfilling their goal, turning it into a never ending war.
And it's great game. A combination of all it's things, some great, some perfect, some average (and I'm talking about all the small elements the game is made out of) - all this together makes it a great experience. Special note should go to music of the game, and how well it blends with the gameplay and story.
Analysis. More story analysis.
After reading some articles about how Yoko Taro writes his stories, I come to understand more just how and why it works so well. His main concern when creating games it not story, or gameplay, or graphics or anything else. It's about what emotion his work should make player feel. And it's actually close to what I've been taught. Nothing matters as much as how your work with influence other people. It can have great visuals and great story, but if it does not make other people feel something, it's pointless. Any feeling is fine though: anger, love, sorrow or just making them smile. Even a simple game without plot can make people feel some emotion.
That, and approach to work with laying out story points. While I was already aware of how story developments works, how story arcs are created and connected, there's a lot of useful information in his seminars.
This article is also very useful for anyone who works with writing any kind of stories: Story Time with NieR:Automata Director YOKO TARO
Oh, I love music. And I greatly appreciate when it's properly used in games of movies. And Nier: Automata does some great things with it.
The way they play with music, especially in a few scenes. Like the one where you fight Adam for the first time. How the "This cannot continue" phrase naturally blends into music. That was great. Or the thing they did in the final Bullet Hell game? How when those other ships join your fight, it goes from solo singing into a choir? Isn't that just beautiful?
In the end, it's not THAT important to try and make EVERY part of your project perfect. It's about how all things act together, combined. The way it's directed. And to that, I applaud to Yoko Taro and the team responsible for bringing this project together, for guiding it. I think a lot of games nowadays miss good direction. Not all of them, of course. But a lot. A lot of games nowadays suffer from being too scattered in terms of their 'parts'. From my knowledge and experience, a lot of games don't even have a dedicated "Game Director" leading the project. A lot of them feel like just a bunch of pieces carelessly glued together. But not Nier: Automata.
Here are some of the tracks I really liked:
- Alien Manifestation - battle music, the first you hear when you start the game. And then it's often repeated during key battle moments of the game.
- Forest Kingdom - music of the Forest Kingdom. Reminds me a bit of Lion King feel even.
- End of the Unknown - Adam and Eve's theme music. A nice and refreshing change in style.
- Weight of the World - title music. Gorgeous, beautiful and emotional. Has 3 official versions in different languages: Japanese, English and made-up French\English\Japanese-like language. All of them merge together into one mult-language song at the end of the game.
Proposal. Make a direct sequel (Verdict)
I think it's one of the best singleplayer games I ever played. And I would definitely recommend it to everyone. It has an interesting atmosphere, interesting story, simple but addicting gameplay and very good direction and great music.
And I hope to see 2B, 9S and A2 again. And Pods of course. Hard to even tell who was the main character here.
Analysis. Little things
- Bunker musical theme is called "Fortress of Lies" in OST. I wonder why ;)
Score - 10 android butts out of 10