50 Best Games of 2017: #45 – Nier Automata

NieR Automata
NieR Automata

Developer: PlatinumGames
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform(s): PS4, PC

Our 50 best games of the year countdown isn’t in any order, we’re just going through fifty of the finest the year has given us. Find out more here.

While I can often be found neck deep in indie or early access games, I found myself drawn to the AAA sci-fi title Nier: Automata earlier this year. This hack and slash title has an awesome art style and awesome design; it’s super fast, but with a control scheme that is spot on, making you feel like a cyborg badass.

However, the greatest thing about Automata is that it revels in pulling the rug from under you. Looking at the game, you’ll expect a generic brown, post-apocalyptic hack and slash RPG starring a generic, panty-flashing protagonist from a Japanese developer. Nier seemed set up for being a by-the-numbers title featuring a potentially sexist character as its star. We didn’t get that at all.

What we got was a well-written tale of androids returning to an Earth which has been taken over by robots. The game is often sad – anyone who has played this game will know the absolutely heartbreaking section where a robot tries in vain to repair his destroyed companion using oil. Oh god, the feels. Female protagonist 2B is one of the best main characters to appear in a game in recent years, making me feel ashamed for my early preconceptions of the character.

The game keeps itself fresh by mixing up the genres. While on the whole it is a hack and slash RPG, the game shifts between 2D platformer, top-down twin-stick shooter and scrolling shoot-em-up as well as others I may have forgotten about. Nier’s world quickly expands beyond shades of brown to beautifully destroyed cities, amusement parks and treetop towns, which all help to create a gorgeously realised world.

One final thing I feel I need to praise is Nier: Automata’s score. While I had forgotten it since playing, seamlessly adapting depending on the situation you find yourself in, the score helps to portray an empty world and bursts to life when you find yourself in battle, using soaring strings and traditional drum beats.

Nier Automata does what many game series would love to do: bring some unique and original ideas to a mainstream title. That is why Nier Automata is one of the very best games of 2017.

The 50 best games of the year
Nier: Automata (PS4) REVIEW – An Outstanding Title

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