NieR review: Automata the End of YoRHa Edition – Nintendo Switch – ntower

The action role-playing game NieR: Automata from developer Platinum Games was first released for PlayStation 4 in collaboration with Square Enix in 2017 and was written by Yoko Taro, who has already gained worldwide fame thanks to the Drakengard series and to the original Nier. With NieR: Automata The End of YoRHa Edition, Nintendo Switch owners can now immerse themselves in dystopia and once again delve into the mysteries of humanity, but also of aliens and hostile machines. You can find out how RPG is doing on Nintendo Switch in the following test.

Compelling story and unique atmosphere

For my part, I was able to try NieR: Automata on the Steam PC platform a few years ago, but due to the technical conditions of the time, I prematurely ended the adventure with Android 2B and 9S. So I was even more excited to be able to catch up on this acclaimed title on Nintendo’s hybrid console.

Androids 2B and 9S dedicate their lives to humanity.

© Square Enix

As mentioned, you accompany the 2B fighter unit, but also the 9S scanner unit, which belong to the “YoRHa” project, in the adventure. These androids were created by humans to reclaim the Earth which had been conquered by aliens. The game begins in the middle of the action: 2B and 9S are called from the moon base run by the Council of Humanity called “Bunker” to take out a huge enemy on Earth, which could reveal information about the existence of the aliens they face. However, this enemy, like virtually all “living” beings on earth, looks like a machine that was sent to earth by aliens many thousands of years ago. So the only goal of the androids is clear: to find the aliens, solve mysteries and eliminate all hostile machines to make the earth habitable for humans again. I don’t want to tell you more for spoiler reasons. That’s right: the story of NieR: Automata around 2B and 9S contains some special moments that not only make you question the imaginary world, but at the same time also reflect on reality. I quickly settled into the world of NieR: Automata and got a feel for the characters, learned about the virtual rules and rules, and was still caught off guard by some unexpected story kinks. To get the full immersion of the desert land, I also recommend completing the side missions and following all conversations carefully. The dynamics between the two androids as well as the relationship with the fighting machines is of particular importance. This is where NieR: Automata still shines after five years, offers some freedom of interpretation and perhaps will accompany you later.

The whole story is mostly told on the desert planet Earth, where you occasionally come across fragments of humanity about which little information seems to exist: you discover the past of the escaped civilization along with the androids, you wander through the destroyed industry, you are exposed to the heat of a desert, but it can be extinguished for a moment only a moment later in the green of the forests. Although the earth seems so empty, there are objects and characters to be discovered at every corner, which make the individual areas flourish. NieR: Automata looks unexpectedly good on the Nintendo Switch. After all, the title looked really nice on PlayStation 4 and PC and has a lot of technical weight on its shoulders due to the number of enemies and bullets. In the current version, textures suffer in detail and often look washed out, but character models, enemies, and the environment come out better on the hybrid.

Hack ‘n’ Slay with infinite RPG depth

But before we get lost in the good looks and interesting setting of NieR: Automata, let’s talk about the heart of the title. With NieR: Automata The End of YoRHa Edition you get an RPG that brings hack ‘n’ slay gameplay elements typical to the Platinum Games developer, but can also convince here and there with an interesting arcade concept. Classically, you can equip 2B with new weapons that together provide a light and heavy weapon kit. These can be upgraded on some characters, for example in the stamina camp, if you can find the materials you need and make money. But first everything clear: at no time did I have to do a boring search for objects; if you were to walk the world with your eyes wide open and complete a few side missions along the way, both the contents of your bag and the materials you find are enough to experience a leisurely pace without fatigue. These two components also come into play when selecting the chip. Chips are also pieces of equipment equivalent to the classic skill tree. They allow you to have various passive abilities, but also increase your status values. These can also be upgraded individually, as long as you have the same chips multiple times and can merge them. You are supported by a small support drone, which you can also modify: this has a normal attack, but also a skill that gives you strategic depth in combat. In the shop, you can purchase other attacks to suit your play style, such as a grenade which draws all enemies into the area and is perfectly positioned for an AoE attack.

Hack ‘n’ Slay is paired with adequate RPG depth and allows for distinctive gameplay.

© Square Enix

In this way, NieR: Automata takes the otherwise rather monotonous hack ‘n’ slash gameplay out of the equation and perfects it with more variety and individual variations. At first, I felt a little overwhelmed by the options I was offered as a player, but I quickly got into the fast-paced gameplay of NieR: Automata and didn’t want to put Nintendo Switch down. The aforementioned arcade gameplay only comes into play in certain passages of the title, for example when you get on your YoRHa – these are flying units that arrive as mecha and before you know it you’re trapped in a hell of bullets. These steps loosen up the active, action-packed gameplay again and challenge a side-scrolling level reminiscent of the era of arcade machines. It may seem unusual at first, but these scenes fit incredibly well with the overall pace of the game – during these moments, very relevant aspects of the story are usually told, so you can expand your focus on the narratives as well. While this also happens to some extent during “normal” gameplay, it is to a lesser extent as battles on Earth require a little more concentration, especially during boss fights.

In some parts of the game you will find yourself in the passages of Bullet Hell.

© Square Enix

And there are quite a few. The boss fights range from the most classic battles between rivals to the downing of huge machines like the one at the beginning. Battles are rarely extraordinarily complex, but they can be finished pretty quickly with a few strategic tricks, but they are a good balance for the usual small car thrashing. However, the presentation of the boss fights is interesting: as usual for Japanese RPGs, these are presented in a very epic way and consist of several phases. However, I have often been surprised by the creativity that the title offers, so that I have always been very happy with an upcoming boss fight, which occurs with adequate frequency over the course of the game. In any case, NieR: Automata has an excellent pace; I was never bored for a second, nor was I bothered by minor side missions as they skillfully guided me through the desert land. The story nodes were also optimally set and housed one or the other unexpected twist that made me understand the world of NieR: Automata a little better.

So, if you wander among the abandoned ruins of uprooted civilization, an unusual feeling of melancholy quickly arises, which is only reinforced by the sounds of the soundtrack. These are written by the famous Keiichi Okabe, among others, who created an unmistakable and fantastic auditory accompaniment. From exciting and uplifting tones in the abandoned amusement park area to draining, atmospheric music in emotionally powerful moments, there really is it all: if you can, play NieR: Automata with headphones, as the soundtrack is one part. exceptionally solid experience. You can also play with Japanese or English dubbing. I opted for the English version and also nothing to complain about; the team did a great job here too.

Finally, probably the most interesting point for fans: how to play NieR: Automata on Nintendo Switch? As mentioned above, the main aspects of the game look great, so I can’t really fault the graphics, with the exception of the faded background textures, which are only noticeable if you look for them. In violent discussions, the image is also resized, which I only noticed later when looking at the screenshots. Surprisingly, the title also almost always manages to maintain 30 frames per second, but in some passages, when the entire screen is filled with enemies and bullets, the little hybrid sweats a little. However, these dips were so rare during my probationary period that I’d rather not mention them. For gaming, I also recommend using the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, which you often have to operate three of the four shoulder buttons relatively simultaneously for perfect gameplay, which quickly becomes awkward with the little Joy Cons. But this is complaining at a very high level.

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