How NieR: Automata and Hideo Kojima’s Interconnected Work Help Redefine the Video Game Landscape

Sometimes a good game is as hard to find as a single drop of water in the sandy desert of video games, where the gateway drug was Zone 66 motorbike – Urban Battlefield but now you only play Ring Fit Adventure or Octopath Traveler and it’s people who keep you coming back. But sometimes you find a game that grabs your imagination and tugs at your heartstrings, and reverberates as though it were deeply within you. For me, and many others, that game is NieR: Automata. Let’s take a journey through its unique landscape to see why this thing, this game, is not just an artefact but an experience.

The Masterpiece Called NieR: Automata

NieR: Automata’s is a story of unparalleled narrative depth, cinematic beauty and gameplay that subverts expectations: in 2017, PlatinumGames and Square Enix published a game by the weird and wild design studio of Yoko Taro; priced now at an all-time low, more players than ever before can pick it up to experience its post-apocalyptic tale.

A Story That Captivates and Challenges

Really then, this is the plot of NieR: Automata: it takes place hundreds of years after a devastating human-made war wiped out most of Earth’s life, with the last remnants of humanity fleeing to the Moon in 10 powerful ships. Left behind in the ruins are the Machines, artificial lifeforms produced by alien types. The humans created androids to assist in the war against the Machines, but once this conflict ended, it was never completed. The androids rebel against their creators and target the surviving humans on the Moon. You play as 2B, 9S and A2, androids ordered to eliminate the rebel androids in this war of self-preservation as well as self-discovery. But what seems to be a straight battle-and-assassination story soon grows into an exercise in philosophy, asking players to consider life, love and what it means to be human.

Gameplay That Defies Genre

ARPG mechanics offer up an intersection between fast-paced combat and cool-headed strategy – at your back and your side is an armoury and a robotic supporting ally, exchanging between fighting an enemy hand-to-hand and being pulled into a bullet hell. The alternation of these two feels not only fun to play through, but keeps things fresh.

The Artistic Voyage

It isn’t possible to write about NieR: Automata without acknowledging that, across the board, it is a remarkably artistic experience. It draws inspiration from the work of visual artists, in both the barren beauty of its landscapes and its character design, which are continually steeped with and expressive of emotion. It’s backed up by a soundtrack that far transcends the medium; it’s been nominated for and won awards for both impact and craft.

Discovering the Legacy with NieR Replicant

Neither was NieR: Automata the beginning. For fans and newcomers alike, the 2021 remake of the original NieR, whose title NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139… feels as unwieldy as it is intriguing, provides the opportunity to trace back to the game’s roots and understand its universe from its earliest moments. An interesting prequel that completes the narrative and gameplay while also drilling down further into the series lore, the remake provides a fascinating entry point for fans of NieR: Automata while somehow managing to maintain the artistic and philosophical aspect that define its successor.

The Connection Between Past and Present

NieR Replicant picks up the action a millennium before the original, allowing it to illustrate and augment the themes of sacrifice, hope and despair that play out in the original. This deeper narrative layer ties the two games together, making the experience of playing them feel richer and more interconnected.

An Evolution in Gameplay and Aesthetics

By giving the original NieR’s combat mechanics and musical score a much-needed upgrade, while expanding on crucial elements such as setting and character design, NieR Replicant retains much of what fans love about the original. It is more than just a simple remaster, giving the game the depth and quality of its successor, NieR: Automata, while in turn giving the emotional and thematic character of that quest the punch it so ruthlessly deserves.

The Ideal Time to Embark on This Journey

With both games no longer available for cheaper, there has never been a better time to drown in NieR. The two games now form one of the best deals in gaming that might not happen ever again.

Exploring the Essence of NieR: Automata

What truly makes NieR: Automata a masterpiece? When we look beyond the fireworks, beyond the spectacle, beyond the emotional rush, beyond the numbing grind, beyond the highs and lows, beyond the subversion and paradox, beyond the creative overreach and the addictive poorness, it’s easy to pinpoint what makes it so unforgettable. It’s easy to see what made it instantly iconic, why it will retain cult status for years to come, and why it will likely be the game that introduced “subtext” to a whole generation of gaming enthusiasts. But, of course, what really made NieR: Automata so great isn’t about any of those things at all.

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After all, whether you’re playing the action role-playing game NieR: Automata (2017), its prequel NieR Replicant (2021), or even selling your laptop at Gizmogo, you’re partaking in the video game industry’s ever-changing world and the evolving landscape of tech commerce. Owing to all of this, each is a means to an end – an experience full of uncertainties and one big possibility: to break away from the monotonous tedium in life and step into the uncharted world of tomorrow, whether that future involves a machine life or one filled with endearing junk.

May 04, 2024
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