Nier-ly Perfect: The Automata Demo
Nier Automata is an open-world adventure game that in developmentby Platinum Games (Bayonetta 1 & 2, MGR: Revengence, Wonderful 101, etc) and published by Square Enix. It is a sequel to the first Nier game, which is a spin-off of the Drakengard series. Much of the original team from Nier has returned to work on the game in conjunction with Platinum Games.
The Nier Automata demo hit ps4 not too long ago, and besides making waves in the community for 2B’s possibly rendered private parts, it’s actually a really good demo. Content below this section will contain spoilers for the demo so if you want surprises to stay in-tact, go play it before you read this.
As far as story goes, the demo doesn’t really give you much to grasp onto. You’re en route to a factory to destroy a goliath type weapon and that’s the entire premise for the entire demo, folks. The demo ends with a cut scene that makes you sit and scratch your head to try and figure out where in the game it goes, but no more story besides that. As far as characters go 2B, the main character, and 9S are in the demo. You get a feel for each of the characters in the demo, even though it’s quite short. The voice acting was good, and the characters felt oddly alive for being androids.
The gameplay is trademark Platinum Games. If you’ve ever played a Platinum title, then the combat will feel very familiar. However, it being in the style of the original Nier, means that it has the standard up-close combat and the Touhou-esque bullet hell combat. For this I will separate the two.
Sword combat consists of standard light and hard attacks with a dodge button. Dodging at the last second will result in a witch time-esque dodge. Combos are performed automatically by tapping or holding whichever attack button you choose. There are specific combos for tapping a button and holding a button though. You do have the ability to switch gear on the fly, but in the demo it just results in switching your swords so that the small sword becomes the heavy attack and the large becomes the light. These do perform different combos though,
One of the most noticeable is the heavy attack hold combo with the smaller sword because it ends in a stinger type move, which allows you to really close the gap on enemies. Even though you only get two weapons, the combo potential is amazing. The only real complaint I had about sword combat was that the high-time move is out of a perfect dodge only.
The demo provides you with a gun for the bullet segments. Both your bullets and your sword cancel out enemy bullets, but the gun is usually used to get through the bullets. If you hit an enemy enough will bullets, a press of the action button near them will finish them off. I have so far found three different animations. The demo never gets too bullet hell except for the boss fight, but even then I wouldn’t call it hell. However, it does show potential for actual hells in the full release of the game. You also get a special attack in the form of a beam which makes getting through the bullet hells easier. It is worth notingyou can use all these abilities in the close combat portions of the game as well.
Anotable gameplay elements is the game's constant change of your perspective. It goes from regular 3D to 2D to top-down all in the demo, but it never feels out of place or as a cheap gimmick, It just feels good and refreshing. Also, the lock-on system has an auto toggle. If you tap the lock-on button, it’s a toggle system but if you hold it, it’s a hold to lock-on system. It’s a nice feature to have where you can use either and never to fiddle with menu options to get switch between the systems.
Finally is the boss, and man was it great. Let me just say this, the boss is the stage. Yes, I mean that literally. You fight the stage you just played. The entirety of it, and that is awesome. You also gain a mech that turns into a jet and shoots missiles. The boss fight ends in a Metal Gear Excelsus style take its arm and kill it with gameplay. I honestly can’t describe or even begin to portray the hype of this boss fight. Just go play the demo.
Overall, the Nier: Automata demo did what it was supposed it, get me hype for the release of the game. It’s a short demo, but it gets all the points it needs to across in it. The demo is free, so go play it if you have an hour to spare. Neir: Automata releases on March 7, 2017 for North America, and thanks to this demo, I will be purchasing.