The Let's Play Archive

NieR: Automata

by The Dark Id

Part 1: Episode I: A Cautionary Tale

Episode I: A Cautionary Tale

New Music: Significance

Welp... We’re somehow here. Honestly, of all the games I LPed over the years, NIER was at the very bottom of ones I expected to ever get a sequel. The game sold fuck all. Cavia, the development studio, shuttered months after it was released. I was more of an ad campaign than Square-Enix put out. And well... it wasn’t exactly a game that screamed for a sequel in the first place. But here we are!

Limbo of the Lost 2 is going to be announced any day now.

First things first, as soon as we hit New Game we’re told this game does not have auto-save. There is no auto-saving in this game! It is entirely on you to save your game. There’s a reason for that. It’s a bad reason and the single worst mechanic in the game. But save points are incredibly generous in stock most of the time so it’s not a big deal. Usually... We’ll find that out later in the game!*

* “Later in the game” means after the Prologue. The Prologue is 30-40 minutes your first time through.

The first order of business is naming our save game file. In the original Nier, the player had to name the main character, Papa Nier. Yeah, they named a game after a player character you could rename at the start. Indeed, the name “Nier” is... actually verbally said _once_ in either of these games! But that’s not the case this time around! They only ever use the name here for our data entry. So I’ll just name the save file after myself. I *probably* won’t have to erase myself from existence. That’d be silly!

There are four difficulty levels present in NieR: Automata. Easy, which absolutely anyone can beat with no problem. The game will literally play itself in battles if you so desire. Normal, which is the recommended difficulty initially. Hard, which is err... well... for advanced players. And Very Hard, in which literally everything kills you in one hit. If you spec correctly 1.5 hits. Well heck, I’ve played the first game and my fair share of character actionish titles. Let’s give Hard a whirl!

Hey, what the hell?! You literally JUST told us there is no auto-save in this game. Please explain what is happening in the top right of the screen right now, mister. I’ll wait... I cannot believe it is 20 seconds into the game and we’ve already been lied to.

This doesn’t bode well... Oh well. Let’s just start the damn game and hope for the best, eh?

Music: ENDS

We are perpetually trapped... in a never-ending spiral of life and death. Is this a curse? Or some kind of punishment? I often think about the god who blessed us with this cryptic puzzle... and wonder if we’ll ever have the chance to kill him.

New Music: Alien Manifestation

For all the insane happenings in the Yoko Taroverse, murdering deities has never come up. The rhythm battle abortion on the giant pan-dimensional Grotesquerie Queen above the skies of Tokyo was probably the closest it ever got. But this planet is about four apocalypses deep at this point. If God exists in this universe, to his credit it's at least not a malicious absentee landlord...

Anyway, have a sweet future fighter jet!

Our flight is interrupted by a radio transmission and large holographic display... outside the aircraft. That seems off, but what do I don’t know future tech?

Autopilot systems green across the board.

We’ve passed the 50-kilometer threshold and are proceeding toward the target.
Understood. Once you reach their anti-air defenses, proceed to manual-attack formation... then destroy the Goliath-class unit by any means necessary and gather what data you can.

Hey umm... What did that IFF code say? 12H? 12H... you’ve got some red on you...? Not sure what’s up with th—aww CHRIST!


All units, activate manual mode and rely on visuals to evade.
Already engaged. Free movement unlocked.
Origin point of long-range lasers confirmed.

Alright. We can move up and down now. I hope Drakengard 3 acclimated you to having characters named after numbers because this time around a decent chunk of the cast is a number and a LETTER. That’s the power of a bigger budget at work already. We are controlling unit 2B according to that IFF tag. It’s the identical black one there with the Manual: Move notification there.

So umm... 11B. I’m not sure if we’re at a higher rank having a lower number or if you’re at a higher rank with the larger number. Regardless. You might wanna consider abandoning your current cour—

Aaaaa—*crackle and disconnect*

Our Ho229 cancellers are ineffective.

Yeah... I dunno what any of that means. And I’m not expert on aerial combat of the future But maybe let’s try flying under the radar here? Sticking above cloud cover has resulted in the death of one-third of the squad on a mission that commenced a minute ago. That’s not going to reflect well on the performance review of the operation...

[Radio Ring] Requesting permission to engage.
Permission granted!

We now have the ability to fight back and actual enemies to engage. We’ve got infinite ammo with no cooldown here, so we’re free to just dump into the distance like any good shoot ‘em up.

Our enemies are initially those little flying saucers there. Spoilers: A couple thousand years after NIER ended, aliens invaded the planet! A pan-dimensional entity unleashing magic into a non-magical world and summoning a monster army, a disease that erodes people’s souls, and mankind being split into weird clone bodies and shadow creature souls wasn’t quite enough apocalypses for this planet...

The flying saucers all shoot out orbs vaguely in the direction of 2B and the other units. Orbs come in two colors, a pinkish purple which can be destroyed by any attack and a darker purple which is immune to all but the strongest offensive techniques. This is straight from the first game’s mechanics.

Unfortunately, our newfound bullet fire ability isn’t really helping against the one-shot laser plaguing our forward assault team’s advance...

7E down.

Boy that one didn’t even get a chance to scream before dying. By the way, turns out we can evade by tapping RT/R2/whatever insane button the terrible keyboard controls are assigned to. That might have been useful tutorial information earlier... Ya know, before 66% of the team died to a fixed point weapon firing in the distance.

Evasion will make 2B’s craft perform a barrel roll with incredibly generous i-frames and a speed boost if moving left or right. It’s a fairly key ability in this game.

So surely, now with our Evade ability this laser beam blast from the horizon ought to be no trouble at all. Let’s watch Captain 1D masterfully circumvent this next beam like a pro... Err... Captain, you’re just kind of hanging out in this very clear particle effect. You don’t need to wait to the last second for dramatic effe—

...Maybe playing on Hard was a mistake.

Apparently 2B is now the ranking officer on-site and is taking command. Usually, you don’t want to point out who the team leader is in the middle of an active combat zone. Especially when your side has been decimated. Almost literally. But what do I know? 2B is now team captain and her on-field promotion nets her a sick white paint job for her Ho229.

Becoming Captain unlocks the ability to perform Heavy Attacks. This causes 2B to straight up do a Star Fox-style barrel roll that deflects/neutralizes all projectiles hitting the barrier it forms.

As the name implies, it can also deal heavy damage at close range, one-shotting most enemies early on. It’s a risky maneuver. But one that can really pay-off if executed pr—


Err... Well... Huh.


...Short game.

Video: Episode 1 Highlight Reel
(Whoops. This should work now!)