The Let's Play Archive

NieR: Automata

by The Dark Id

Part 3: Episode II: Marx

Episode II: Marx

Music: Alien Manifestation

Welcome to NieR: Automata’s primary gameplay: melee combat! And its primary enemies: dopey wind-up figurine little dudes. They can walk but they move at roughly half a mile per hour. So their primary means of movement is bunny hopping towards 2B.

Combat in this game is definitely worlds better than the original game. But it’s also very much not a technical skilled based character action game. We’ve got light and heavy attacks. Light attacks are quick and combo longer.

Heavy attacks hit harder and slower. 2B initially is equipped with a normal sized katana type sword and big fuck-off Sephiroth sword for light and heavy attacks respectively.

That is not at all how the weapon system works. Indeed, we can swap our weapons at any time (by pressing up on the d-pad) to make the big sword do the light (still harder hitting and lower speed, but wide radius) and small sword to heavy (now big flourish and far traveling attacks.) There’s combos and such depending on when heavy or light attack is triggered when mashing attacks but it’s not particularly deep.

Well animated as hell though. You should watch the video of combat at the end!

Enemies, on the other hand, are VERY forward about telegraphing their attacks by flashing their eyes red before striking. For these basic boys, that means literally doing a derpy windmill arms advance in 2B’s direction. They’re trying REAL hard, OK?

They also blow up *really* well. I hope you enjoy explosions. Literally 95% of the enemies in the game explode in a spectacular fashion.

2B is also a very mobile lass. She’s got a good eight foot vertical jump. Not that jumping is often a factor in combat. That’s more for the side-scrolling platformer segments. Err... heck. I’m getting ahead of myself.

As soon as we take out the first set of robots, a new set drops from the ceiling. These ones are equipped with turrets. They shoot out damaging orbs. 2B can slash these orbs out of the air with her sword. If you thought the weird 3rd person character action bullet hell aesthetic was a budget limitation of the original game, I’ve got some bad news for you. That’s just Yoko Taro’s jam.

This time around, we’ve got a rather powerful counter to that. We’re so far in the future that the world has gotten over that whole magic thing the first game had going. It’s all just cutting edge technology these days. Such as Pod 042 and its infinite ammo machine gun. Holding R1/RB will cause our sidekick to fire light damaging attacks infinitely at either our locked on target or whatever we’re facing. This in no way interrupts 2B’s melee attacks.

Pod 042 has no cooldown or ammo limit. There is absolutely no reason to not be dumping at all times. Targeting is disabled in Hard Mode, which is another factor as to why it’s garbage to start on.) On the other hand, on Easy it’s possible to make our Pod automatically dump on the nearest target at all times.

In any case, as soon as those first boys are scrapped, a new chufty boy enters the ring to take on 2B. This one definitely got the upgraded tier of robot design.

Much like his predecessors, this big boy telegraphs his attacks with a flash of its eyes. In this case, it’s either a big downward stomp or a Falcon Punch. Now is as good a time as any to show off the most broken ability in this game:

Perfect dodging. 2B is mobile as hell and has a dash in any direction by mashing R2/RT. It alone is lousy with i-frames mid-dash. But if we wait until just as an enemy is attacking, she will do a Perfect Evade of which entirely evades the attack. This completely renders the attack non-functional, moves her out of the way, and allows a counter-attack depending on the button pressed and weapon. If you’ve ever played Bayonetta, it’s similar to Witch Time just without the time slow down after dodging we can equip an upgrade that just does just that and LITERALLY turns it into Witch Time.

As I said, counters depend on the attack pressed after perfect-evading and is weapon dependent. On our default load-out Light Attack will counter with an upward slash that can juggle lesser enemies in air (those little dudes from earlier are susceptible to that business, not this large child.)

What I feel is personally the best counter is using the Pod’s shot, which converts it into an AOE charged shot that will absolutely wreck and stun most common enemies. It’s by far the most reliable of the lot and is frankly, to use technical terminology, “fucking rad”.

Eventually, 2B manages to body this chump and clear the arena of enemies. Job well done.

Not quite.

New Music: Song of the Ancients ~ Atonement
(You should listen to this whole OST.)

Did anyone order a 30 foot buzz saw mid-boss? No? Tough shit! This is now happening!

Meet the first boss of the game: [REDACTED]. 2B is not able to decipher the machine language, so we just get [ANGELIC TEXT] runes as a boss name.

Spoilers: This eventually changes in the second playthrough. But it’s not like NIER’s second playthrough where suddenly Tyrann was a party member translating the Shades’ language and revealing we’re being kind of a huge dick. It’s just boss names having a naming theme of philosophers. In this case Marx. As in Karl Marx.

Now, this game will have some deep philosophical questions on the nature of what it means to be alive and what is a soul and what not. But the boss names? The machines just did that for funsies. So I don’t care about spoiling that one early.

Negative. This enemy is unrelated. Proposal: Dispatch it swiftly as possible.
You don’t say.

It’s time to fight a giant buzzsaw named after an 18th century Prussian philosopher. Sure, why not?

Marx’s greatest weapon is perhaps the camera. It will sheer its buzzsaw across the arena, but any dodging remotely in its range will negate its attack and it leaves itself open for a counter-attack.

There’s not a whole lot to be said about this encounter. A two story buzzsaw fails to flail in the direction of a very athletic lady. Evading in the same tri-state as this mid-boss will perfect dodge any damage and everything from Pod gunfire to all melee attacks will ruin its day.

Laser communications recovered.
2B... transmitting...*static* Pod prog...*static*

We’ve got to hold about a thirty seconds before our “Pod Program” is installed. The Pod Program is short for this game’s analogue for magic attacks.

In this case, how’d you like a giant fuck-off laser beam attack from the err... Laser attack. There’s no MP in NieR: Automata. All magic Pod Programs are just on a cooldown timer. Initially, our default Pod Program has about a ten second cooldown before it can blast an enemy for 300+ HP of damage. There is absolutely no reason to fail spamming Pod Programs as soon as they’re available or downside to such an assault.

Marx isn’t a particularly difficult encounter. But 2B is part of a party that got nearly entirely annihilated by stationary beam cannons. So that isn’t counting for much yet...

Proposal: Fucking DODGE 2B! Don’t be like whatsherface at the end of Prometheus.

Nice. There you go. You’re already up the protagonist ladder.

Psst. 2B is totally wearing her blindfold in the same way as Papa Nier's eyepatch.

And hey totally not Emil Blindfold cosplay boy...

Says the dingus in the blindfold. Huh...? What do you mean they’re actually super advanced android goggles? That’s dumb... You’re dumb. Err... Wait... androids? Wait... everyone is an android...? Huh?

Video: Episode 2 Highlight Reel