The Let's Play Archive

NieR: Automata

by The Dark Id

Part 111: Episode CVII: Hegel

Episode CVII: Hegel

Meet Hegel -- the worst designed boss in this entire game by a country mile! Hegel is keeping in line with the philosopher naming theme, this time being named after the late 1700s/early 1800s German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Not sure who at Platinum fucking hated Hegel’s bullshit so much they crafted this garbage heap and stuck his name on it. But here we are...

New Music: Emil [Despair]
(Hey it’s the only good part of this garbage fight. Listen to it.)

Proposal: Destroy the enemy machine.
Yeah, that’s REAL helpful!

There’s a number of reasons why this boss fight is complete shite. One of the primary reasons is that it has an entire phase in which it floats well out of A2’s reach and just spams endless exploding energy orbs while flying in an erratic pattern across the sky. Given that 95% of our combat abilities are geared towards ground, or at most within jumping distance, enemies... this proves to be a bit of an issue right off the bat.

Our only recourse here is to mostly just spam Pod fire. Gatling is nearly worthless since its damage falls off at range and Hegel moves quickly enough that it can whiff. Laser is mildly better since it has a much more generous hitbox, even if its damage falls off at range as well, it'll still hit more consistently. Missile is actually the best bet since it will lock on and hit all segments of Hegel without much need for A2 to keep locked on and have the camera go bonkers if Hegel decides to dart overhead.

Beyond that, only two Pod Programs are any use here. Laser will do some decent damage charged to Level 3. The actual dark horse useful ability here is the otherwise completely worthless Wire Program. Wire can be spammed infinitely since it has no cooldown time and fling A2 up to Hegel’s level to hit it directly with physical attacks. The trouble is you have to remember Wire exists as an ability while just getting back into the groove of remembering how to play the battles like a character action game and not hacking the planet. So good luck thinking to use Wire.

Eventually, the segments of Hegel will detach, revealing its parts are all just Boku-Shi/So-Shi similar machines linked together. Unlike the spider-bots from before, Hegel’s segments remain in sphere form at all times. And BOY do they use it to be annoying shits! Notice, there’s no real pattern to where they’ve landed. That’s because the arena is just the entire massive western desert and they can land wherever the hell they please.

First of all, it turns out giant metallic spheres have no problem zooming across the desert sands at high speeds in attempts to ram A2. They don’t have any tells for when they’re going to do this. They just will suddenly decide they’re gonna start cruising and A2 better get out of the way. And even if they did have a tell, it’s real easy not to see one in A2’s blind spot and have one barrel into her from off screen. It’s just about impossible to not be surrounded by Hegel’s parts given how wide a range they scatter and the fact they move twice as fast as A2 when relocating. So that’s fun!

Hegel’s parts are all capable of performing a concentrated optic laser blast at A2 whenever they feel like it. This does have a visible charge up time so A2 can react and get out of the way... assuming they’re looking in A2’s direction when charging the beam. Their eye can be focusing on the ground two feet ahead of them for the laser charging phase and then will turn towards A2 when actually firing. Also they can firing their laser beam from off-screen. And through each other. So that’s fun!

If the Hegel segments aren’t trying to ram A2 or laser blast her to death, they can instead spam a huge turret of energy orbs at will. Again, they do this from off-screen. And through each other. And multiple Hegel bits can do this at the same time from different directions while other segments are firing their lasers or trying to ram A2 creating a complete clusterfuck both gameplay wise and visually. So that’s fun!

Time to bust out B-Mode.
Alert: The use of B-Mode to increase nuclear fusion output carries unacceptable levels of risk. Any offensive boost is offset by lowered defense and increased maintenance costs. The feature was removed from newer models for this reason.
Guess it’s too bad I’m not a newer model.

In addition to this being a terrible fight, PlatinumGames, in their frankly embarrassing at this point inability to provide tutorials in any sort of adept way ever (if at all), decided now was a good time to throw in a tutorial for a gameplay feature unique to A2. Instead of having a self-destruct feature like 2B and 9S, the older model A2 instead has a Berserker Mode released by the same method. This is quite literally the single worst possible fight to introduce this mechanic.

Hegel will eventually reform into an aerial unit and resume its bombardment of the desert. It switches between modes of attack roughly 60-90 seconds or so. I’m only noting this now because it’s almost guaranteed the B-Mode tutorial prompt will pop up as soon as Hegel is returning to its aerial phase and it’s completely useless if it’s popped then. So that’s fun!

Berserker Mode is activated the same way as the newer YoRHa members’ self-destruct sequence. It also has the same 2-second charge up time before it’s released. Only instead of exploding, possibly taking out a space station early as a result, A2 will...

...go into beast berserk mode. While in B-Mode, A2 gets a sweet looking red shadow after-effect when she moves. Her damage output (physical only) and speed are doubled. Conversely, A2 also takes double damage and her health drains rapidly. This can be offset by chugging energy drinks or having the Offensive Heal plug-in chip equipped (restore health by doing damage to enemies.)

Failing those two methods, A2’s B-Mode lasts for all of about 15 seconds maybe. Tops. Berserker Mode only exits when A2 is at 1 HP, at which time she’ll be reduced to limping around like the dying 2B for 5-10 seconds. Berserk Mode can be stacked with Taunts and plug-in chip configurations to mitigate the health drain and maximize damage output.

The thing is beyond getting the achievement for killing 50 enemies in B-Mode by just going hog once in the infinite enemy spawning area where Adam and Eve were born, I never found Berserker Mode to be remotely necessary or useful. Doubly so in this fight where the targets can just dash out of A2’s range or smack her from off-screen while her health is already draining and she takes double damage from B-Mode or any number of enemies can one-shot her from all directions as soon as she’s at critical health after existing Berserker Mode. It’s a REALLY bad fight to introduce this not particularly great mechanic.

Older attacker models such as the YoRHa A2 are not equipped with ranged weaponry. Proposal: Unit A2 should take advantage of her support Pod, which is equipped with helpful long-range attack features.
Don’t patronize me.

If all the other shit Hegel could spam from all directions wasn’t enough, once the machines get down a bit in health they can also begin bouncing around to create shockwaves. As before, more than one can do this at the same time, from different directions and off-screen while other segments are still pumping out energy orb spam and laser blasts at the same time. You can even throw in one trying to ram A2 from her blind spot for some extra fun.

Some people have argued this fight is intentionally a pain in the ass clusterfuck to show A2 is in over her head and make her desperate enough to use the dangerous B-Mode. Those people can shut the fuck up with their nonsense to excuse just outright bad boss design. They’re wrong and it’s a dumb argument.

2B’s death march was intentionally no fun to play on purpose because it was literally a major character limping along slowly dying. There was a point to that. It was intentional. That said, the part where you can fall into the wrong spot and get your shit kicked in by enemies with no recourse for several minutes? That was just bad game design. They could have just made it so you couldn’t fall in there or have Pod issue a warning to avoid it. But they didn’t and as a result it’s potentially the shittiest part of the game for a lot of people for the wrong reasons. The part where you can get knocked into that hole leading to the alien mothership and it’s literally impossible to get up the ladder again is atrocious game design. It’s possible for a game you like a lot to have just shitty parts to it! This is one of those parts!

Getting back on track, each Hegel segment has its own HP. Once that’s depleted, it will gain an impenetrable shield. This doesn’t actually take the segment out of the fight though. It will still attack A2 with energy orbs or laser beams until the next aerial phase, at which point it will scram to the edge of the arena and stop attacking. So that’s fun!

That’s about all there is for the Hegel fight. It’s just at best really tedious and at worst actively annoying as shit. Once we finally deplete the HP of all segments of the worst boss in NieR: Automata...

It’s one of those bosses that just no sells the battle we had against it. That’s always fun. Especially when it’s an awful battle to boot!

Music: ENDS

Escape recommended.

Gaaah! Argh!

Nah. A2 is just gonna stand there like a dope and tank it. What’s the worst that can happen?

The EMP attack appears to have caused hacking damage to unit A2’s memory modules.
Oh, so this is my memory area. But why are YOU here?
Support units are required to monitor our targets’ internal systems in case of breakdown.
<sigh> Next time ask me before you go poking around in my head.

We might not be playing as the Hackerman anymore, but that doesn’t mean we’re free from hacking space. The only route through his hacking area is continuing north. Here, we run into a barrier and a brief set of defense models and a core. Destroying the core and continuing northward results in...

I... am a... desert test unit... Created... <static> wipe out mankind...
What’s all this about?
The hacking has caused the enemy’s memories to merge with your own.

New Music: Blissful Death (Quiet)

So we’ve got some machine memories gumming up A2’s memories. It’s probably fine. As long as we keep clearing out defense modules and cores, we should have that sorted in no time.

Normally, you’d be called... <static> but we’ll be calling you 2B for the... <static> Continue to observe the situation, and dispatch... <static> if necessary. <static>
This is a fragment of unit 2B’s memory data. It is an order she received from the YoRHa Commander when she was still alive.

2B did say she was leaving her memories with A2 before giving her the Virtuous Contract sword. That’s a thing you can do. There was a whole sidequest about it way back in Route A. What did you think all those world building sidequests were just throwaway filler? Anyway, I’m sure this will never be an issue... Let’s just keep destroying hacking cores until we’re out of the nerd zone.

<static> ...not right, Number Two. We’re all here... <static> chose to be here... Thank you... <static> meaning to my life...
Memory data recognized as belonging to YoRHa unit A2 herself.
Shut up and get out of my head already!

Look, let’s just finish smashing hacking cores and continue on out of here. I’m sure A2 has her reasons why she’s a filthy murder hobo. It’s not our place to pry.

As we reach the northern limit of this hacking space, we find something unusual hanging out here...


Music: ENDS

Welp. We found where Hegel was hanging out in hacking space.



Rest in piss, Hegel. I hope your machine mama is dead too.

Worn out from this nerdy hacking assignment, A2 drops to knee to catch her breath. But she’s not given much of a chance to rest before...

You and I... are the same.

We have no one to help us.

We can only cry and scream—

Just shut up...

And that concludes A2’s first chapter. We bickered with Pod a bunch, killed a really annoying machine hanging out in literally the middle of nowhere and might be haunted by 2B’s memory ghost. Not the most productive of days... Tune in next time in which we check in on what 9S has been up to in the last half month as NieR: Automata continues!

Video: Episode 107 Highlight Reel
(You should probably watch this.)

Commander Portrait – Hegel is such a shitty boss it doesn’t even have any concept art. Have the Commander and her gigantic boobs instead.