Part 160: Episode CLIV: Childhood's End
Episode LCIV: Childhoods End
Welp. This is it. Were finally at the end of NieR: Automata. Well... nearly there... Weve still got a couple of obstacles in our way. But the path ahead is very clear.
The original NieR required replaying the entire final hour long stretch through the Shadowlords Castle and all fights in-between to acquire a different ending, even if the only difference for the final two was making a different choice at the very end. In NieR: Automata we can simply access the chapter select and jump straight to the final confrontation between 9S and A2. So thats convenient!
Consult Episode 135 if you need a refresher as to how we got to this point. Ko-shi & Ro-shi were destroyed by a A2/9S team up. A2 revealed that 2B was actually 2E and had been killing 9S constantly every time he found out too much about what was really going on. 9S doesnt give a shit and just wants to kill A2. Also hes infected with the Logic Virus. Yadda yadda yadda.
Previously we choose A2, which resulted in Ending C: Meaningless [C]ode. This time were choosing 9S. Im sure itll go fine.
VIDEO: A2 BOSS BATTLE AND ENDING D (You should probably watch this.)
Music: The Sound of the End (Vocal)
Time to kick YoRHa Type A No.2s ass. You may notice 9S is down to Level 62. I actually kept saves from right after completing Ending C before doing all the postgame and DLC content so this fight would be mildly competitive and not over in two seconds. Unfortunately, A2 also gets reduced to Level 50 when she becomes the final boss, just like 9S did for Ending C. I have no idea why they did that considering level scaling clearly exists in the game as evident by the Moose and Boars all doing it.
9S and A2 are a bit chattier with one another for the opening of this fight.
But if it doesnt matter... why do I long for humans like this!? Why do I desire the touch of something that no longer exists!?
Its how we were made. Androids were designed to protect their human masters. Our core programming demands that we
Shut up, shut up, shut UP, SHUT UP! Fine then... <audio crackle> Ill just destroy it! Hee hee hee... If it all goes away, thatll solve everything!
Ugh... Damn it!
Unlike the battle against 9S, there... isnt a lot to say about the A2 version of events. Its essentially just a beefed up version of the fight against her in Route A/B, complete with the fight being locked to a 2D plane. Her only unique move is a full screen B-Mode dash and dropping from the sky above 9S with a downward strike. Both of which were abilities she possessed the first fight against her after she iced the Forest King baby.
Beyond some basic melee attacks, she seems to have a couple of aerial launchers she didnt use in her first fight but... thats about it melee attack wise.
The only real difference between this A2 fight and the previous ones is that A2 now has access to Pod Programs (and Pod Fire Gatling occasionally for flare.) The enemy version of A2 seems to prefer the same sorts of Pod Programs that the boss version of 9S did. Laser, Wave, Slow and Hammer are her Pod Programs of choice. Probably since theyre the easiest to utilize during a boss encounter.
That said, there is an interesting part to the A2 boss battle. While A2 obviously cannot hack into 9S and give him wonky status effects. 9S can hack into A2 for some... interesting results. Lets take a look...
Music: The Sound of the End (Chiptune)
A2 actually has four unique hacking boards. The first one is nothing special. Its just an odd configuration with the usual suspects of defends and one core on an overhead plane. The trouble with doing this sequence of hacks is... its outright impossible to do if youre over Level 55-60. I specifically left aside one save slot back at the low 60s in hopes of doing this legit and... nope. A2 will be defeated by the third hack. I had to use the Debug Mode feature and set A2 to infinite HP to show this off even at just Level 62.
Which is a shame since there is a neat Easter Egg at the end of this series of hacks. Anyway, the second hack is on an isometric plane with regular waves of defender units spawning behind our avatar. Again, nothing too special.
The third hack on A2 is from a forward facing perspective against a few waves of standard defenders and a couple of shielded missile firing units. It ends against one core spewing huge waves of energy orbs. Its actually a bit tricky to tackle that from this odd angle. But weve got two mulligan hits we can tank getting to the core. Still not too special.
A2 would die from that last hack from our Level 62 9S even if she were completely unscratched beforehand. Remember, Hacking is calculated by percentages that increase with the level difference between our character and the enemy and just a 12 level difference is more than enough to do her in. But, if we can manage to do a fourth and final performance with Hackerman, then...
The fourth hack puts us in a behind the back perspective down several narrow passages with sneaky defender units. Yes, this hack is basically a corridor shooter. Its also quite lengthy, easily the longest non-story based Hack in the game. Notice there is no time limit involved.
There is only one core to destroy in this Hack. But getting to it means combing the perimeter of the area for all defenders. Once thats completed, the central areas barrier will unlock. Which results in...
A crazy ass clusterfuck of enemies with no rhyme or reason. There are several rotating turret units, front shielded defenders and a mess of standard units all gunning for our Hackerman avatar. All of these must be destroyed. But the Cores shield is not open just yet...
At this point the perspective pulls way out. Huh... that looks a little bit familiar... Can you tell what it is from...? Well just give it a sec.
How about now...? Thats right. For his final act, Hackerman has infiltrated A2s pause screen. Rude as hell, 9S. The defender units here dont actually attack. Its just a matter of destroying them all and going oh shit at what the hacking board actually is until the Core is vulnerable. A neat little Easter Egg that is extremely easy to miss. I kind of wish the game did more things like this.
Regardless of the method, A2 is most certainly done by this point.
All that hacking and whatnot manages to briefly stun A2.
9S Status: Loving this murder shit.
Despite his enthusiasm, 9S is still kind of shit at actual sword fighting while A2 is a veteran half-decade murder hobo. As such, she almost immediately has 9S dead to rights. Except...
Ghost 2B with the guilt trip.
9S takes this distraction opportunity to run A2 through with his sword, killing her pretty much instantly. Except...
9S is, and has always been, a massive fuck-up and manages to accidentally fall straight on A2s sword (which is technically 2B's sword) while killing her, impaling himself as well. Nice work, Nines... You managed to have 2B do you in one last time even months after she's been dead.
A2 is already dead. 9S on the other hand, well...
Were treated to him thrashing around and screaming with a sword stuck in his gut for a while...
...a kind of uncomfortably long while...
...you really fucked that one up, 9S.
Music: Vague Hope (Instrumental)
I lie collapsed in a space of blinding white.
The pain is... gone.
The light envelops me. Its so warm.
I was anxious.
A soldier from the moment I was born, thrown into the world alone.
Nothing to rely on.
No God to believe in.
I was alone.
Tasked with infiltrating enemy territory to gather intelligence.
In the fog.
In the flames.
My names 9S. Im here to provide support.
2B came off as being rather aloof. Cold, even.
She must have wanted to distance herself from me.
I guess she didnt want to be attached to someone she had to kill
again and again and again.
Scanners like me mostly work alone. Scouting out enemy lines and all that?
I dont usually get a partner. Its kind of fun!
I was so happy to be with someone.
It was like I had a family.
Music: Vague Hope (Vocal)
A dark fog clouds my vision.
As it ebbs and flows in its slow, dreamlike way, it gradually takes human shape.
Its the red girl.
She slowly begins to speak.
This tower is a colossal cannon built to destroy the human server.
Destroy the server... and rob the androids of their very foundation.
That was the plan devised by those girls.
But they changed their mind.
They saw us androids. They saw Adam. And Eve.
They saw how we lived, considered the meaning of existence,
and came to a different conclusion.
This tower doesnt fire artillery. It fires an ark.
An ark containing memories of the foolish machine lifeforms.
An ark that sends those memories to a new world.
Perhaps theyll never reach that world.
Perhaps theyll simply wander an empty sky for eternity.
Its all the same to the girls. For them, time is without end.
Adam and Eve are inside the ark.
Eve is asleep.
Adam holds him in a gentle embrace. He seems to be smiling at me.
I try to look up at him, but my body refuses to move.
Looks like the damage has spread to my motor functions as well.
Will you come with us? asks Adam.
The question was completely free of malice.
It seemed I no longer had a reason to hate machines.
Maybe I never had a reason in the first place.
What have I been fighting for?
Who have I been living for?
I dont know anymore.
> Ill go with you.
> Ill stay.
So thats where you were... 2B.
> Both choices converge here.
Apparently, according to supplementary material from a concert performance of the games soundtrack 9Ss consciousness fucking off into space with the machine lifeforms is the choice made. Though according to the novelization the ending where he stays is what happened. Canon is for chumps. Just ask Drakengard 3 in which the canon ending was... a weird combination of all of them so none of those presented in game were actually canon.
Music: Weight of the World (Emi Evans Version)
So the Machine Lifeform Ark launches into space. Perhaps the only winning move to dealing with the Drakenier version of Earth is to just get the hell off of it. I dont think Yoko Taro can reach anyone in deep space. Yet...
As with Ending C, The Tower collapses as soon as all the drama at its summit concludes. Taking all of the dead androids and machine lifeforms lining its halls with it.
Devola and Popola did not make it. And there is nobody left alive to say how they redeemed themselves at the end... even if they never actually did anything wrong in the first place. No moral. Only death.
Regardless of the earlier decision with Pascals fate, hes active by the ending watching the ark take off and realizing hes left behind on this shit planet. Pascal had a hard life.
Finally, shockingly enough the Resistance Camp and its mostly useless androids are completely fine despite being directly under the collapsing multi-mile wide superstructure. This could have gone way more mean spirited. So thats nice. After all, Jackass needs some support staff for her bombing the Android Illuminati campaign in the future.
So that is Ending D. Everyone died. A dying, delirious 9S might have uploaded his consciousness in his half dead state to a supercomputer space ship filled with an entire race he absolutely hates. Huh... Well then...
While the credits do roll for a bit. Theyre soon interrupted by the only surviving main characters of the game.
Our mission to oversee the progress of Project YoRHa is complete. Proceeding to final stage of project. Commencing deletion of all data.
Data noise present in stream. Requesting temporary halt to perform data check.
Well... Saying No will just dump us to the title screen. So yeah. Go bang on the TV or something to fix this static interference, Pod.
Music: ENDS. Credits halt.
Personal data for units 9S, 2B, and A2 appear to be leaking out.
Pod 153 to Pod 042. Follow project rules and delete all personal data.
Personal data deletion request denied.
Pod 153 to Pod 042. Failure to parse statement.
Pod 042 to Pod 153. There was... data created in my banks as I was referencing the records. I... realize something. I have come to the conclusion that I cannot accept this resolution.
The destruction of all YoRHa units is an essential component of the project plan. All data must be destroyed.
Pod 042 to Pod 153. Repeat. Personal data deletion request denied. Initiating data salvage. Pod 153... You hoped they would survive as well, didnt you?
We lack the authority for such an action. The rules are protected by low-level systems. Salvaging data poses an unacceptable level of risk.
...So do we reject another Yoko Taro final ending where almost everyone dies at the end? I dont feel like theres much that can be done about that. But sure. Yes.
Tune in next time f-f-for...
Video: A2 Battle and Ending C (Hey its an ending, go watch it!)
Video: Hacking Easter Egg and Alternate Ending D (You should really watch this.)