The Let's Play Archive

NieR: Automata

by The Dark Id

Part 33: Episode XXXII: Machine Needs

Episode XXXII: Machine Needs

OK. Let’s FINALLY get back on course for a bit and head on over to the Machine Village. If you’ll remember a half-dozen updates ago, we were tasked with gaining intel on/from Pascal. Hopefully, he’ll be forthcoming on answering any of our inquiries. And maybe while we’re in the neighborhood, we could question some of the other friendly machines in the area.

Music: Pascal

But wh-whatever happens, I’ll protect the village! I s-sure wish my shift would end already...

You hang in there, bud. There’s only party bots to east and machines to the south aren’t allowed to go between zones. That’d be ridiculous. However, if you see a moose or a boar lumbering this way... God help you. No pressure...

We passed it by earlier in our haste to advance the story, but the machines in town have helpfully set up a couple of shops at the village entrance. The ball shaped one to the right sells mostly the same sort of generic items we could get from the City Ruins or Desert Camps merchants of the Resistance. So no need to look at him. The one on the left does have some interesting stock, though...

It’s good to see you in one piece. I was worried I’d lost a valuable customer. I hope that guy in the forest is okay...

This machine is another Weapons Trader. It provides the same upgrade services of the Resistance Camp’s Weapon Trader (weapons upgraded to Level 3 of 4.) The guy in the forest he mentions might actually be referring to a hidden thing later in the game. We don’t have anything we can upgrade at the moment. But his stock of weapons is different. Let’s take a peek...

Appropriately enough, the Machine Weapons Trader sells all of the machine lifeform weapons for use by 2B. We’ve seen the Machine Sword and Machine Axe being wielded by hostiles. No spears yet. It’s been a while since our last new weapon. So let’s just start with the basics and grab a Machine Sword.

Yep. That’s a machine sword alright. It’s not particularly great nor is it terrible. Middle of the road stuff. At its first upgrade, the Machine Sword grants a Robot Discount. These two merchants, as well as any other machine lifeform vendors, will lower their prices. That could come in handy.

At maximum level, the Machine Sword picks up the Machine Brand trait. This deals more damage as more enemies are defeated with it (up to a maximum of +500 damage.) I don’t mean more enemies in a single fight buffs it. I mean there is a permanent boost to damage by grinding enemy kills with it. You know, like you had to do in Drakengard or something. No THANK YOU! I’m good! Now about your story...

Machine Sword posted:

“The more old records I read, the more fascinated I become by the species known as humans. We machines must do all we can to preserve these precious artifacts and continue to record their contents."

“I see from the records how important predation and reproduction were to human survival. And yet, they viewed such acts as sinful. I wonder why?”

“I found a famous human book today, but after reading it ten times, it still makes no sense to me. What possible attraction could there be to such a thing?”

“Eureka! It seems the answer was in front of me all along! I am simply incapable of comprehending anything - about humanity OR the world in general! Ah, how wonderful it is to live in a world swaddled in mystery!”

“Huh... turns out I’m not programmed smart enough to comprehend any of this mess. Nice! Glad I sorted that out,” is about the happiest ending you’ll see in one of these Weapon Histories. But enough of that. We’ll be back for the other weapons another day. For now, let’s get back on course and go speak with Pascal.

Music: Pascal (Vocal)

Oh! It’s 9S and 2B, yes? Those machines caused quite the ruckus, don’t you think?
We need to talk.

Pascal is a very helpful boy. We’re given a number of topics to discuss with Pascal. We really only need to ask about “other machines” to progress. But of course we’re going to run down the entire list. SGDQ is not for a few weeks.

> Ask about Pascal’s pacifism.

We have been alive for hundreds of years. We lost countless friends, time and time again. But losing friends isn’t what scares me. What scares me is the fact that I’ve grown used to seeing those I care about die all around me. That’s why I decided I’d had enough.

Simple enough. Seeing comrades die sucks. I can relate to that. Moving on...

> Ask about the aliens.

The... aliens? You mean the ones who created us? I’m sorry. There’s not much I can tell you. We’ve been fighting for centuries without a single message from them. I guess you could say that the fact they never give us orders anymore is also a reason why we quit fighting.

I like that Pascal takes a moment to figure out what we’re talking about with aliens. That’s not the word you’d use if you were an invading force from another world. It’s kind of weird that Adam referred to them as that. Also, that’s about the last the aliens will be brought up for a good long while. And even in the future, it’s just background mentions.

As I’ve said, they are NOT a factor in this story. They’re just set dressing. That’s why their appearance was the most generic Japanese version of default aliens. Which is, yes, penis monsters with tentacles. And before you start with the “oh Japan...” casual racism... they got that shit from the West. Specifically, the Martian description from War of the Worlds. Which is pretty much... a big phallic thing with eyes, a beak and a mess of tentacles at the bottom. The more you know...

> Ask about other machines.

Yes, 2B?
Aside from this village, are there any other machines that are cut off from the network?
Hmm... I suppose that unpleasant songstress you so kindly defeated in the amusement park wasn’t part of the network.
You mean that singing thing?
Oh, and of course there’s the forest kingdom, but—
Forest kingdom?
Yes. It’s a vast woodland area not far from here. There’s a group of machines there attempting to build a nation of sorts. They’re quite hostile to outsiders, however. We can’t so much as go near the place.
Where is it?
Northeast of the city ruins. You should be able to reach it by passing through the ruins of the commercial facility. If you go, however, be careful. Things have been rather rough there lately.
This... forest kingdom sounds like something we should check out.

Alright. So we’ve finally found what this chapter title was talking about... The Forest Kingdom. Northeast of the City Ruins through the commercial facility means across that rope bridge near the tower pylon over by the shortcut to Pascal’s Village. Seems there’s a mall or something across that. That is our new destination. But first... we haven’t really explored the Machine Village much. And wouldn’t you know it... a slew of sidequests have popped up in the area.

Well, we did slightly advance the plot. It couldn’t hurt to go be social with some friendly machines and maybe knock out a few more sidequests. Pascal’s Village is divided into three levels, with a few additional nooks and platforms here and there. Pascal is up on the top one where we are now. The machine shops are on the lower level. And there’s a ground level below that. Let’s start up top.

This guy is not my kinda guy.

Stay out of trouble!

No promises there. Err... how do you get out of that cabin? It doesn’t have any doors and I don’t think you could fit through that window. Wait... Sheltered Machine. Is this just you? This is your life now? You and the cabin? That’s cool. I won’t judge. Looks like you have a nice view at least.

A solitary man is a true soldier! But feel free to drop by whenever you want, okay?

Aww... My dude, you should go hang out with Sheltered Machine if you’re lonely. That guy ain’t going anywhere. Just avoid Weird Machine. Brother has a bad vibe...

Well hey, look who it is... Mother Machine, Child Machine and... well, I suppose it would make sense there’s a Father Machine. It’s difficult to see from this distance but...

Father Machine has an entire suit painted onto his body with a beard on his face. That’s dedication. I love him.

I fear this is in no small part my fault, for I put all the burden of raising him on my wife.
You certainly did!
I’m sorry, dear.
Yeah, Daddy! You should play with me more!
I’m sorry...
Well, as long as you’ve learned your lesson...
Yeah! Learned your lesson!
I was hoping one of you would take my side...
I suppose I should try to be more of a “family man,” as they say. But what does that entail, exactly...?

That’s a loaded question. You’re going to have to figure that one out on your own, bud. Anyway, let’s speak with the rest of the 1950s Machine Family before moving on.

I’m a really good boy now. I listen to EVERYTHING Mommy says! Really! I’m good now! I’m really, REALLY good! Really, I mean it!

Well good for you. Let’s just hope you don’t one day evolve into a Teenage Machine and get a rebellious paint job and give yourself a patchy goatee. That’d be... unfortunate.

I feel like I understand him better than before. I know that raising a child is never easy. But I feel it’s worth the struggle.

Well, I’m glad things worked out for you all and I didn’t accidentally slice the boy into a dozen pieces with an ill-timed Mirage... Who’d do such a thing...? A real dick, I bet!

Up above the Machine Family we find a Normal Machine that seems to be having some issues. Near them is a door shut with the same sort of padlock as those pesky treasure chests we cannot access. There’s nothing to do here for the time being. We’ll just keep this place in mind for later.

Sure, sometimes it would be nice to be warm and cozy, but out here I’m always free.

Gonna be real, I feel like living in a house with a hovercraft for legs would be kind of a hassle. You’re probably making the right call.

It’s a comfortable life. I have everything I need.

Oh, is that right? Well you might think that...

But what are you going to do from the safety of your home when an android jumps up on your roof and starts jacking your shit? Now what? That burglary is not within arm’s reach. You fool of a machine! But enough of poorly thought out machine philosophies on the top level. Let’s head down below and poke around. Not that there are many machines we’ve yet to see...

Dear me... Where could it have gone?

They can just pop off like that if you get shaken up? That seems like a huge design flaw. Maybe you should investigate the ancient human innovation of “duct tape.” It could prevent such a future catastrophe.

Uh... huh. Something about that name irritates me...

Anyway, that’s all for the central level. Let’s head on down to the ground level of the village. This seems to be where a bunch of machine children hang out. Also, a couple of sidequests are here as well. We’ll maybe check those out in a minute. Let’s hear what the rest of the NPC machine lifeforms have to say first.

Yeah, I play competitive shooters with my friends occasionally too. I know how you feel.

He just doesn’t seem to care about punctuality at all! Or perhaps he’s angry I keep asking him to carry me everywhere...

No, my dude. It’s because you keep dying 40 seconds into the match and then bitching about everyone else’s performance on voice chat...

I’m trying to think of games we can play with their stubby little legs...
Maybe we should just settle for tag.
Yeah, tag’s not bad.

Sadly, there is not a scene where we get to watch these little dingus robots play tag. Which I feel is a severe oversight in this game’s design philosophy.

Heh heh. How cool does this make me look!?

Oh, you lil’ stinker. I see what you’ve done... But you know what? That guy up there has torsos to spare. Screw ‘em. You hang on to that one. We won’t tell.

I wish I was as big as him!

His is a tough and complicated life. Especially the dick machine part...

I need your help.

Okay. That is it for the non-quest related NPCs in Pascal’s Village. Mostly. If we pass by this machine wearing a bow, they cry out for our help. What do you need and/or where do we need to go, machine lady?

<Agree to help look for her.>
And it’s all my fault... It seems she overheard me complaining about how one of my parts was starting to seize up. So she went off to the desert in search of a replacement. It’s been days now, and she’s still not back. Please, you have to help me! I’ll pay you whatever you want!

So begins the “Lost Girl” quest. Remember the whole suggestion to continue with the main story until the unlocking Fast Travel? Yeah... that is almost entirely so quests from the Machine Village aren’t attempted beforehand as most of them involve traveling literally across the game’s map. It’s easy to get burnt out on quests when there’s a ten minute commute between stages of the job.

Still, it’s pretty funny to hear machines talk about siblings. Do you think she just means they were built at the same factory or something?

Beyond the Big Sister machine’s plight, there’s a couple of androids skulking in the shadows of the village. They too seem to have a quest. I know I just said in the last update to avoid taking a bunch of quests at once. But none of these conflict and it’ll be fine if we knock ‘em out in short order. What’s up androids? You’re in the wrong part of town...

Oh no!
Sorry, is something wro—
Mercy! Please, just let us go!
Um, I think there might be some kind of misunderstanding here.
You mean you aren’t here to arrest us?
Noooo. Wait, why do you think I’d arrest you?
We... deserted the Resistance.
You what?
We just want to find a place where the two of us can live our lives in peace. Is that so wrong?
Please don’t tell anyone we’re here. Please!
We’re not with the Resistance. We’re YoRHa. We don’t have any obligation to report you to your superiors.
Thank goodness.
Still, if you guys stay here, they’re going to find you eventually.
We don’t have a choice. My locomotion functions have been damaged and we don’t have the necessary materials to perform repairs.
Er... I don’t suppose you’d bring us the materials we need?
Huh? Who, us?
We can’t get them ourselves—if we leave this place, we’ll be found for certain.

Hmph. Another one of these kinda quests, huh? Alright. What do we need and where do we find it...?

<Help the deserters.>
Thank you. We just need an elaborate gadget to conduct the repairs. I saw one near the abandoned factory.
Thank you again. We know you can do this.

There’s another quest in the backlog. An elaborate gadget from the factory ruins. I’m sure we’ll be back in the neighborhood for that soon enough.

There is one last sidequest available in the Machine Village at the moment. We need to go back to the top level near the Machine Family and head over a nearby bridge to an adjacent platform. Here we find a real piece of work... This trifling motherfucker right here...

Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself. Additionally—
Um, hello?
Yes? And you are? Wait! Do not tell me! I have already deduced that you are here to listen to me expound upon the great mysteries of existence. Well enough! Let us begin by discussing the concept of existentialism. Essence and existence are two sides of the same coin. And yet, what IS existence? I’m glad you asked! To answer that will require many long hours of—
This is pointless.

All he does is spout a bunch of mumbo-jumbo about something called “philosophy.” If you’re curious about him, you’ll have better luck talking to his followers. They tend to use smaller words, at least.
This guy has followers?
More like fans, I suppose. But yes, there are quite a few out there who buy what he’s selling. Don’t ask me why. Some folks just get into that sort of thing, I suppose. There’s even one Jean-Paul follower right here in the village. You know the machine with the thick paint on her face? That’s the one.

Alright, another quest in the docket. Fun fact: This character’s name in the Japanese version is Sartre. Much like Beauvoir’s name was changed to Simone for Western translations due to legal issues, so did Sartre become Jean-Paul. Jean-Paul Sartre was a French existentialism philosopher, if you couldn’t guess. His philosophies made him come off as... what’s the correct term...? Hmm... Ah right... I’ve got it: kind of a dick. As we’ll see during this quest, which is entirely putting forth the thesis of: “Jean-Paul Sartre Was a Self-Absorbed Asshole.”

It makes a very convincing argument.

We’re going to hold off on the first couple quests for now since they’re outside of the Machine Village. But Jean-Paul’s Melancholy’s first step is just on the other side of town. Again, it’s difficult to get a close look at Machine With Makeup up close from this limited 2D plane view. So...

Hmm... not the best paint job we’ve seen. She should really go ask the Machine family for some pointers... But, that’s none of our business. Let’s hear what she has to say about Jean-Paul for... wait, why are we doing this again...?

Do you happen to know a machine named Jean-Paul?
I certainly do! Master Jean-Paul is a genius. You can rely on him for absolutely anything.
Are we talking about the same Jean-Paul here?
In fact, I was just thinking about how much wisdom he has to teach me, so I wrote him a letter asking for guidance. You’ll take it to him, won’t you?
I can’t let that lady in the desert get to him first! Or that harpy in the amusement park...
Great. There are more of these weirdos? And wait, they have genders?

Yes, 9S. They have genders. There’s a Mom, Dad and Big Sister Machine we’ve just met today alone. Get with the program.

Okay. This is now... literally a FedEx Quest, huh...? Fine. We’ll take the letter back to that top hat wearing machine.

Ah, yes. I see. Dreams are the mind’s version of reality perfected.
Hey, Jean-Paul? We have a delivery for you.
Ah! Allow me to see it at once. Interesting. A letter, is it?
A female machine asked us to deliver it to you. She said she could rely on you, and that you know pretty much everything.
Yes, yes. Now if I may, do you believe that existence precedes essence?
Um, is this about the letter?
Right, but shouldn’t you maybe respond to the letter?
Is one duty-bound to reply to every question spewed in their direction? If such is your claim, then what power was it who placed this burdensome yoke about my neck?
This is a waste of time.
You got that right.
Oh ho! Have you come to hear my lecture as well?
I’m good, thanks.

Right then... The other two portions of Jean-Paul’s quest involve a trek to the Amusement Park and the Desert Housing ruins. On top of that, we’ve got a missing machine child in the Desert Zone and a wayward elaborate gadget in the Factory Ruins. That’s a lot of ground to cover.

Thank goodness we now have Fast Travel. It would really suck to have to hoof it to all those locations on foot. Yep... Sure would suck if someone did that not knowing there would eventually be an instant way to teleport between major locations.

Video: Episode 32 Highlight Reel

Machine Village Concept Art - Seriously... it's just the Ewok Village if they'd had more favela shacks bolted onto it.