The Let's Play Archive

NieR: Automata

by The Dark Id

Part 46: Episode XLV: A Need for Speed

Episode XLV: A Need for Speed

Today’s aim is to finish up the remaining City Ruin sidequests that we’re capable of completing at this juncture. Of which there are really only two remaining. Unfortunately, one of ‘em is the shittiest quest in the game...

Music: Rays of Light (Quiet)

Today’s shitshow takes us to the wrecked highway onramp found just to the west of the Resistance Camp, next to the friendly wrecked Engels unit (whose quest we’ll be finishing after this.) Before we initiate this sidequest, we do need to do a bit of prep work.

We are going to dive into our Plug-in Chip menu and create a new loadout. In our secondary loadout here, we’re going to cram 2B with every single Movement Speed Up and Evade Range Up chip we have in our inventory. At least to a point...

All abilities do have a hard cap on how much they can increase any android’s capability. The game will inform us when we reach that limit and that any further chips of the same category are useless. 20% higher speed is the cap for Movement Speed Up, for instance. That’ll have to do.

To initiate this next quest, we need to climb to the edge of the onramp and speak with a blue flyer-type machine lifeform cruising in circles near the ruins’ edge. I’m fairly certain I hate this NPC more than any other character in the game. I might go so far as to say I hate this NPC more than anyone in either NieR...

Life is a fleeting moment! We must fly straight like an arrow so we never lose our way! So let us see which of us is faster! Believe in yourself and grasp the future with both hands!
<Take him on!>
Oooo yeaaaaaah! You’re goin’ down!

So begins the worst quest in NieR: Automata – Speed Star. Are you playing this game for the first time... or really any time and are not obsessed with completionism? Skip this sidequest! Just don’t do it! Even if you’re going for all the achievements legit, you only need to complete 80% of them. Just walk away! Just leave that total completion number down a few ticks and walk away...

We are instantly transported to the edge of the City Ruins crater, just a little ways north of Engels. Speed Star, if the name doesn’t give it away, is a racing sidequest i.e. the worst type of quest in any open world game or RPG since time immemorial. And it’s a multi-part one at that. Let’s take a look...

2B needs to make her way up a couple of ruined buildings and along some overgrown tree roots to a nearby cliff. Sounds simple enough, right? See the problem is the High-speed Machine, if you haven’t noticed, has a hovercraft for a lower torso. Only 2B has to go through that whole jumping course to reach the finish. This cheating motherfucker will just fly in a straight line from the start to the goal.


Music: Birth of a Wish (No Vocals)

So there’s a few notes about this race. 2B moves roughly twice as fast as High-speed Machine with all her Movement Up chips installed. But the machine also only has to cover half the ground or less. So it evens out quite quickly. And by quite quickly I mean fuck up once doing the most optimal path and we’re done. There’s a few notes to be made about 2B covering long distances that are relevant only here because this is the solitary time the game requires it...

2B’s dash is as fast as her sprinting, but dashing repeatedly is slower than just sprinting. EXCEPT on inclines/rocky terrain it’s possibly for 2B to trip and lose momentum. 2B won’t trip while dashing. So there’s that. Also, apparently it’s surprisingly to a lot of people but you only need to tap dash once. Not hold it. Unless 2B stumbles or another action is performed to take her out of a dash, she’ll haul ass on her own.

Second note: Never mantle up ledges. The animation is slow as hell and kills 2B’s momentum. It is possible to double jump over both these buildings and clean ‘em without 2B lifting herself up over a ledge. Having to mantle once is real bad. Having to clamber up a ledge twice means 2B probably lost the race. There is only one part of this entire quest where 2B has to climb up a ledge. It’s the single worst part of the quest. We’ll get to that next race.

Last note: This game’s platforming is still janky as fuck, just like it was when we were doing that platforming challenge for that Dragon Quest stick. If 2B air-dashes into an incline that looks like she should tumble off, more often than not she’ll magically float upwards to the top of the platform. Don’t question it. Gravity and this game are at odds.

Even so, it’s very likely to see this more than a few times...

Life is too short for you to spend it running about in useless circles! Now get your dander up and try challenging me again!

At this point we can re-challenge the High-speed Machine which will reset the race. Unfortunately, every retry we have to sit through a 15 second animation of the side quest prompt, the goal being pointed out and a countdown before the race begins. So that’s fun... Let’s try that again...

Get fucked, Speed Star.

I’m excited to test your skills again! And next time, we’ll take things up a notch!

That completes the first part of Speed Star. Unfortunately, there’s two more races left. Speed Star will get canceled along with many other outstanding quests if we progress the storyline. And since it’s a multi-stage quest, not a questline like Father Servo’s business, failing it now means restarting all the races from the beginning on a secondary playthrough. No thanks! Let’s continue...

Wonderful! I knew you couldn’t resist the thrill of the chase the moment I laid eyes on you! Now let’s have a race that will make our very souls quiver with delight!
<Yes, let’s quiver!>
An excellent response!

Time for the second race. For me, this one was the biggest pain in the ass.

For this race, we’re on a nearby rooftop above where the previous race ended. Here 2B has got to run across several rooftops and across a couple alleyway gaps then clamber up to the top of that roof across the way to reach the goal. High-speed Machine, the trashcan looking motherfucker, will just fly across that gap ahead straight onto the roof.


2B has to make her way across several rooftops lined with derelict air units and rooftop access ways. Here’s a hard and fast rule for this race: if 2B fails to clear any of these obstacles and has to climb up any of ‘em, she’s lost the race.

That is mostly because this is the solitary race that actually requires climbing up a ledge. One that has to be double-jumped to reach the ledge. Hopefully. You see, there’s no button to climb ledges. It’s an automatic action. One which is really janky and finicky in triggering. If 2B is like a pixel too low on her jump or isn’t at precisely the right angle, it will simply fail to trigger. And then you’ll see High-speed Machine with his fucking hover ass float right on past and win the fucking race the third fucking time and you go look up who worked on level design for NieR: Automata and consider flying there and burning their house down while they and their family are trapped ins—oh... Where was I? Right. Fuck this race...

I know you can do this! I KNOW it! Now get out there and give it everything you’ve got!

If you’re wondering, if you attempt to murder High-speed Machine, he’s invincible and just tells you to save it for the race...

Since High-speed Machine is a cheating asshole, I see no reason why we shouldn’t do the same. Here’s a fun trick: Did you know charging up the Pod Program causes time to slow down for about three seconds for everything but 2B? It’s true! Also, a Pod Program attack can be canceled by hitting the standard Pod fire button. With this in mind, it’s possible to chain charge/cancel the Pod Program and slow down the machine’s bullshit advance to give 2B an advantage. Granted, this only works particularly well while 2B is on solid ground and this particular race is very jump heavy. But hey...

We’re essentially in a foot race with a dickhead wearing a jetpack. Fuck ‘em!

Keep it up! I want us to grow ever faster together! I’ll be here whenever you’re ready to try me again!

That’s the worst of it over. One more race to go. Let’s finish this garbage so I can return to ignoring every single racing sidequest in every genre offering it.

I feel it in my core—today is the day we pursue the ultimate in speed! We shall break down all barriers! Sound! Light! Tachyon! Never doubt your true potential!
<Let’s do it!>
Aaah ha ha! Today we show the world what it means to be speed itself!

Here we are: the final race of Speed Star. A lot of people seem to have trouble with this one, but I found it to be the easiest of the three.

This time we’re starting on the edge of the roof where the previous race ended and our goal is clear across the City Ruins sinkhole. Which means making our way to ground level and making a mad dash along the crater’s perimeter to the goal at the far end.


The first order of business is getting off this rooftop. It’s a hell of a drop to the bottom. One that 2B will take fall damage from and be briefly stunned if she just goes for it leaping from the room. There’s a couple ways to prevent dropping like a stone and taking damage.

The easiest to execute is being equipped with a Large Sword in the heavy attack slot and doing a downward aerial strike. This will near instantly drop 2B to ground level and the recovery animation for the impact can be canceled by performing a dash.

Now it’s just a straight footrace along the ruins of this road up the hill. At least for 2B. High-speed Machine is just flying across the chasm because he’s a huge piece of shit. But there’s one more trick we can employ in this final race.

Speed Salves are a common Support Item drop. They increase 2B’s running speed for 15/30 seconds depending on the size of the item used. There is absolutely no other point in the entire game where these items are remotely necessary other than this race. So there’s no shame in having 2B down some performance enhancers to finish this trash tier sidequest.

There’s no real other tricks to this race. It’s just a matter of running the optimal route as fast as possible and making a jump they put at the very end like jerks.

I’ve done this sidequest three times now (initial playthrough, LP update playthrough, highlight reel video) and won this race the first time each of ‘em.

Where you been you slow ass busta? Time you retired. Even 9S got here before you and he’s tripping over his own two feet as we speak. Sad!

Music: Rays of Light (Quiet)

As proof of your astonishing victory, I give you this. I can no longer challenge you.

Gee thanks. A chip and some Support Items that are about as useful as an asshole on my elbow now that this sidequest is concluded. You shouldn’t have...

It’s strange. I thought I’d be sad, but instead I feel... peace. When I think back on how competitive I was before, it seems so very ugly. But that was my life, and thus, I own it. I am content.
I am content...

...Well that happened. Personally, I’m glad he’s dead. Fuck that guy!

Thus concludes the worst sidequest in NieR: Automata. There’s maybe one more that’s more tedious overall. But that was definitely the most annoyed with the game I got at any point. Racing sidequests are and will forever be the shittiest of the shit busy work in games that aren’t racers.



...OK. I’ll give you that, Speed Star. That’s a pretty good dumb gag.

Anyway, before we conclude this update we do have another sidequest we can knock out. One that’s been around for a while. Machine Examination 2 now has a new part to it beyond just chatting with Engels about the world occasionally. Let’s see what’s up with the old machine.

What’s going on? You seem pretty low, even by machine standards.
My lifespan’s expiration period is drawing to a close.
Are you asking us to repair you? Because that’s a pretty selfish request.
No. Do not repair me.

Music: ENDS

Do you remember when you spoke of “sin”? You were right to call it so. I killed many of your kind. Killed androids beyond counting. It meant nothing while I was connected to the network. But now I understand. I know the anguish it has caused you. I must atone.
Wait. Are you...
My existence is ending. I am... dying. Please take my parts... and use them elsewhere. Farewell... androids...
*powers down and dies*

New Music: Blissful Death

Upon its death, Engels leaves behind a couple of fairly nice chips for the androids. Fast Cooldown isn’t generally something I personally waste chip space on since cooldowns are swift enough as it is. But Max HP Up +6 is a 50% increase of 2B’s total health pool and that ain’t nothing to sneeze at... But that’s not all Engels left behind.

Engels has a final Intel Archive which is automatically added to our database. Let’s take a look at the final record of Engels.

Pondering about one’s own existence and place in the universe. Also birds are cool. Engels 110-B seemed like an OK machine once it chilled out with the warpath. At least he was better than that prick High-speed Machine.

We’re no different.
Huh? How so?
We’ve destroyed machines beyond counting. Perhaps someone sees that as a sin.

And on that somber note, the Machine Examination quest ends. And with it, the last of the City Ruin’s sidequests we’ll be tackling in this playthrough. Tune in next time as we expand our horizons to new locales and see what busy work they’ve got in store for us as NieR: Automata continues!

Video: Episode 45 Highlight Reel

Flyer Machine Lifeform Concept Art – Cheating sons of bitches, all of ‘em!