The Let's Play Archive

NieR: Automata

by The Dark Id

Part 69: Episode LXVII: Hack the Planet

Episode LXVII: Hack the Planet

Alright. Let’s try this again. NieR: Automata! Route B! 9S! It’s happening for real this time!

...Okay. Just as soon as we redo the whole Stubby bucket segment. And the conversation with 21O afterwards. But only I have to waste five minutes on that. You all can just skip ahead!

Running anywhere other than straight to our Flight Unit will result in that ending triggering. We’re back in the prologue chapter of the game. 9S isn’t going to find any save points here either. So dying or triggering a bad end at any point means it’s back to square one. During this brief window where we’re playing as 9S on foot, we have time to configure 9S’s plugin chip setup if necessary.

Our current configuration includes Deadly Heal (gain HP on enemies destroyed) so we’re effectively immortal in shmup segments, of which 9S will be doing quite a bit. We’re not allowed to access the menu during those parts which is why it’s important to get kitted out now. Remember, all shmup segments scale to our current level.

New Music: Wretched Weaponry (Vocal)

As it turns out, that exhaust port 2B initially flew into isn’t the only miles long pipe running through the Abandoned Factory zone. Seems there are two or three of ‘em running through the facility. That seems like questionable engineering. But I’d say the same about giving androids the ability to cry or get drunk and now they’re one of the few remaining species on earth. So what do I know?

There is nothing new going on in the initial shooter section. 9S’s flight unit works mostly the same as 2B’s did during the same period. Strangely, 9S’s version doesn’t seem to have its heavy attack functioning at the moment. Not that it’s a big deal.

You have four targets that need to be hacked. Be advised that hostiles have been detected around each target and must be defeated before continuing.

For this segment we’re treated to a sort of unique version of the shooter segments. The camera is now locked to 9S’s back as he hovers mid-air down the corridors and we’re given free rein to tackle our four targeted locations in any order. The Flight Unit now controls in a tank-like fashion where we can pivot its direction 360 degrees and fly forward or backward where the camera is pointing. All enemies are kind enough to fly at the same level as 9S. So there is no need to bother with the Y-axis.

The order we tackle our objectives matters very little. Each corridor is filled with small flyers and new wall turret enemies which... just kinda fire energy orbs the same as the flyers. Just from a fixed location. A select few of the turrets do have plasma cannons that will fill the hall with an energy blast if they feel so motivated. However, all turrets buckle under about two seconds of 9S’s fire so... it’s rare they get to do anything besides immediately explode.

At the end of most corridors 9S must take down a Medium flyer. Sometimes two! Again, we’ve done that dozens of times. Though the lack of Heavy attack hurts a bit more there. But we may remedy that deficiency shortly.

Yeah, yeah.
One affirmation will suffice.
*quick sigh* Fine.

Here we find the primary gimmick of playing as 9S. Instead of possessing a heavy attack, 9S can hold that button to initiate hacking.

New Music: Wretched Weaponry (Chiptune)
(The music morphs into this every single time 9S hacks while this tune is playing. There’s a chiptune version of just about every music track in the game in a location 9S would do any sort of hacking. It’s pretty rad!)

We very briefly encountered hacking during the fight against Simone where she and the enslaved androids could hack 2B’s systems and initiate a shooter mini-game to avoid taking damage. The same principle is in effect for 9S doing the hacking. It’s just if he’s successful with the mini-game, then the enemy unit will take damage/be disabled.

There are a few more mini-game types than just shooting an orb while an orb attempts to fire back. Not a ton, mind you. But enough to mix it up. For instance, these computer cores we’re disabling require 9S’s avatar to navigate a small maze within 30 seconds and destroy the orb at the far end. The complexity of such mazes will mildly increase with more powerful enemies. This one is baby easy with barely any dead ends.

As soon as the hack is complete, the thingamajig cylinder is shut down and our first of four objectives is completed.

9S’s hacking is not limited to special targets. Our android boy is capable of hacking any mechanical enemy or system he comes across. Mechanical being the operative word. No matter how hard he tries, 9S sadly cannot hack a moose.

Just about every very basic enemy will have this mini-game in which an orb bounces around firing energy pellets while 9S’s avatar has to in turn destroy the black orb. It’s the same mini-game we encountered during the Simone fight. It takes all of about 5-10 seconds start to finish. On successful hack...

...Just about every common enemy in the game will blow the fuck up, instantly destroying it and damaging all nearby enemies. There are Chips we can slot into 9S to increase the effects of hacked units’ explosions to make them even more devastating.

But we’ll check that out later. For now we’ve got three more defense computers to take down so 2B can begin her Prologue elsewhere.

If you want a sample of 9S’s hacking in action against a more formidable foe, let’s check out the Medium Flyer. This enemy takes a good 30-40 seconds to take down with concentrated fire from our Flight Unit. Maybe 20 if we throw in some sword swipes along with our gun fire. Or...

...We can just hack that sonuvabitch and one-shot him in about eight seconds. 9S’s hacking is the single most powerful ability in the game. It is incredibly broken. Things that took 2B a solid minute of laying into with fancy sword work can be dealt with by 9S standing around hacking it for 12 seconds. Which kind of makes 9S sort of an asshole in Route A with his main battle contribution being the occasional sword swipes, Pod fire and frequently falling off cliffs.

Anyway, we’ve got another one of these HAL-9000 looking terminals to hack here. It’s worth noting that failing a hack, whether by being hit by energy orbs three times or letting the timer expire, will result in 9S taking a bit of damage and being ejected from the hack. There’s nothing preventing him from just shrugging it off and immediately attempting again. Time freezes during hacks/they’re running on anime super slowed “Namek will explode in 10 minutes” time indistinguishable from frozen time.

Two down, two to go...

Man, this is a real pain...
May I remind you that personal chatter during operations is restricted?

This section of the game has unusually good mood lighting. NieR: Automata has some nice shadow effects. It’s just they rarely ever come up since most of the game is outdoors in an eternally daytime world. So it really sticks out the few times the shadows pop-up.

One final hack and our mission in (god knows where within this tens of miles sprawling facility) is concluded. 2B can go start her Prologue now. I hope she isn’t playing on Hard. That would be unwise.

Music: Wretched Weaponry (Vocal)

Our attack squadron can now infiltrate the base. You are to continue providing support by whatever means available.

All that is left to do is to return to the central area we began in and zoom back out the same pipe we entered from initially.

Pay no attention to the sunlight making it seem like this tunnel’s exit is just ahead. It’s still a minute long flight to reach the other end. Don’t ask how that works.

However, there is only one unit remaining.
Oof! Must have been rough out there.
The enemy’s defensive weapon is making things more difficult than we estimated.

Once we’re finished with mopping up another series of cannon fodder, it’s time to head out and meet 2B again.

Music: ENDS

Hey, remember this part of the game?

It didn’t register that 9S almost crushed 2B by haphazardly firing missiles at an enemy right out the gate. Kid, you have a real problem with this kinda thing... You really need to correct course by the end of this game with your close fire missions.

Better make sure he’s actually dead next time. That was dangerous, ma’am.

And so our two androids meet again for the first time. Tune in next time as 2B speed runs this mission while 9S just kind of dicks around in a shmup level and gets really good at hacking, as NieR: Automata’s second prologue continues!

Video: Episode 66 Highlight Reel

9S Concept Art – Well, at least the Player 2 palette for 9S is locked in if they ever make a Drakenier fighting game.