The Let's Play Archive

NieR: Automata

by The Dark Id

Part 73: Episode LXXI: City Escape

Episode LXXI: City Escape

Music: Crumbling Lies

To kill machines.
Yeah... OK. But I mean a recon job usually means scouting the area and reporting on enemy movement and strength before the machine killing starts.
Command is just being expedient and skipping to the important part.
If you say so...

Hey. It’s the same shmup section from the original Chapter 2. There’s literally no difference except all of the enemies are now Level 35 instead of Level 5. 6O even calls up 2B to give the missile Barrage tutorial again. So... let’s just fast forward past all of that.

I’ve set a landing point for your flight units. Sorry, it’s kinda far from the Resistance Camp. We can’t risk the enemy discovering their location.
How many kilometers from mission objective will we be touching down?
About 500 meters. Sorry. I know it’s a pain!
Wha...? That seems... like WAY too close if we’re not gonna give them away.
Umm... well. I guess I could run the numbers again. I kinda got a little distracted during the first analysis. Hey, 2B. Have you ever heard about this thing called a panda? Oh geez. It’s soooooo cute! Hold up. I’ll send you an email with some pictu—
It’s fine. Orders are orders. Approaching LZ.

Music: ENDS

And touchdown. Welcome back to the City Ruins. There’s no title cards for any of the areas we encounter in Route B. I mean... we were already introduced to ‘em! No need to be redundant.

Music: City Ruins - Rays of Light (Quiet)

So let’s get back to doing the exact same stuff we did the first loop! They removed a few redundant cutscenes in this second loop. However, they didn’t want to deprive the player of any redacted gameplay.

There are a few new things we can accomplish now that we have 9S and his hacking prowess. For instance, remember those locked chests we kept having to skip with 2B?

As it turns out, metal padlocks easily fall within the parameters of hackable hardware. Just because you can give a padlock a Bluetooth connection doesn’t mean you should. Exploiting the internet of things, 9S can now open those locked chests.

The very first one we come upon in Route B results in a new item weapon unlock. Indeed, a decent number of the remaining weapon unlocks are barred to all but 9S. We’ll take a look at this weapon in a moment. But first...

We haven’t had time to check it out, but 9S comes equipped with his own unique default weapon – Cruel Oath. It’s a perfectly average sword 9S probably acquired off the android equivalent of Cold Steel. The first few levels grant Attack Speed Up, the function of which I’m sure you can managed to guess for yourselves. At maximum level it gains Dark Impulse, which raises increases attack damage when 9S falls below 30% health. I’m sure that’s useful as some kinda speed run tech or something. But for most people it’s about as useful as an asshole on your elbow.

Let’s see how 9S’s default weapon story pans out...

Cruel Oath posted:

Once, long ago, there was a group of seven boys who were born
in the same village. Though they were not brothers by blood,
they treated each other as family.

One cold night, a fortune-teller appeared and warned of a traitor
among them. The boys laughed it off and went about their
business, but the next morning, one of them lay dead.

With each passing night, another boy died. The survivors grew
more and more suspicious of each other, each harboring terrible
doubts about what happened to their brothers.

On the morning of the seventh day, a single survivor stood tall.
Cleaning the blood from his hands, he chuckled to himself.
'Better go find the traitor!’

Ahh... A child murdering other children and coming out ahead in the end. There’s the good heartwarming Weapon History stuff.

Alongside 9S’s default Small Sword we just picked up that Phoenix Sword. This popped up in the original NieR. It was the penultimate weapon in that game’s collection, located right before Devola and Popola took a heel turn and gave Grimoire Weiss a magical stroke.

Upgrading this weapon results in Attack Speed Up upgrades. At maximum improvement, the sword gains Phoenix Flash which causes it to randomly restore HP when striking enemies. Considering we have Chips that do that guaranteed with no RNG dependence, it’s not a great final ability. Perhaps its weapon history can redeem it.

Phoenix Sword posted:

One day, a hawk lost its way in the woods. Its proud wings soon
grew weak as it tried in vain to find its way home. As death
approached, a songbird took pity on the hawk and did its best
to offer aid.

The songbird slowly nursed the hawk back to health. The
beautiful sight of the small white bird nestled in the elegant
wings of the hawk soon made it the envy of all the creatures in
the forest.

When the hawk was fully healed, it knew it was time to leave
the forest. But before flying away, it promised the songbird it
would one day return. In turn, the songbird gave the hawk one
of its shining feathers as a token of friendship.

As promised, the hawk eventually returned-but with a human in
tow. "Well done," said the human. "These feathers will sell for a
great price at the market." Then he slew the songbird in one
blow and plucked its carcass clean."

Top 10 Anime Betrayals Contender.

Let’s take a minute to discuss 9S’s fighting style. It’s MUCH simpler than 2B’s abilities. After all, 9S is built for recon and assorted nerd crap. He’s not even supposed to be able to fight. Since 9S is lacking a Heavy Attack, right out the gate he can only equip one weapon per slot. And instead of having fancy combos employing graceful acrobatics, 9S just kinda stands in place and flings his sword in front of him like a crude boomerang several times in a row. He can still do aerial attacks, launchers and the charge heavy attack is now done by holding light attack. But his overall moveset is way limited compared to 2B.

Though 9S does actually have access to some heavy attacks. It’s just a bit cumbersome to use ‘em. He has a second moveset for most weapons if input is delayed a moment after the first attack. Holding the evade button also works. For instance, 9S will end his combo with a heavy slam with his default sword. It’s better than nothing. Though really, 9S’s playstyle is mostly contingent on hacking the planet and swordplay being a backup utility.

Since 9S’s fighting style heavily involves flinging shit, it turns out equipping him with a Spear and Combat Bracers are the best bets in improving 9S’s combat utility. Spears have way more range/speed than Small or Large Swords and the Combat Bracers are turned into literally throwing punches. More Combat Bracers start unlocking during Route B and I doubt that’s unintentional timing.

Enough about 9S rolling with the DMC: Devil May Cry combat depth playstyle. Let’s get back to the mission at hand. We need to go link up with the Resistance Camp two blocks away. The enemies in this early part of the game are all still mostly docile. Granted, they’re now Level 30+ passive boys, so we won’t be oneshotting ‘em. Everything has been leveled up accordingly in Route B. Also, they’ve added aggressive Medium Bipeds to the mix now in a few mobs and defending against them will piss off all of the other machines previously chilling out. So it’s good to keep that in mind.

Route B does delete all of the plot related Key Items for our inventory. However, any completed quest rewards still remain. Which means 9S is immediately friend to all moose and boars. They’ll gladly frolic to his aid as soon as we touch down. So that’s nice.

If you’re wondering: no. No, you cannot bring a moose/boar into the Resistance Camp. They respect the boundaries of their domain and maintain the shaky truce between the animal and robot species.

Kind of a dump... Shouldn’t they at least have some cover from machine air surveillance units or something? I mean c’mon...
*shrug* Not our problem. Let’s find whoever is in charge.

Music: Peaceful Sleep (Vocal)

Number Two...
Hmm? You know about 2B?
Umm... yes, well... She just reminded me of someone I knew back from my theater days.
...Come again?
Never mind. Err... The Bunker told me to expect you.
I’m Anemone. I’m the leader of the android Resistance that controls most of this two square miles of the region. Other than all the parts with the machines... You should go talk to my people to get filled in.
Shouldn’t we just hear a briefing from you?
No. This be easier. Here, I’ve marked three people on your map that should help.
I do not see any way introducing ourselves and speaking with three different people is simpler than just being briefed by you.
My house. My rules. Get to it.
Orders are orders.
Tch. Fiiiiine.

Unfortunately, we do need to go redo the first couple of pseudo-sidequests getting the two Resistance vendors back up and running, as well as speak to the Strange Resistance Woman and her distain for the fourth wall. Let’s get on that...

I deal in weapons. I used to be able to upgrade them but my tools got busted. I’d put in a request for a replacement with my boss. But she’s currently busy in another timeline right now. Something about preventing some guy named Norway or... something like that... from having children. Heck if I know when she’ll be back.
That’s what I said. Hey, you two think you could get me some junk to fix my tools? I’d be happy to upgrade your weapons in exchange. For a reasonable price.
Maybe. You can’t at least throw in a discount...? That sounds like it could take some doing.
No sir! My predecessor started giving out discounts to some friends. My boss, Accord, got word of it. Next thing the guy was just gone. Winked out of existence. Nobody can even remember his name now... I’m not pressing my luck.
Look, are you going to do this or not? I know some machines you can take out for four complex gadgets. Bring me those and we’re good to go.
Yeah. OK. If we’re in the neighborhood.
You are. It’s like two blocks away.

Unfortunately, Complex Gadgets are a rare drop. So we’ll have to go repeat that quest out in the field. We’ll deal with that shortly. Let’s gather up all our tasks while we’re in the neighborhood.

Hehe. What are ya buyin’?
What are you selling?
Ahh... I’ll buy it at a high price.
Oh... I err... I thought we were doing a bit.
I don’t follow.
Tch... Kids these days. Don’t remember the classics. Anyway... I sell basic items. I used to sell plug-in chips. But I’m short on raw materials to make ‘em. Now, if you could just find let’s see here... A broken spring... a small gear... and a broken circuit. THEN we’d be in business.
How are any of those things going to be useful in making specialized android combat augmenting computer chips?
Pfft. Do you know how plug-in chips are made, youngen?
Well... Not precisely. But...
Then shut yer trap, kid!
He has a point.
*rummages in pockets* Whatever. For some reason I just happen to have a broken spring, a broken circuit and a small gear on me.
That’s some real weird things to be carrying around, kid.
Why are you taking his side?!
Well whatever. I’ll take ‘em. I’ll sell plug-in chips now. Are you the one browsing or is the pretty lady over there gonna?
I guess me...?
That’s fine.
*silently raises prices* Alright, son. Have a look.

Since this quest’s item request is all common items, we can immediately turn it in and get our reward without fussing out in the field. I did skip past the mandatory conversation where 9S bitches about having to do busy work for the Resistance. It’s extremely rude when you’re standing right in front of the guy who made the request. Have some tact, 9S.

There’s nothing much new here in the shop inventories, other than increased prices for items. Everything has been set to a minimum of 150G a pop across the board. Which ranges between a 60-90G hike for some items.

The only new item of note in the shop is a new Sound Data record to unlock more jukebox tracks if that’s your kinda scene. One Sound Data file is unlocked with each of the five proper endings. Unfortunately, we cannot issue a warning to the YoRHa music enthusiast by the jukebox that she’s going to be brutally disemboweled by a machine lifeform’s teeth in a few weeks’ time.

It’s also required that we chat with the Strange Resistance Woman. Unfortunately, she has no new knocks on the fourth wall for 9S. We’re good, lady.

Music: City Ruins - Rays of Light (Quiet)

For now, let’s set out back into the City Ruins and get that first quest we received underway. 9S and 2B need to head straight north a few blocks. It’s weird seeing the city intact again. I’m very used to that huge crater in the middle of town. Also taking some getting used to is calls from 9S’s Mom Operator...

This is 9S. Nothing to report. Weather’s sure nice today, though.
Nothing to report, copy that. Aaand... no need for a weather report. Operator 21O out. <disconnects>
Aw, you don’t have to be so formal all the time, Operator. Though I kinda like that about you.

9S, don’t be weird about your Operator Mom. You know she won’t approve and we don’t need you developing some weird kink. Leave that kinda shit back in Drakengard 3’s turf.

So there are a bunch of passive Stubby lads hanging around in the early game of the City Ruins still. Normally, it was just mean to beat these guys up since they’re just idly enjoying the day minding their own business. However, Hackerman 9S has a far more devious use for these guys.

New Music: City Ruins (Chiptune)

Hacking an unaware or non-hostile machine results in some options upon successfully completing the mini-game. Instead of simply blowing up the hacked machine in question, we now have the ability to either Subjugate or Remote Control the conquered machine. Let’s take a look at that third option...

Remote Controlling a machine is less taking rudimentary control of an enemy and more straight up turning 9S into that enemy for a time. Now we’re playing as a Stubby machine lifeform. Unlike that segment at the beginning of Route B where we could only trot around and bunny hop, a remote controlled Stubby can attack. Light Attack will cause the machine to perform a forward punch, the Pod Fire button causes the little guy to do a head-butt and the Pod Program key makes it do that goofy windmill arms attack while shuffling forward.

Granted, none of these skills are very effective at fighting enemies. But remote controlled Stubby machines are the easiest ones to sneak up on unaware and control. The game purposefully leaves a few of ‘em just hanging out in certain combat prone areas. There’s a very good reason we’d want to grab a common Stubby. You see, we can still hack machines while remote controlling one.

While 2B will defend herself if she gets attacked, assuming she’s not set to passive attack mode, other machines won’t realize 9S is controlling one of their ranks. So he’s free to hack them as well and Subjugate them to his cause.

Subjugated enemies just become friendly AI companions (denoted by a little halo above their heads) that will attack anyone messing with 2B or 9S. There’s no limit enemy subjugation time. They’re our buddies until destroyed or we hit an enemy boundary they cannot pass. Subjugated enemies aren’t particularly great at combat or anything. We’ve seen the resurrected android corpses and the AI controlled 9S in action. They ain’t great at their jobs. But it’s a fun distraction. Just ignore the moral implications of mind controlling a race that is slowly gaining sapience and using them as disposable shock troopers.

In addition to subjugating allies to the YoRHa cause, 9S can also use hijacked bodies to piggyback into stronger units. The original body will be destroyed in the process. But who needed that guy. He was lame. THIS Stubby has a shield. It’s a clear upgrade to its predecessor.

Music: Rays of Light (Dynamic)

There’s also no upper limit to what we can hack and take control of if hit while unaware. Everything outside of bosses and sidequest unique enemies is fair game.

The original version of this quest involved just taking on three or four medium-bipeds with axes. Which was tricky at that point in the game, but no big deal. Route B’s version adds a Medium Flyer to the mix which can be somewhat more problematic... unless 9S hijacks that sonuvabitch and uses it against all of the other foes in the area.

Remote Controlling enemies can be a pretty fun diversion. Unfortunately, we won’t be doing a lot of that in practice since taking enemies unaware in the field is a tricky proposition at best and outright impossible in a lot of encounters.

It’s also worth mentioning that the game puts forth zero effort to mention that this entire mechanic exists. There’s a tutorial menu blurb on it that gets silently added at some point while we’re busy trashing machines in Route B. But no pop-up or proper tutorial or anything really. I had no idea hacking had any extra abilities beyond making enemies explode and doing tons of damage until about 50% of the way through Route B. Platinum, why are you so fucking bad at properly giving tutorials for mechanics? It’s kind of amazing how terrible they consistently are at it. It’s not like it’s a minor goof of a system. They put in the effort to make every common enemy type in the game playable. You’d think they would want to frontend that feature...

As a final note, the self-destruct function will detonate any machine 9S has under its spell and return control to normal 9S once it’s destroyed. Subjugated enemies can be destroyed in the same way. Indeed, 9S needs to blow up all his subjugated pals before he can blow up his controlled body and return to normal. Again, don’t think of any of the moral implications of this system. They’re just machines. Nothing they do means anything.

Music: Peaceful Sleep

In any case, following that mid-town brawl we can gather up all the dropped Complex Gadgets and return to the Weapons Dealer to restore his weapon upgrading function and complete that mandatory sidequest. There’s nothing new in his or any of the Route A merchant’s inventory as far as weapons go.

We’re actually almost done with the entirety of Chapter 2. Before we turn in our quest to Anemone and advance to the next plot beat, let’s do a last minute round-up of shopping by hitting up the Maintenance Shop Owner and seeing her stock.

The entirety of Route A and the bulk of accomplishable tasks completed in it and we’re still deficient on materials to upgrade any of our Pods. Sad.

It’s been a while since we’ve acquired a new Pod Program. So let’s remedy that and pick up a new treat for 9S. R040: Blade will be today’s acquisition.

This Pod Program is the techno-science version of the Dark Whirlwind Sealed Verse from the original NieR. It’s a pretty basic attack, but fairly effective. A digital blade shoots out of our Pod and spins around our android for 15 seconds. It’s a bad scene for any machines that come close to 9S during this time. That’s it. That’s R040: Blade.

Charging up all three Pods results in THREE blades spinning extremely fast for 15 seconds turning 9S into an android blender of machines. Again, simple but effective. This personally isn’t a Pod Program I’m big on since I prefer attacks with some range overall. But it is quite useful for 9S specifically since it gives him room to charge up a hack in peace without interruption.

All that aside, while we’re burning through all of 9S’s mechanics in this update, I have one extremely important note to make of a very powerful trait 9S has over 2B:

He pets AND fist bumps his Pod. Maybe 9S is alright...

Powerful techniques aside, let’s report back to Anemone and wrap up this chapter.

Machines are getting weird out in the desert. You think you all could check it out?
Weird...? What kind of weird?
Strange babbling. Spooky masks. Simulated orgies. You know, peculiar behavior all around.
...Wait, back up. What was that last one?
So are you going to do this or not?
We’ll do it.
Yeah. Fine. How weird can machines get? Nothing they do has any meaning. They’re probably just getting some circuits fried from being out in the sun too long.
Thanks. I’ll tell our allies in the desert that you’re coming. Just look for explosions if you can’t find them.
You’ll know when you get there.
O... K...

Alright. That’s it for the Resistance Camp. Heading out of the base gives us one last check-in with Operator 21O.

Transferring coordinate data for the location specified by Resistance Leader. <disconnects>
<reconnects a second later and map updates>
Nice, Operator! You work fast.
Mindless chatter drains energy, 9S. Please keep your comments reserved for mission-related topics.
Yeah, yeah.

And that concludes Chapter 2B of NieR: Automata. I told you we’d be speedrunning a lot of the early game. Tune in next time as we head out to the Desert and go see the birth of a naked dickless Sephiroth again as NieR: Automata continues.

Video: Episode 71 Highlight Reel

Video: Pod Appreciation
(You should watch this.)

City Ruins Render – Would be better if they were fist bumping.