The Let's Play Archive

NieR: Automata

by The Dark Id

Part 99: Episode XCVI: Gated Access

Episode XCVI: Gated Access

I always forget our protagonists are technically named YoRHa Number 9 Type-S and YoRHa Number 2 Type-B. That’s a mouthful. Anyway, let’s get back to assisting 2B with whatever jam she’s managed to get herself into while we were snooping around classified records.

These comms are all messed up... Guess I’ll have to break in to the other side and take control.

Boy that digitized topographical map from a low isometric angle is beyond useless. But given the progression of events in Route A, right about now 2B and Pascal should be propositioned to become as gods via the local Abandoned Factory dwelling death cult.

Music: Wretched Weaponry (Quiet Instrumental)

Welcome back to hacking space. It’s not just for hacking anymore. Mostly... Since 2B is deep underground and the YoRHa cell tower reception is spotty at best, 9S needs to manually make his way into the factory to aid his partner.

Advancing to the northwest brings us to this tiny digital boy and a node to access him. Well, it’s not like we’ve got any other options, so...

New Music: Wretched Weaponry (Medium Instrumental)

Hey, remember those piles of dead machines that either passed on joining the death cult or were early adopters to divinity through death? One of those springs into action due to now being controlled by our boy 9S.

Now I just have to unlock the door where 2B is...

Judging by the dead cultists and the living ones either praying to their corpses or panicking as to why this is happening, I’m going to hazard a guess that Robo-Pope Kierkegaard has already bought the farm and we’re in the middle of 2B and Pascal booking it out of the facility. As soon as we approach the only open door out of this room, we find...

I should hack it and take control of it now while it’s not suspecting anything.

Alright, 9S. You’re the boss. A Level 1 Stubby probably isn’t going to get far if any of the zealots are busy helping their fellow machines reach godhood through death. So let’s hop into an upgrade.

OK. We’re a Level 4 torch wielding cultist. All they possess attack wise is a wide swipe with their torch and a leaping overhead slam. It’s not great, but it’s better than flailing with stubby arms. Let’s get moving!

New Music: Wretched Weaponry (Dynamic Instrumental)

Unfortunately, the convey belts in the factory are still active and our cultist machine ain’t no Sonic the Hedgehog for running speed, so we do to be careful in avoiding being squished. Unlike 2B’s experience here in which getting crushed would instantly kill her, forcing a body retrieval from a checkpoint, 9S is remote controlling this body. It’s entirely expendable and replicable. Should 9S’s controlled machine die here, he’ll just respawn as a Stubby from that machine pile. So that’s nice.

You first, pal. Unlike the rest of the game, there’s no level scaling for enemies here. Everyone in this event is Level 1-10. It’s like they themselves couldn’t get the balancing issues to work out and just went “fuck it!” by resetting everyone to base levels.

There is little in the way of resistance from hostile machines in the first stretch of catwalks. That is, until we reach the second central strut. There’s a big ruckus coming from within and it doesn’t sound good.

Music: Wretched Weaponry (Vocal)

We shall become gods!
What are you thinking!? Have your circuits failed you!?
We shall become gods! We shall become gods! We shall become gods!
What happened to all of you?
Gods! Gods! Gods!

There’s a bit of infighting going on in here between the machines down with the murder/suicide pact and those that enjoy continued living. The allied machines transcend the leveling restrictions by all being Level 15 and thus pretty able to survive this encounter. But heck, we can help them out while we’re in the neighborhood.

There’s no reward for helping out the machines having a crisis of fate, unlike in Route A. But hey, it’s a nice thing to do. So... good luck getting out of here, guys! Try not to not get in the way of the female android going on a tear through the factory. And uhh... maybe avoid evacuating to the City Ruins. One of your bosses might be fixing to have a meltdown you don’t wanna be around for... Just a thought.

A few still look usable. Better send these coordinates to the Bunker, just in case.

Any time 9S remarks on a pile of dead machines he comes upon it means a respawn checkpoint has been created. So if 9S’s hacked machine body is destroyed, a new Stubby will pop up here with a conveniently placed neutral upgrade nearby to hack and take over. Hey... nice axe you’ve got there, pal...

Hell yeah, boy! Dual-wielding up in this joint. Step right up for the fast track to divinity on the business end of this axes. Two for one sale on godhood!

Past a few hostile machines and a couple instant-death drops, we come upon another machine corpse pile checkpoint and a bunch more upset cultists. Talking to them all yields the same dialogue 2B got back in Route A. So we’ll just skip past that.

Up ahead we’ve got another conveyor belt. This one is moving at a much steadier clip than the previous one. But that’s OK. There’s another upgraded body to continue 9S’s reenactment of Shiny Entertainment’s Messiah. This one is sporting an Astaroth caliber big ass axe. But more importantly...

He doesn’t have any legs! Dude is just a sphere that floats. No legs means no fighting against the momentum of the conveyor belt. 9S can just drift on past while ignoring everyone’s least favorite platforming trope next to ice levels.

Our time with the sphere-shaped axe lad is short since at the bottom of this strut is an upgrade to a small gunner. Axes are fine and all but ranged weaponry will always be better. Plus, still no interference from the conveyor belt.

Whatever, robot. 9S has died twice in this game and this dweeb certainly isn’t anything approaching a divine being. Unless he’s the God of Being Dunked On – a lesser known deity in certain eastern religions.

The end of this path also marks the end of the silly conveyor belt business. With it comes a medium biped gunner. There’s never been a better time to upgrade to a Mega Man Robot Master ass machine than now.

If you’ll remember this cool shot of the zoomed out scope of the factory from Route A, you’ll know we’re just about to where 2B and Pascal emerged from meeting the robot pope and linked up with 9S. Weird, I remember 9S having a much less impressive machine in 2B’s perspective. You better not turn into an unreliable narrator, kid.

All right. If I can hack this elevator and get it running, I can get 2B and everyone else out of here!

It’s the very most basic hacking mini-game configuration to unlock the elevator. After the shut-in kid’s antics, this mess is child’s play to the master of unlocking here. As soon as the door’s lock is destroyed, the elevator activates and out pops...

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! 2B! It’s me! 9S!
I hacked into this machine from the Bunker. I’m controlling it! I’m gonna break into this factory’s systems and get you outta here!
<short circuits and deactivates>

Music: Wretched Weaponry (Chiptune)

In case you couldn’t tell the factory was stupidly large, here’s a nice overhead shot of a portion of its layout from digital space.

We’re done with all the robot body jacking. The remainder of our adventures in the cult factory will be conducted in cyberspace. Remember, 9S was busy hacking open gates so 2B and Pascal could escape the factory.

Up ahead is a gate lock node. As soon as 9S’s avatar approaches it, a small swarm of defender programs activate alongside a core. Just like regular hacking mini-games, 9S just needs to destroy the defenders to unlock the core’s shield and then take that out as well. No problem.

As soon as the core is shattered, a hacking node appears in front of the lock. 9S just needs to access that and...

There we go. First door unlocked! 2B! Keep going straight!
Will do.

All the gate locks are in sequence to the northeastern path. However, as we could see from that brief overhead shot of the factory layout, there’s several side paths here. It’s worth checking these out since they all contain Intel Documents that can only be accessed during this sequence. Let’s see what we’ve got...

All the reports located on this server are about Project Gestalt. That first part is talking about the Rhythm Game Ending E from Drakengard. To this day, I still shake my head a bit remembering that was the canon ending that started off this spin-off series.

The second part, “maso”, is the magic element that from Drakengard’s universe that proliferated into Nier’s previously non-magical dimension. Turns out introducing magic to a non-magic world is a REALLY bad thing and the root of most problems. While humans could science up some safe uses harnessed from maso (which probably eventually went on to be the basis of Pod Programs and other magic-esque junk pulled in this game) ultimately they needed to flush out all of the magical element back where it came from into Drakengard’s dimension. Or... some other poor sap’s parallel universe. Who cares! Not our problem once it’s gone!

I personally like to believe there’s just a succession of dimensions fucking over parallel dimensions by pumping magic garbage into them to clean up their own problem. It’s not like Drakengard’s universe was the source of all the magical woes. It had a modern day era looking city filled with dragons, a pan-dimensional parasitic god flower and assorted magical shit drop into it one day in the mid-800s and was identical to our world up until that point (the Drakengard timeline begins year 1 with the birth of Jesus Christ.)

But, enough speculation on the source of magic being some bullshit. We’ve got some gates to hack and 2B can’t busy herself forever slaughtering cannon fodder cultists.

The second gate adds defends with the armored front. This is easily counter-acted by the ancient human taught technique of dumping fire non-stop while circle strafing the enemy. A classic tactic.

Door two disabled. The door’s open! Keep moving!
All right.

Further ahead we’ve got a branching path with damage blocks bouncing back and forth in the crossroad. As mentioned, the gates are all to the northeast. So let’s see what’s happening northwest first.

We’ve got a couple stationary armored attacks lazily shooting invulnerable energy shots. Dealing with them, we’ve got another multiple choice option of directions. Let’s try southwest...

More rotating gatling attacks. Still not a problem. The trail continues again to the northwest. Here we find...

Ergh... Hey guys... Whatcha looking at here...? That’s not... creepy at all. Mind if we take a look? Of course not. You’re just a bunch of 1s and 0s. What are you going to do?

Turns out people weren’t immediately thrilled with the idea of using extra-dimensional magic to rip out people’s souls to store away while the magic junk turning people into monsters was vacuumed up for a couple generations. The numbers for amount of time it would take to clean up magic killing/monster transforming energy and humans all dying from it didn’t add up in humanity's favor, which is why they were resorting to this.

I wonder if the PR department tasked here’s chief job was to put a nice spin on the part about people’s souls being turned into bizarre shadow monsters filled with puzzling huge amounts of blood.

Doubling back the other way we came and going north down a long, ridged path brings us to the third and final Project Gestalt document present in this area. And indeed, the penultimate Intel item found in Route B of the game.

Replicants were the basically bio-android/clones of people that had the whole soul ripping out business done to them. They were originally tasked with basic programming in cleaning up all the bad magical energy until the world was safe from humanity to come back. And then the Gestalt/Shades/Human Souls were supposed to get shoved in their cloned meat puppet bodies and everything would be cool. Except the part where they eventually became sapient and started getting into conflict with the shades/their souls and that went poorly.

The Replicants were originally created each generation... somehow... by Android overseers. Not sure what happened to the surviving Replicants after the events of the original NieR. The ones in Japan, at least, almost certainly went extinct within a generation since Papa Nier and Emil murdered the resident Replicants creators, the original Devola and Popola. And considering there’s no mention of them outside of these reports, I’m guessing they’re no longer a thing. I mean, why would you keep making a bio-android clone of some 30-something salaryman from the early 21st century when you could just have a rad murder android instead?

Anyway, let’s get back on task. The final gate is barred by the defenses of several stationary turret defenders with highly erratic patterns. Same deal. Destroy them all and then the core.

In case you’re wondering what happens if 9S’s avatar is destroyed he... just immediately respawns at the beginning of this attack phase. It doesn’t even reset the enemies. There’s literally no death penalty. This is basically a big glorified cutscene in the hacking realm.

It’s open. Exit route secured!

Said machine is drawing electrical power from the factory itself. Proposal: infiltrate the factory’s mainframe and shut off the power.
9S? That Goliath we just encountered—
I got it! I’ve been keeping an eye on you. I’m gonna shut off power to the factory now!
Do it!

Of course, 9S cannot directly participate in taking on So-Shi with 2B. That was a solo encounter. Instead of that, the climax of 9S’s Chapter 9 is taking on a MASSIVE amount of defender units in one of the biggest hacking arenas in the game. There are around three dozen standard enemy units blasting orange (destroyable) energy orbs all gunning for 9S.

Alongside them are a dozen turret enemies forming a wide circle around the arena. These have slowly rotating patterns firing in four directions. These orbs are unbreakable and must be avoided. I found it best to gun for these first since they’re the biggest nuisance.

Once over half of the core defender units are destroyed, the trio of cores in the center of the arena get real ticked off by 9S’s antics and begin sweeping the room with a bullet hell of energy orbs. This continues until they’re all destroyed. It’s best to stay on the orange side of the room sweepers, since those can at least been destroyed in a pinch.

You’ve got this, 9S. Especially since you’re effectively immortal since you’ll just instantly respawn at the start of the room if you fail. It’d frankly be embarrassing if you died here. Plus, there hasn’t been a single save point this entire update. So, that’d be downright shitty if you could actually fail here after 40 minutes of this factory run.

2B! I just shut down the electrical grid!

Music: Wretched Weaponry (Vocal)

While we don’t get to directly participate in that boss fight, we still at least get to see 2B have fun being a dork being too cool to look at explosions caused by her Hanzo Masamune Steel.

That pretty much concluded 2B’s part of Chapter 9. It was just a small jog the rest of the way out of the facility and parting ways with Pascal. However, 9S still has a bit more to go, as we’ll see next time. But before we depart, we of course need a random additional storybook scene. Unlike the rest of them, where it was out of context and a heavy filter on 9S’s voice. This time it’s just him speaking. Also he forgot to queue up the storybook for most of it. Hmm...

Music: ENDS

After a long period of battles and adventures, the prophet spoke.

O grant me the mercy of the land!

O grant me the joy of the heavens!

Release me from my yoke of iron! Thus shall our souls be saved.

Forever and ever. Forever and ever.

Video: Episode 96 Highlight Reel

Cultists Concept Art – We must have run past the purple paint and ceremonial robes production facilities.

Kierkegaard Concept Art – White smoke for the new robo-pope! Oh wait... that’s just a bunch of machines committing suicide in a smelter vat. False alarm!