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#0: 03-17-2017 @ 01:40:14 pm
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=14676#14676

MachVergilMachVergil

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  • Real Name:Adam
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Those of you who went to PAX this year probably already heard me talking about this.  For those of you new to it though, Nier:Automata is an action RPG by SquareEnix co-developed by Platinum Games and is the Sequel to last generation's "Nier" which is itself a spin-off of Drakengard. The original Neir had a mixed reception, with many who enjoyed the game's story loving it, but many also having issues with how poorly done some parts of the gameplay was.  From what I've heard and read from reviews and friends, Neir:Automata fixes that and belongs high on a pedestal with some of the other great games that have already come out in Q1 of 2017.

Now Neir:Automata has been out on PS4 since March 7th, and comes out today on PC/Steam.  Here's TB's Port Report on if the PC port is worth your time or if you want to get this on console. I'm on the fence so I'm looking forward to hearing how this goes. 


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#1: 01-05-2018 @ 09:57:20 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=16372#16372

MachVergilMachVergil

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Okay I will have a lot to say about this game once I'm done with it, but there are some things I've been meaning to share because ever since I've started playing it I've gotten questions from folks here so let me say some quick things.

Platform

If you have access to a PS4, play this on PS4.  Yes it's available for PC.  Yes controller support is fine.  Theoretically it will run better on PC than on the PS4. 

Here's the thing though:  This game's port has very serious issues on some machines, and the developers never patched them.  EVER.  At this point it's probably fair to say they will never be patched.  Neither of my two gaming rigs run this game completely correct.  Setting the game to run in Fullscreen 1080p results in some weird resolution that is absolute not 1080p.  Boarder-less Window support is crappy for those of you with more than one monitor.   There's some graphics settings missing, one of which is set by the program to HIGH, cannot be turned down, and WILL drain your performance.  The game also hard caps at 60fps and may run poorly if you let it go over.

Now the good news is there is a pretty good mod, FAR (Fix Automata Resolution) which deals with the most damning of these issues.  It runs the game in actual 1080p.  It lets you uncap the frame rate if you want.  It supports true borderless window mode.  It lets you turn down or off the graphical settings missing from the menu.  Using this mod the game runs looks phenomenal on my machine and runs at a silky smooth 60fps (most of the time - certainly when it counts).   Unfortunately running FAR is a little bit of a pain and you may find yourself in situations where Nier:Automata crashes on launch if you don't REMOVE THE MOD AND REINSTALL IT from time to time. 

As great as FAR is, it still only gets my laptop, which can run Fallout 4 at a pretty good 30 - 40fps, to a grossly unstable 20ish fps or lower.  It is unplayable on that machine.

All of this combines to me saying "look, if you have a PS4, and you want to play this, just get it for PS4.  At least there it just works."

Content

I'm not done with the game yet so I cannot say "and it's worth it" to any of this but I feel I should note the following:

  • The game is a fun, well made, snappy, good to control, action game from Platinum Games. 
  • That said, all of that is enclosed around a VERY SquareEnix shell.  Especially Yoko Taro (Drakengard and Nier: Replicant) sense.  Lots of weird costumes and concepts that sort of bleed together into a narrative that is some amount up its own ass.  It's not so much so that I haven't enjoyed my time with it, but just like how you need to go into Revengence expecting at least some Kojima-flavored waxing poetical about the military industrial complex, expect pretty boys and girls in weird, impractical outfits that they all look very good in, getting caught up in existential conversations about existence in between bouts of slaughtering countless may-or-may-not-be-sentient robots.
  • Expect the game to be about improving gear, gaining levels, and a tiny amount of Dark Souls-like body recovery if you die, instead of the challenge focused design of say Bayonetta.  Also expect "shump" gameplay to play a MUCH LARGER ROLE than it does in games like Devil May Cry or Bayonetta. Like... "it's absolutely critical to the 2nd play through" larger role.
  • The game has like 4 or 5 main endings.  I have seen 2 at this point.  You will be required to basically play the same game twice, once as each of the main characters, before the plot moves beyond that point.  This took me about 30ish hours to do.  Now what I've played/seen so far of the 3rd part of the game is absolutely what I would call "pay off," but again, not done with it yet, I might change my mind.   Point is, if "In order for you to get this game's story you will have to beat it multiple times" sounds like NOT your cup of tea, I highly recommend you avoid.
  • This game's soundtrack is pure genius.  One of the best video game soundtracks of 2017 easily.

I hope this will help inform you as if you should pick this up or not.

 


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#2: 01-05-2018 @ 10:05:52 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=16373#16373

Misharum KittumMisharum Kittum

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I'm glad to hear that FAR helps with the PC troubles, because I definitely want this game, but the utter lack of post-launch support and patching means that I refuse to pay full price for it. I won't touch it until some Steam sale puts it at 50% off or lower. And without the FAR mod, I probably never would get it. All this is a shame because it looks like fun with all that sweet Platinum Games combat.

 

EDIT: Oh yeah, the one reservation I have is that you have to play the game THREE times to get to the main final ending. 2B, 9S, and then A2's playthroughs; especially since 9S's game is nearly the same as 2B's from what I hear.

This post was edited by Misharum Kittum on January 5, 2018, 12:09 pm


Justice and Truth
#3: 01-05-2018 @ 11:57:43 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=16374#16374

MachVergilMachVergil

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Yeah I was going to wait until I'd had a chance to finish up to decide if I agree with the statement "You have to beat the game 3 times to get all the meaningful endings."  My understanding is that one or two of Nier: Replicant's endings were not strictly speaking canon.

I'd also argue, based on what of it I've played so far, that saying "you have to beat the game 3 times" isn't entirely accurate either.  I've only just started the "third path," but it is does not start where Paths A & B start, it takes place chronologically after Paths A & B.  So it's really more like they force you to play through part 1 of the game twice, once as each of the game's main characters, before opening up Part II (wherein shit gets... you know what no, I'm not spoiling that, not even with a tag.  Not yet).

I'm being pedantic though.  Again I don't want to weigh in on stuff too early before I've witnessed the "pay-off" but the second playthrough was definitely tedious for me.  Yes, it had some high points and you learn more about characters, the world, secrets, and plots that are completely obscured or missed in Path A, but gameplay wise you're still doing the same levels again, fighting the same bosses again, just as another character.  I really want to finish the game before I weigh in on the "multiple-playthroughs" part of this game though.  There's a chance they're on to something here with how they're trying to tell this story and I want to hear them out first.


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#4: 01-08-2018 @ 12:37:42 pm
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=16382#16382

MachVergilMachVergil

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Okay finished off major endings last night.  I've now seen endings A,B,C,D,E, and K.

Where I'm at with the game right now is overall I liked it.  I had a fun time playing it, got attached to the drama of the characters and their struggles, enjoyed how well executed all of the mechanical/game-play parts were, and again, beautiful soundtrack.  It's also a finished game, which is more than what I can say for the last SquareEnix title I beat, Final Fantasy 15.  Game clock reads 44 hours,  Steam says 48, I'm willing to be the average between the two is closer to actual time spent.

Thing is, I'm at a bit of of a loss as to why I enjoy the game's story.  The narrative of Nier: Automata is such that it does a lot of things that I normally find turn offs in other things.   I'm going to wrap the following bit in a spoiler tag just in case you want to go into the game completely blind, but I promise in this chunk I won't give away any of the major plot details, just notes about how the game "feels."

  1. You can tell by the opening level that it feels like the main characters are "thrashing against the inevitable."  Rather than making me feel "powerless" it felt more like I was watching/reading a story in the genre of "Tragedy" and the gameplay was there more to give me something fun to do between story notes, as opposed to ever giving me the impression that I, as the player, had much ability to alter highest-level outcomes.
  2. The storytelling introduces a lot of concepts that are right up my alley in terms of cool factor.  Androids, Robots, Network intelligence, machines gaining sentience, visual interpretations of dataspace, these are all present.  Some of it is really cool.  For example I like that, as a gameplay mechanic, you slot "chips" into your character to enhance their fighting capability, but the better the chip the more "memory" it requires so you have to get upgrades to your maximum memory to equip the best chips.  Some of it is pretentious as all fuck in that way that only JRPGs seem to do, and some of it is really fucking dumb.   I feel like where these things will fall for a potential player is going to be very subjective, basically where your own "rule of cool" overrides "this doesn't make sense."  The higher your threshold for "this is bullshit, but it's cool so I don't care" is, the more you will probably enjoy this game. 
    1. Let me give a specific example of above. At one point in the game you learn something about the Earth that has changed significantly.  This detail both makes no sense from a scientific standpoint AND is never explained in the game's narrative.   Thankfully it is a minor point that serves really only to explain the game's lack of a day-night cycle, but if it were more central to the plot I'd be very irritated by it.  As it stands, I'm just letting it go.
  3. The game does lean on the original Neir for some of its very late plot points.  All of this "fan service" is lost on me because I have not played the first.  Thankfully it more or less did not diminish my enjoyment of this game in the process.
  4. I enjoyed the slow burn that the game did on unveiling its world.  You learn details slowly over time, and then overtime learn which of these details are true and which one were fabricated lies.  When you learn the lies, you tend to also learn why they were made as well.

Long story short, in case you skipped all the stuff in spoiler tags above, the game's plot is constantly wandering a thin line between "really freaking dumb" and "really freaking pretentious" and yet (with only a few missteps) it managed to keep on this line where everything is interesting and compelling enough to keep playing.  I wanted to find out what was going to happen to these characters, even if I feared it wasn't going to be good in the end. The best thing I can say about the game's story is that I think I'm going to be thinking about it for some time, rolling it over in my head, trying figure out if I missed any detail, or if they missed any detail, that either reveals something I am currently missing, or exposes something they missed that they should have addressed.

So yes, I liked Nier Automata.  That I feel pretty sure of.  How much did I like it?   Well it wasn't my favorite game from 2017 I can say that for sure now.    Taken strictly as a Platinum Games action game it falls well short of Bayonetta or Revengence IMO.  Both of those games are much better paced, and the lack of RPG elements stop those game from reaching a point where you're so OP that the game is no real challenge anymore.  Taken as an action RPG though, it has one of the more satisfying combat models in an action RPG I've played recently because of Platinum's fantastic handle on all the different gameplay mechanics Yoko Taro wanted in the game.   Taken as a story, it's weird, sometimes tonally inconsistent, but ultimately I was entertained by it, though not as much as some other games I played last year.

What I will say for sure is the game is beautiful.  I don't mean graphically - in fact some of the environments are awful, full of copy-pasted looking ruins with access blocked by invisible walls.  I mean there was clearly love and care that went into the character designs, voice work (the English VO is actually pretty darn good IMO), music, gameplay, sound design, interface design that makes the whole experience feel to me like it was a labor of love by those involved.

Thus I have a hard time making a general recommendation on the game.  Definitely if you're coming just for the Bayonetta-style action, I'd caution you to maybe stay away.  There's so much other stuff going on here you might find it lacking in what you came to find.  And if you hate Shumps or Twin Stick shooters, stay away as well because your need to engage in that form of gameplay starting with the 2nd run onward is way too high to be able to avoid.   That said if you look at the game and the story/art/characters seem interesting to you and you have a stomach for shumps, spectacle fighters, and JRPG storytelling, then I highly recommend it.  I'm just not sure how many people have all of those tastes to enjoy it.

If you're in doubt, see if you can get your hands on the demo.  I honestly feel like in the demo you experience everything there is to playing Neir Automata - it's a great "vertical slice" of the game.  If you come away from the demo hungry for more, then pick this up!


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