NieR: Automata is the sequel to the 2010 cult hit NieR. But a lack of knowledge of the original or how it's beginning came from the most bizarre ending of the original Drakengrad game has no impact on a person's' enjoyment of the game. And there is a lot to enjoy.
Series creator Yoko Taro, producer Yosuke Saito, and composers Keiichi Okabe and Keigo Hoashi have combined their talents with the immensely impressive team at PlatinumGames.
With the badge of being a PlatinumGames development, there are some expectations to how good it should be. Nier: Automata excels in its customization of the battle system. If you're feeling nervous about getting close, just upgrade your character to have a powerful ranged attack. If up close is your preferred method of dealing with homicidal machines, your character can be specialized for that too. And the option to change your play style mid-game is there as well. There can be no button mashing here, but every enemy has a pattern and a noticeable tell before it attacks. When a particular enemy has caused you grief there is a real sense of satisfaction when you finally ends its existence.
With side missions aplenty, there are many opportunities to test yourself and every type of quest will give EXP to help you level up, making the pacing for the main story fair. But it needs to be noted that it is quite easy to get ahead of yourself.
As an added bonus, the gameplay will sometimes break things up by becoming a twin-stick shooter, which is just as slick and challenging as the rest of the game.
As mentioned above the game is a sequel, but it takes place thousands of years after the first game so that any mentions of NieR work as easter eggs, giving everyone the same start. Unless you happen to be one of the few to have seen the Japanese stage show that explains what happens in between both games. The story goes at a steady pace but slows down when after the credits role the first time, has you playing from a different perspective in the form of your partner. And later an antagonist.
It's an interesting way to develop the story but held back by the repeating dialogue.
Playing as androids in a world of machines explains the dry delivery of the script, but with the inevitable comparison to the first NieR, it isn't as compelling and the characters are not as likable. But there is still a fascination to see the story though and find out why this story is happening.
I have left the game running and gone to do boring responsible things (because society looks down on dirty clothes apparently), with the soundtrack blaring. The soundtrack is just a joy to listen to.
In conclusion NieR: Automata is a joy to play. It takes skill to complete and the story is intriguing just enough to keep a person engaged.