Nier: Automata Impressions

Maximum Bert

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CritialGaming said:
I'm at the point now where, even though I am leveling up, I don't feel stronger. There is this mission where I have to kill like 8 enemies with shields in 30 seconds and I simply don't do enough damage. No amount of comboing melee with the little robot companion thing helps. I fail by 5 seconds everytime. I even came back and tried it 3 levels "stronger" and nothing changes. I've tried installing increased attack damage chips, but that doesn't help because I don't have anything powerful enough to make a difference. Not to mention I have no room to install shit. I can put in 2 chips, just 2, and it doesn't matter.

The more I play the more shit just gets in my fucking way. It's like playing Zelda again but with a shitty color pallet.
Are you on about jackasses last trial? If so you should be able to do it with a reasonable loadout although I dont think I had much going in so perhaps its not essential. It took me a few tries but in the end I found the best method was to dodge just as they are about to hit you then counter with the R1 button for massive damage (as you wont burn them down fast enough otherwise) also when you have space charge up the laser on the pod and let rip then when their shields are down and their numbers are thinned go in. I managed to do it at level 13 with a few seconds spare although at the start it seemed impossible.

The mission that is annoying the hell out of me is the last speed star mission damn that is annoying especially as I hate checkpoint race missions in pretty much any game.

So far my impressions went from hmmm not sure about this to loving the heck out of it. Like Nier I am doing the side missions not so much for rewards but because I want to get more info im about 11 hours in and only on my 1st playthrough but I am really enjoying it now. Combat I was initially worried about and its no Bayonetta or Vanquish although I personally prefer it to Revengeance but I find it enjoyable enough that encounters do not exactly bother me and in some cases actually get me to look forward to them especially the bosses.

Like the tone as well initially I found it very muted and bleak and while I still do I really like the use of light and as for the story I am already hooked. My thoughts may change but initially I was not very interested in the game I did not even bother to download the demo but I am glad I took the chance so far as the more I play the more I am enjoying it.

Also liking the mashup nature of the gameplay but then I like Shmups, platformers and 3d action games in general.

One thing that struck me initially is how well presented the game is and how it handles it handles a lot of the games systems within its theme and world which really helps to draw me in more. As for the characters I did not think I would like them but damn I was wrong however I am not sure it will excel quite as far as Nier did in the department.
 

Foolery

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It's basically a Metal Gear Revengeance clone, with worse bossfights and health-sponge enemies. That's all I got out of it after playing for about 20 hours. That's not to say the game is bad, it's good. But unworthy of the mindless praise that people are heaping on Platinum and Yoko Taro. Dodge-spamming everything, downing recoveries, and waiting to attack with little rhythm or enemy tells whilst fighting the camera and floaty controls, is not very engaging. There's too much shit swirling on screen to get any kind of proper flow, until you hit the one on one segments. I'm also not a fan of having the controls jerked away for intermittent cutscenes. And sidequests are a boring chore with the limited and uninteresting world map. You're better off fishing for cash to purchase and upgrade gear.
 

Foolery

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Ezekiel said:
Foolery said:
It's basically a Metal Gear Revengeance clone, with worse bossfights and health-sponge enemies. That's all I got out of it after playing for about 20 hours. That's not to say the game is bad, it's good. But unworthy of the mindless praise that people are heaping on Platinum and Yoko Taro. Dodge-spamming everything, downing recoveries, and waiting to attack with little rhythm or enemy tells whilst fighting the camera and floaty controls, is not very engaging. There's too much shit swirling on screen to get any kind of proper flow, until you hit the one on one segments. I'm also not a fan of having the controls jerked away for intermittent cutscenes. And sidequests are a boring chore with the limited and uninteresting world map. You're better off fishing for cash to purchase and upgrade gear.
I dislike MGR, yet I'm enjoying this. I guess the main differences for me are how it tells its lore and story over multiple playthroughs in an open world with relevant side quests (as well as the main quests), how much there is to discover in the world, the characters, the shallow but serviceable combat, the music and art direction. MGR, I thought, had nothing going for it other than the overrated, monotonous combat.

Also, Cyborg Raiden sucks. I preferred him as he was in MGS2. His ending was one of positivity, so it was a letdown to see him become such a mess in MGS4, all because fans didn't like him and didn't find him "badass." As if we needed ANOTHER cyborg ninja in MGS.
I'm probably being overly harsh, some of the sidequests are fairly entertaining. The Speed Star race quest reminded me of Mario 64 when you race that Koopa to the top of Bom-omb hill.

"...You're that Ninja!"
Yeah, Cyborg Raiden is a mixed bag. I think it was mostly unnecessary, but the plot of MGS4 wouldn't be the same without him. Though I suppose they could just have not made him a cyborg. Make a new character for that role, and leave his MGS2 story arc intact.
 

Dirty Hipsters

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I finally have time for this thread, yay!

So I'm currently on scenario B of the game, so I feel I've taken enough time to give my thoughts.

1. The difficulty of this game sucks.

On normal difficulty everything is too easy, you don't take enough damage, and after getting a few specific plug-in chips (the ones that give you health back for dealing damage, and another for getting health back from killing enemies) you become almost invincible. On the other hand the hard difficulty is too hard, especially at the outset of the game. Even the most basic enemy takes off 80% of your health in one hit when you start the game. I hard to turn the difficulty down to normal to get through the tutorial area, but normal feels pretty boring for a while.

2. The default controls suck, but the controls are FULLY customizable which is awesome.

I'm playing on the PS4, so I changed dodge to L1, pod program to L2, lock-on to R1, and fire to R2 and I think it works really well, much better than the default controls.

3. There's a lot of technical issues with the game. In the sections where the camera is locked in place, sometimes it's locked in an awkward spot (like Jackass's combat challenges, where the camera is really far away from the action, and at kind of a weird angle). There's framerate issues, especially in the forest. It's not enough to really affect combat, but the frame rate dips can get pretty annoying. Finally there's a lot of bad textures in the game. Like for example in the Resistance Camp, right next to the transporter there's a really poorly textured rusty box, and you have to look at it fore several seconds every time you fast travel to that location, and it really stands out next to the extremely detailed and high quality models of 2B and 9S.

4. The presentation is fantastic. I love the HUD, I love the design of the menus, everything about it looks and feels so precise and it just hits all of my aesthetic preferences perfectly.

5. The combat is fairly simplistic, but I still really enjoy it. The game does a good job of forcing you to use your full range of abilities in all the major combat sections, and especially in the boss fights where you're often jumping, shooting, slashing, dodging missiles and adds, managing your pod program cool-downs, switching weapons, and healing all at the same time. It gives it all a nice hectic feel while still feeling tight. I really like the skill system in the game, with the plug-in chips. It really allows you to tailor your character to play exactly how you want them to. I like to focus on dodging and countering, and I use overclock, counter, shockwave, speed, and dodge distance chips almost exclusively. If you set your character up correctly it makes you feel pretty much untouchable. Really wish there were more boss fights like Adam in the game. No bullshit, just a guy who is fast, strong, and hits hard.

6. I'm really enjoying the writing and even most of the side quests are well written and feel fun and unique. It's too bad the first playthrough ends so abruptly. There's all these hints of conspiracy and things you need to uncover about both the machines and the androids, and then it kind of just ends after a couple of back to back boss fights. It's unsatisfying, and while I'm having fun with scenario B I really want to get through it as fast as I can to get to C so I can start seeing the rest of the story.

So all in all, while the game does have some problems I'm really liking it. It's not a 10/10, the technical issues really prevent that, but it's definitely a solid 8 for me. It's fun and unique, and I'm constantly looking forward to finding out what happens next.
 

crimson5pheonix

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For people saying the game is too easy on normal, it kinda is apart from some side quests that are just out of your weight class for a while. Until route C. Then the game checks if you're on point with your skill.
 

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crimson5pheonix said:
For people saying the game is too easy on normal, it kinda is apart from some side quests that are just out of your weight class for a while. Until route C. Then the game checks if you're on point with your skill.
I just really wish that there was a difficulty between normal and hard.

At the start of the game on normal difficulty you can take like 8-10 hits before you die, on hard you die after 2. THAT'S A HUGE DIFFERENCE. Such a huge difference in fact that the only time I've died in the game on normal was when I got insta-killed by a crusher in the factory.

On hard I died 3 times in the first combat room with the first group of enemies and the buzzsaw arm mini-boss before giving up on hard because I got sick of replaying the opening flight tutorial.

I feel like that's really poor balancing. If on normal I can easily beat enemies double my level (level 17 vs enemies at level 36) then there's something seriously wrong with the challenge curve.
 

crimson5pheonix

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Dirty Hipsters said:
crimson5pheonix said:
For people saying the game is too easy on normal, it kinda is apart from some side quests that are just out of your weight class for a while. Until route C. Then the game checks if you're on point with your skill.
I just really wish that there was a difficulty between normal and hard.

At the start of the game on normal difficulty you can take like 8-10 hits before you die, on hard you die after 2. THAT'S A HUGE DIFFERENCE. Such a huge difference in fact that the only time I've died in the game on normal was when I got insta-killed by a crusher in the factory.

On hard I died 3 times in the first combat room with the first group of enemies and the buzzsaw arm mini-boss before giving up on hard because I got sick of replaying the opening flight tutorial.

I feel like that's really poor balancing. If on normal I can easily beat enemies double my level (level 17 vs enemies at level 36) then there's something seriously wrong with the challenge curve.
But isn't that somewhat standard with Platinum games? You can breeze through the early game and then the game decides to see if you've been lazy?
 

Dirty Hipsters

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crimson5pheonix said:
Dirty Hipsters said:
crimson5pheonix said:
For people saying the game is too easy on normal, it kinda is apart from some side quests that are just out of your weight class for a while. Until route C. Then the game checks if you're on point with your skill.
I just really wish that there was a difficulty between normal and hard.

At the start of the game on normal difficulty you can take like 8-10 hits before you die, on hard you die after 2. THAT'S A HUGE DIFFERENCE. Such a huge difference in fact that the only time I've died in the game on normal was when I got insta-killed by a crusher in the factory.

On hard I died 3 times in the first combat room with the first group of enemies and the buzzsaw arm mini-boss before giving up on hard because I got sick of replaying the opening flight tutorial.

I feel like that's really poor balancing. If on normal I can easily beat enemies double my level (level 17 vs enemies at level 36) then there's something seriously wrong with the challenge curve.
But isn't that somewhat standard with Platinum games? You can breeze through the early game and then the game decides to see if you've been lazy?
Yes, except Platinum games are 8 hours long and check to see if you've been lazy 4 hours in. It takes like 30 hours to get to scenario C. That's not exactly the same thing.
 

crimson5pheonix

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Dirty Hipsters said:
crimson5pheonix said:
Dirty Hipsters said:
crimson5pheonix said:
For people saying the game is too easy on normal, it kinda is apart from some side quests that are just out of your weight class for a while. Until route C. Then the game checks if you're on point with your skill.
I just really wish that there was a difficulty between normal and hard.

At the start of the game on normal difficulty you can take like 8-10 hits before you die, on hard you die after 2. THAT'S A HUGE DIFFERENCE. Such a huge difference in fact that the only time I've died in the game on normal was when I got insta-killed by a crusher in the factory.

On hard I died 3 times in the first combat room with the first group of enemies and the buzzsaw arm mini-boss before giving up on hard because I got sick of replaying the opening flight tutorial.

I feel like that's really poor balancing. If on normal I can easily beat enemies double my level (level 17 vs enemies at level 36) then there's something seriously wrong with the challenge curve.
But isn't that somewhat standard with Platinum games? You can breeze through the early game and then the game decides to see if you've been lazy?
Yes, except Platinum games are 8 hours long and check to see if you've been lazy 4 hours in. It takes like 30 hours to get to scenario C. That's not exactly the same thing.
Fair point.
 

Fox12

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crimson5pheonix said:
Dirty Hipsters said:
crimson5pheonix said:
For people saying the game is too easy on normal, it kinda is apart from some side quests that are just out of your weight class for a while. Until route C. Then the game checks if you're on point with your skill.
I just really wish that there was a difficulty between normal and hard.

At the start of the game on normal difficulty you can take like 8-10 hits before you die, on hard you die after 2. THAT'S A HUGE DIFFERENCE. Such a huge difference in fact that the only time I've died in the game on normal was when I got insta-killed by a crusher in the factory.

On hard I died 3 times in the first combat room with the first group of enemies and the buzzsaw arm mini-boss before giving up on hard because I got sick of replaying the opening flight tutorial.

I feel like that's really poor balancing. If on normal I can easily beat enemies double my level (level 17 vs enemies at level 36) then there's something seriously wrong with the challenge curve.
But isn't that somewhat standard with Platinum games? You can breeze through the early game and then the game decides to see if you've been lazy?
Not to mention that this isn't even a platinum game. It's a Nier game with way better controls. And it's really good at being that.
 

JagermanXcell

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crimson5pheonix said:
Dirty Hipsters said:
crimson5pheonix said:
For people saying the game is too easy on normal, it kinda is apart from some side quests that are just out of your weight class for a while. Until route C. Then the game checks if you're on point with your skill.
I just really wish that there was a difficulty between normal and hard.

At the start of the game on normal difficulty you can take like 8-10 hits before you die, on hard you die after 2. THAT'S A HUGE DIFFERENCE. Such a huge difference in fact that the only time I've died in the game on normal was when I got insta-killed by a crusher in the factory.

On hard I died 3 times in the first combat room with the first group of enemies and the buzzsaw arm mini-boss before giving up on hard because I got sick of replaying the opening flight tutorial.

I feel like that's really poor balancing. If on normal I can easily beat enemies double my level (level 17 vs enemies at level 36) then there's something seriously wrong with the challenge curve.
But isn't that somewhat standard with Platinum games? You can breeze through the early game and then the game decides to see if you've been lazy?
This is the more JRPG with a Platinum twist than their more traditional character action games, so balancing issues being apparent isn't a stretch.

Though while the difficulty issue might just be classic Platinum balancing issues, it also may have come out of request from Taro to have Normal be a tad bit easy (till Route C) because he has a philosophy on giving the player a fairly smooth time through to have a nicer experience and grasp on the story. He even stated in interviews that the difficulty settings are there just for those who want a challenge (no trophies for beating the game on any difficulty is evidence of that).

That being said, he's not wrong. I wish there wasn't such a huge power gap between Normal and Hard, while the gap between Hard and Very Hard is "you die in 2 hits instead of 1". Thats just a blatant oversight after how well balanced the demo was. It doesn't help that the punishment at the beginning of a Hard mode run is 20min of progress erased per death.
 

sXeth

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I was kind of haphazardly following an LP of it to gauge potential interest for it once I'm done with other games (or it goes on sale, whichever). My initial impression was that the shifting gameplay was a turn off, but that actually seems to be the highlight. When it gets into an RPG with quests and dialogue and stuff it just grinds down the pace to molasses.

The RPG mechanics from what I saw just seemed confusing, doubled by meta-stuff like the GUI components counting as equipment.
 

CritialGaming

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Difficulty levels increasingly seem to be outdated and lazy design. Back when games were simplistic like Contra or Castlevania maybe an Easy mode made sense, but now there are so many ways to naturally make a game more difficult or not.

Level design and traversal, dynamic AI, combat options, etc. The challenge should already be there but in varying degrees based upon what a given goal might be. Go climb that peak with a treacherous path or more challenging enemies to get a super rare item for example.

There should be no place left for the mere, "Oh, not tough enough? Well then try this option with more bullet/hit sponging with less health" or whatever.

Blegh.
 

CritialGaming

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hanselthecaretaker said:
Difficulty levels increasingly seem to be outdated and lazy design. Back when games were simplistic like Contra or Castlevania maybe an Easy mode made sense, but now there are so many ways to naturally make a game more difficult or not.

Level design and traversal, dynamic AI, combat options, etc. The challenge should already be there but in varying degrees based upon what a given goal might be. Go climb that peak with a treacherous path or more challenging enemies to get a super rare item for example.

There should be no place left for the mere, "Oh, not tough enough? Well then try this option with more bullet/hit sponging with less health" or whatever.

Blegh.
I think there are good reasons for them though. Difficulty modes allow your game to be accessable by more people, and thus enjoyed by more people. Imagine gamers who would love to play your game but have nerve problems, disabilities, etc, that prevent them from playing your Dark Souls mode or whatever. But easy mode, allows those players to get through your game despite their issues. Isn't then worth letting everyone experience your game.

People who want the challenge can play the harder modes. No big deal. It doesn't take anything away from their more challenging experience to allow others to play on an easier setting. And frankly it's not even that much effort to code, so it doesn't hurt development budget or time.
 

CritialGaming

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CritialGaming said:
hanselthecaretaker said:
Difficulty levels increasingly seem to be outdated and lazy design. Back when games were simplistic like Contra or Castlevania maybe an Easy mode made sense, but now there are so many ways to naturally make a game more difficult or not.

Level design and traversal, dynamic AI, combat options, etc. The challenge should already be there but in varying degrees based upon what a given goal might be. Go climb that peak with a treacherous path or more challenging enemies to get a super rare item for example.

There should be no place left for the mere, "Oh, not tough enough? Well then try this option with more bullet/hit sponging with less health" or whatever.

Blegh.
I think there are good reasons for them though. Difficulty modes allow your game to be accessable by more people, and thus enjoyed by more people. Imagine gamers who would love to play your game but have nerve problems, disabilities, etc, that prevent them from playing your Dark Souls mode or whatever. But easy mode, allows those players to get through your game despite their issues. Isn't then worth letting everyone experience your game.

People who want the challenge can play the harder modes. No big deal. It doesn't take anything away from their more challenging experience to allow others to play on an easier setting. And frankly it's not even that much effort to code, so it doesn't hurt development budget or time.
A game doesn't have to be hardcore to scrap the notion of difficulty levels though. Everything from GTA to Journey to Souls type games work perfectly well without having to select a difficulty mode. They serve as little more than labels that sour the experience right from the beginning; which is really the "correct" one to choose for optimal enjoyment anyways...it's an artificial construct on top of something that's already artificial.

As far as being disabled, a reasonably capable person would either be able to play a game or not, regardless of selecting a difficulty. There are also games that can automatically adjust certain parameters if it senses the player having trouble with something. At this point development technology has advanced enough that studios could implement something like a "Guided Mode" that could be toggled if needed.

Basically anything to ditch the typical difficulty select that most games still cling to. IMO in terms of game design it's become a lazy, cheap and derivative turnoff.
 

Maximum Bert

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Johnny Novgorod said:
Is the original game worth picking up? Never played the series before.
Obviously it is going to depend on what you want out of it. If you like Nier Automatas story and characters or rather writing in general then quite possibly yes if you just like its gameplay then absolutely not.

I have not finished Nier yet (bought it late last year) but I find it a real mixed bag the sidequests are annoying as hell but I do them because the writing is great and I honestly want to hear the characters converse on them as well as find out more on the world also the combat in Nier while functional is for me at least not very engaging.

I will go back to Nier simply because I find the world, characters and story so compelling I feel the slog of some of the gameplay is worth it also you can skip pretty much all sidequests if you wish which may save your sanity.

As an overall product Nier Automata is much easier to recommend but Nier is different enough to be its own beast. It is also nice seeing how the world and landscape has changed from Nier to Automata.

Personal reasons why I have not finished Nier yet are I hate the sidequests but love the banter when doing them so sorta makes me do stuff I hate to get stuff I do not, the combat is not very engaging outside of a few encounters i.e bosses. Some of the drop rates for parts are annoyingly low and it is tedious to get them so much so that I pretty much stopped caring about the idea of fully upgrading weapons and finally their are other games I wanted to play that gave me more overall pleasure such as Nioh and Nier Automata.
 

zombiejoe

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I beat Nier Automata a little while ago, and I am still constantly thinking about the game. Really loved the experience, the smooth gameplay, the story, the sheer amount of experimentation both allowed to the player and from the game itself. I'm glad that it's getting generally high praise from the critics, and hopefully this will ensure we get to see more of Yoko Taro and his craziness in the future.
 

CritialGaming

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hanselthecaretaker said:
CritialGaming said:
hanselthecaretaker said:
Difficulty levels increasingly seem to be outdated and lazy design. Back when games were simplistic like Contra or Castlevania maybe an Easy mode made sense, but now there are so many ways to naturally make a game more difficult or not.

Level design and traversal, dynamic AI, combat options, etc. The challenge should already be there but in varying degrees based upon what a given goal might be. Go climb that peak with a treacherous path or more challenging enemies to get a super rare item for example.

There should be no place left for the mere, "Oh, not tough enough? Well then try this option with more bullet/hit sponging with less health" or whatever.

Blegh.
I think there are good reasons for them though. Difficulty modes allow your game to be accessable by more people, and thus enjoyed by more people. Imagine gamers who would love to play your game but have nerve problems, disabilities, etc, that prevent them from playing your Dark Souls mode or whatever. But easy mode, allows those players to get through your game despite their issues. Isn't then worth letting everyone experience your game.

People who want the challenge can play the harder modes. No big deal. It doesn't take anything away from their more challenging experience to allow others to play on an easier setting. And frankly it's not even that much effort to code, so it doesn't hurt development budget or time.
A game doesn't have to be hardcore to scrap the notion of difficulty levels though. Everything from GTA to Journey to Souls type games work perfectly well without having to select a difficulty mode. They serve as little more than labels that sour the experience right from the beginning; which is really the "correct" one to choose for optimal enjoyment anyways...it's an artificial construct on top of something that's already artificial.

As far as being disabled, a reasonably capable person would either be able to play a game or not, regardless of selecting a difficulty. There are also games that can automatically adjust certain parameters if it senses the player having trouble with something. At this point development technology has advanced enough that studios could implement something like a "Guided Mode" that could be toggled if needed.

Basically anything to ditch the typical difficulty select that most games still cling to. IMO in terms of game design it's become a lazy, cheap and derivative turnoff.
I hear you, and Dark Souls does have a difficulty setting (it just isnt obvious). But there is something to be said for just giving people the option of experiencing games without nessescarily having to deal with the game's challenge.

It's better for gaming overall to have more options. And look, it could be labeled "Guided mode, Story mode, etc" the effect is still the same. And having these easier modes doesn't affect you and your Harder experiences. Those aren't going anywhere. And I think that by saying there shouldn't be easy modes is kind of silly. A lot of gamers see easy-mode as a threat to their serious gaming challenges and it really isn't.

Like I said, there are all kinds of reasons why somebody couldn't naturally get through a game like Dark Souls on their own. But could enjoy the game under some sort of easy mode. Games have a lot more to offer than challenge. That's something to consider I think.