NieR: Automata is also wonderful on Nintendo Switch | Review

NieR: Automata is also wonderful on Nintendo Switch | Review


NieR: Automata, developed by Yoko Taro and Platinum Games and published in 2017 by Square Enix, is remembered as the best video game by the Japanese author, a courageous and memorable journey to discover the secrets of humanity. The past generation, which saw many priceless works as protagonists, was able to propose different and new visions in the panorama, increasing the collection of each player in a unique way.

NieR: Automata, if I think about it, it was the videogame that came at the right time, which presented itself without advertisements with great fanfare but only showing itself in all its glory. When I consider it certainly the most mature work of the Japanese developer, I am referring to the messages within the production, which I have already told you about in a couple of dedicated specials. The value of love, connection, travel and self-discovery: all this serves to guarantee the future for those who have lost it forever without being able to do anything to prevent it, and for those who have not managed to hold it before.

I have always found Yoko Taro's productions to be among the deepest and most intense that have ever been developed and it is no small thing considering how many videogame productions I am linked to. The NieR series, however, has a charm of its own capable of thrilling and involving in a compelling way, transporting the player into a post-apocalyptic world that is impossible to do without. The publication of NieR: Automata, in fact, has opened a new creative path for the Japanese master, who among books, manga and theatrical works has guaranteed in recent years a tangible construction of his universe, built thanks to the stories of those in search of humanity even where there does not seem to be any more. A complex, yet noble and shareable purpose, and it is the very vision of its author, who in his books has always distinguished himself from other game designers, going well beyond the classic term with which we indicate the creator of a video game.
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Yoko Taro, born in Nagoya, is an eclectic and particular character, and in his video games she has added an integral part of his crazy and unpredictable character. With NieR: Automata I can tell you that she has tried to replicate what she sees through her eyes, speaking differently about the connection between living beings, and making you understand that it is not just a human trait. The landing of his masterpiece on Nintendo Switch, which brought the NieR series back to the fore after the misstep made with NieR: Gestalt, is proof of how much this philosophy has always distinguished him.

NieR: Automata - The End of the YoRHa Edition, this is the full name of the Nintendo Switch version, is a work that, without too many words, spoke to the player with simplicity, leaving nothing to chance, not even the most irrelevant news. In this sense, it was to be expected: Yoko Taro, building her world, has always hinted that the power of empathy is something to be considered more carefully, and that sometimes the end of a journey is not just the end, but the beginning of other perspectives. But better proceed in order, from the beginning.

I'm talking about 2B, 9S and A2: everyone has a different character and a troubled past. Net of this, however, the plot of NieR: Automata has always been effective thanks to the dialogues and situations that occurred on the screen, and each protagonist has always had the relevance of her. The narrative method, for those unfamiliar with Yoko Taro, consists in proposing more visions of the story and other ways to approach it. Let's start with 2B, and then retrace a part of the story with 9S and so on in the following, also knowing better 9S, the most mysterious, sad and twisted protagonist of NieR: Automata, in total contrast with the coldness and composure of 2B. As I mentioned earlier, the world is unrecognizable: humanity has disappeared, there are communities of machines, androids live in a well-stocked space station, and there are be called biomachines, which replicate human behaviors in the same way as robots.

Effective and enveloping, the narrative allows us to explore these issues, while at the same time deepening the personalities of the various protagonists. Initially we move 2B, my favorite protagonist, who stands out in combat for her unparalleled skill thanks to the Virtuous Pact, her katana, a blade capable of defeating any threat. However, returning to the plot, we can assure you that the story of NieR: Automata has remained unchanged from the past. There are no additions of weight and perhaps they would have been appreciated, perhaps a few more story additions with an unpublished cutscene and a few more maps, so as not to miss anything.

The production of Yoko Taro was able to propose, in general, an excellent test of maturity, which was necessary to overcome to return to try to excel with other game designers on the roof of the world. As I uncovered the main storyline, digging deeper into the story, I also noticed things that had escaped me and that I hadn't noticed in my first run. NieR: Automata, unlike many other works, has its own way of making itself understood, and often when I think about it I feel like I am reliving the experience in a completely unique way. Not being able to spoil yourself, even if many years have passed since its publication, just know that the story does not suffer from a drop in pace and is always convincing. It is never exaggerated, and it is not boring or repetitive, which translates in a completely obvious way: that Yoko Taro is much crazier than I remembered.

Focusing essentially on the story, NieR: Automata represents a concrete proof of love for the genre and fans, as well as for Yoko Taro himself who, unlike many developers, does not talk about it precisely because he does not like to flaunt them. Deep and moving, the story of NieR: Automata starts in silence and then suddenly explodes, and makes itself known in a unique way through its convincing protagonists.

The rapid combat system and fun by NieR: Automata

During my rediscovery of Yoko Taro's video game on the occasion of its release on Nintendo Switch, I noticed how the combat system has aged incredibly well, just like the narration and stylistic choices of its author . The nerve center of the experience remains the fights, supported by fun and rewarding battles, capable of enhancing and involving the player in a positive way. Like so many Yoko Taro video games, NieR: Automata also sees the movements in the protagonists subject to camera alteration, which becomes fixed when the video game turns into an isometric product, or two-dimensional scrolling while exploring gaming buildings. Taking 2B as an example, but I could also mention 9S and A2, there is the possibility to equip it as you prefer, perhaps with sharp spears or small and large swords, thus differentiating a fun fighting system.

The phases of struggle are still my favorite today, because they are dynamic and fun, so fluent that you can't do them by hand. In combat he attacks from a distance with the POD (a very useful tool), allowing himself to be supported by the latter even face to face, perhaps with a special attack capable of defeating opponents. During the short breaks, it is possible to upgrade the weapons to their maximum and delight in the purchase of new additions for the POD which, in addition to providing assistance and support, is able to comfort the protagonists in a heartfelt way. NieR: Automata, as masterfully built as it is, has never been so different from the many action video games with role-playing dynamics that I have come across along my path. Its strength does not lie in the combat system nor in the secondary missions, which, although beautiful and useful for earning money and acquiring items for upgrades, are slightly inferior to those of the main campaign.

Non all of them are, mind you, because I remember many memorable fetch quests, even if not all of them are like the story I have followed on many occasions, especially in this one. Many were surprised in the past when Hideo Kojima changed the cards on the table, and Yoko Taro in equal measure manages to do it his way for a long time, perhaps surprising with a joke, a scene or a moment of manly tears. Exploration, which is the basis for strengthening and leveling up easily, is satisfying because it allows you to discover dream places, even if uninhabited. The areas of the game have remained unchanged, and nothing has been added or touched, precisely to allow the most demanding a context capable of leaving amazement and amaze. An objective that has been achieved with flying colors, demonstrating how much Yoko Taro loves being meticulous in his videogame productions.

NieR: Automata to the test on Nintendo Switch

The choice of controls, which is important for a video game of the genre that lands on the Nintendo Switch, it is well thought out and implemented, offering hours of unbridled fun. With joycons it is more satisfying and it does not seem at all that you are playing on a Nintendo Switch, but on a different console. The work, which I have experienced again in recent days, has allowed me to understand more closely the compromises chosen by Platinum Games and Yoko Taro to make the gaming experience as enjoyable as possible for owners of the hybrid console.

The type of approach pursued was excellent, and I'm not ashamed to say it: it is probably the best port on Nintendo Switch, and it is by no means a small thing, considering the many video games that have undergone similar treatment. Despite some graphic choices, Yoko Taro's video game is equally gorgeous on the Nintendo Switch, and goes well with its two souls. The flaws are noticeable in open spaces, with texture loading problems that are inevitable for similar hardware. While not guaranteeing the coveted sixty frames but only the granite 30fps, it must be said that a masterful job was done, and I was consequently positively involved. Playing NieR: Automata in portability is priceless, and now that it has also landed on the console of the Grande N, no one will have any more excuses not to try it at least once.

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