Everything that lives is designed to end. We are perpetually trapped in a never-ending spiral of life and death. Is this a curse? Or some kind of punishment? I often think about the god who blessed us with this cryptic puzzle...and wonder if we'll ever get the chance to kill him.
These are the words of 2B, a disillusioned special ops soldier of the YoRHa – an elite military force of androids – tasked by the Council of Humanity to fight the invading aliens and their machine lifeforms.
But 2B is no philosopher, she a killing machine who follows orders to the letter.
NieR: Automata, released back in 2017 for Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox, is a peculiar specimen. The title combines elements from genres such as third-person action role-playing, shoot'em up, and hack and slash action.
The game is unique because of its gameplay, which is damn satisfying, and because it asks something from the players. NieR: Automata dares us find meaning in a meaningless world, in our own way.
War is meant to be perpetual
NieR: Automata takes place in earth during the 14th Machine War. The year is 11945BC, and the human civilization has long been destroyed, only ruins of once great cities remain.
But wars are not meant to be won, they are meant to be perpetual.
The machine war has raged on for so long, both humans and alien invaders have not been seen on the battlefield for millennia. Machines and androids are locked in an endless cycle of fighting and killing each other in the same desolate battlefield.
2B and her partner 9S – an android designed specifically for gathering intelligence through hacking – carry out a series of missions against the machines to reclaim the earth for humans.
Just following orders
While fighting hordes of enemies with support from the android resistance, 2B and 9S discover something unsettling, the machines have developed sentience.
The duo continue with their mission regardless, telling themselves that the machines must be destroyed at any cost. Things took a turn for the worse when 2B and 9S found that the machine have developed complex emotions such as love, obsession and fear.
Some machines disconnected themselves from the network and started living in a village, others took over an amusement park and started partying.
Despite orders from the command to treat every machine as their enemy, the duo started to make friends and even began to help the machine village. Unfortunately, they make some formidable enemies too.
A grim future
2B and 9S learn eventually that the machines have evolved past the androids, and the YoRHa no longer has an upper hand in the war.
Humans, which the androids revere as gods, have gone extinct millennia ago. Meanwhile, the machines also wiped out their alien creators after considering them no longer useful. The aliens and their machines never even met the humans after visiting earth, only androids.
Both sides have committed endless atrocities in this pointless war, but their gods have died long ago.
NieR: Automata is a game about what it means to be human and the purpose with which we all live our lives. The game has five main endings, and three branches that tackle the stories of characters 2B, 9S and A2.
2B is an all-purpose android soldier, equipped with a variety of weapons for close quarters combat. Her eyes are obscured beneath her standard-issue military visor, which she rarely removes.
Her partner 9S is a scanner type android. He has an attack function, but specializes in hacking-based information collection.
A2 is a mysterious and taciturn android. She a prototype of the YoRHa android line, and combat data from her and her comrades was used to create the superior current lines, including 2B and 9S.
All three characters can attack from range using the Pod support system.
NieR: Automata is a beautiful and highly entertaining journey full of heart-wrenching moments and excellent gameplay. The game's frantic combat, coupled with stunning visuals and a cool soundtrack, more than makes it worth to check out this title.