Nier Automata: PS4 Demo Review
Nier Automata may only be a 30 minute demo, but it has to be said that demo has done much to mean there's now a countdown on until its March release.
For those unfamiliar with the spin-off from the Drakengard series, this short and bittersweet demo's got everything that the game looks set to offer in its upcoming release.
Loosely, the plot is:
The distant future…
Invaders from another world attack without warning, unleashing a new type of threat: weapons known as “machine lifeforms.” In the face of this insurmountable threat, mankind is driven from Earth and takes refuge on the Moon.
The Council of Humanity organizes a resistance of android soldiers in an effort to take back their planet. To break the deadlock, the Resistance deploys a new unit of android infantry: YoRHa .
In the forsaken wasteland below, the war between the machines and the androids rages on.
A war that is soon to unveil the long-forgotten truth of this world...
Playing as an automaton 2B in the demo is a thrill, and as you fight your way through an industrial complex, taking on hordes of robots left behind in a war that have been powered up, the game finds new ways to engage you in the button-mashing process.
With changing perspectives at the start of a fight (the game goes from 3D face-view to 2D over the top view), there's never a dull moment in a degree of the repetition of taking on the creatures. Platinum Games have imbued 2B with a robot sidekick that shoots a stream of bullets into the rampaging throngs and can unleash a super-weapon as well when necessary. But they've also given 2B some relatively sweet moves as well - from the traditional Devil May Cry hack and slash to the usual heavy attack, the fluidity of the action is mightily impressive and conversely not too distracting as the fights rage on.
But it's the emotional levels of Nier Automata that start to come through as the demo plays on. Through industrial vistas, spiralling 2D shots of twisted metal come to life and the world feels ruined and real.
However, it's the story and the ending that really make this demo stand out and mark it as something that's worth fighting through for 30 minutes. With Manga-esque cut scenes to book-end moments, there's a humanity and bizarrely a darkness which shine through Nier Automata's gob-smakcing conclusion. It's a smart and clever move by the developers who don't give anything away but offer such a jaw-dropping reveal in this post-apocalyptic world - and it's one best experienced by yourself in this demo.
Simultaneously serving as a massive tease and also proffering a good idea of what the industrial hack'n'slash may offer come March has served Nier Automata well - Square Enix will be salivating at the reaction to the game and it's certainly one that has shot the game to the top of the 2017 must list.
Nier Automata demo is available now for free download.