Nier: Automata - keeping you always on your toes

NIER: AUTOMATA

Release date: March 7

Platforms: PC, Sony PlayStation 4

Female humanoid robots in high heels battling giant machines with swords and guns over the fate of Earth - that was my initial impression of Nier: Automata, after trying a demo of this upcoming action role-playing game (RPG).

In this distant future, humans have retreated to the Moon after an invasion by alien machines. To counter this alien threat, a squad of androids, dubbed YoRHa, are sent to Earth to fight the invaders.

Automata is set in the same post-apocalyptic universe as the original Nier released in 2010, which was praised by critics for its story and setting, but panned for its gameplay.

To address this, publisher Square Enix roped in PlatinumGames, which produced the stylish Bayonetta action RPGs, to develop Automata with Nier's director Taro Yoko.

While the demo is too short to give more than a glimpse of the story and role-playing elements, the combat - which culminates in a cool boss fight - felt extremely satisfying.

While the game is mostly in third-person mode, the camera movement at certain sections of the demo turns the game on its head. One moment you are looking at your character from the top down like an arcade shooter while, at another stage, the camera shifts to the side, turning the game into a 2-D platformer. This keeps you always on your toes and makes for a refreshing take on the genre.

Vincent Chang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2017, with the headline 'Nier: Automata - keeping you always on your toes'. Print Edition | Subscribe