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Thread: Nier: Automata

  1. #1
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London

    Nier: Automata

    So after Jesh fessed up to owning this after our co-op session on Saturday, and saying it's rather good (and knowing I've liked every Platinum game I've played so far), I bought this on Saturday night.

    And it really is rather good.

    Mostly, it's Platinum combat in their idea of an "Open World" with a robust RPG character / weapon develop system.
    There's a lot of weirdness to it, and I can already tell there's going to be some interesting explorations of existentialism and consciousness.
    Technically, I'm not seeing any of the issues that are making headlines, but then I'm playing at 1440P as opposed to 1080P. Weirdly, the framerate is silky smooth while playing, but the cutscenes noticeably dip.

    Still not sure how I feel about a lead character that's constantly flashing her underwear. Japan still seems quaintly behind the curve when it comes to gender portrayals in videogames.

    The open world is obviously something Platinum haven't quite grasped in its entirety yet, with buildings and openings that beg to be explored, but have invisible walls blocking entry. And there's not much to do in the open world other than fight stuff and pick up glowing orange things. Yet It's very pretty in its portrayal of desolation.

    But one of the best things is how they constantly play with viewpoints and genres. One minute, you'll be playing a classic Platinum spectacle fighter, the next it'll switch to a sidescrolling 2.5D platformer, then a top-down brawler, then an into-the-screen shooter a la Star Fox, then a vertically scrolling SHMUP, then a twin-stick shooter, then a side-scrolling SHMUP, hell, it's a massive grab-bag of classic gameplay, and all of the modes switch seamlessly and feel complete, not just half-assed attempts.

    Unfortunately, this does serve to highlight Platinum's traditional weakness in their most natural spectacle fighter mode.
    The camera's just as bad as it always is in Platinum games if you don't target lock, and even if you do, scenery will quite often obscure what's going on.

    But that doesn't matter. I'm mostly here for those glorious Platinum boss-battles, and they are indeed glorious.
    I'm sure "This Cannot Continue" will become as iconic as "Rules of Nature".
    Sure, the battle itself is actually one of the easiest Platinum boss battles I've played, but the style, music and direction are pure Platinum.

    First impressions and all that, but if you're a Platinum fan, I can pretty safely say you'll enjoy this massively.

  2. #2
    It's been on my wishlist since it was available to put on your wishlist on Steam. It'll unfortunately due to monetary reasons stay on the wishlist for the forseeable future.

    But I've liked all the Platinum games I've played so far (MadWorld, Bayonetta, Legend of Korra, MGRising and Transformers: Devastation) and I am certainly going to get this game as well, once I can afford it.

  3. #3
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    I've played it for a few hours and I really like it, though I can't really tell why so far. It's a post-genre RPG all right, part shmup, part Smash TV, part jRPG, part brawler, and those genre bending tricks give it a lot of mileage. It can be very pretty, but its graphics work at scale, with great sweeping vistas that resolve into some pretty ugly textures up close, and the colour palette is post apocalyptic bleach. Still, the setup is interesting, and it hints at deeper things going on, which is its own compelling reason to keep going.

    As a port it's a 0-day mess. Fullscreen runs at a quad-buffered (apparently) interlaced mode that's a blurry mess, so you have to force it to run as a borderless window with a third-party app. It also uses all my available GPU bandwidth for something that doesn't look particularly demanding, and while I don't mind that it runs at 55-60 FPS, there's odd momentary microstuttering that isn't that bad but still noticeable. It needs a bunch of patches to get shipshape.

  4. #4
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    I take it you're at 1080P Sulphur?
    From everything I've read that seems to be where most of the problems happen. As noted above, aside from the weirdly low framerate in cutscenes, my experience has been flawless.

    Oh, another interesting foible:
    Unlike a lot of modern games, it doesn't support the DS4 pad out-of-the-box, but you can get around this by getting Steam to recognise the DS4 by going into controller settings. Then it works flawlessly (apart from it having xbox 360 button prompts).

  5. #5
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    Yes, 1080p it is. Since we've got the same GPU, 1440p is worth a shot -- didn't occur to me to try it, to be honest, since I assumed a higher resolution would perform worse.

    As for the cutscene framerate, I think those are prerendered movies encoded at 30 FPS like a few games do (Quantum Break, most recently).

  6. #6
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Australia
    I've been looking forward to this game for a while now and will probably pick it up on the PS4 in the next few weeks; although, as usual, it is a bit cheaper on the PC so will see how it goes. Apart from the pretty visuals and varied gameplay, how have you found the soundtrack? I've heard some favourable comments about it.

  7. #7
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    Oh dear, and to think that was the entire reason why I bought N:A in the first place (well, that, and that it's a Platinum collaboration with Taro). I can't believe I forgot to mention that.

    The soundtrack is great. Haven't heard any themes that are as flat out amazing as the original Nier's standouts, but they're still really good, and I'm fairly early on in the game. It continues in the same vein of lacing most of its tracks with female vocals, and they're memorable and rousing in turn when needed.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 20th Mar 2017 at 11:00.

  8. #8
    So I just saw this screenshot from N:A (courtsey of Jim Sterling)

    https://twitter.com/JimSterling/stat...60439596994562

  9. #9
    A sequel to one of my favorite games. It"s probably gonna be a favorite too.

    I'm playing it on PC and it works very nice with fan-made fixes installed (even thought my system's apparently below minimal requirements. Playing on 720p of course).

  10. #10
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    I did have one incredibly annoying bug occur last night that is making it hard for me to go back to the game:

    One of the core mechanisms of the game is the whole Chip system. As you kill bots and complete objectives, you'll gather chips that can be used to augment your character. Regenerating health, better weapon damage, easier dodges, that kind of thing.

    These chips feature a rating and a cost; the higher the rating and the lower the cost, the better. You can upgrade chips by fusing them, and the lowest cost chips, denoted by a black diamond, are the most valuable, because they take up less space in your loadout while providing the same bonuses.

    They can in turn be fused with one another to make a higher cost but higher rated chip. If you use a diamond (or "Black Box") chip as at least one of the fused chips, you ensure you keep the lowest possible cost for the resulting chip.

    These do now drop with regularity.

    You use chips to build your character; they handily slot into a container that resembles nothing less than a hard drive's file table, with higher cost chips taking up more space. This means that if all you have are high cost chips, you have less functionality.

    This all ties in to the Demon's Souls style feature they have: If you die, you have to recover your body to recover your chips.

    Yesterday, I died. And yet when I got back to where I had died, there was no body there. All my equipped, upgraded chips were gone with no chance of recovery, and my character's effectiveness was dramatically impacted. My only option is to grind for replacement chips, something that could take an awfully long time.

    Needless to say, I'm quite despondent about having my game punish me so dramatically, basicallly sending me back to the start, thanks to a bug.

    It's also made me realise that this game has the potential to be even more punishing than Demon's Souls. If you die twice in Souls games, you just lose the souls, which don't really take that much time to re-accumulate (unless you're playing at high level).

    In Nier: Automata however, there's the potential of losing a substantial amount of your character's build with your chips. I'm sure difficulty fetishists will love this, but for me? It's really soured me on the game.

    And I hear that the jump in difficulty from Normal to Hard is obscene, with virtually everything being one hit, one kill. So yeah, good luck with that.

    Basically? With my initial enthusiasm being tempered by harsh reality and bugs, I would definitely say "Buyer beware".

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Wow. That sucks. Are you sure you didn't wait too long? Your body also disappears if you wait too long to return to it or you let yourself get involved in other tasks before reclaiming your body. If you really went straight back to it and it wasn't there... yikes. Given the time I've put into experimenting with different chipset configurations, I can imagine how frustrating it would be to lose it all. Sorry. In case this is really a bug, I'm moving to alternating between multiple save slots on the same playthrough.

    Also, regarding the diamond items: As I understand it, using one diamond-level chip to fuse doesn't guarantee you'll have the lowest storage level for the next chip level. You still have to use a lower storage second chip (though you don't need another diamond-level chip), and the calculation also depends on whether the chip is currently at an even or odd numbered level. It's a pretty bizarre system.

    I love the game, though. I know nothing about Nier, Drakengard or Platinum Games, but the effective and seamless mashup of genres is nothing like anything I've played before. Having never played a Platinum game, for me the combat felt a little too much like manic flailing at first, but as I practiced it grew more deliberate and graceful.

    For anyone trying it out, I recommend sticking with it beyond the first few hours. The story and characters develop in much more interesting ways than you might imagine from the first couple of hours of the game. And on the normal difficulty, I found the combat more forgiving and open to early experimentation than Dark Souls. By that I mean you can experiment with different combos and movesets in the middle of the fight without the game punishing you to the degree Dark Souls might.

    There's something about the flavor and atmosphere of this game that helps it stand out, but I have hard time describing it.

  12. #12
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    I've since figured out what happened, I think.
    Because I died in a place a lot of other people have died in, there were lots of other players' bodies there, so mine wasn't visible.
    I've since played (and died) in that area a few times more, and when you get back there, there is no blue icon for your corpse, and it's not where you died. But there may be 2-3 other players' corpses in the same area. It looks like these stop your corpse from appearing; I'm guessing there's a limit to how many can appear in an area at any one time. Collect these and eventually your corpse should appear, but it still won't have the blue icon on the minimap.

    Thankfully, I also found a pretty quick way of grinding out some new chips. Drop-rate chips drop from the robots that attack you on the rollercoaster. Repeat this ride a few times, equipping drop-rate chips after every run to exponentially improve your chances, and you'll quite quickly get to the 90% drop-rate cap.
    Then just go kill robots everywhere else to re-acquire the rest of your chips. Still a pain in the ass, but not quite as severe.

    And you're right about diamond or "Black Box" chips Twist.
    If you have a diamond chip with a cost of five, you should be improving it with a normal chip with the same bonus at a cost of six maximum. This ensures that the resulting chip will be a 6 and retain the diamond status.

  13. #13
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    So, I "completed" the game with 2B over the weekend.
    While it's enjoyable enough, I think it's been over-hyped by fans of the original, the creator and the composer.

    The combat, while functional, isn't a patch on either Revengeance, Bayonetta or Vanquish. It's incredibly simplified with none of the awesome gimmicks that those games relied upon (well, second play-through gets more interesting in that respect).

    The story, which I'd seen numerous people lauding, does some interesting things, but had virtually no emotional impact on me whatsoever. Again, maybe that improves on further replays.

    The difficulty spikes wildly, with some side quests while playing as 2B being impossible without an insane amount of grind, yet story missions being simplistic to the point of insulting. That's playing on Normal. I've heard that playing on hard is the polar opposite, with virtually everything being able to one-shot you.

    And the open-world is a massive step back, being simplistic, small, lacking variety and full of... nothing. As well as being graphically spartan, there are invisible barriers all over the place. It's telling that one of the most interesting areas to explore is a barren desert.

    It also commits the sin of rail-roading you later on in the story. The last 4 or 5 missions don't allow you to go off-piste and complete side quests, and even prevent you from going to certain places.

    And enemy variety? there's basically none, just re-skinned versions of the same 6 or so "machines" depending on what area you're in.

    Overall, I'd advise against buying this full price and wait for a sale.

    Don't get me wrong, it's a good game, solidly a "7/10", but I don't understand the universal adoration it's getting.

  14. #14
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    I believe the key is in the replays, Malf. Apparently quite a few things change up in NG+, with the story coming to a head in route 'C', so the first playthrough is, from what I've heard, more of a context-setter.

  15. #15
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    Yeah, I can see that, but the game's asking a lot of the player to repeat all of that content with the only real change being the character you're playing with.
    9S's hacking is the twist I was referring to above, but that gets tedious after a while, and if you want a break from the barely-varied hacking minigame, you have to fall back on one-button combat.
    In all honesty, it makes the game even easier, with even previously challenging enemies just requiring 2-3 repeats of the minigame.
    Maybe the story will open up, but I'm pretty sure I know where it'll go. It's not very subtle about it even during the first play-through.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Yeah, I think that what I've heard about the need to replay this at least 2-3 times to get the most out of the story puts me off the game. I like story-heavy games *a lot*, but I dislike having to replay almost identical passages for hours in order to get there. (I'm near the end of Night in the Woods, and I could imagine replaying that one soon, but there at least it's easy to get through the bits I've already seen relatively quickly.)

  17. #17
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: Sulphur, whatever
    Same here - I'm not a fan of replaying content unless there's a way to blitz through the old stuff at speed, or there's a decent bunch of changes to the experience (Alpha Protocol remains the unlikely benchmark for this, good god how I adore it). I guess I'm not far enough in to make any qualifications to assessments of the game, though. Someone get Jesh to spill the beans for the time being.

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    Funnily enough, I enjoy replaying certain games that offer little to no changes in the story at all, but that's for very different reasons; it's basically the same for me as rereading a novel or watching a favourite film again.

  19. #19
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    Which reminds me, have you watched Speed Racer yet Thirith?

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I have. I'm afraid I didn't like it, though; the mix of childlike sincerity and high artifice/camp didn't work for me, and I could've happily watched Spritely and the chimp put on a rocket and blasted right into the sun. They do some intriguing things visually, but I wasn't able to just enjoy the visuals.

    Still, 5. I've paid more to see worse films.

  21. #21
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    Fair enough, I long ago became comfortable with it being very much a Marmite movie.

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