NieR: Automata – Not Quite NieR or Far Enough

This article contains significant spoilers regarding NieR and NieR: Automata.

When I played the original NieR more than half a decade ago, I don’t think I could have ever have foreseen how much it’d resonate with me or that it would be one of many titles essential in changing how I view games today. While flawed, the variety in level design, off-kilter writing, fantastic music, and its surprisingly vulgar yet compassionate cast made a huge impact on me.

I hardly expected NieR to get a proper sequel, nor could I have imagined how disappointing the final result would be.

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A Fear of NieR: Automata

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Aside from the initial reveal, I’ve largely ignored of NieR: Automata. I’ve got nothing against it, I just don’t get much out of preview coverage. Demos, trailers, etc. all present an image of a game, yet the lack of information leaves me more uncertain than confident. It’s up to the consumer to fill in the blanks, whether they be positive or negative. Nonetheless, I succumbed to temptation and played Automata’s Demo 120161128. So, I guess we’ll go down this rabbit hole of speculation and assumptions, because I can’t stop thinking about it and probably not for the reasons others can’t.

NieR: Automata is developed by PlatinumGames. That’s a simple and well-known fact that brings joy to many. There are few developers that could contest with their pedigree when it comes to third-person melee-focused action games. Mixing their high intensity combat with the world of NieR is a promising combination and likely the reason why so much hype is building around Automata.

However, PlatinumGames’ involvement and Square Enix’s expectations of the title mostly cause me distress.

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Drowning in Puzzles with Aqua Cube

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Most Japanese indie games haven’t been prevalent in the industry over the last decade. A growing Steam presence is starting to bring many of these games to light, but plenty have yet to make the transition. Until recently, they were almost exclusively created for low-print runs at Japanese conventions or, in the cases of digital distribution, shoved in the obscure corners of the internet. This includes Aqua Cube, a cute puzzle platformer released for PC back in 2008.

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Bloodstained: Weighed Down by the Baggage of Castlevania

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Kickstarter has been great for developers launching spiritual successors to their dead franchises. While they may not be able to continue the beloved worlds and characters these series offered, they can at least keep working with the core design and bring the fans with them. It also acts a fresh start – letting developers experiment and create new elements without being tied down by franchise expectations.

In the case of Koji Igarashi’s Bloodstained, it’s unabashedly Castlevania to an extreme.

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Blue Port J: A Charming Island Adventure

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I can’t help but wonder what thoughts run through your mind when presented with the promotional image for Blue Port J: Summer Sky Prelude, shown above. I’m preconditioned to be a bit suspicious of a Japanese games featuring young girls. It also doesn’t help that the developer, FoxEye, seems to have a sexual fascination with drowning.

No, please don’t leave! There’s a lot to Blue Port J outside of young girls in skimpy swimsuits.

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The Retro Retro Indie Game Cave Story

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I’m finally giving up on ignoring indie games. They just won’t go away. I’ve gotta deal with them eventually, so it’s about time I start playing some. I thought it’d be fitting to make one of my first forays into the space with Cave Story, a title that pre-dates the modern indie movement.

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