As gamers we have become spoiled. Almost every month there is a big AAA game that will come out and blow us away with beautiful visuals and striking game play. This was even more true in 2017, when we saw games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Horizon Zero Dawn, Persona 5, Wolfenstein 2, and Super Mario Odyssey. However, for myself the game of the year came in a package that I was least expecting. A game that for myself I had no idea was even coming out. No anticipation, no build up, and yet somehow Nier Automata managed to become my game of the year and blow me away like few games have ever been able to.
A Science Behind the Fiction
The story in Nier Automata is absolutely one of the best aspects of the game. For this reason it should not be spoiled for anyone who plans on playing it. All you really need to know is that you will take control of 2B and 9S, two androids working for the YoRHa corporation. Their mission and their struggle reveals itself throughout the game with many twists and turns, but in the end ultimately asking some serious questions about what it truly means to be human.
The story intricately unfolds over several playthroughs. This means that uncovering the full story will require players to not only beat the game as 2B, but go back and play several acts as 9S. This reveals different perspectives and dialogue that can completely change the players feelings towards certain issues in the game. And with a total of four endings you can expect that playing every single one of them is just as crucial and impactful as the last.
It is truly unlike any story I have ever experienced in a game. It is not only brave enough to ask deep and compelling questions, but dares the player to relive the past in another characters shoes. Its smart and beautiful story telling that is captivating from beginning to end.
Nier Automata manages to perform a balancing act between several genres of gameplay in a way I have not yet seen many video games be brave enough to tackle. On the surface Nier Automata appears to be a hack and slash action game. However, upon digging deeper players will find top down shooter levels and boss fights mixed with classic side scrolling sections and heavy RPG elements that allow for upgrades in combat.
Not only does it have all of these gameplay styles, but it somehow manages to excel in everyone one of them. Nier Automata is the best action game I have played this year, the best top down shooter I played this year, and dare I even say the best RPG that I have played this year as well. It truly is incredible and in some ways almost unbelievable that game that stretches itself so far can manage to be this good.
Of course being developed by Platinum Games means that you should expect nothing short of a phenomenal action game. Platinum Games being the same studio that brought us the Bayonetta series, Mad World, Metal Gear Rising, and Transformers Devastation. And Nier Automata is fantastic when it comes to fast paced action. Every attack is pulled off with ease and impressive combos and attack animations always leave the screen looking chaotic and stylish.
The dodge mechanic allows for quick last minute moves that leave you always on your toes. It gives the player a feeling of being in a high speed action movie where every move counts. Not to mention the addition of a sidekick robot called a pod that follows you and round and can be used to fire projectiles for long range attack while waiting for the perfect time to strike. All of these abilities make for an action game that not only is great, but quite possibly the best that the PS4 has to offer.
While 2017 has been a year full of amazing games to play, a game like Nier Automata is truly special. Its rare that a game with almost no hype can come out of nowhere and amaze so many people who have played it. On top of that it offers a truly unique experience that no other game has offered this year. It is truly a breath of fresh air that the AAA games space has needed for quite sometime. It is more than your typical RPG or your generic shooter and it still manages to thrive in a year packed with games that everyone is talking about.
Even if Nier Automata manages to fly under the radar its loyal cult following is sure to thrive and keep it alive for several years to come. From an amazing story that spans over four unique playthroughs of the game all the way to its wonderful and memorable characters, Nier Automata is a game that deserves to be held in the upper echelon of that came out this generation.
Whether you are the type of gamer that plays every new release or you only play a few games a year Nier Automata is the type of game that is worthy of your attention. Even if action games and RPGs are not your usual genre of choice, give Nier Automata a chance. There is no game that has truly surpassed it for me this year and thats why I feel it is worthy of being called game of the year.