My Notes on Nier Automata

Originally posted 6/18/2017. Re-blogging in celebration to one of my all time favorite game–Nier Replicant Ver.1.22474487139 which will be released 4/23/2021. 

I highly recommend playing the game before reading this post.  I will not elaborate the storyline into details.  My intention is to share my summary of the game which may differ from yours.

For those who followed this blog from the beginning probably knew that I was anticipating for Nier Automata (2017) ever since its announcement.  In fact, I was very hungry to play another game like Nier (2010)  and was hoping Drakengard III (2013) would be just as good. To my disappointment, I  didn’t enjoy it as much mainly because of the frustrating gaming mechanics ( I didn’t enjoy flying the dragon).  And yet I stuck with it because of the storyline and it’s humorous dialogue.  I have not reached the ultimate, final boss yet which I heard was difficult.

I had to stop the game because I couldn’t understand  Zero’s (the protagonist) cruel intention to kill all her sisters. The character was hard for me to relate.  I was definitely playing a killer.  But after I watched Yoko Taro’s interview Philosophy of Violence, I learned to appreciate his approach in storytelling and the concept behind it.  I realized Zero’s behavior is natural, but primitive.  Instinctively we want to remove whatever is in our path.  Defeating our obstacles give us a sense of control and remove all of our competitions.  However, if we killed everyone in our way, we would end up dying alone and the aftermath would be Nier Automata.

I came to conclusion because I had to grasp my head around this killing frenzy around Yoko Taro’s games,  so I categorize his three games that I played into the following:

  • Drakengard III- killing to be the only one
  • Nier Gestalt- killing is justified as long as you think it is right
  • Nier Automata- killing loneliness

*One important thing to note, this is just my notes for the time being.  I really would like to complete the Drakengard series *

Onward to the main topic,  so when I started Nier Automata, I already knew it was about killing.  The game started off strong, which reminded me of Xenoblade Chronicles’ introduction where the characters are thrown into battle against the machines.   Once I arrived to a safe place (a city reclaimed by Mother Nature), I sensed that I was entering a world where a great civilization (mankind in general) once stood, but mysteriously drove itself to extinction.

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All we have left are machines and androids fighting one another.  In some ways, the game has a particular viewpoint about existence, which is hard not to notice if you do the side quests. It clearly pointed out that all lifeforms don’t want to fight all the time– they just want to co-exist. What meaning is there to killing? Why?

The real motive behind all the killing is more than just impaired thinking–it’s loneliness.   In the end, no one stands. But the tragedy is not the cycle of destruction, it’s actually the inability to view the world harmoniously, which is probably why 2B and 9S wear blindfolds. They exist to take orders without comprehending their actions.

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I won’t go any further into details about the game’s concept because I am beginning to develop my own theory, which is probably not what the game intended.  I do just want to mention my overall experience with the game is good, but it is not one of my favorites. I like the first installment more partly due to nostalgia. Even though, I did not enjoyed the game as much, the game made me want to play Ikaruga, which has been sitting in my backlog of games to play.

Lastly, my final thought in regards to Nier Automata,  I’m starting to understand that it’s difficult to introduce big ideas and incorporate gameplay due to unforeseen limitation (e.g, technical, budget, translation etc.).  So I really do appreciate when game developers attempt to give meaning to their creation.

Well that is it for now. Thanks for reading guys. Until next time, take care!

P.S

Think I will play Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon next to clear my backlog before I jump into a new game.  My backlog began to grow back in 2010-2011 when I started playing co-op/multiplayer games. It is time to seriously tackle the single-player games list!

My Top 3 Best Video Game Soundtracks

If I don’t put “My” in the title, people will get upset, not realizing my opinion is not a fact. What is the irony in that? Unfortunately, many people are quick to speak than think. You can argue with me all you want on what is the best video game soundtrack because it will go from one ear to the next and then into thin air. My top 3, how subjective can that be? Yep, I am back with my list of three.

[By the way, I hope you enjoy the introduction. I feel like rhyming :)]

I love music generally, so it’s no surprise I love listening to video game music even after I am done with a game. It makes me feel hopelessly in love. There is a romantic side to me. After all, I’m only human.

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In the summer of 2010, I had one of the most memorable summer playing a game called Nier Gestalt; it blew my mind away in terms of storytelling. Back then, I was a penniless student. I couldn’t afford to go on a vacation. So there wasn’t much to do for summer break. It is one of those games where it will stick with you long after you complete because the music is so hauntingly good that I was under its spell for a long time. In my opinion, Nier Automata failed to capture that very same magic. The only thing it has going is a smooth gameplay. If you didn’t get a chance to the play the first installment, you will! There is a new version in the making. I just hope the sound effects and music don’t deviate much from the original! I don’t think anyone can argue that it doesn’t have one of the best video game soundtrack ever!

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Next up. It may not seem like it since I don’t cover much western media, but I actually love western literature, especially Greek drama. Oedipus Rex is one of my favorite plays. I can tell Trinity Souls of Zill O’ll was inspired by the play. But what made me love this game is how immersive and artistic the game is. It is like looking at a painting! And good music composition only alleviates the player’s experience. If you are a fan of JRPG, this is a hidden gem and a must play. I have two copies of the game. I love it that much if it weren’t for the music.

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron - Wikipedia

Final but not least, El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron. Another artsy game that looks pretty good on the Xbox 360. It is also available for the PS3. Gameplay is clean and highly addictive. The stages are unique from one another so monotone is not in its vocabulary. However, the only weak point is the story: it’s difficult to follow. Like Nier OST, I listened to the soundtrack long after I beat it. It’s good music for studying, working or just for plain background noise. It has a heavenly sound to it. If you feel the need to escape somewhere peaceful, I recommend this soundtrack.

Honorable mention: Shenmue. No surprise there as it is my favorite game.

I hope you enjoy my list and found something you like. Let me know what your favorite soundtracks are. I am always looking for new music. Until next time, bye bye.