The GWJ JRPG Club - Q3 2019 - Nier: Automata! [Main thread]

Welcome to the GWJ JRPG Club's pick for the thrid quarter of 2019: Nier: Automata!

Here is an estimate of the length of the game:
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Note: LastSurprise mentioned to me some time ago that they think this estimate is a bit too low, so plan accordingly!

Since we had a tie for this quarter's pick, LastSurprise and I decided to have a Gaiden thread as well as a main thread. The Gaiden thread is for Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, and you can find it here!

As usual, please use spoiler tags, and accompany them with vague explanations of where they do occur in the story!

For the game to be considered beaten (and therefore gain a level in the GWJ JRPG Club), you need to reach ending C or D! To earn a level for this quarter, you need to beat either of the chosen games. Playing both will not give you extra credit though!

Our players:

Spoiler:

AUs_TBirD
bobbywatson
srichins80
Wembley
broken clavicle
steinkrug

The game is available at most retailers. You can also buy the Game of the YoHRa edition from PSN, Xbox marketplace, and Steam. (Unfortunately, it does not seem to be on sale on Steam at the moment, despite the Summer sale.)

I'm not participating in the JRPG club this quarter, but NieR: Automata is a fantastic game. I played through endings A-E (and maybe a few others by accident) in 2017, and enjoyed it immensely. The moment-by-moment gameplay is good, but the story is what shines.

Spoilered bits about the five main endings - strictly technical (non-story):

Spoiler:

Ending A takes a pretty good long while.

Ending B takes about half the time as A, and you might feel burnt out on the game while playing it. It's very similar to A, and you'll be concerned that you'll be doing all the same things again, but that's not the case. Don't give up!

Ending C is vastly different from A and B.

Endings D and E are vastly different from A, B, and C.

I completed this game last year but no longer have my save file. I've been looking for an excuse to replay and get all the endings this time. Let's do this!

Uh, hi. I placed an order for sadness and existential dread. Is this where I pick it up?

Not sure if I can make it with a baby due in a few days, but I'll try! Like Laura Crigger said on the podcast once about having played lots of games recently...."when you have a newborn, you're up A LOT".

As the one who started the NieR: Automata thread on GWJ back when it was announced:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/zG7KuQT.gif)

I'm not going to start right away, as I want to finish Trails of Cold Steel first. I am fairly confident I can finish it either this weekend or the next weekend (I will definitely push to get it done sooner rather than later). I cannot wait to start playing this! After three quarters of slow and chatty JRPGs (DQVII, P5, and ToCS), I'm ready for some something more action-oriented! (To be fair, I did play some Tetris Effect as a palate cleanser in the last two weeks.)

I played the intro a back in December when I bought the game on discount from Best Buy, made it to the more open world section, but did not play after that.

(For the record, I also want to play Tactics Ogre, we'll see if I can fit that into my schedule somehow...)

Also looking to play this months Adventure game club pick (To The Moon), but that's a story for another thread.

I still need to pick up the game but I'm really looking forward to this one. The original Nier was my favorite game that I played last year and my friends have been pushing for me to play this one. Is the game of the year edition worth the extra money or am I fine just picking up the standard one for a cheaper price?

I'm in! I played endings A and B previously, but I'll be starting over for the club. Just need to hook my PS4 back up.

Forlorn Hope wrote:

I still need to pick up the game but I'm really looking forward to this one. The original Nier was my favorite game that I played last year and my friends have been pushing for me to play this one. Is the game of the year edition worth the extra money or am I fine just picking up the standard one for a cheaper price?

I know a lot of Nier Automata fans, and I don't know any fans of the Nier Automata DLC.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

I know a lot of Nier Automata fans, and I don't know any fans of the Nier Automata DLC. :)

The description of the DLC on PSN says "3 battle arenas" or something similar, in addition to sexy Kainé costume from the original Nier. I was thinking about it, looked at the price and description, and decided not to get it.

Aaaaand the coin-flip favored Nier: Automata for me.

bobbywatson wrote:

Note: LastSurprise mentioned to me some time ago that they think this estimate is a bit too low, so plan accordingly!

To be honest, I have no idea how long a play through should be. When my wife finished the game, I think she was at around 80 hours (for routes A, B, and C/D) but she was also trying to finish all side quests, and was using a guide to find some hidden things. This was also the first 3D game she’s played to completion, so getting oriented was harder for her, sometimes — and I’m sure that affected her time accordingly. And she did a good bit of the content before getting fast travel.

Still, I think 20 hours is way short to finish those three routes unless you already knew where you were going and you purposely avoided side quests — which probably would leave you under leveled by the end. I think 30-40 is more realistic.

20 hours seems realistic for Ending A. The main game + extras estimate seems realistic for Endings A-E.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

20 hours seems realistic for Ending A. The main game + extras estimate seems realistic for Endings A-E.

You have no idea how happy I am to read this. This means I might have time for Tactics Ogre in Q3!

Coincidentally I started playing this a few weeks ago.

This will be my main game for this quarter. I will hopefully finish up P5 on Sunday and can balance completing this game with finishing Trails of Cold Steel.

Amazon has the game on deep discount right now for PS4, in case anyone still needs to pick it up.

Played some yesterday, and some more this morning. I'm at the point where we meet Pascal. So far, I love it! It really is a nice change of pace after three quarters of slow and chatty RPGs.

I'm no graphics expert, but the games looks great!

So far, the combat doesn't look too complex, although I certainly need to get better at dodging. It is more involved and faster paced than in the original NieR game (which I played a few years ago).

One thing I was thinking as I was playing yesterday: Isn't it weird that SquareEnix has not tried to capitalize on the success of Automata by putting the original on PS4/PC/XboxOne/Switch? I know it does not have the best of reputations (I played it a few years ago, and for what it's worth, I thought it was OK), but I'm sure lots of people came to the series with Automata, and would like an opportunity to play the original. The fact that this hasn't happened yet makes me think that either SquareEnix lost the source code, or that it's in such a bad state that they can't use it for anything.

Just played through to the first save point. Holy cow that was amazing! One of my favorite openings of a game!

And that music! Oh god, the music! I could listen to that for hours!

AUs_TBirD wrote:

And that music! Oh god, the music! I could listen to that for hours!

I bought the soundtrack as soon as it was available on iTunes, and I probably have listened to it a few hundred times since then. It's so, so good!

Dived back into my 14 hour save today and just completed the next mission in the main story. As I was playing I remembered some of the research I did back in December.

The game's main customization is done through Chips. These are items that you collect throughout the game that affect a stat or add some small ability by slotting them into your "CPU". Each chip has a bonus (name), a level (+X), and a cost in square brackets ([11]). Some Chips also have a little diamond between the level and cost. This diamond tells you that the chip in question has the lowest possible cost for that level of chip. You can also fuse chips with other chips of the same level to level up the chip, but doing so increases the cost of the chip. I am not sure how much you need to maximize your chip effectiveness on normal difficulty, but I found a guide on chip fusion during my original research that I saved.

Chip Fusion Guide

I have yet to encounter it myself, but there is apparently an inventory limit, so selling off your high cost chips or ones that you do not intend to use is something you should be doing. I forget if there is a warning about your inventory being full, but just something to be aware of.

Probably not much of a spoiler since it is fairly well known that this game requires multiple playthroughs and this might save some people some headaches about sidequests:

Spoiler:

Not every sidequest is possible/meant to be done on the first playthrough.

Also if you're like me and those locked chests are driving you nuts:

Spoiler:

You cannot open them during your first playthrough.

I can confirm there's an inventory limit for chips. If you try to pick one up when you're at the limit, it will pop back out and land on the ground.

Also a useful hint but a spoiler for the intro scene/tutorial thing:

Spoiler:

You can return to the place you died in the factory during the intro sequence, before reviving in headquarters. If you do, you get a few items and your sword back which are useful for starting out.

Hi my first difficulty spike yesterday:

After the

Spoiler:

Goliaths attack the city, I have to go to a hole where alien signals are coming from, and I have to fight (apparently) three flying serpents.

Let's just say I don't survive very long. It might be time for me to do a few sidequests and see if I can upgrade my equipment slightly...

Couple of quick mobility tips to make the platforming/traversal a little more convenient. Not sure how much of this is covered by the game and how much is found knowledge.

  • When you switch to a softer surface (rock to sand) or run through foliage while sprinting, you will stumble and break your sprint. You can change surfaces safely by jumping between them.
  • You can evade in the air to do an air dash and extend your jump distance.
  • You can press Pod Fire and Jump at the same time while in the air to grab your pod and throw yourself forward (if there is an enemy nearby, you will throw yourself at the enemy).
  • You can press Heavy Attack with or directly after a Jump to do a rising attack that gets you higher than a normal jump. You can do a second jump at the height of this attack as well. (Edit, had it backwards)
  • Sprinting slowly builds speed until you reach your maximum speed (which can be enhanced with chips), but any jump/drop will slow you down a bit.

I will update this if I remember any more things I have picked up.

Malkroth wrote:

Couple of quick mobility tips to make the platforming/traversal a little more convenient. Not sure how much of this is covered by the game and how much is found knowledge.

  • You can press Pod Fire and Jump at the same time while in the air to grab your pod and throw yourself forward (if there is an enemy nearby, you will throw yourself at the enemy).
  • You can press Jump with or directly after a Heavy Attack to do a rising attack that gets you higher than a normal jump. You can do a second jump at the height of this attack as well.

I beat this game A-E the other day and I never had any idea about either of those.

bobbywatson wrote:

One thing I was thinking as I was playing yesterday: Isn't it weird that SquareEnix has not tried to capitalize on the success of Automata by putting the original on PS4/PC/XboxOne/Switch? I know it does not have the best of reputations (I played it a few years ago, and for what it's worth, I thought it was OK), but I'm sure lots of people came to the series with Automata, and would like an opportunity to play the original. The fact that this hasn't happened yet makes me think that either SquareEnix lost the source code, or that it's in such a bad state that they can't use it for anything.

I am not sure why Nier hasn't been remastered for modern systems or a PC release since Automata did well. My initial thoughts were that it was a Sony exclusive but a quick Wikipedia check told me it was 360 as well, so not sure.

The other thing is Automata seems to stand on its own quite well, and from my recollection Nier did as well, but you can definitely see that Nier is part of another franchise. Nier is actually a sequel to one of the myriad of endings from the first game in the Drakengard series, which itself is still an ongoing franchise I believe. The switch of developers may have something to do with it as Cavia was the developer of the first game which was shuttered in 2010. So the likelyhood of lost source code could be very high as Cavia closed shortly after Nier's launch (less than 3 months).

Yesterday I got to a point where I failed a bunch of side quests all at once and wondered if I had hit the "point of no return" and sure enough, I was basically fast tracked to ending A from there. There were only two side quests that were left in my log for me to complete, so I finished those up and did some grinding (way over leveled now) to try and get some more chips/cash. So at this point I have completed endings A and K with 27 hours of play time.

A non-spoiler hint on when you are approaching the point of no return, but I will throw it in a spoiler tag anyway.

Spoiler:

You will get an email in your inbox at the save point titled "Server Capacity" that says system memory is near maximum capacity. This is the hint that side quests will become unavailable soon.

I had hoped NieR backwards compatibility would happen on Xbox One. I'll always hang onto my PS3 for Nier. I will 100% play through it every once in awhile.

Malkroth wrote:

The switch of developers may have something to do with it as Cavia was the developer of the first game which was shuttered in 2010. So the likelyhood of lost source code could be very high as Cavia closed shortly after Nier's launch (less than 3 months).

I was 100% certain that Drakengard 3 was Cavia, but no, it was Access Games (who are still around, apparently).

Made some progress this morning (after waking up way too early), and managed to unlock fast travel (which I was waiting for before starting to do more sidequesting). It took me about 6 hours to unlock it, so it wasn't too bad.

I started a few days ago and boy oh boy is this a Nier game. A hodgepodge of different genres such as hack 'n' slash, space shooter and hacking mini-games but they all share one common feature which is bullet hell. And I agree with the people above that the music is excellent.

I hope I can handle the combat in this one however since it seems to require a bit more finesse than the original. Action games that rely on reflexes generally are kind of hard for me. Also, is there any special conditions to get all the 5 main endings other than continuing from the previous ending? I remember in the first game that you had to collect all the weapons to get endings C&D.