Not often enough does a story in a video game leave you as speechless as Nier: Automata left me when I played it this past year. Starting off as a fairly common “how human are robots” type of tale, it escalates with each ending. Eventually, the places it goes will leave you a quivering pile of personified existential dread that few narrative media forms have been able to match up to this point. Nier: Automata also sports some of the best characters of the year and manages to make good on their arcs more often than not. In a play of classiness, not often seen in huge games like this one, it will even let you buy any of the game’s trophies after you complete the game so you can enjoy it without worrying about completing every last thing. Many of the mechanics in the game can be used in surprisingly creative ways and there are a few side-quests that are just as good as the main story. Nier: Automata definitely deserves the spot as the 6th best game of 2017.
Why This Game?
Normally, I like to write these entries on platinum trophies that are either easy, hard or interesting in some way. Nier: Automata is an narratively brilliant game that does some really great things with its story and by the end of my play-through, I felt like I was pretty done with it. It was at that moment, I heard about something intentionally built into the game by the developer that made me want to go ahead and get the platinum. I’ll get into what that is and how it made me feel in a bit, but suffice it to say that this alone made this game worth writing about.
Saturday morning cartoons were always such a huge production when I was younger. If you wanted to see your favorite show, you had to wake up early and make sure your butt was planted in front of that TV in time to see them. One show that was always worth wiping the crust out of my eyes early on a Saturday morning was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As such, when I heard that PlatinumGames, who recently released a pretty decent Transformers game, was making a game based on one of my favorite childhood cartoons, I was excited. The question I was faced with after playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan ended up being whether nostalgia is enough to make an otherwise troubled game enjoyable.
Autobots and Decepticons spent quite a bit of time battling it out on my playroom floor when I was young. They were some of the coolest toys around back then and I still consider The Transformers: The Movie, the animated one not the Michael Bay joint, to be one of my favorite animated films. Thus, when I heard that PlatinumGames, the team behind games like Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, were putting together a Transformers game, my interest was piqued in a big way. The end result, Transformers: Devastation, is the Transformers power fantasy my childhood self has been waiting for all this time.