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SIB Nier: Automata?

Content of the article: "SIB Nier: Automata?"

So I'm suffering from some real cognitive dissonance here. I have a number of excellent reasons to buy it and some equally compelling reasons not to. I made up my mind months ago really but I just stumbled across SkillUp's review and after listening to him praise the game to the high heavens, I thought I might have to reconsider.

The thing is, I am really not into Japanese storytelling or aesthetic. Checked out different manga, anime, games. Not my cup of tea. I also really don't like how humans are depicted. I took one good look at Nier Automata's cover image, the super sexualized female, thin as a stick, legs for days, revealing outfit, and went "no thanks." Just to be clear, I'm not judging anyone who's in for that. It's just that I'm not.

But SkillUp started his review admitting that his initial reaction was essentially the same, and he still fell in love with the game. That made me go "huh". I remembered that I also loved, loved Miracle of Sound's song for the game, Machine Hearts. And the game is primarily praised for its narrative – and I play games primarily for their stories, especially if they are dramatic/tragic/sad/moving which N:A apparently is.

Then again, I'm concerned with playing a second entry in a series and potentially not understanding the context. I really hate that. I watched footage of N:A, and wasn't impressed by the visual style. I still heavily dislike how characters look. I'm a little confused over the different gameplay … styles?

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Examples of games I loved for the narrative:

  • Hellblade (cried like a baby for most of the second half)
  • Firewatch (the ending coulda used some improvements)
  • several Telltale games (Wolf Among Us, TWD 1, Batman: Enemy Within)
  • Disco Elysium
  • SW: JFO
  • Spec Ops: The Line
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Mass Effect & Dragon Age
  • Remedy games
  • AC:Revelations, AC:III, AC:Origins

Liked but didn't love Plague Tale, Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls. Really couldn't stand Life Is Strange. I like story-drive games, adventures, RPGs. Not into Souls-likes.

I have never been so conflicted about a game before. It looks like something that is really NOT for me but described by many as something that really IS for me. I am thoroughly convinced that it is an excellent game but not entirely convinced that someone who generally doesn't like "the" Japanese artstyle and storytelling could enjoy it. It would be tragic to miss out on a great story.

So – should I buy Nier: Automata?

Please don't strangle me for generalising Japanese art. It's not my intention to say "oh, they're all the same". But there are similarities and recurring themes/aspects that are simply not for me. I believe that every culture's art has these similarities.


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