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This is my formal apology to Nier: Automata

I apologize. I'm sorry. My bad.

When Nier: Automata released it immediately had fans. The internet was buzzing with praise for latest installment from Yoko Taro. I wasn't really sure about a sexy robot in a french maid outfit, but I thought, "What the hell, it must be good, everyone loves it." And so, I purchased the game, patiently waited for it to install, and proceeded to kick off my new adventure…… for all of about an hour.

The opening was action packed, but there wasn't much to connect me to the story right off the bat, and the combat is pretty simplistic starting out, so unfortunately for me, this was not love at first sight. Then they pit you against your first goliath (it's pretty impressive how bad I was at the game here) and he promptly kicked my ass. No big deal, I've lost a LOT of video game fights. I wait for the loading screen to finish so I can get back to it, and BAM!, just like that I'm all the way back at the very opening scene of the game. I was irritated, the combat was shallow, and I didn't yet know who 2B and 9S were, so I didn't really care. I put the game down……… for 2 years.

I don't know what it was that called me back. At the time, I felt absolutely certain that the game just wasn't for me, and that I'd most likely never play it. But something called me back.

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I decided a few weeks ago to give the game a fair chance. I started up my previous save. I had managed to best the first goliath and make it to the City Ruins on my second attempt, but that's right where I had shelved it. I knew that if I allowed myself to get frustrated at the opening again, it could sour the start of my journey, so I opted to skip it and pick up where I left off. Which I maintain was the right choice.

Now, I still believe the opening could have been handled a little better, but oh what a fool I was! I hadn't even made it to the Resistance Camp for the first time before giving up. I didn't even know what the game was and I had written it off! Once I found myself understanding the flow of the game, and getting to know this version of Earth's future, I began to fall for Nier: Automata pretty hard.

There will be a few spoilers below, but I'll do my best to make sure everything is tagged.

The story, while falling into some tropes here and there, is both thought provoking and engaging. For a story about robots, it is surprisingly human. So far I have seen endings A, B, G, K, and T. And I have to say, I'm normally not one for multiple endings, but if it had been described as chapters vs. endings I would have never batted an eye. Each part is unique enough to either be showing you something completely new, or expanding on a previous event to show another angle. It's incredibly well structured. I wrapped up 2B's story, then went through 9S' version of events, and then had the "humans have been extinct for a very long time" bombshell dropped on me, then watched 2B die, and now I'm setting out as her murderer, but completely invested in finding out A2's motivation. I'm 45 hours into Nier: Automata and it feels like I'm setting out on a brand new game. It's not a feeling I'm accustomed to, but it's very welcome.

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I still have a journey to complete, but I can confidently say that I sorely misjudged this game. It deserved every bit of praise it received, and while some parts of the gameplay were a little rough in their execution, I'm more than willing to forgive it, as Nier:Automata tries so many things to keep it fresh and most of them are well implemented. It's really quite impressive to bounce from 3D action combat, to side scrolling platformer, to a bullet hell section, to enemy hacking…… and it all feels cohesive. It's all a part of this strange future.

In closing, I'll say it one more time. I'm sorry Nier. I sold you short when you were new, but now that I've given you a fair chance, I'm 100% on board. You were a good game and I just wouldn't let you shine.


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