NieR Automata Review
of reading - words
The Japanese version of NieR Automata automatically offered the French language (and many others: English, Italian, Spanish and German) for the subtitles and the menus of the game. The dubbing, them, were with the choice in Japanese or in English. Well, this European version is identical in all respects, therefore offering exactly the same choices and options. No difference !
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11,945 AD. We discover that Humanity was driven from Earth several thousand years ago by an alien race and its hordes of robots. What remains of us is safe on the Moon and counts on an army of androids from the organization YoRHa to end the exile. After several unsuccessful attempts, it seems that the hope of recovering our natural home is allowed ... It all begins as 2B, the humanoid soldier of female appearance that we embody, goes on a raid against a factory hiding a gigantic robot Goliath. Its unit decimated, it will find in 9S, a scout remained on the spot, an ally of choice. And this for a much longer duration than expected.
2B free or not 2B
The least we can say is that NieR Automata takes us by surprise from the start. After having laid the foundations of the post-apocalyptic universe in which the player will venture, rather than propelling him on the ground to fight sword in hand, the title opens with a sequence ... of shoot them up. Horizontal, vertical scrolling, twin stick mode and Space Harrier view , everything goes. Always very "manic" in their approaches, the different sections already force to show dexterity to exterminate the offenders and dodge the dozens of pellets that invade the screen. A way - which will intervene at other times later - to warn that there will never be any question of releasing his attention. This is true when the "classic" fights, which make up most of NieR Automata , occur.
Connoisseurs of beat them all made in PlatinumGames like Bayonetta 2 or Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance - which it is very close to - will be able to do nothing but feel at home. Simple controls and responsive to the hair, flexibility of dodging, nervousness of sequences and firmness of combos, variety in juggling with pressure and with weapon changes on the fly or the use of the pod for ranged attacks: it's wonderful to play, splendid to watch, precise, often epic when the confrontation involves a large number of enemies (we can go up to several tens) or critters of colossal size. And with a little practice, especially on the subject of mastering locking, you can become the star of authentic martial ballets, haloed in the animation class of 2B and the feeling of power that accompanies each hit. What to forget the somewhat wobbly and repetitive side of the original game? Completely. Even if we fear that the intensification of the opposing waves - which will continue to evolve over time - will sink everything into monotony, we are offered, in addition to the inimitable feeling, what to vary the pleasures as we progress.
With RPG components firmly anchored and a large place given to exploration, NieR Automata obviously lets us talk about money and enjoy lots of objects to pick up, recover from very hot carcasses, in chests or thanks to fishing - reworked and childishly simple. Useful for resale, these items must also be kept in order to develop the level of a growing arsenal, with very diverse blades, spears, gauntlets, and even a wooden stick. We must therefore not neglect the round trips in specific areas, to hope for the respawn that can lead to obtaining an animal skin or a missing pearl.
On the skill side, no trees unlocking with the accumulated levels. Just a circuit whose number of slots will have to be monitored to insert chips for more or less useful applications depending on its style. You do not want to wander with the display of the map, have no interest in knowing how many life points you take away, know perfectly where your next mission takes place? You prefer to have more hit points, bet on resistance, speed, benefit from a temporal stasis in case of evasion or simply parry? It modulates. By hand or automatically (three profiles: balanced, attack and defense). But believe us, it will be more interesting to put your nose in it and take a look through the mergers at the dedicated shop. With the four difficulties proposed (including a last one which brings you back to square one on ONE SINGLE touch), this clearly allows you to make a journey à la carte (mother), well dosed. And even to blow up on command. Note that we will have to be very careful with his deaths, the equipment remaining attached to the fallen body, so we should not miss and not give in to the sirens of the resurrection offering an additional ally in combat. At least when you are well advanced.
NieR Automata is not just intense melee and machine guns in sexy outfits. The open world without loading (except in the case of teleportation) that 2B will tread also aims to make you travel - run, jump, hover and hang with ease in a city in ruins, a desert, an amusement park, a forest ... And follow a story. Stories, rather. Besides a main screen armored with surprises - with an impact on the gameplay, by the way - sheltering colorful characters and willingly offbeat, and which will reveal its true flavor only by accepting some repetitions and very "breaking of the fourth wall" phases capitalizing on your patience and your acceptance of a certain degree of pain, there are obviously quests to unearth at random or to accept in places of "life". With a starting point that is sometimes harmless, they open, as you wish, to abominable tragedies, misunderstandings, cute or simply delusional moments.
Those who were able to immerse themselves in the first part (which it is not necessary to have played, even if the references are REALLY not lacking) or the Drakengards will find there the imprint of Yoko Taro. Under the varnish of a simplistic and Manichean universe hide nuances, questions concerning the human condition, attachment to the other, blind devotion, the use of violence. And it affects the fair enough the majority of the time, always with the tone which can, like the camera, sometimes passing from free 3D to a fixed 2D responsible for making you aware of your desperate situation with more insistence, change into a instant. Sometimes because of you, a truth that it would have been better to hide. NieR Automata turns out to be a bipolar game, sometimes poetic, contemplative, peaceful, sometimes furious, uncontrollable, disturbing - with shocking twists and scenes that link directly to the liver and uppercut. In all cases, the boat will rock. You will even be turned over for the 20 to 30 hours necessary to see the good end and understand the ins and outs of a scenario told and staged with mastery - by involving us in a very nice way.
At the top of the basket
It remains to address the question of the realization, more than thorny in the production of 2010. At least, we can say that we are in a good average. We will readily concede that the places to visit (and to re-re-re-re-visit) are often empty (which may seem logical in a ravaged world), which we have, at times, under the heat of explosions, the impression of evolving on PS3 ... In short, we are not facing a fatal beauty as can be a Horizon: Zero Dawn . NieR Automata displays, in addition to an unfailing fluidity, a crazy charm, an elegance that places it above the rest. A question of aesthetics, design, identity, which makes you forget a slightly dirty wall, not great display distances and other inappropriate staircase effects.
As a final touch to this action-RPG that allows itself to break out of the nails more than once, there is music. Keiichi Okabe clearly did not want to rest on the laurels, rightly acquired on NieR . He gives the last touch of polish to a fantastic atmosphere by delivering once again a remarkable score, totally consistent with the universe depicted. Traditional and synthetic multi-layer instrumentalizations, sometimes supported by heady choirs, are used on very, very high class compositions. Special mention to the songs involving the very soothing voice of Emi Evans, who rocks us once again in a fictitious language ... with even more marked French accents. Ready made transition to evoke the quality of the localization (the texts, numerous, and subtitles can be in the language of Molière). It is quite exemplary, with a few inadequate accents. And considering the place occupied by our country in this episode, still happy.