By MindBullet 0 Comments
I originally played the NieR demo when it first came out, and I... Didn't like it. I WAS going to get Mass Effect: Andromeda, but seeing everything about it once embargoes lifted dissuaded me. I never played the original NieR (I did read a pretty in-depth Let's Play some time ago, if that counts), but the seemingly overwhelming praise for Automata convinced me to put my Mass Effect money on giving NieR a second chance. Now, I'm writing this after having completed all of the main endings.
Going forward, there is something to keep in mind: I love third person action games. I LOATHE bullet hell shooters. Obviously, my personal taste is going to maybe skew my perception of the game as a whole, so if that bothers you feel free to disregard everything I write about it. It's worth noting, however, that I wouldn't have completed the game if I didn't enjoy my time with it.
As far as action games go, while I wouldn't say I'm amazing at them, I've enjoyed Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden, and Platinum games dating back to the Viewtiful Joe days. It took me a while to get into Dark Souls, but I have played them all and I did eventually finish one once 3 came around. On the other hand, my favorite games last year were Stardew Valley and Va-11 Hall-a: Cyberpunk Bartender Action.
I only mention any of that in order to provide some kind of understanding for when I say this:
I kind of hate the gameplay in NieR: Automata.
=The difference between Difficult and Challenging=
When I originally played the demo I wrote that I disliked the camera angles, the bullet hell aspects, and the combat. Having finished the main story threads of the game, I can say I still feel that way about it.
The way the camera is used in general is kind of infuriating. Rather than existing at a fixed point on the player character, the camera exists as a separate character that revolves around the player character. It also doubles as your ranged weapon, making aiming without lock-on a massive pain when you also need to be able to look around you (not to mention how uncomfortable it is to aim at any enemy while also trying to hit one close range).
The color palette and the way the camera pulls out led to more than a few times where I legitimately couldn't tell what was going on, where I was, or who I was controlling.
The bullet hell/hacking segments are either embarrassingly trivial or just kind of annoying.
The game itself is a combination of bullet hell shooter and bullet hell melee, but the melee part lacks the precision of the bullet hell genre.
Terrain/geometry constantly trips you up and gets in the way. Invisible barriers during certain fights aren't a straight up "wall", and can lead to you getting stuck inside them.
-Normal is too easy, Hard is too hard
Normal eventually becomes something of a Musou game. Attacks that would be basically one hit KOs on Hard only chip off a bit of health, and you're seemingly only ever in danger if willingly walk into it.
Hard hit difficult. Not challenging, but just difficult to deal with. Enemies become much stronger, they take more hits, and have more abilities at their disposal. This wouldn't be such a problem if the way you engage them and the world you engage them in were polished enough to make it fair. In Dark Souls when you die you usually have a good idea why and how. It's usually your fault and you can tell why. Maybe you ran into a room without checking for an ambushed, maybe you went for that extra attack when you should have dodged, that sort of thing. Here, playing on hard, I was fighting the game rather than challenging myself. I got caught on terrain. I had control taken from me by story elements. I had enemies get a "free attack" when exiting dialogue or cutscenes. I was unable to target enemies for completely unknown and arbitrary reasons despite being near and looking right at them.
You not only have to deal with a dozen actual enemies, but also the dozens of bullets each of them spew out from dozens of directions. The camera does not make this enjoyable.
-The Eve boss battle
-Story stuff (text logs)
-Writing is everything
-I did enjoy it!