silly little things
I first played NieR:Automata around the end of 2020. That year was pretty rough on me. I missed going to school, seeing people in person, and every day I felt more and more lost within myself. Those were times of extreme nihilism and longing for something to break the cycle of monotony I was living. And in came NieR:Automata.
For some context, Nier is a video game series directed by mastermind Yoko Taro. The two main titles in the series (Nier Replicant/Gestalt and NieR:Automata) are Action Japanese Role Playing Games with a great emphasis on story-telling and music. Nier Replicant (or Nier Gestalt outside of Japan) takes the bizarre ending of Drakengard (another game made by Yoko Taro) and tells a tale of hope, despair, and the importance of perspective. Then, NieR:Automata continues this story and world 9000 years in the future. These games are accompanied by a variety of media, including stage plays, short stories and orchestras, all containing additional details of the "Yokoverse".
I booted up NieR:Automata after hearing about it from a friend and I was instantly captivated by the opening line:
"Everything that lives is designed to end. We are perpetually trapped in a never-ending spiral of life and death. Is this a curse? Or some kind of punishment? I often think about the god who blessed us with this cryptic puzzle... and wonder if we'll ever get the chance to kill him." -2B
This game has countless poignant quotes like that. It feels like every line of text is meticulously crafted and selected to have some sort of meaning behind it.
I have played countless video games in my life, but none of them have impacted me the way that NieR:Automata did. Only Yoko Taro knows how to write a side quest that can make one cry. That was the first time I cried while playing a video game—when I completed a side quest in this game. This happened once again with the final ending of the game: Ending E. As much as I want to talk about the intricate masterpiece and rollercoaster of emotions that is Ending E, I do not wish to spoil anything. If you are interested in this game, I strongly suggest you to experience it for yourself. It is an unforgettable experience that has profoundly impacted my life.
A few months after I finished NieR:Automata, Nier Replicant was rereleased as "NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139...". I absolutely love this game too. It is hard to compare the two, since they both excel in everything they do. My favourite thing about Nier Replicant is how beautifully it conveys different ideas. As I mentioned previously, the idea of perspective is explored in this game. As you play this game, your perspective on various plot points will change drastically. This creates an intimate interaction between the player and the world around, which makes one ask questions about the justifications for their actions.
"Even without those we have lost, the world relentlessly continues to turn." -Grimoire Weiss
I realize this might be a lot of information for those that are new to this series, so I apologize if this was overwhelming. It was very difficult to convey my thoughts on this series. There are so many moments and feelings that I would love to elaborate on, but I do not wish to spoil anything for those that might be interested in experiencing it for themselves. So once again, if this sounds interesting or if you need a new game to sink some time into, I strongly recommend trying Nier. Although Nier Replicant is the first game in the overarching story, I suggest starting out with NieR:Automata, as it is more refined and more user-friendly than Nier Replicant. Despite this, both games are masterpieces and as pretentious as it may sound, I consider them more akin to art than a mere video game. So,
"DO YOU THINK GAMES ARE SILLY LITTLE THINGS?"
https://nier.square-enix-games.com/en-us/ - NieR Replicant Official site
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0iCbTaWfpc - "Snow in Summer" from the NieR Replicant ver1.22 OST
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFagCDOaThw - "City Ruins (Rays of Light)" from the NieR:Automata OST
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f03IHCr9dJY - "Grandma" from the Nier Replicant/Gestalt OST
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1kuzWbBgqo - "Kainé" from the NieR Replicant ver1.22 OST