Tales from the Backlog 53: Nier: Automata

Some games make such an impression on its players that they develop a cult-like following, with people breathlessly extolling their virtues whenever the situation is right, and sometimes when the situation doesn't call for it! Nier: Automata is one of those games, the unlikely combination of the enigmatic creator Yoko Taro and the stylish action game extraordinaires at PlatinumGames. The previous game in the series, Nier, garnered praise for its story and music, but criticism for its repetitive and unweildy gameplay, so the addition of the flashy, smooth combat from Platinum was just what the doctor ordered. The missing piece turned out to be....making the game fun to play. And it's not just the melee combat we've come to know and love from Platinum...Nier: Automata also wisely shakes up the gameplay early and often throughout its 25-35 hour runtime. Hack and slash gives way to side-scrolling shoot-em-up, which gives way to top-down twin-stick shooter sections, which give way to a 1-on-1 kaiju battle at one point. This smart decision allows the gameplay to stay fresh and enjoyable while the players get through the real selling point- the story.

Nier: Automata uses storytelling and the fact that you're playing a video game in a lot of interesting ways, and not in the meta way that you might expect from a game like Doki Doki Literature Club or even Metal Gear Solid. Less gimmicky meta things that will only be cool once, and more using the fact that you can continue the same plot from another character's point of view, you can cut away from the action for a fourth wall breaking conversation, and many other ways that take this story and fit it perfectly to the medium. Now that may sound fun, but what about the actual story? The journey of 2B and 9S as they attempt to fight off the machine threat as what they know to be true keeps crumbling around them is one I'll never forget, and I have to tip my cap to Yoko Taro for all of the surprises, thrills and tears along the way. And of course, no blog or podcast about Nier: Automata would be complete without mentioning the name Keichi Okabe, who put together an absolutely S-tier soundtrack that reinforces the story. This is the real shit.

I was lucky enough to be joined by not one, but two wonderful guests for this episode. First is Andrew Kimball from Your Friendly Neighborhood Gamers, who is a returning guest on the show, previously heard in the Bloodborne Bosses Tier List and FromSoftware and the Open World episodes. You can find Your Friendly Neighborhood Gamers at their website, YouTube channel, and wherever you listen to podcasts. Also joining us is musician and streamer Katie Shesko. Katie does flute covers of video game, anime and TV music, as well as Twitch streams. You can find her on YouTube, [Twitch](www.twitch.tv/katieshesko) and Spotify.

You can listen to episode 53 of Tales from the Backlog (Nier: Automata) of Tales from the Backlog in the player below, or you can follow the links to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Podcast Addict, Stitcher, Google Podcasts or search "Tales from the Backlog" in your favorite podcast app!