So Nier Automata came out two months ago, and despite picking it up at launch I just finished it earlier today (limited free time means slow going with games for me). I know you all know this, but I got to gush for a minute.
Nier Automata is one of the absolute finest experiences I've had the pleasure of enjoying in my 20 years of gaming. Yes it has slick combat, a killer soundtrack, an engaging narrative, and excellent character development, but what really elevates games to the next level for me personally is the attention to detail. It's when a game carefully designs every space perfectly to convey its message. It's why MGS2, Dark Souls, and SOTC rank among my favorite games of all time – every moment is carefully designed, and the narrative and gameplay weave together to elevate the experience as a whole.
Nier Automata is filled with this detail. For such a long game, it is staggering how so little of the dialogue or scenarios go to waste. The "Wandering Couple" sidequest, which stands alone as an interesting tale that further develops the world, also parallels the 9S/2B relationship in a way that doesn't become obvious until post-game reflection. The idea of "video game levels" where each "level" is in a unique environment with unique enemies with unique ideology to add "variety to the game" is contextualized within the story as the little microcosm petri dishes of the AI. 2B's hypersexualizaiton being contextualized as a way to get 9S / the player to become attached. The HUD elements as part of the Android OS. Hell, even when you play online and get "connecting to the network" – not "connecting online," but instead "the network" because the YORHA ANDROIDS ARE PART MACHINE AND SO ARE CONNECTED TO THE MACHINE NETWORK AND OH MY GOD ITS BEAUTIFUL GENIUS
Not to mention that ending. Yoko Taro getting us so engaged in this tragic tale with no happy ending, just like the rest of his games, but this time he lets us, the players, put our feet down and say "enough is enough," and basically with the power of friendship kill the developers to make us get our happy ending. But with victory comes sacrifice, and by sacrificing ourselves to help our brethren also achieve the happy ending we put an end to the cycle of violence between machines and androids in a way they never could and holy shit this is just so fucking good.
That's the tl;dr: so. fucking. good.
Yeah that's all I just needed to share. Have a good night. And remember: Pod 042 is bro.