Do you need to read this?
If you just started the game and especially if you are new to Nier games and things what Yoko Taro creates (just like me) you can be confused with some things. I see how some questions are asked over and over again in this subreddit so I decided to make this FAQ.
I never played such games before. Never played Nier or Drakengard. I never played Action RPGs, fightings like Bayonetta. Only bullet-hell games are known to me but I'm very bad at them.
So there was no such guide on my hands when I started NieR:Automata and it looks like I've missed a bit of game because I was not ready. And now I decided to write this thing.
Any spoilers in this guide?
Maybe a tiny bits. I tried to be as spoiler-free as possible, but some things are hard to describe without spoiling some tiny things and that can be considered as spoilers.
So if you strictly against any spoilers then stop reading this right now!
How many times I need to play this game?
Most confusing situation here is terminology. Personally I use this words:
- Playthrough – you start game from scratch and finish it with endings ABCDE.
- Route – part of the game where you play towards particular ending (route A, route B, etc)
- Ending – special cutscene after which you get nding etter to your save.
Actually game consists of three routes: route A, route B and route C/D/E. You can think what each of this routes is something like 1/3 of the game. Last route is "C/D/E" because at the end you can choose what ending you want (and I highly recommended to replay last chapter to see all three).
More appropriate word for route is "chapter". But game has another thing what is called "chapter", so I ended up with "route" because it looks like most used.
When you receive an "ending" you usually returned to title screen. Then you need to load your save again and continue playing.
So, actually you will not play game three times, you will just get two "endings" after 1/3 and 2/3 of your playthrough. Stopping your play at ending A or B is just like seeing only first half of a movie.
This game will not autosave for you. You need to save manually. And use any opportunity to save your progress. You also have three save slots so you can use different ones if you not sure what it is good idea to save at this particular moment.
Game certanely can be played two times. I did played it twice and really liked result. First play for the story. And then you start new game with fresh save and play it again to get 100% of everything: quests, intel, fish encyclopedia, endings.
Second playthrough (with knowing all the story) feels differently, you start to see "tiny bits" what was not visible at the first play. This really worth it.
Can you play it third time? Why not. But this will not differ from previous playthroughs. This is not CS:GO after all.
Game mechanics what can be missed
Because I'm not pro gamer and never played such games before (actually i'm not playing that much, maybe only couple of games in ten years) there are things what I missed on my first playthrough.
In the intro game tells you what in Flight Unit you can use Heavy Attack and it brings up a protective shield. But what it does not tell you is what you also can use your Light Attack which is more powerful than just firing.
There are two chips in the game what makes your play more enjoyable. But they are not available from the start and game does not tell you what they are finally added to the shops (actually tells, but it can be easily missed).
So check for chips every new shop you discovered. And pay attention for message about new chips.
Check your map
From time to time check your map (in menu). Sometimes it is the only way to notice some new side-quests (marked with red dots). And it is also helps to quickly see what you need to do and where.
At first I was really frustrated by this mini-game. It is cool when you do it just for recreational purposes, but at the point when I did it for selling fishes it was a bit bad. And also at the game end when I wanted to catch 100% of fishes in this game.
There is actually three signals (maybe more, but I know only this) when you should reel your pod:
- Pod goes underwater with splashing sound
- In water Pod moves in direction of water flow. When he changes direction to opposite – reel it!
- Pod can stop moving completely. This one is harder to notice but also rare one.
Another tip: you can turn on lights on your Pod while fishing. This sometimes makes it easier to track his movements.
With all this knowledge it was much easier to fish and you can get something like 50000 G very quickly. And this is quite helpful at the beginning.
What resources can I sell?
Almost everything what has in its description "can be exchanged for money". But some things are really rare and if you sell them it will be not possible to get any more. And these rare things are needed for upgrades.
So if you want to be safe sell only this things: fishes, machine cores, meat. Meat from white animals is most valuable by the way. Also earrings, bracelets and chokers – you can farm them at some locations.
If you really need money, fishing and hunting is your choice.
Actually there is no limit on number of different items you can have in your inventory. Except:
- Items stacks and you can't have more than 99 of one single item.
- Chips doesn't stack. And I believe you can have only 99 chips in inventory. So fuse your chips often. Or sell ones you don't need.
If you die you will be respawned. But your active chip-set will be on your previous body. You must find it to recover your chips, money and experience. And most important thing here is what this is not just cool game mechanics, but a thing what is important for androids. Death for them is real thing. Don't miss that point. If you wonder why, then read about Teletransportation Paradox.
Personally I think what NieR:Automata is more about story than fightings. I can even tell what story is the main important thing in this game along with atmosphere (map design + music). But of course without fightings this game won't be complete thing.
And if you at some point start to feel what all this fights are too hard for you, then it is better to lower game difficulty than dropping game completely.
From my point of view Normal is really most enjoyable difficulty. And Easy is for cases when you can't deal with certain enemies (I'm very bad at this things so last third of the game I played with auto-chips). You can even choose which auto-chips are enabled. And leave only those you need (only auto-dodge, for example).
Don't push yourself, play with comfortable difficulty level.
Japanese or English?
The only valid argument in Japanese voices VS English voices debates is: if you can't understand voices then it will be hard to follow the story because you will have no time to read subtitles in boss-fights.
Everything else is a personal preferences.
Do I need controller?
I played this game with KB+M first time. Then I played it again with controller. And from my point of view controller is better for this game.
If playing on PC
On PC you must use FAR mod. It really fixes graphics. And you should try it even if you got stable 60fps on highest settings.
With GTX 670 card and FAR mod I was able to play on medium settings at 1080 resolution with ~30fps (45 at simple environments and with 25 in very complex scenes). And it was quite acceptable.
Can I miss something?
From game mechanics point of view there is only one thing you can miss – ending . Because that ending can be achieved during the quest. And if you miss it and complete the quest, there will be no option to redo that quest to achieve this ending.
But this is late game content. You will be with all weapons at that moment and all of them will be upgraded to max level, so you can just google tutorial for that quest and that ending.
Another thing what can be considered as missable is a side-boss fight what happens in side-quest on route C. Side-quest can be completed without boss-fight if you already collected enough Tree Sap. So on route C sell all Tree Sap you have as soon as possible.
When you finish the game "Chapter Select" option will be unlocked and you can use it to complete unfinished quests.
And of course things can glitch in this game and you miss something because it is not triggered or if quest item fall in the water and you can't reach it. But I hope this will not happen to you.
Can I skip side-quests?
Yes you can skip them completely but you will miss some intel what makes main story clearer and richer. And if you don't want to complete all quest then at least complete following quests because I think they are important for game atmosphere.
- Terminal Repairs
- Find a Present
- The Wandering Couple
- YoRHa Betrayers
- Retrieve the Confidential Intel
- Anemone's past
- 11B's Memento
My favorite: When new shop opens near the entrance to desert area, talk to the shop owner and then go to the Shopping Facility – check your map, there must be a quest mark. Make sure you completed this quest, reward is pretty nice.
- Data Analysis Freak 1 + 2 (Offered at Bunker)
- Amnesia (Near the building you landed on at the beginning)
- All quests from shops in the Camp.
- Play With Us! (do it immediately upon received)
- Storage Element (do it immediately upon received)
My favorite: quest available from android near the Access Point in the Camp. Accept quest and go to the first area. After gathering intel on the first spot, search for the Flight Unit, it must be near that spot (in the water). Extract intel from this Flight Unit also (this is not noted anywhere so can be missed). Then go to next quest points. When all intel is collected return to android. You will receive reward but this will not end the quest! Check your map for place you need to visit for quest completion.
This is quests I prefer. There is also this comment with more info (yes, I took quests list from it), but for me it contains spoilers. Check that comment if you don't mind spoilers as much as I do.
I need more info on game and its lore.
Check links in sidebar.
Personally I used this subreddit for talks and this wiki for info about game things. Of course there are spoilers everywhere on that wiki so be cautious.
Another nice thing is this video: Lore summary – From Drakengard to Nier: Automata. Because I didn't played previous games I was interested in the lore and this video describes it very well. But while there is no spoilers for NieR:Automata in that video, it obviously contains spoilers for previous games, so be warned.
Also do not miss fansite by /u/RekkaAlexiel. It contains things what you probably will want after finishing the game.
Anime art please!
There are many online image galleries with art for NieR:Automata. This can be considered as worth visiting:
Gelbooru contains NSFW works – at this moment contains 2568 images.
Safebooru can be considered SFW – at this moment contains 1467 images.
On both boorus tag "nier_automata" is used for images we are interested in. Safebooru contains SFW images from Gelbooru. If you want all, then Gelbooru is your choice. If you do not want hentai, then stick to Safebooru only.
If you want to download images from this two galleries, then try out this tool – imgbrd-grabber (link for download: latest release). It's not that intuitive, but I think this Getting Started guide will be enough.
I don't know how to dump images from pixiv, but this is also should be possible. There is also deviant art, twitter and tumblr but I never explored them for N:A artworks.
Another useful link: http://www.iqdb.org/ – you can use this service to find source (usually in better quality) of particular drawing. In case of anime-like art it is more reliable than GoogleSimilarImage.
Yes. Everything. No jokes.