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5 Quick Reasons Why NieR: Automata Is My Favorite Video Game of the 2010s

[Note: This is a slightly edited version of a response to a question I brought up on Quora. The unedited answer can be found at

I can't think of a better video game released in the last decade than NierR: Automata (and, by extension, its prequel/definitive remake NieR: Replicant, which I won't cover here). Sorry The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Dark Souls, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and more. I have a soft spot for this game, and it's one of the best things I've ever played.

A quick online glance may make you think the game is only about sexy battle androids with fat butts killing machines. WRONG. That is not only an absurd statement but also one that criminally undersells the game.

People have talked much about the gameplay, graphics, story, etc. There are *so* many other reviews, YouTube videos, and even Quora answers that would better explain this in greater detail than I could. I will avoid discussing the usual "typical discussion" when people talk about the game.

Instead, let me gush and explain in five bullet points why I feel that NieR: Automata is easily one of the best artistic achievements in video games (let alone any art form), the best game of the 2010s (these are fighting words, I know), and indeed one of the greatest video games of all time. I will avoid spoilers in this post.

  • Despite featuring androids and machines, the game is much more of a statement on what it means to be alive, struggle, experience pain, and so much more. Very few games can even come close to achieving this level of commentary.

  • The world itself is relatively straightforward, predominantly featuring areas like deserts, forests, ruined cities, factories, and more. Despite this, each zone feels believable and is essential for showing how a world without humans would be.

  • Philosophical undertones and direct references are not only relevant but are central to the plot at large. Philosophers such as Fredrick Niechzte, Simone de Beauvoir, and Jean-Paul Sartre get referenced or alluded to in the game. Very few games do this (possibly due to video games often catering to a younger demographic), so the fact that NieR: Automata does so makes the game stand out more for the better.

  • The overall storyline is excellent. Events that happen to the characters are often unpredictable while also feeling believable. A2 is my favorite character in the game, personally.

  • (This one is more subjective, not objective). In my opinion, the game's true ending (Ending E, there are technically 26 endings, though F-Z are largely "bad ends" or joke endings) is the most emotionally satisfying ending to anything of all time. Explaining why is very tough to do without spoiling it. Instead, let me say that not only does it help to wrap up all narrative ends with the game, but it also uses the unique technologies of the video game medium to create what is an unforgettable experience. I rarely get emotional with video games (there are probably less than five instances if I'm being honest), but I will man up and admit that I genuinely shed some manly tears.

I will say no more, as I feel one should go into the game as blind as possible. I highly recommend you check out NieR: Automata if you want a game that breaks away from the typical "dudebro" or child-like experiences many games on the market currently offer.

Additionally, though I said I wouldn't cover it, I highly recommend you check out NieR: Replicant. It's, quite honestly, not as good as a game overall as Automata is (also, you technically have to play through the entire game, then at least two more times at the halfway point to get the true ending, which can be a dealbreaker for many). However, as it was released first and Automata refers to it numerous times, I recommend playing it. I played the original on PS3 first, which is what drew me to Automata in the first place.

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