2017 is the year of NieR: Automata. And I will now tell you why is that.
But let this guy Jim Sterling tell you first, how about that for an in-your-face shocker, eh?
In his post-experience video which is well worth the watch as it exclaims the right points much better than my amateurish babble, Monsieur Sterling had this to say. NieR: Automata can only exist as a video game.
To credit of both Jim Sterling and Yoko Taro, that’s quite an eye-opening fact to pull. There simply isn’t another medium in which NieR: Automata would work. Not ‘as well as’, it wouldn’t work at all. The interactivity isn’t just an element here; it’s the vessel, it’s the driver. Of all the things conveyed. Few, if any, games in my fresh memory achieve this.
Speaking of which. My memory and achievement that is. I remember this guy, Mordin Solus. In what was the greatest speech ever in a video game, he talked about made-up alien races. And as I realised he wasn’t really talking about those races as much as he did about humanity and what it means to be human, I was left stunned. NieR: Automata does the same, fifty-fold, and not in a short segment. It does it until the game is over. And then, it squeezes the question hardest anyone’s ever done it, and does it again.
As Jim Sterling puts it (come on, just watch the damn thing already!), NieR: Automata doesn’t just pose or discuss what it means to be human. It puts on a rubber glove and crams its hand deep indeed into the question’s arse. That’s undisputed GOTY material, right there. Also, thanks Jim.
Footnote: I do realize that many people had problems with NieR: Automata‘s less-than-stellar PC port and that it’s straight-up dickery to overlook these ‘because I didn’t have any’. Along with the fact that Platinum didn’t bother with a patch to this day since the game’s release in February last year, things don’t look good. But I can’t just ignore what NieR: Automata achieves as a video game. I’m sorry, I can’t. If you need to buy a PS4 to experience it, do it. No. Just do it.