Square Enix unveils the debut gameplay trailer for their upcoming action RPG NieR: Automata, showcasing a frenetic combat style and grungy steampunk environments.
The video, which was shown as part of a stage presentation at Paris Games Week, provided new details regarding Square Enix and developer Platinum Games’ sequel to NieR, a PS3 and Xbox 360 cult classic. The gameplay definitely features an action style reminiscent of other Platinum Games projects like the Bayonetta series, while the soundtrack captures a similar feeling of desperation and unease that characterized the first NieR game and made it such a distinct entry into the genre.
Although NieR: Automata shares a name with the series’ first installment, the gameplay trailer indicates that the sequel will be a rather dramatic departure from its predecessor. The combat is much more fluid and faster-paced, and enemies appear to have very distinct attack patterns that will require precise timing to avoid. While the original NieR often gave gamers a wide environment to work with, NieR: Automata appears to feature a number of claustrophobia-inducing factory locales that will challenge players to work with a limited amount of space.
Combat, however, was not the primary feature that set the first NieR apart from other RPGs at the time, and fans of the series have been eagerly awaiting more information about what to expect regarding narrative. In NieR: Automata, players will inhabit the body of an all-purpose battle android named “2B”, a sword-wielding female lead created to defend the Earth from invaders from another world.
If that story sounds completely different from the first game, that’s because it definitely is. Square Enix and Platinum Games are confident they can re-capture what made NieR a cult hit without having to adhere to a similar storyline or revisit the same characters. A new story with the same over-arching series title is nothing new to Square Enix, of course, as that’s the system they’ve had in place for Final Fantasy for decades now as that franchise approaches its eagerly-awaited Final Fantasy 15.
If NieR fans are a bit worried about the direction Automata is headed, they should take comfort in the fact that Square Enix recently confirmed its dedication to seeing new IPs through at least three games before arriving at a formula gamers and developers like. With that being said, NieR: Automata is still under heavy development, and while massive changes could still occur, the current product looks like a massive upgrade on its predecessor that has room for improvement yet.
Do you prefer action RPGs to the traditional, slower-paced combat systems of yore? Does the NieR universe interest you at all? Let us know in the comments below.
NieR: Automata is in development as a PS4 exclusive and is currently without a release date.