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    NotMegan's Nier Automata (PC)

    [September 28, 2018 12:51:20 AM]
    As I continue in the game, the question of what makes a human human and whether or not a machine can meet those criteria is become explored more and more. In fact, I was just about punched in the face with that debate when I completed a quest by handing some extra parts off to a trader with a leg problem. Earlier he had mentioned he'd love to fix his leg and dance again. Now I ask him if he'll fix his leg and he says no. While this is a blatant contradiction and a bit rude because I was largely helping him because of an injury that he could repair but won't, he explains that it's the only human part of him left and he doesn't know what will happen when he loses it. This brings up more questions, too - If the people here are so scared of machines, then why are they integrating machine parts into their own bodies so much? If the man traded his last human limb for a machine, would he be more similar to a machine or a human? If a human could become a machine that easily, could a machine become human? I think back to my earlier experience with the little ones roaming around the forest. Are they more similar to machines or people? After finding their city in the sand, it's easier to answer this question. The machines have speech. They have culture indicated by clothing and makeup. They talk about emotions such as fear and their word use indicates probable sentience. They declare repeatedly that they don't want to fight, that they want to run, and that they feel compelled to attack only because otherwise we will kill them. It seems they might be protecting their city from me - It looks as if a small group of them has just attempted a kamikaze type attack on my group. This has gone from the poignant fate of the endangered creatures in Shadow of the Colossus to genocide, from somewhat subtle to beating me over the head with guilt and compassion towards these creatures that seem to check every box of what it means to be human except for the biological one. "You... Not... Human..." One of them tells me, and they're not wrong. Humanity is often defined by compassionate actions, and slaughtering a species without cause doesn't qualify for this definition of humanity.
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    [September 27, 2018 08:02:16 PM]
    I must admit, I'm trying to appreciate this game but it hasn't come as naturally as I would have hoped. The camera angles, while often fascinating as they change my perspective and my strategy when they shift, sometimes shift too early while I'm fighting or make it difficult to see areas. The narrative is still a little weak (When I redid the tutorial I noticed why 2B's response to seeing some birds sounds so weird - It's because it's the same "Is that?..." clip used when the boss emerges, no wonder it feels out of place and is singular instead of plural!) and I still don't understand what the deal is with the black boxes. How am I not dead? Why did we need both if one should have been sufficient? Why do all the NPCs keep telling me that using my black box to kill lots of enemies was weird, why else would I possibly be carrying a large explosive device in battle? Nonetheless, I'm curious to see where the game goes. Right now it feels somewhere between The Last of Us (with the wild animals roaming an overgrown postapocalyptic city, though I must say I preferred TLOU's grungy, spooky approach to the kelly green grass here) and Assassin's Creed III in particular (with the random little side tasks spread across an environment that you have to map out yourself as you do parkour to each checkpoint, though I don't really get what these vending machines are supposed to do and why they give me geographic knowledge). I imagine I'm only just now dipping into the moral aspects of this game, considering that it's been slowly presenting me with the concept of machines as non-sentient rivals to humans. 9S already told me in no uncertain terms that machines can't think during the tutorial, and now we're seeing little ones toddle around the city with no urge to kill. Is this a glitch? Has the beauty of the environment distracted them from their purpose? Are they becoming sentient, sympathetic, maybe even rebellious beings that don't want us dead? I can't help but think that the design of the smaller ones in particular is intended to seem a little cute. Not so much when they're killing you, but I definitely feel guilt killing the lost ones in the city who do no harm. I'm wondering if there is almost a Shadow of the Colossus message in here somewhere - Just because it's different doesn't mean it isn't a sentient, emotional being worth keeping alive?
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    [September 26, 2018 11:14:57 PM]
    The start of this game definitely feels a little slow. Maybe part of it is that you can't save the game until you finish the tutorial (On my first try I nearly finished it in an hour), which shouldn't be a problem for most people, but is highly inconvenient if you have to stop and do something else or if you, like me, get distracted by something unimportant during the first boss fight and are taken out in one hit, causing you to lose an hour's progress and forcing you to sit through the particularly slow first few minutes of narration and flight. I'm not bitter. At least I get to really solidify my understanding of the controls, as I forgot an important one about halfway through (when I had to stop and finish another assignment, which is really fun when you can't close the game because it will start over but you could really use the full use of your computer screen). So far it hasn't delved too much into the moral issues of the game, though - early game spoiler ahead! - the main character has to decide between saving her friend and protecting herself. This does seem like a bit of a weak plot point, though, as it's not an uncommon trope (character makes new friend, new friend is dorky but likable, new friend sacrifices themselves to protect the character) and we don't even have enough time to form a bond with the kid before he selflessly begs for us to leave him behind. And then, horror of all horrors, we leave him dying a slow and painful death while we go off to fight the boss again without a single bullet to put him out of his misery. Granted, this is the point where I became irritated from a narrative perspective and set down my controller to eat my snack, resulting in my character's sudden and abrupt death. A death screen flashes briefly to tell you that you've failed and robots will take over the earth, in about as many words - Despite the fact that you don't even have enough of the premise at this point to understand that you're protecting the earth from this fate. The credits scroll past nauseatingly fast and you're thrown back to the main menu, where some unimpressive UI design forces you back through several screens to find your previous game session and "continue" by restarting the game. Perhaps the goal of this is to create a stronger understanding of the impact of death. Many games have been criticized in the past for allowing too many attempts and too many deaths without consequences, maybe this is NieR's way of giving some finality to each loss of life. Still, the character we play as is impressively strong and can easily withstand hundreds of hits, so this message becomes a little blurred.
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    NotMegan's Nier Automata (PC)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Wednesday 26 September, 2018

    NotMegan's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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