A sequel I never thought I'd ever see. The excitement I felt when NieR Automata was announced was surreal. The first NieR game was my introduction to Yoko Taro's insanity and boy does it take you for a ride. Drakengard 3 was my second foray and while that game did not have the best or to some extent, functional gameplay. I enjoyed the story. After having played the demo for NieR Automata. It finally has the missing piece. Stellar gameplay.
NieR Automata combines some of my favorite things. The insanity of NieR (lore, character design, music) and the action game polish of Platinum Games. The first NieR, while it had solid gameplay, was a tad too easy. Melee attacks would would tank your through most projectiles and your block would virtually block almost every attack the game could throw at you. Plus your mobility was too fluid for the slow lumbering enemies present. Now that Platinum Games is handling development for NieR Automata, it feels like a proper action game now. Movement and attack speed feel incredible while at the same time not making you an invincible killing machine if you're not paying attention. You actually have to hit the bullets with your sword now instead of simply the act of swinging the sword would block 3-4 bullets. Your Pod, which basically replaces Grimoire Weiss, acts are your ranged attacks but shooting it does not hinder any of your other movements so you can shoot and keep shooting while doing all your melee attacks, jumping, dodging, etc.
On the easy and normal difficulties, you have the ability to lock onto enemy targets which will aim your pod as you wreck havoc on everything else. On the higher difficulties, the lock-on is disabled making it a pseudo 3rd person shooter where you actually have to aim with the right stick as you're decimating other enemies around you. And much like in the style of other Platinum action games, you are free to switch between different weapon types and combinations mid-string to further your combos. Like in true Platinum Games fashion, you'll basically be playing Twister with your fingers on the controller at the higher difficulties and its great.
If you haven't tried the NieR Automata demo yet, I highly suggest that you do so. If you liked the first NieR, or Devil May Cry, or Bayonetta, or Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, play this demo because it has a little bit of everything in it.