At this point, there’s little excuse for someone not to have at least heard about NieR: Automata. Since the game blew up as one of the biggest cult hits of the last console generation, the title has received plenty of cameo content in other titles and a slew of ports to other consoles. For better or worse, it’ll likely see even more crossovers and ports too, as there’s next to no sign of the game losing its following anytime soon.
This, however, leaves the Nintendo Switch port in an awkward position. Releasing more than five years after the title originally released, there’s only so much that it can offer which would make it worth buying on top of or instead of other ports. Likewise, most people who would play it but haven’t yet at least know of the title and what it’s about, meaning they’ve probably experienced most of the game’s themes and key moments through osmosis or even other media.
That was the mindset I went into the port with. After spending some time with it though, I can safely say that the Switch port of NieR: Automata has plenty to offer to gamers who still haven’t hopped on the bandwagon and need an excuse to finally play the game.
This is mainly due to factors most Switch ports benefit from; the primary one being that the entire experience has been made portable. One can jump in and out of the game at their leisure as a result, taking on missions and story content in as large or small of chunks as they’d like wherever they’d like. The game also lends itself to this perfectly, as its game world and design structure is surprisingly well-made for shorter, more sporadic play sessions.
Over the span of a couple days, I was able to jump in and out of the game repeatedly without any feelings of not making any progress. I could put in time tracking down mission objectives or exploring the desolate yet breathtaking world in small chunks or larger sessions, and it always felt like I would be able to see everything the game had to offer in this way.
There’s also the surprisingly high technical quality of the game to consider. While it may not be quite as perfectly polished graphically as the other console ports, NieR: Automata looks great on the Nintendo Switch whether it’s docked or played on the go. At most, character models can look a little rigid during live gameplay and in cutscenes where a lot is happening all at once.
Past that, it runs smoothly and has minimal graphical glitches which are slight nuisances at best. It looks and runs like one of the better third party games the Nintendo Switch currently has to offer, and Nintendo fans won’t have to worry about getting a de-facto inferior version of the game.
The same can be said of the audio, which is a huge plus for a portable version. While having full surround sound is still a go-to way for experiencing Nier Automata’s music, the game’s tunes, voice acting and other auditory bells and whistles were still just as impactful coming out of the Switch’s portability-minded speakers. Players won’t have any problem getting immersed fully in the game’s world, and will be hit fully by every sound that fills their ears.
As for the special DLC costumes and Game of the YoRHa content, they’re about what one would expect. While not vital to the experience, they do help to liven things up whether one is playing for the first time or the tenth, and provide additional content tp dig into if one has the urge to do so.
About the only downside is that this game is a port through and through. It’s still the same experience at its core as the PlayStation 4, PC or Xbox One versions of the Game of the YoRHa Edition, and established fans won’t find much else here besides a portable version of one of their favorite games. It is made strictly for those entirely new to the series, or at best those that are dying to be able to play through the game they know and love anywhere they’d like.
And that’s really the crux of how recommendable this title is. I can’t say that it’s a must-buy for fans of NieR: Automata or the NieR franchise. What I will say is that this is a new go-to version for anyone wanting to learn what all the fuss is about. It’s the experience that drew in so many other gamers on different consoles, and boasts the benefit of being playable where ever. If that sounds like an ideal way to play a game, than there’s little reason not to take the plunge and experience this classic in all its glory.
Keyword: NieR: Automata on Nintendo Switch Is a Near-Perfect Portable Port>