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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Why would the commander tell 9S that humanity is extinct? Was she planning to have 2B execute him shortly after, and therefore it didn't matter? Was it a test of character, and would she have allowed him to live if he stayed quiet? Or did she no longer see the point of keeping it a secret, since the machine war was soon to be over?
  • Annoying Video-Game Helper: Invoked/parodied by Pod 042. All of the information it provides is rather self-evident, which usually causes 2B to respond with annoyed sarcasm. However, this is mainly for comic relief; it also gives the player hints for joke endings and important gameplay information.
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  • Base-Breaking Character: The fandom is pretty split on 9S. He's either whiny and annoying, or is the best and most interesting character by the end with a great performance by his voice actor, Kyle McCarley. It certainly doesn't help the debate that he ends up seriously eclipsing 2B in plot-relevance by Ending A; people who prefer 2B often see him as a Replacement Scrappy.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: To at least some unfamiliar with Nier, Automata is recognized as "the Platinum game where you can blow off the main character's skirt, leaving her in her panties with her butt exposed".
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Not the main game itself, as it's one of the few Yoko Taro games to have an optimistic ending, but rather the sidequests. Almost every sidequest ends depressingly, often with you inadvertently causing something horrible. If it weren't for the rewards and 100% Completion it'd be very hard to care about them.
  • Demonic Spiders:
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    • In Hard difficulty and above, anything that fires dark orbs during the Flight Unit section is to be feared. Unlike on-foot section, you usually don't have room nor speed advantage to evade.
    • EMP machine lifeforms during Route C can disable various functions temporarily, including your ability to fight, movement speed and visual field. The latter disfunction will blur and pixelate your screen, making it near impossible to make out the ample action going on around you. To top it off, they are always accompanied by generic combat lifeforms that suddenly become far harder to beat.
    • Corrupted Yorha soldiers are lightning bruisers through and through and use the same swift weapon and evasion combinations as 2B, 9S and A2. The combat sequences that involve them also typically involve multiple of them attacking you at once. Made worse by the fact that they don't give out wind-up clues like machines do and their attacks come out fast.
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    • Linked-Sphere Type Machines are notorious for being invulnerable everywhere except the core orb that keeps changing position, while their entire body causes contact damage. The fact that they defy gravity and fly in erratic patterns while chasing you does not help. Fortunately if you're playing as 9S, they're just as susceptible to hacking as every other rank-and-file enemy.
  • Ear Worm: Emil's Shop Song. Even more marvelous considering the song it's remixed from is an absolute Tear Jerker.
    Emil: Every day's a sale! Every sale's a win!
  • Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game: Deliberately averted. Most Yoko Taro games are known for dark, compelling stories but somewhat dull, repetitive gameplay. Enter Platinum Games, which means that both the story and gameplay are now equally enjoyable.
  • Even Better Sequel: Most fans of the original game agree that the game is at least a worthwhile successor and an improvement in nearly all regards, especially in terms of gameplay and general polish, with a comparably good, dark storyline and great soundtrack like the first game. It's nigh-unanimously agreed to be Yoko's peak and the first to get a warm reception from western critics.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Adam and Eve, for being a pair of Bishounens that have moments of being naked.
  • Fandom Berserk Button: People complaining about the game "being only 10 hours long" and stopping after getting the first ending. This usually comes from people unfamiliar with Taro Yoko's other games in which the first ending is not really the end of the story, with the New Game+ and other endings being necessary to get a full understanding of the plot and filled with new events, dialogue and cutscenes. It's to the point that Square-Enix put in a warning to play through the game after the first ending.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Major spoilers: The many, many times 2B has killed 9S, plus the fact that he knows she's been doing this but she doesn't know that he knows (at least at first), and the complex nature of their relationship together are ripe for fanfic. So ripe, in fact, that two official novellas and a stage play was written about several of these instances.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • For 2B and A2, and even 9S to an extent, the chips that heal when damage is dealt combined with the chips that greatly increase damage output, effectively make them indestructible. As long as they can deal damage they heal faster than most enemies can hurt them, plus it also makes healing items basically irrelevant. On normal difficulty you can mow through most bosses with this setup in about thirty seconds. The chip system can give your character so much raw attack power that the choice of weapon becomes more or less just cosmetic.
    • On a similar note, the Deadly Heal chips coupled with chips increasing your maximum HP. Kill a thing, get hundreds, if not thousands, of HP back.
    • With A2 in particular the Offensive and Deadly Heal chips are especially powerful, since it means you can use your Berserker Mode without worrying too much about running out of health, since as long as you can keep up the offensive and don't get hit with too hard an attack you'll be passively healing enough to offset the HP drain.
    • Another potent combination is Auto-Heal and Anti-Chain Damage chips. The former will very quickly heal the wearer back up to full HP if they don't take damage for a certain amount of time, while Anti-Chain grants the user invincibility for a few seconds after being hit. At higher levels, Anti-Chain will make the character immune to damage longer than it takes for Auto-Heal to start working, making the character effectively immortal. The only downsides are that Anti-Chain doesn't work in some situations (like flight battles) and that the combination doesn't help at all if you get killed in one hit.
    • 9S's hacking ability. If a player masters the non-scaling Hacking Minigame they can pretty much trivialize all combat, the normal Detonate command does a ton of damage to any enemy regardless of level. Coupled with the Combust chip that increases the damage and the Stun chip that can stunlock the victim and do splash damage to those around it, all but the super bosses and end game bosses will die in seconds.
      • If you're finding you can't really master it, don't worry, just give yourself an Auto-Heal chip. You'll regenerate while you're attempting hacking, so just a +1 or +2 of them will heal back damage taken from a failed hack attempt while you try a second time anyway. Combine it with an Anti Chain Damage chip (in case something's in the middle of hitting you when you start your hack) if you really want to ensure your hacking is downright risk-free.
    • If you shoot your pod while targeting your enemy, your pod auto-aims to wherever your target is, and you can shoot while doing your standard melee combos. Proper use of this can add tons of efficiency to fighting enemies, and make bosses naturally easier (on top of the potential for laming out enemies at range). The above, and others, are probably why the lock on function is disabled in higher difficulties.
    • The blade pod ability in the max charged form, it will generate 3 blades around the character that will make mincemeat cans of anything around, especially the larger enemies and bosses. It is offset by the large recharge time afterwards but most times there won't be any meaningful resistance left after the attack.
    • Likewise, the Wave program, especially if powered up to a three-pod charge. While it won't target flying enemies, it has a mind-boggling range and can oneshot even Goliath Tanks.
    • In the Underground Colosseum, the axe-wielding small bot is deceptively powerful. Its spinning attack stunlocks and destroys most enemies, and its walking speed is fairly decent. You can win fights above your level using it as long as you're careful (just don't try it with the exploding enemies).
  • Genius Bonus: The game makes many references to philosophical concepts and names many of its characters after prominent philosophers. Obvious examples include Sartre, Beauvoir, Engels, Pascal, Hegel, etc. This keeps in-line with the game's heavy focus on existential ideas, and players familiar with philosophy will get much more out of the parallels and subtle references than those who are unfamiliar.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Many of the small machine lifeforms pose little threat, but become a hassle when encountered in large groups, especially because many of them will use chain attacks that can stunlock you without a certain plug-in chip in place. The game furthermore loves to sick a bunch of these otherwise weak enemies on you during battles where your focus should go out to far more dangerous machine lifeforms on the battlefield.
    • The flying machine forms during the flight unit sequences can become troublesome if left alive for too long, as they will fill the screen with bullets.
  • Good Bad Bugs: The Self-destruct jump allows you to glitch through the map and reach locked areas early.
  • He Really Can Act: Kira Buckland proved to a lot of people that she could move past her reputation of only playing Genki Girls with her very subdued performance of 2B.
    • Similarly, Kyle McCarley, a relative newcomer to the voice actor scene, gave an excellent performance as 9S and really prov his acting chops.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: 2B's design as having white-hair, black clothing, and a blindfold, is similar to how Riku, one of the Kingdom Hearts protagonist (which Square Enix also made), was dressed throughout Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days and a few cutscenes in Kingdom Hearts II.
  • Ho Yay: Adam grabbing 9S's chin, forcing him to look at him before stroking his face as he holds him captive to taunt 2B.
  • Informed Wrongness: The child machine you escort in Family Squabble is painted as a Spoiled Brat for being mad at his mother for constantly praising his brother, blaming him for a plate his younger sibling broke, and saying it was his fault when his brother hit him. If anything, it sounded like he was running away from an abusive mother.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Quite a lot of people got interested in the game either because of PlatinumGames' involvement or because of 2B's design, which went memetic and spawned tons of fanart and cosplay.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The Terminals cross it when they use clones of 2B, 9S's deceased love interest to assassinate him. If they didn't cross it when attacking the Bunker or siccing a possessed Operator 21O on 9S to mess with him, that is.
    • Prototype No.9 crosses it when it was revealed that he set in motion for The Backdoor to be built into the Bunker despite a hundred year time span between the Bunker being built and the Backdoor being designed.
  • More Popular Spinoff: Due to Platinum's involvement it has become the most well-known game in the Drakengard franchise, surpassing even the original NieR in terms of mainstream attention.
  • Narm Charm: Normally, having a chorus only singing "la" repeatedly would be indicative of amateurish lyric-writing, but it works effectively in the "[E]nd of YoRHa" version of "Weight of the World" because that final chorus is the game's entire production staff (which means many of them aren't professional vocalists), and they're trying to cheer you on as you push your way through Ending E's difficult credits sequence with the help of other players' save data. A live-concert version of the song embraced the same principle by getting the audience to be the final chorus.
  • Never Live It Down: Due to the infamous 2B butthole controversy as well as the fact that many discussions about the game turn into "let's stare at and talk about 2B's butt", a lot of people dismiss the game as being primarily a fanservice vehicle. Something that irritates many people within the actual fanbase, particularly fans of Yoko Taro's previous games, who feel this reputation is damaging and causes people to overlook the game's numerous merits such as its story, gameplay, characterization, and music.
  • Padding: Route B is often criticized of artificially increasing the length of the game as it involves replaying most of Route A as 9S. While it does provide a little extra insight in things, like Adam, Eve, and the bosses you fight along the way, the new scenes are only added in arbitrarily, not due to anything 9S specifically does, and it's only until the end when 2B and 9S split up where the more interesting reveals start coming to the surface.
  • Porting Disaster: Oh boy...
    • Unless you have the one graphics card than runs it without a hitch, the PC version has all kinds of problems. For starters, the fullscreen resolution will default to something weird, leaving a stretched picture on any display unless one playing it windowed (and having the title bar fixed on top of the screen on native resolution). It will also randomly fade to a white screen without warning and you'll have to reload. Monitor freezes and random CTDs are frustratingly common occurences to the point of plaguing some users every couple of minutes. Also, for some reason, the pre-rendered cutscenes stutter, despite being, you know, pre-rendered. As of late May 2017, Square-Enix still hasn't come up with an official patch (one that is close to a fix are an AMD driver update issued by AMD, not Square-Enix, and it's only for AMD Radeon GPU), and the fan-made ones - while commendable - don't work for everyone.
    • Even if you happen to be spared from the above, playing NieR: Automata on keyboard is a pain in the behind unless you equip several auto-chips. Crucial functions like Evade lack a dedicated button and require a quick double-tap on a movement button instead. That naturally costs a split second of extra time that can and will get you killed on higher difficulties. Worse still are the control cross' functions, like switching weapon sets, pods or consumables - accessing them on a keyboard is so unbelievably awkward that using any of them in combat may break the flow as it momentarily pause the game as you navigate the short menus. Long story short: if you are a fan of challenge and wish to play this game on PC, do it with a gamepad. If you don't have one, get one. Or equip some of the auto-chips.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Minor one, but sometimes the game will lock-on to nearby animals instead of the hostile Machines charging at you.
    • Automatic chip install loves to put in chips that aren't compatible with the character you're currently playing.
  • Signature Scene: For the game as a whole, the entire opening mission is probably the most iconic part of the game, setting the tone for what's to come. For the individual routes...
    • Route A: 2B and Pascal trying to escape from the factory while surrounded by a psychotic, robotic death cult is probably the second most famous sequence in the entire game, after the opening mission.
    • Route B: 9S discovering the extinction of humanity, especially considering it's where the plot starts to go off the rails
    • Route C: The Fall of Yorha, in particular A2 Mercy Killing 2B at the end of it.
    • Route E: The Final Boss being the end credits in a Shoot 'em Up, with the player failing over and over again until someone sacrifices their save file to help you win as The Weight of the World rotates the 8-bit, English, and Japanese versions blasting in the background and other players write words of encouragement for you. This culminates in a final scene showing the Pods successfully rebuilding 2B, A2, and 9S, free from their programming at last in a rare Earn Your Happy Ending for a Yoko Taro game.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Doujin shmup fans may find themselves thinking, "Oh hey, it's Ether Vapor 3 / Astebreed 2!" due to the perspective-changing shmup mechanics in some parts, particularly at the very start of the game.
  • Superlative Dubbing: In case it isn't clear, the game is widely considered to be a step away from a perfect game dub, with some thinking it even manages that final step. Kira Buckland, Kyle McCarley, Cherami Leigh and Cassandra Lee are standout performances, but there's practically not a bad performance in the entire game. There are occasionally questions about the script itself, but the performers go the distance with the material they're given.
  • That One Boss:
    • Hegel, a gigantic airborne machine worm that can separate itself into multiple ball segments, each with hefty HP and lay into you from all directions with synchronized death ray, bullet hell AND rolling attack if you don't pay attention to minimap and what it is doing. Even worse, the gimmick is that it's an easy-mode version of the final Emil fight, since it's a machine mimicking Emil.
    • The first boss is this purely because the first level does not allow you to save until you beat him. Just getting to him can take a good thirty minutes to an hour, and if you don't die to the sawblade miniboss before him, you'll most certainly die to him as he can one shot you on hard mode. When you do, you're treated to a fake ending and booted back to the title screen, forcing you to start the game over from the beginning.
    • Even by Bonus Boss standards, the special battle in the Gambler's Colosseum is insanely difficult, with every enemy being being level 130-135 (the level cap is 99,) on top of special versions of bosses being mixed in with regular enemies, far more waves being thrown at you than the previous fights, and a time limit of 1 hour (which should give you an idea of how long it would take to win.)
  • That One Level:
    • Some of the harder hacking arcade sequences played with 9S can be quite a challenge, mainly because while the sequences get more difficult, you will always go down in 3 hits. Some of these have a strong bullet hell vibe to them, and you can't get any upgrades to make your unit more powerful in the sequences.
    • A notorious one appears in the Soul Box resource recovery unit, which has nothing but hacking sequences that need to be completed to get to the key. One of these sequences has you engage a core that's hostile from the start, multiple shooting units and multiple turret enemies, all the while the border of the arena is made up of damaging red blocks, with more red blocks placed throughout the little space, meaning you have to navigate carefully or lose your lives quickly. Once you enter this particular room, white blocks also lock the entrance until you complete it, so no cheap luring tactics either. You also can't access this room until you deal with multiple other cores in the sequence, meaning that if you die, you'll have to do it all over again.
    • Later sequences introduce enemy variations with nasty specifics, such as shooting and turret units with armor that can only be hit in certain places and cores that fire a continuous stream of shots with perfect tracking that can't be completely countered with your own shots, thus forcing you to deal with the other hostiles while avoiding its constant shots, because cores only become vulnerable once all other hostile units have been destroyed. And then there's the red blocks that deal contact damage, see the example above.
    • The lower levels of the Abandoned Factory have crushers that instantly kill you, and their hitboxes are deceptively large to the point where you can die just by barely clipping their edges. That isn't that bad on Route A, and Route B skips the worst of it, but the true frustration occurs when, if you want all the Archives and weapons, you have to come back here as 9S during Route C. There, the whole place is dark, some of the enemies are replaced by Lv 99 versions and some of the crushers are still active. And given that this is Route C getting one-hit-killed by a crusher sends you back to your last save. Oh, and the warp points here don't activate until you re-find them on Route C, so you have to backtrack the hard way.
    • In Route C playing as 2B after she's been infected with the virus. You have to walk from the coast to the shopping mall while suffering from damage that periodically disables your ability to do anything but walk. Keep in mind that, at this point in the game, there's a massive crater directly between these two points. You can be attacked by enemies, who will often knock you back and away from your goal, and it's a timed mission. It's not too difficult if you plan your route out and use a shortcut on the edge of the crater, but it's all too easy to screw up and find yourself at the bottom.
  • That One Sidequest: Speed King. Three races, all of which must be completed on foot - often forcing you to take the long way around - against an opponent who can simply fly straight to the goal. Insane amounts of chip optimization are required just to stand a fighting chance.
    • Upgrading your pods. Unlike your weapons, where the majority of the necessary crafting ingredients can eventually be bought from some merchant or another, pod upgrades requires materials that can only be found on the map, like gadgets and pure water, which means lots of tedious farming.
    • Trying to get Emil's shop to work is both a Guide Dang It! and a Luck-Based Mission, which wouldn't be such a problem if he didn't sell two of the weapons required for 100% Completion.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: A2 has less screen time than the two other main characters and if you didn't watch the stage play her character doesn't have much development. For English-language players this is a bigger problem, as said play isn't officially available to them in any form.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The theme park doesn't really serve much purpose story wise, which is a shame since it could have tied into robots mimicking excessive consumerism and basking in their comfort while the world burns. It could have tied to the boss quite nicely.
  • The Un-Twist:
    • To many of those who played through the first NieR, the plot twist of humans being extinct far before the events of Automata is expected. Even for those who hadn't played it, the story so often talks about humans on the moon without ever showing any before the truth is revealed that it's hard not to suspect.
    • Deleting all your save data at the end of the last playthrough has also been done before.
  • Values Dissonance: The infamous line "You're thinking about how much you want to **** 2B, aren't you?" has a very different connotation in Japanese than in English. Whereas most English speakers would immediately jump to a sexual meaning because of how frequently censored words are used in English to Bowdlerize, in Japan, censored words are generally used to indicate "hidden" meanings instead of something dirty or crude. In fact, some blind Japanese Let's Plays of the game have the player reading the line and automatically saying the word "destroy" when they read the censored text before they even realize they're just making an assumption about what the word is.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: A lot of people assume Pascal is female due to being voiced by a woman in both English and Japanese, but the game describes him as male.
  • Win Back the Crowd: 2016 was not a good year for Platinum, with Star Fox Zero and Mutants in Manhattan getting middling reviews at best and being trashed by more than a few critics. 2017 did not start much better either, with Scalebound, a title that had been in various stages of development for over a decade, ultimately being cancelled. Nevertheless, Automata's been met with tremendous acclaim, having sold more copies in Japan in the span of one week than the original sold in its entire first year, as well as being regarded as Yoko Taro's best work. Hideki Kamiya even stated that this game not only saved Platinum Games' reputation, but actually saved the company itself as they were in financial dire straights at that point.
  • The Woobie: Devola and Popola have spent almost 10,000 years shunned and abused due to nothing they themselves did, but due to the role Nier's Devola and Popola models played in humanity's extinction. To make things worse, at some point during those millennia all Devola and Popola models were reprogrammed to constantly feel guilt. No matter how hard they play The Atoner, it'll never be good enough for them to be at peace with themselves...at least until the pair die protecting 9S.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds:
    • 9S is a hundred percent done by halfway through the game and wants everything destroyed only so the pain stops.
    • Number 9, who 9S personality is based on created the backdoor in the Bunker after learning the Awful Truth of their origins and having no one to connect with even amongst his prototypes and his neglectful father/creator Zinnia, who made them to be disposable despite caring about them. Number 9 even makes sure he dies and forgets it in his own insane way of fulfilling the purpose Zinnia made them for. He shows exactly how 9S could have turned out if he had no one to help him cope with the world and his loneliness.
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