- It's unclear what is worse: the simpleton machines that managed to overwhelm humanity, or the humanity who kept trying to retake Earth over and over again for centuries at all cost. War Is Hell.
- The Uncanny Valley the machine lifeforms bring not by how they look but how they talk, their voices are all the same monotone voice and yet they can convey anger, fear, sadness and even religious zealotry through it.
- While 2B and 9S are fighting on the surface, 6O sometimes jives in with talks about fortune telling or how her senior rejected her love confession. And in the ending of an early sidequest, 11D laughs in disgust if you tell her about the death of her lover and teacher 11B in a failed AWOL attempt. It goes to show how badly the androids were treated.
- Made all the worse in Route B where it is revealed humans have already been extinct far before the events of the game and the entire war the androids have been fighting has been based on a lie. Not only that but the whole project was designed to end with the complete destruction of the androids should the Forever War swing in their favor.
- You mean the complete destruction of the YoRHa androids, specifically. This was all set up and done to them by another android, which is Nightmare Fuel itself. Humans actually aren't responsible for any of this, but androids are just as capable of mistreating their own as humans were of mistreating their own.
- On the other side, the machines killed their alien creators before making their own creations, resulting in beings like Pascal or Adam... Nice to know you building something that grew beyond your comprehension, eh?
- The androids treat machines as simple and barbaric, and their words are merely mimicking human speech, among other things. However, very early on, 2B and 9S encounter a machine that expresses fear in both words and mannerism, fleeing to its friends/allies. And that's only the start of it, essentially "revealing" a human mindset of war. Not So Different now, are you?
- Especially not after finding out YoRHa black boxes are made from machine lifeform cores, meaning YoRHa androids and machine lifeforms have the same capacity for emotions.
- The self-destruct option is mandatory. While it is mostly justified by it potentially being necessary to complete a mission that would otherwise fail, it is still an unnerving idea. At least you can't be hacked to self-destruct...9S: I know no one LIKES the idea of self-destructing, but that is what regulations call for.
- When you play as him, you get plenty opportunities to do exactly that to the machines.
- Any time you approach a play area and sees several dead bodies left behind by other players, if you turned on online functionality. Especially if the area is suspiciously empty or the corpses turned up in the place you think they shouldn't belong...
- The Opera Singer, Beauvoir, who kept Yorha androids alive dangling all over her body. It eats the skin of androids in an attempt to become beautiful, with more skinless android bodies crucified all over the battlefield which are used as weapons against you. After you defeat her 2B tries to rescue the androids only to find out that their brains are all fried. They are only kept alive by the Singer...
- In Route B, you find out that she was eating the androids in the hope of becoming more beautiful, to make Jean-Paul fall in love with her. Now think of the other three admirers Jean-Paul has.
- The entrance to Desert City is full of multiple dead Yorhas gathered together in one area. Makes you wonder what happened to them before they died.
- The birth of Adam and Eve. For the machines to produce something human-like out of generic tin-can automation you've seen until that point is quite startling. Add the fact that those robots were humping each other a few minutes ago and now assemble into a womb it's just so surreal.
- As 2B travels deeper into the Copied City, she starts to see many, many bodies of fallen YoRHa units littering the streets...then Pod 042 tells her that they were brought here to disturb her.
- After 2B and Pascal narrowly escape the extremists at the Abandoned Factory and 2B goes back to the Resistance Camp, you're treated to a horrifying cutscene of the machines attacking and nearly overwhelming the Resistance androids (some machines are even eating them!)...
- What's really scary about it is that humans in real-life are capable of sinking that low. The Machine Cult, for one, may reminds some players of suicide pact culture or a subway gas attack in Tokyo carried out by an extremist cult during 1995.
- The Machine Cult. You walk into a group of machines that ask for peace, and then their leader's head falls off. They then announce that he has "Become a God." They hold up torches, and claim that all shall "Become as gods". "Die and become as gods"...and then the screaming starts. It gets even worse when you run into the non-suicidal/homicidal machines in the religion who are cowering in confined rooms praying to God for the madness to end as they question why their brethren have gone insane. Towards the end of the escape route, you have to protect these ones from a group of the insane ones who are trying to kill them while the peaceful ones can only helplessly cower in fear.
- The attack on City Ruins right after you deliver oil to Pascal. Giant freaking Goliath out of nowhere, tearing a massive hole in the middle of the map! Turns out the aliens have been hiding underground right below the Resistance for centuries.
- The lead in to final boss battle of A route, specifically the loud scream in City Ruins when you approach Eve in the center of the map. If you're lucky to see some machines loitering around him, you'll notice that they exploded when this happens. Eve just killed every single Machines connected to him in one fell swoop out of nothing but sheer spite.
- Turns out the machine that's giving out Treasure Hunt at the Castle wished death upon the entire Kingdom for kicking him out. Knowing the truth...
- The Invasion. After Adam and Eve are killed, your faction decides it's time to take back Earth. It all sounds glorious and triumphant right? Wrong. The invasion is brutal with your allies getting overwhelmed and slaughtered left and right without your help. They get hacked and brainwashed, they turn against you and all this time you also have to fight the machines who are stronger than ever. Your friends at the Bunker get infected and brainwashed as well and you have to kill them to make it out safely with the Commander. Just when it seems like 9S, 2B and the Commander are gonna make it out, the Commander reveals she is infected too and tells you two to flee, as she is going down with the ship. Then a dying 2B gets put out of her misery by A2. It is all as nightmarish as it sounds.
- The Bunker attack in its entirety is horrifying on a dozen different levels. As 2B and 9S report in, the Commander initially orders them detained as she suspects them of being infected. Then, one by one, every android in the room bar herself and the duo is painfully overtaken by the Logic Virus, immediately turning on the three as the Terminals use Operator 6O's voice to mock and terrorise them, unnaturally alternating its pitch and distorting it with mechanical noise to double the horror. They somehow manage to convey manic sadism and cold, emotionless evil within the same exchange.9S: Did the virus infiltrate the Bunker itself!?
Terminals: Oooh! Bingo again!
9S: Operator, what-!
2B: That's not the operator, it's-!
Terminals: We are your beloved machine lifeforms. We speak to you through the network and the virus.
Commander: How is that even possible!?
Terminals: We've had a great deal of fun watching you squirm. But I'm afraid the end has come for this outpost.
- The puppeteering of 6O is made even worse if you went to the trouble of getting her images of flowers as a gift, because her mind is still present enough for her to try and contact 2B as her mind slowly deteriorates.6O: Two-Bee, I... am Operator 6O. ThANk you for ...foR the FLOWErs. Desert FLOWErs are BEAUTIF, arEN't thEY... Th-Th-thank You... SoMEdAY I...
- According to 9S, the androids are conscious during their mind control.
- The Bunker attack in its entirety is horrifying on a dozen different levels. As 2B and 9S report in, the Commander initially orders them detained as she suspects them of being infected. Then, one by one, every android in the room bar herself and the duo is painfully overtaken by the Logic Virus, immediately turning on the three as the Terminals use Operator 6O's voice to mock and terrorise them, unnaturally alternating its pitch and distorting it with mechanical noise to double the horror. They somehow manage to convey manic sadism and cold, emotionless evil within the same exchange.
- 2B's death and everything leading up to it is grim and unsettling. Following the descruction of the bunker, 2B's flight unit is damaged by pursuing infected Yorha units and she's forced to crash-land in the Flooded District. All initially goes well as she fights off some machine lifeforms, but then POD 042 detects that 2B has contracted the virus and can't be cured. What follows is a nightmarish sequence where 2B attempts to reach the commercial facility so she can die alone. All the while, POD 042 shows the growth of the corruption in percentage. Initially the effects are restricted to occasional crippling episodes where 2B limps and can't fight, but then the screen, UI and HUD begin to glitch uncontrollably. In the final stages of the corruption, 2B becomes unable to see colour and any noises around her (such as POD's voice) sound glitchy and distant.
- You feel an incredible sense of vulnerability during this sequence, as you still have to limp all the way through the city ruins, all the while machine lifeforms are still present and will attack you. With the state 2B is in, you can't fight them off nor easily disengage them either.
- 9S completely losing it after 2B's death, killing machines that beg for their life in cold blood and ready to let what's left of humanity's memory die with the whole world all to end the pain he feels.
- If you choose to mind-wipe Pascal in Route C, he can later be found wandering his old village, clearing up and selling on all the "junk" lying around the place. Said junk includes machine body parts and a single children's core. Brr...doubles as a huge Tear Jerker.
- Upgrade that Machine Head weapon you can buy to Level 4. Remember that one sidequest where you had to escort the lost machine child back to his mom...? He was one of the children who killed themselves."I TRIED I TRIED SO HARD MOMMY"
- Upgrade that Machine Head weapon you can buy to Level 4. Remember that one sidequest where you had to escort the lost machine child back to his mom...? He was one of the children who killed themselves.
- The level 4 story of YoRHa-issue Blade.Hello? Is anyone there? Is this thing even on? It's me, radio listeners! 24D! I'm an idol, remember? An idol! An idol an idol an idol an idol an idol an idol an idol an idol an idol an idol an idol an idol an idol an idol an
- The Archives obtained towards the end of the game can be pretty chilling but one line in particular stands out and tells you all you need to know about the minds behind Project YoRHa."Black boxes were installed after determining that it would be inhumane to install standard AI in androids that are ultimately destined for disposal"
- Speaking of weapon stories, 9S' default weapon 'Cruel Oath' has a very chilling one, once you upgrade it to Levels 3 and 4. Made even more frightening once you realize this is most likely a nod towards 9S and his Sanity Slippage, since his and 2B's default weapons are a reflection of their owners.Level 3: With each passing night, another boy died. The survivors grew more and more suspicious of each other, each harboring terrible doubts about what happened to their brothers.
Level 4: On the morning of the seventh day, a single survivor stood tall. Cleaning the blood from his hands, he chuckled to himself. 'Better go find the traitor!'
- Many of the completed weapon stories either fall under Tear Jerker territory...or this. For example, the Virtuous Grief and Cruel Lament stories have two people who kill for the sake of their loved ones (the former out of Yandere tendencies, the latter out of undying love)...and both end in beheading their loved one.
- Good ol' Iron Will has been around since the time of Zero, so it's only natural that it has one of the more horrifying tales. The spirit inside the blade was so close to finally be able to pass on as the weapon rusted from disuse, but someone found Iron Will and used it to cut down their enemies, ensuring that its legacy of violence and blood continued and that the spirit will never know peace as long as someone takes up the sword to bring death.
- 9S's Sanity Slippage in Route C/D. Particularly, the scene in the tower where a room full of 2B models attack him, and his response is to laugh and rip off his blindfold, giving the camera a Slasher Smile before saying how happy he is to finally get to kill her...
- Right after the battle, 9S takes one of the 2B model's hands and places it on his cheek in a moment that seems tender and almost sweet. While maybe not as disturbing as his earlier behavior his cold and sudden movement when he rips the arm off and jams it onto his own limb stump can definitely be startling.
- In addition to this scene, earlier in the route, inside one of the Resource Recovery Units the logic virus starts to delete some of his memories of 2B. He becomes enraged and begins stabbing the code bits until it forms into the image of 2B under him, and he keeps stabbing it over and over... Considering how much 9S and 2B seem to care for one another, his behavior during these moments is more than a bit unsettling.
- No matter how hard the machine tries to live, especially one-offs like Adam, Eve or Pascal, they are nothing more than experiments of the Terminals...
- The official NieR: Automata meets amazarashi music video manages to achieve a pretty unsettling atmosphere. It basically involves one of the Bio-machines booting up and operating a factory meant to destroy lines of dolls. The imagery alone is unnerving, but the real kicker is how the robot eventually starts to get interference from an "emotion-matrix", and the robot struggles against its increasingly insistent messages. It all ends with a shot of a doll shaped like 2B in a trash compactor and the robots eyes flickering green as it hesitates pressing the activation button before a patch is forcefully installed to fix the messages leading to the robot eventually proceeding, and the compactor crashing down on the doll. All backed by Soundtrack Dissonance.
- The ending of the innocuous-seeming sidequest "The Wandering Couple" is full of this. You spend much of the game-line helping this pair of Resistance androids, who wish to leave the Resistance and just eke out a peaceful existence together, until finally they decide that they can't survive on their own and that they need to reformat themselves in order to return to the Resistance. Cue The Reveal: This entire set-up was just an elaborate ploy by the female android to get her boyfriend to get reformated, so she can erase his personality and reconstruct it into a form more to her liking. In fact, this is her sixth time doing so. And you can't intervene to stop it, so she gets away with it. The final entry for the quest in the Journal is an almost cheerful observation that this has taught Pascal that "females can be scary". This is a level of Domestic Abuse beyond the reach of humans, and you can image the uproar it would elicit if the genders were reversed.
- The Gambler's Colosseum in the 3C3C1D119440927 DLC is a display of android cruelty, as androids imprison, torture and throw into gladiator combat various machine lifeforms, with the justification that the machine lifeforms have taken friends and loved ones from them in the past. While most of the fights fall into the Tear Jerker category with lots of desperate and vengeful machines to battle against, by the time you get to the final Special rank your opponents have gone completely insane, some growling, stuttering and barely intelligible, some gone Laughing Mad and declaring that they don't even care anymore, and some even appearing as Shades from the original NieR.
- The novelization includes another little tidbit about E units... That in addition to killing off traitors, deserters, and androids that "know too much", they're also occasionally tasked with killing off androids that are too badly damaged to be saved. Cold.
- The gigantic heads you can find in the desert are especially disturbing, most of all when you're not expecting to encounter them. It's almost a relief when they animate as the Emil clones.
- The Terminals in general. They've kept the Machine War in a stalemate for over 5,000 years, causing millennia of untold suffering, partially to perpetuate their own existence (since their purpose is to "defeat the enemy", but nothing was said about them dragging their feet about it as much as possible) and to use the battlefield as a playground to satiate their own curiosity. They also milk their Creepy Child persona for all its worth, until you get to the Tower and find out it's all a facade as these young girls start speaking in old male voices.
- When A2 manages to cause a rift in the Terminals and they start fighting among themselves over what to do with her and 9S, one side adopts the creepy grin seen in the page image.
Nightmare Fuel / NieR: Automata