NieR: Automata – The End of YoRHa Edition Review

NieR: Automata – The End of YoRHa Edition does not seem like a game that anyone would expect to come to Nintendo Switch. It was a watershed title for Square Enix and a massive surprise hit. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise considering its excellent gameplay and extremely cosplayable cast.

NieR: Automata is a blend of various gameplay systems that incorporate shoot-em-up sequences, 2D platforming, and Platinum Games’ signature 3D stylish action. Yoko Taro’s scenario was a soulful and nihilistic exploration of non-human characters to try to figure out what it means to be human.

At what point does consciousness become? If a machine thinks and feels it is a human; is the machine still a machine? Automata explores incredibly huge themes and more; all wrapped up in one of the sexiest and heavy-action games ever. Just how can the Nintendo Switch even run this game? Find out in this NieR: Automata – The End of YoRHa Edition port report!

NieR: Automata on PlayStation 4 is an all-time classic game of the eighth console generation. Its gameplay and story held it up above its modest technical specs. Character models looked incredible; details like 2B’s curves and the attention to detail on her clothes made the game seem more impressive than it was.

The finer details, like how the draw distance was not far or how aggressive the low level of detail culling on structures would stick out to even casual players. It was hard not to notice things like this and not all textures and models were always on par with the hero characters.

The PlayStation 4 and Pro versions of Automata were how most gamers played the game and even Xbox gamers on the BECOME AS GODS Edition on Xbox One X, would experience similar shortcomings. On Nintendo Switch, The End of YoRHa Edition still has these issues, but they manifest differently.

The draw distance is much more noticeable now and it doesn’t help that geometry appears to be more simplified when in lower detail when further from an object. The grass is still drawn at a fixed distance like on PlayStation 4, but this time the grass itself is also no longer fully 3D.

Turning the camera all the way up above the characters gives away the illusion that Virtuous sneakily replaced foliage with flat, intersecting alpha graphics. While playing, the effect works, and anybody who never played the original would notice.

Small tweaks like this can be found throughout if you’re an eagle-eyed NieR: Automata maniac. It suggests that there was a lot of care and effort put into The End of YoRHa Edition to ensure it could run and look the best it can.

The resolution is impressive and reaches 1080p consistently. While the textures are a bit rawer than they have ever been, the sharpness of the models makes playing docked look appealing and crisp. The drawback to playing docked is that there is some minor input delay that doesn’t manifest while in portable.

While on the go, NieR: Automata – The End of YoRHa Edition feels more responsive and the image maxes out at 720p. The Nintendo Switch’s screen does a lot of favors for the lower quality assets and even the lower draw distance is less distracting while portable. If you’re going to play NieR: Automata on Switch; it does play better when not docked.

Thankfully, the hitching that would occur on PlayStation 4 versions of NieR: Automata is not at The End of YoRHa Edition. This was something that would randomly happen in larger open areas or during battles. It wasn’t an issue in BECOME AS GODS Edition; leaving only the PlayStation 4 version with this hiccup.

A lot of concern about the frame rate is rightfully raised by fans. Automata was notorious for their 60 frames per second dropping during battles with large mecha and while traversing the wastelands. On average, the fluidity would drop around the 40s at the most taxing moments on PlayStation 4.

There was no way that NieR: Automata – The End of YoRHa Edition would be 60 frames per second on Nintendo Switch. The best anyone could hope for is a stable 30 fps and for the most part, that is what gamers get.

This version is like what NieR: Automata would have been like if it was on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3; kind of like the original release of NieR: Replicant.

For quite a lot of the time, The End of YoRHa Edition feels very stable and meets that 30 fps target on average. It isn’t until much later in the game when things open up much more and there are large foes in the vast environments, is where things take a turn for the choppy.

The fluidity can get pretty rocky at times in the later parts of the game. Some of the bosses can unleash huge attacks that fill the screen with bullets. The poor Nintendo Switch can barely manage all the data to process all of it and you can hear the machine’s fan kick into overdrive.

NieR: Automata – The End of YoRHa Edition is not the best way to play the game of 2017; that honor goes to the BECOME AS GODS Edition.

Even though this version on Switch requires players to temper their expectations, it is still NieR: Automata in all its glory. It has every piece of DLC and some new Switch-exclusive festive costumes too.

With expectations checked, The End of YoRHa Edition still manages to impress by being a technical achievement. NieR: Automata was a game that struggled to run on much more powerful hardware and the fact that it can run as well as it does on Nintendo Switch is nothing short of a miracle.

Square Enix couldn’t be bothered to get any of the Kingdom Hearts games running natively on Switch. They took the time, money, and effort to get a much more demanding work of art to become playable. Anyone who never played NieR: Automata, but has a Nintendo Switch and enjoys action games with emotional stories, should pick this one up.

Remember kids; all winners always keep playing after the credits roll and always sacrifice their data for the good of mankind.

NieR: Automata – The End of YoRHa Edition was reviewed on Nintendo Switch using a review code provided by Square Enix. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. NieR: Automata – The End of YoRHa Edition is now available for Windows PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.

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A youth destined for damnation.

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