The NieR games may be considered intimidating by some. There’s an overwhelming amount of lore. The gameplay is a mashup of elements from action-RPGs and shooters. Also, it’s been quite some time since we’ve even seen a NieR game. When the game’s unexpectedly comprehensive Easy mode was announced, complete with Auto Chips that would automate gameplay, it seemed like an unexpected inclusion. Now that I’ve seen it, I find myself wishing more games offered such accommodations.
On the off chance you’ve missed all mention of NieR: Automata’s Easy mode and Auto Chips, here’s how it works. On the Easy difficulty level, you have the option to have the game handle certain elements of battle for you. Auto Battle and Auto Shoot have the characters automatically fight and shoot for you. Move them towards enemies, and the game will take care of everything. Auto Evade means the characters will automatically evade incoming attacks, something that’s especially handy when energy bullets are heading right for you. Auto Program takes care of your Pods’ special abilities, even taking care of charged attacks. Auto Weapon Switch will make your character automatically switch weapons when appropriate for the situation. You can choose which Plug-Ins you want to use, and they’re all entirely optional. They’re also designed to work in a way that makes NieR: Automata exciting to watch.
It’s almost like NieR: Automata is encouraging its players to grow. You aren’t locked into difficult level decisions in the game. Someone who starts out on Easy with all the Auto Chips enabled doesn’t need to remain at that level forever. They can gradually ease back as they proceed through the game. Once they understand the flow of the game, they could turn off Auto Attack and Auto Shoot and learn to handle things on their own. As they become more adept, Auto Evade, Auto Program, and Auto Weapon Switch could be turned off as well. Maybe someone who instinctively went with Easy, either due to being unfamiliar with the series or intimidated by the action-RPG and shoot’em up mashup, could even swap over to Normal or even Hard.
Likewise, NieR: Automata affords an opportunity to people who might consider themselves strong enough to pass up on Normal or Hard and head straight to Very Hard. We’ve all had those moments where some part of a game gets to be too much for us. In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Gravity Rush 2, I had to have a friend clear the stealth portions of the games. They were beyond me. Sometimes, there’s one boss that gets the best of you. Having the option to temporarily drop down to Easy and turn on the applicable Auto Chips that make things a little more manageable is a godsend. It isn’t saying you’re less of a person. Especially if you’ve already attempted to clear a portion on your on merits, repeatedly, and failed. You can temporarily drop down to the easiest level and Auto Chip it up, letting you get past something that might otherwise cause you to quit in frustration, and then get back to enjoying your game.
Though, the reason I found myself using Auto Chips was when I wanted to just get on with the story. NieR: Automata can be a pretty large game when you decide you want to try and do as much as possible. Sometimes, you want the comfort of getting somewhere and getting things done without being held back by waves of minor enemies. If I went into Easy, then turned on Auto Evade and Auto Weapon Switch, I could more easily get on my way to doing things I considered more valuable. I could focus on enjoying myself, rather than caught up in busywork on my way to enjoying myself. It was both a comfort and a time saver.
That NieR: Automata doesn’t withhold trophies is another bonus. It suggests a lack of judgment. We’re offered this option, then not penalized or taking advantage of it. We can use it to learn how to play the game or survive what might seem like an insurmountable situation. We still get credit for accomplishing goals. We don’t feel like we’d need to go back and do it a “right” way.
With NieR: Automata, there is no right way. That’s the best way to put it. There’s only what’s right for you. The variation in difficulty options make it more accessible to anyone who chooses to pick the game up. That someone can swap difficulty and Auto Chip activation allows people to learn and grow with the game or enjoy a momentary reprieve. It’s a game that’s always accommodating and never judging people for their choices, something anyone can appreciate.
NieR: Automata is available for the PlayStation 4 and PC.