Game Analysis: Nier Automata


  • I have chosen to analysis Nier Automata because of it’s interesting game mechanics and it’s branching story lines. Also because it was a beloved and liked game when it came out.

Game Play Analysis

Formal Elements
The Basics
Name of the gameNier Automata
The platformPlayed on Ps4 but is also on Xbox One
Time played (should be at least 30 minutes)6+ hours
If you could work on this game (change it), what would you change and why?I would and more weapons which might slightly change the weapon systems.
How many players are supported?1
Does it need to be an exact number?Yes, 1
How does this affect play?It makes it more of a story driven game with interesting and challenging systems and obstacles.
Some types of player frameworks:Single Player – like Solitare.Head-to-head – 1 vs. 1, Chess.PvE – Player vs. Environment, or multiple players vs. the game. Common in MMOs like World of Warcraft.One against Many – Single-player vs. multiple (obvy).Free-for-all – Every man for himself (1 vs. 1 vs. 1 vs. 1..). Most common for multiplayer games, from Monopoly to Modern Warfare.Individuals Against the System – Like Blackjack, where the Dealer is playing against multiple players, but those players have no effect on each other.Team Competition – Multiple vs. multiple, i.e. sports.Predator-prey – Players form a circle and everyone’s goal is to attack the player on their left and defend themselves from the player on their right.Five-pointed Star – Eliminate both players who are not on either side of you.Single Player, PvE
What are the players trying to do?They are trying to level up, gain new gear, level up gear, and complete missions and objectives.
Some common objectives include:Capture/Destroy – Eliminate all your opponents pieces (Chess).Territorial Acquisition – Control as much territory as you can, not necessarily harming other players (RISK).Collection – Collect a certain number of objects throughout the game (Pokemon).Solve – Solve a puzzle or crime (Clue).Chase/race/escape – Anything where you are running towards or away from something (playground game Tag).Spatial Alignment – Anything involving the positioning of elements (Tetris or Tic-Tac-Toe or that game at Cracker Barrel).Build – Advance your characters or build your resources to a certain point (The Sims).Negation of another goal – The game ends if you perform an act that is forbidden by the rules (Jenga or Twister).
There are three categories of (what the book Rules of Play calls) operational rules:Setup – the things you do at the beginning of a game.Progression of Play – what happens during the game.Resolution – How an outcome is determined based on the game state.Setup: You adjust game settings like brightness and sound, you are following the story of specific characters so there isn’t any character creation or customization in the beginning of the game
What controls are used?All but the capture button on the ps controller. You can jump, walk, run, double jump, float, dodge, light attack, heavy attack, switch weapon sets, use drones gun, use drones special ability, open in game menu, use items, collect items, sell items, buy items, upgrade gear, and much more.
Was there a clear introductory tutorial?For the basic controls yes, but there are more complex actions that you have to combine the basic actions together to get to work and you find those out yourself or from someone else.
Were they easy to understand or did you find yourself spamming the controller?Yes, overall they were simple but could be used to do some difficult or complicated actions.
Resources & Resource ManagementNOTES
What kinds of resources do players control?Health, Money, consumables, gear, and abilities.
How are they maintained during play?Health is maintained by healing, getting hit and so on. While money is maintained by spending it and earning it. Consumables are maintained by buying them, picking them up, and using them.
What is their role?To help give more “meat” to the game-play.
A resource is everything under the control of a single player. Could be the money in Monopoly or health in WoW. Other examples are:Territory in RISK The number of questions remaining in 20 Questions Objects picked up during videogames (guns, health packs, etc.)Time (game time, real-time, or both)Known information (like suspects in Clue)
Game StateNOTES
How much information in the game state is visible to the player?It’s mainly info per player, but you can learn and know some outside information depending on what you have equipped with your gear.
A snapshot of the game at a single point is the game state. The resources you have, the un-owned properties in Monopoly, your opponent’s Archery skill all count towards the game state. Some example information structures are:Total Information – Nothing is hidden, like Chess.Info per player – Your hand of cards is only visible to you.One player has privileged info – Like a Dungeon Master.The game hides info from all players – Like Clue, where no one knows the victory condition.Fog of War – In video games, where certain sections of the map are concealed if you do not have a unit in sight range of that area. You also cannot see other players’ screens, so each player is unaware of the other’s information.
In what order do players take their actions?Real-time, you do what you want when you want.
How does play flow from one action to another?They flow really well and most actions can be used right after another, but there are a few things that take a little amount of time before you can do something else mainly based on the timing and duration of certain animations.
Some structures include:Turn-based – Standard board game technique.Turn-based with simultaneous play – where everyone takes their turn at the same time (like writing something down or putting a card down in War).Real-time – Actions happen as fast as players can make them. Action-based video games.Turn-based and time limits – You have this long to take your turn.
Player InteractionThere is a lot of direct conflict of you fighting enemies, but there are some enemies you can negotiate with and either have them against you or with you. Some of that negotiation is done through trading not to mention whenever you go to buy or sell something you are trading one thing for something else.
Some examples:Direct Conflict – I attack you.Negotiation – If you support me here, I’ll help you there.Trading – I’ll give you this for that.Information Sharing – If you go there, I’m warning you, a trap will go off.
Theme & NarrativeNOTES
Does it have an actual story structure?Yes it does.
Is it based on a historical event (or similar)?No, it’s post-apocalyptic
Does the theme or narrative help you know how to play?Yes and no, you get a feeling of how your characters personality is and if you want to play towards that personality you could but you don’t have to.
Does it have emotional impacts?Yes, yes it does.
Also, look for en media res (does it start in the middle of the game)?No it does not
The Elements in MotionNOTES
How do the different elements interact?Some elements interact with others and some don’t but the ones that do seem to interact with little to no problem.
What is the gameplay like?Really smooth and from medium to fast paced depending on the obstacles and your level and gear.
Is it effective?Yes, it is very entertaining and interactive.
Are there any points where the design choices break down?Not that I could find no.
Design CritiqueNOTES
Why did the designer make these particular choices?They thought that it would make the interactions and the game itself more enjoyable and if not that at least more interesting.
Why this set of resources?Because they thought it worked well with the rest of everything and fit just as well to the theme and setting.
What if they made different decisions?It would probably have a different feel and might not fit the theme or setting as well.
Does the design break down at any point?Not that I could tell or find.
Graphics & SoundNOTES
Does the game art pair well with the mechanics?I found that they paired really well together and helped with the feel and setting of the game and the animations seemed to be really smooth with very few to no problems.
Did you find any bugs or glitches?Not in my time of playing no but there might have been things I didn’t do that would have shown some bugs or glitches.
What about sound?The sounds and soundtrack worked really well with the setting and theme of the game and gave a feeling that fit the game.
Can you spot any technical shortcuts?Not that I could spot but that could just be because of lack of experience.
Various Stages of the GameNOTES
To wrap up, some things to keep in mind (as if there aren’t enough already) as you play:
What challenges do you face, and how do you overcome them?Enemies, Puzzles, and and mission objectives. You overcome the enemies by killing them more often then not, puzzles you use clues to try and figure it out and you try to complete the mission objectives the best you can and if that doesn’t work try again with more knowledge.
Is the game fair?For the most part yes, there are a few things that are difficult and take time or repetition that some may think isn’t fair.
Is it replayable? Are there multiple paths to victory or optional rules that can change the experience?Yes, there are multiple paths to play and you also of new game plus which allows you to rest your progress at a higher level and go through the game again.
What is the intended audience?Young adults to late 20’s mainly.
What is the core, the one thing you do over and over, and is it fun?Kill enemies and complete objectives, and yeah it’s fun the enemies are different and the objectives vary from one to the other.

This analysis form was adapted from

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