Wow, the PlayStation 4's on some run, eh? While many would argue the platform got off to a slow start – it's not necessarily a sentiment we agree with – it's unquestionably finding its feet these days, with the early half of 2017 bringing a cavalcade of exclusive content. And one of those titles is NieR Automata, the sequel to an oft-overlooked PlayStation 3 action RPG. But is it any good? Oh boy… You may need to sit down.
This is being developed by Platinum Games in collaboration with Square Enix, and all of the hallmarks of the cult Japanese developer are plain to see. The controls are quick and fluid, while the combat feels uber-responsive. You control a character called 2B, an android in her favourite LBD. Story-wise it seems brutally anime thus far, but it's the frenetic gameplay that's clearly going to be the draw here. And it rocks.
A little like Furi earlier in the year, the title blends bullet hell with traditional character action. This means that you can strike with your sword, but also weave through patterns of deadly orbs and return fire using a drone that flies above your shoulder. Sometimes the game will pull out into a 2.5D perspective or even a Super Stardust Ultra-esque isometric viewpoint, and this completely changes your approach.
With quest lists, items to collect, and an entire open world, too, this is sounding like quite the proposition. But Platinum Games diehards need not worry that the studio's insanity may be diluted due to the introduction of so many other elements; the boss fight in the demo that's available to download from the PlayStation Store right now ticks all of the boxes, pitting you against a humongous industrial robot that's partially perched in the ocean.
While a PC release is also planned at some point in 2017, this is a reminder that the PS4 really is the platform to own next year. Between this, Nioh, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Yakuza Zero, and Gravity Rush 2, it really is shaping up to be a stellar start to the year. And that's just the Japanese games. If Santa's bringing you any money this Christmas, you may want to pop it to one side – it's going to be an expensive 12 months, we suspect.
What did you think of the NieR Automata demo? Will you be adding this to your 2017 wishlist? Return fire in the comments section below.