NieR Automata PS4 PlayStation 4 1

NieR: Automata is bursting with bonkers moments, so it’s only fitting that it should bring out a wrecking ball for its finale. After three full playthroughs of its campaign (each revealing different endings and routes to its finish line) the title decides that enough is enough – and instead of simply breaking the fourth-wall, it eviscerates it instead. This article will have spoilers, so beware before reading on. You’ve been warned.

With a whopping 26 endings, Route E reveals the “true” conclusion to the game. Considering that things are pretty bleak in the previous five finales, the title tries to inject a little hope in its last lingering moments. And so it whisks you away to the credits screen, and tasks you with shooting down the names of the people who made the game. But this is nothing original, I hear you scream – you’ve seen this kinda thing before, right?

The thing that sets NieR: Automata apart is how the simple act of blasting project managers and art directors escalates. Set to the sound of Emi Evans’ incredible Ending Theme, the difficulty of the minigame increases, until you’re weaving through a screen filled with projectiles. It’s practically impossible, but words of encouragement keep you clicking the retry button. And then something magical happens.

The game asks you whether you need help, and should you accept, other players will rally to your cause. Suddenly, the song breaks out into a chorus, and your firepower increases tenfold. It’s enough to blast through the last names in the Credits sequence, and reach the final ending. But the game leaves you with one lingering choice: will you pledge your support to others? If you accept, then your save data will be wiped in its entirety.

And it really is wiped – every last little bit. It’s an amazing moment because, while the thought of losing all of your progress seems insane, knowing that your sacrifice will help others finish the game is… Just such an empowering feeling. You can even share a message of encouragement that will be shown when others are facing difficult times. It’s such an oddball ending to a bizarre release – but it’s a brilliant one, and easily the best of 2017.

Did you sacrifice your progress for the greater good? What were your thoughts on NieR: Automata overall? Break the fourth-wall in the comments section below.