NieR: Automata is an action role-playing game. You play as an android fighting to save the last remnants of humanity from the machines that have overtaken Earth. Featuring multiple playthroughs with different endings, the story plays on expectations and breaks the fourth wall in various ways.
Pro Fast-paced, action-packed combat
The combat in NieR: Automata is fantastic. It has a hack-and-slash feel to it, with an emphasis on agility and showy acrobatics. With the fluid and responsive controls, you can switch seamlessly from using swift attacks with your weapon to devastatingly strong attacks as you combo them together. You also use customizable ranged missile attacks from your personal robot pod, such as powerful laser beams or a giant hammer attack. It can be difficult to win battles sometimes, especially on the harder gameplay settings, but it's worthwhile to keep at it and watch yourself progress and improve.
Pro An incredible amount of content
Outside of the main story, there's plenty of optional content to dive into. The side quests are the best way to get to know the characters and lore of the world, with some of them giving clever and subtle foreshadowing of the game's most critical events. There are also weapons to collect and upgrade, each of which offer nice little tidbits of lore after you get them to max level. And after reaching a certain point in the story, you get access to Chapter Select that lets you go back and replay whatever you want. You can easily spend 60+ hours exploring the world and still have much more to do.
Pro Gorgeous, ethereal soundtrack with amazing vocals
NieR: Automata's music is out of this world. It's so stunning and elegant in a way that nothing else can really live up to. The soundtrack manages to emotionalize the game through music, from the action-packed tracks with hard-hitting wind instruments and percussion, to the softer, somber songs that encapsulate the hauntingly beautiful environments and story moments you encounter. Vocals in the lore's indescribable language makes the music even more memorable, adding to the ethereal quality of the sound. This soundtrack is definitely one that you can go back to again and again without getting sick of it.
Pro Unique storytelling with a real emotional impact
NieR: Automata's outlook on storytelling is incredibly special. To get the full experience, you have to run multiple playthroughs of the game, each of which offers a new experience and perspective. Your world view of the story events and characters expands drastically as you complete each playthrough, playing on your expectations to help you develop a deeper emotional bond with the protagonists and become invested in their plight.
Things take a real turn on your third playthrough, putting you on an emotional roller coaster all the way to the true ending. The plot twists and knocks on the fourth wall elevate the story to a truly unique place. Getting all the way to the very end can be a religious experience from how much heart and meaning you discover in the symbolism.
Con Some boring fetch quests
The pacing gets messed up when you're forced to run certain fetch quests near the start of the game. This is somewhat forgivable after the fun and action-packed introductory level, but the quests themselves are still a drag to play through. Some of the side quests can also boil down to the same thing. Even though these quests give a lot of useful information about the world, they're not all that fulfilling, and you may dread having to repeat them when playing through the game again.
Con Buggy on PC
Some players complain about the game crashing, freezing, their save files mysteriously disappearing, and more. As of June 2018, over a year after the game's initial release, there is still no patch to fix these problems. Not everyone on PC will have these bugs, but it's still quite prevalent. If you continually run into issues, your best bet is to find a mod or play the console versions instead of waiting on an official patch that may never happen.