NieR:Automata: The End of YoRHa Edition (Nintendo Switch) Review

NieR:Automata: The End of YoRHa Edition (Switch) Review 5
NieR:Automata: The End of YoRHa Edition (Switch) Review
NieR:Automata: The End of YoRHa Edition
Developer: PlatinumGames
Publisher: PlatinumGames
Played On: Nintendo Switch
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
MSRP: 54.99
Release Date: 06/10/2022
CGM Editors Choice

The Nintendo Switch and NieR: Automata originally launched within a week of each other back in 2017. Had this version of PlatinumGames’ magnum opus hit Nintendo’s hybrid console while the PS4 original, Breath of the Wild might’ve had some stiff competition for its killer app crown.

Instead it arrives in 2022, an age where the Switch has received a handful of mixed ports (Skyrim, Apex Legends) and cloud versions (Kingdom Hearts and a slew of upcoming Resident Evil classics) instead of full, proper recreations. Amidst the likes of these “better than nothing” alternatives, NieR:Automata: The End of YoRHa Edition plays like a dream on the Switch.

NieR:Automata: The End of YoRHa Edition plays like a dream on the Switch.”

Now, that’s not to say that it’s a perfect translation from the PS4 version; there’s a notable downgrade if you place both editions side-by-side. The Switch runs at a locked 30fps, compared to a variable 60 on PS4. Since I’m not one to notice the difference in frame rate most of the time, so long as it’s steady, the most notable things were a reduced draw distance, slightly longer load times, and some inferior textures.

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That being said, NieR:Automata does not perform poorly at all on the Switch. Those differences could sound stark on paper, but in practice it runs beautifully. There was no slowdown or lag to be found, and even handheld mode plays without hindrance (though again, the graphics take a small hit). It’s not a 1:1 jump, but it’s within parameters.

“If you haven’t yet tried NieR:Automata, you should definitely consider this (or any other) edition.”

We’re inundated with remakes, remasters, and ports these days, but unlike the others, Nier:Automata’s Switch version doesn’t play like a port. At one point I forgot I was actually playing a five-year old PS4 game in handheld mode. That’s perhaps the highest praise it can be offered: that it doesn’t feel like something that was chopped and screwed to fit a smaller box, but something that was built from the ground up for that box, fitting all of its dimensions.

PlatinumGames took NieR:Automata: The End of YoRHa Edition the extra Nintendo mile for this release by adding in motion controls. Shaking the left Joy-Con enables a quick dodge, while the right can be swung to attack; if you’re using the Pro Controller, you can also jolt it to dodge, as I learned accidentally while putting the controller down during gameplay. These are nothing to write home about, and I can’t see them being widely adopted outside of challenge runs or dares, but at least they took the effort to add a little functionality suited for this hardware.

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This edition also received a suite of exclusive downloadable cosmetics, alongside the other DLC for the PS4 edition. These are a more enticing cherry on top than the motion controls, and a nice, small incentive to check out this classic—not enough to make this the absolute definitive edition, granted.

If you haven’t yet tried NieR:Automata, you should definitely consider this (or any other) edition. Everything in our 2017 review, where it received a perfect score, still holds true today. Director Yoko Taro delivered a sublime masterpiece of narrative, aesthetic, and gameplay, raising the bar for the entire medium in a way that I haven’t seen since Metal Gear Solid. It’s a bleak vision for humanity’s far future, but not in the base, edgy way that makes the whole experience a burden.

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Having this transcendental roller coaster available in solid portable form is the perfect opportunity to finally catch up if you’ve been sitting out on NieR:Automata, or to experience it all again. I truly hope that other developers look to this example for the rest of the Switch’s lifespan, as it proves that the extra effort to port a game to this hardware is so much more meaningful than quickly dumping a beloved series onto the cloud wholesale.

And, that PlatinumGames would give NieR:Replicant the same treatment sometime soon.

A retail version of the game reviewed was provided by the publisher. You can read more about CGMagazine reivew policies here.

Final Thoughts

REVIEW SCORE

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