Christmas comes a couple days early for PlayStation 4 owners with a playable demo of Nier: Automata. It's a half-hour packed with slick hack and slash action, novel camera angles, a little drama and massive boss battles, and it's so good.
Platinum Games' hack-and-slash follow-up to 2010's Nier, follows combat android 2B, her companion 9S and obsolete prototype A2 as they battle against machine lifeforms from another world that have invaded the earth.
The demo begins with 2B arriving at an abandoned factory, where she is tasked by her moon-based human masters with taking down a massive machine entity.
We learn the basics of combat by fighting off a series of robotic opponents. Light attacks, heavy attacks, locking on, jumping -- that sort of thing. As we slice through the opposition, our ever-present robot drone can fire its machine gun at enemies.
The sequence ends with a battle against what's basically a gigantic chainsaw with construction shovels for teeth. Dodging is your friend.
After the battle we meet another android, the high-flying 9S. This would seem to be the two characters' first encounter. 9S uses his wings to scout the facility, while 2B hunts her prey.
Sometimes combat takes place in open 3D spaces. Other times, like when 3B is climbing the outside of what looks like a giant reservoir, we battle on a 2D plane.
Several times the camera swings around to a top-down view, turning machine projectiles into bullet-hellish swarm.
Eventually we make it to the big boss 2B was looking for, and it doesn't look good for our hero.
Now how's old 2B going to get herself out of this pickle? Play for yourself on PlayStation 4, or check out our full 30-minute playthrough atop this post to find out.
Nier: Automata arrives on PlayStation 4 on March 7, with a PC release later in the year.