It's no secret that I love Nier: Automata. Yoko Taro and Platinum Games' peculiar action-RPG surprised and delighted me in ways few games have, though it's not without its faults. One of my biggest gripes with the game was its difficulty level, frequently punishing Hard mode players with one-hit kills, lest they do a lot of grinding or passively pummeling enemies with bullets from afar (yawn). The game's Very Hard mode is even more insane, resulting in an instant death from a single blow, even if it's a slap on the wrist from a low-level minion. And yet, people have found ways of besting its biggest baddies on Very Hard mode. Some even instill further challenges on themselves just to make the game harder.
While many have defeated Nier: Automata's bosses on Very Hard, most endlessly grind in order to do so. I'm fond of the videos by YouTuber TopTierAction, who tackles Nier's most nefarious foes at a sensible level without taking a scratch. Since the game hasn't been out long, here's an example from an early boss battle. Their channel has a lot more where that came from with plenty of later, more spoilery bosses.
Even more impressive is YouTuber QQDangoQQ, who conquered every boss in the game on Very Hard and now is doing it again with added provisions. This time they won't use any performance-enhancing chips, long-range weaponry, or assistance from their AI partner. So far they're only about halfway through the game (meaning they've tackled less than half of its bosses), but they're making pretty impressive progress. Just look at this duel with the Forest boss mid-way through the game:
QQDangoQQ also discovered some neat exploits for struggling Nier-ophytes. In a couple of videos they demonstrate a ridiculous way of slaying the game's two secret lvl 99 bosses on Very Hard using their bare hands. Hint: it requires using a lot of buffs. (Who knew that Last Stand could be so powerful?) One of these fights is over before it begins, while the other requires a lot more skill, even if they knock off a vast majority of its HP in the opening moments.
For less cheap methods of slaying this ridiculously over-powered boss on Very Hard, there's YouTubers Ludwig nesta and yy dabu conquering the seemingly impossible feat. If you want to see some struggling, here's an hour of YouTuber Fuuzen Kazera failing at this arduous foe before finally succeeding in a very impressive battle.
It looks like there's a lot more to Nier: Automata's peculiar combat system than I thought. You just have to git gud.