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29 minutes of new Nier: Automata gameplay reveals moose-riding, exploration and more

Director says more than “half of the story” is unlocked after the ending.

29 minutes of new Nier: Automata gameplay have been revealed ahead of its 7th March release date.

As shown by PlayStation Underground, we can get a better sense of the scope of Nier: Automata's overworld, not immediately obvious from the linear dungeon demo on PSN. There are towns, shops, platforming, exploration and fishing, just as one would expect from playing the original Nier.

One new mechanic in Nier: Automata takes a page from Dark Souls in which players can retrieve the gear of their past self, should they make it to the spot where they last fell. Since you play as an android, dying merely transfers your memory and data into another body. Find your previously fallen vessel and you can retrieve it for a bonus. Or you can try to repair it. Successfully doing so means it can help you in battle, but an unsuccessful repair will corrupt it, making your previous body turn hostile towards you. Defeat your former self and gain a bonus.

Square Enix confirmed that Nier: Automata is set thousands of years after the original Nier and that it's "basically a standalone game."

Furthermore, Nier: Automata lets you ride a moose. That's new! The original game only let you do that with boars.

Several other details have emerged as well.

The first Nier was notorious for its New Game Plus mode that retold the second half of the game from another character's perspective, with plenty of new cutscenes showing bosses' backstories from their point of view. Director Yoko Taro noted that Nier: Automata will continue that tradition. "People who have only played through to the first ending of Nier: Automata have probably not even seen half of the story," he told the EU PlayStation Blog.

You'll likely die a lot as Taro is something of a troll at times. To wit: he included a chip that buffs your character, then unceremoniously kills them when they remove it. "If you take it out, it immediately kills you and sends you straight back to the title screen!" Taro taunted. "The great thing about it is that there's no warning at all, even if you haven't saved - as soon as you take it out, you're dead."

Indeed, unfair deaths are a selling point to Taro. You've got to admit that such a backwards tack has personality. One would expect no less from a man who announced a sequel adorning a terrifying skull mask.

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Jeffrey Matulef

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Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.

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