NieR: Automata (Switch) review: A smooth(er) operator

Experience 2B in handheld



Five years ago, Nintendo launched the Switch. The handheld console ushered Nintendo fans into a new generation of gaming. However, despite the promise of a fresh start for Nintendo, the Switch never looked like a proper contender against the beefy graphics of a PC or a PlayStation.

Around the same time, a new sci-fi game, called NieR: Automata, quietly made waves. Though it wasn’t an instant hit from the first day, the title eventually made its way into the annals of gaming history as an enthralling experience for sci-fi fans. That said, as a notable title released in 2017, it still wasn’t anything you’d expect on the Nintendo Switch. Shows how little we knew back then.

Now, the Switch is home to a surprising variety of capable ports such as Apex Legends, DOOM, and The Witcher 3. Impressively, each title works surprisingly well on the handheld console. If you haven’t had enough of big titles on the console, make way for — you guessed it — NieR: Automata.

Just like old times

The title’s port is action-packed from the get-go. Instead of just the base game, players will enjoy The End of YoRHA Edition which includes all additional downloadable content. It’s a great deal for the price you’re paying for.

Now, whether you’re playing docked or handheld, NieR: Automata plays as it was back then. The port does not cut content. If you’ve played the game before, it’s the same game. However, if it’s your first time playing the title, you’ll enjoy the game as if you bought it back in 2017.

Regardless of where you find yourself, here’s a refresher for the game’s plot: Almost ten thousand years into the future, the world has been taken over by a race of anthropomorphic robots. Aided by 9S (an android modeled after a boy), 2B is on a mission to take the planet back and fight the robots.

Rather than a straightforward RPG shooter, NieR: Automata mixes and mashes different mechanics into a wonderful postapocalyptic package. From an open-world exploration stage, players can find themselves thrust into 2D platformers and bullet hells in a single chapter. Not one stage feels out of place or overstays its welcome.

A compromise for graphics

As you might expect, the Switch port does compromise on a few technical aspects to get the game running on the console. However, it’s a good compromise.

From the first chapter, you’ll notice a difference in display quality compared to more robust consoles. However, it’s not just a matter of the hardware being unable to run the game. There are some downgrades. For example, texture quality is considerably lower compared to the original games. Rocks look chunkier, and foliage is sparser. At the very least, you won’t see it as much if you’re playing in handheld mode.

To compensate for the drop in texture quality, the Switch port has more antialiasing. Despite the less organic textures, edges are smoother. It’s a welcome addition to the Switch, which often does terribly with tearing for games with larger resolutions.

Additionally, NieR: Automata handles framerates a lot better than the original versions. Years ago, the title, amid all the fanfare, did not come off as the most polished game due to framerate stutters happening throughout the entire game. Now, the Switch port feels right. Though the port is locked at 30fps, the lack of any substantial framerate drops makes for a more immersive experience compared to one that tries and fails at pushing things to 60fps.

All in all, porting NieR: Automata is an impressive feat. For a title over five years old, the Switch port still feels fresh and right at home with the rest of the console’s library of games.

NieR: Automata The End of YoRHA Edition is now available for the Nintendo Switch, selling at US$ 39.99 through the Switch store.


Microsoft is being prevented from buying Activision Blizzard

Sued by the FTC



The year started off with a bang. Microsoft, already a respectable name in the gaming industry by itself, announced the impending acquisition of Activision Blizzard for US$ 68.7 billion. Perhaps it’s fitting that the year will end right back where it started. The FTC is officially suing Microsoft to block the monumental purchase from going through.

Announced today, the United States’ FTC (or Federal Trade Commission) has filed a legal claim against Microsoft, stating that the acquisition will allow the company to suppress competition between its rivals in the gaming industry. The commission believes that it has enough to effectively block the purchase. Allowing Microsoft to go through with the purchase will supposedly enable the company to prevent Activision Blizzard’s titles — including the Call of Duty franchise — from coming out easily on other platforms.

Since the announcement of the acquisition, Activision Blizzard has gone through a rocky year. The company had its dirty laundry aired out: a plethora of disagreeable practices from within the company. Exacerbated by the rocky launches of Diablo Immortal and Overwatch 2, it’s not exactly a stellar year for the company.

In fact, it’s not a good year for monopolistic practices either. Recently, Ticketmaster found itself under the microscope after a massive kerfuffle preventing Taylor Swift fans from purchasing tickets to the star’s upcoming concert.

While the deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard is still up in the air, it seems company acquisitions aren’t as easy as this year has made them out to be.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft announces a modular Adaptive Mouse

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Buyer's Guide

PlayStation gift ideas for 2022: The best of the best

God of War: Ragnarök tops the list



Gamers, rejoice! The Christmas season is finally here. That means it’s also the perfect time to secure PlayStation titles and peripherals to boost the gaming experience. Here are some of the best gift ideas for gamers on both PS4 and PS5:

UNCHARTED: Legacy of Thieves Collection

This collection retails for PhP 2,490 and includes both critically acclaimed single player adventures, UNCHARTED 4: A Thief’s End and UNCHARTED: The Lost Legacy.

Dive into complex history from the point of view of thieves Nathan Drake and Chloe Frazer. Its PlayStation 5 option is remastered with improved visuals and framerate.

God of War: Ragnarök

Already widely considered as the game of the year, Santa Monica Studio’s sequel to the 2018 God of War features Kratos and Atreus going on a mythic journey across nine realms together before Ragnarök arrives.

Kratos will use his weapons like the Leviathan Axe and Blades of Chaos as he puts everything on the line to fight for family while facing fearsome enemies from Norse gods to wild beasts.

God of War: Ragnarök is priced at PhP 3,490 for PS5 and PhP 2,990 for PS4.

Horizon Forbidden West

From Sony comes an action RPG wherein Aloy braves the Forbidden West, a frontier that conceals mysterious threats.

The adventure will take gamers to a far-future, post-apocalyptic world of Horizon where land is dying and vicious storms keep ravaging what’s left of humanity.

That said, it will be up to Aloy to uncover the secrets, forge alliances, and defeat the enemy to prevail.

Horizon Forbidden West is available at PhP 3,490 for PS5 and PhP 2,990 for PS4.

Gran Turismo 7

Gran Turismo 7

For those into racing, Gran Turismo 7 brings together the very best of the Real Driving Simulator.

The game reintroduces GT Simulation Mode, on top of the head-to-head GT Sport Mode, GT Campaign, Arcade, and Driving School.

With over 420 cars available at Brand Central and the Used Car Dealership from day one and over 90 track routes including classics, Gran Turismo 7 promises both unparalleled detail and experience.

You can purchase the game for PhP 3,490 for PS5 and PhP 2,990 for PS4.

The Last of Us Part I

The Last of Us Part 1

The multi-awarded game gets a PlayStation 5 treatment. Protagonist Joel smuggles 14-year-old Ellie out of a military quarantine zone, which jumpstarts a brutal cross-country journey.

This package includes The Last of Us single-player story and celebrated prequel chapter, Left Behind, which explores the events that changed the lives of Ellie and her best friend Riley forever.

The Last of Us Part I costs PhP 3,490 as well.

Gaming peripherals

As for accessories, you should get your hands on the DualSense Wireless Controller for PS5 which now comes in new colors. The controllers are now available in Midnight Black, Cosmic Red, Starlight Blue, Galactic Purple, and Nova Pink, as well as Gray Camouflage.

It is available in all PlayStation authorized dealers starting at PhP 3,990.

Speaking of those colors, one can now customize their console itself with the PS5 Console Covers which are priced at PhP 3,090.

To complete the immersive gaming experience, the PULSE 3D Wireless Headset delivers with PS5 system’s Tempest 3D AudioTech and comes with dual noise-cancelling microphones.

It is available for PhP 5,590 in Midnight Black and Gray Camouflage.

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Xbox will raise prices of new titles next year

Will soon cost US$ 69.99



New video games are expensive. Since the launch of the PlayStation 5, stores have been charging US$ 69.99 for every new release. On the flip side, Microsoft has kept its own slate of titles at the usual US$ 59.99 price point. However, that’s about to change next year. The company is raising the prices of first-party Xbox titles to US$ 69.99 next year.

In a recent statement (via The Verge), Microsoft has announced that new next-gen titles coming from Xbox Game Studios next year will face a price hike to reflect their “the content, scale, and technical complexity.” The announcement specifically names Forza Motorsport, Redfall, and Starfield (incidentally, one of the most anticipated titles next year) as part of this starting slate.

Prior to today’s status quo, new titles always sold for US$ 59.99. By itself, the old price tag is already hefty. However, it was one that was eventually accepted, especially after increasingly longer playthrough times.

Now, however, players are once again in a renewed state of justifying the expensive prices of new games. Titles are US$ 10 more expensive these days. Plus, special editions, which are becoming more common, have even higher price points.

If anything, Microsoft has waited until after the holidays before hiking prices up. If you were looking at a new title for your Xbox Series X/S, the holidays might be the best time to grab it. Or, as always, you can pay the monthly price of an Xbox Game Pass to access a trove of titles including new ones.

SEE ALSO: Xbox outsells the PlayStation for the first in 11 years

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