NieR: Automata has seen quite a successful launch, with rave reviews and a milestone of one million shipped units. It was not, however, a perfect launch, as it had some launch problems on PC and the problems continued with the latest patch, 1.04, which “broke” English in the menus and messages at a certain point in game. Still, the game was well received and it piqued many people’s interest regarding the history and lore of the game.
NieR series is practically an offspring of the Drakengard series, itself a product of the eccentric mind of Yoko Taro (seriously, google the guy). The previous NieR game was released in 2010 for Xbox 360 and PS3. There were two versions: Japan got the Nier Replicant, where the main character is a young, slender guy trying to save his sister. The west got the NieR Gestalt version, with an older man saving his daughter. Not sure what this says about any of the cultures involved, but there should be some material for psychologists.
The original NieR was a pretty straight forward third person fantasy RPG, however, the story had a clear Yoko Taro signature: a tale that will pull hard on your heart strings and be meta as hell at the same time. This is something you may have noticed in NieR: Automata as well, if you have played it. In case you were wondering, no, the story does not connect, there is a huge gap in time between the two games, although they do happen in the same world.
Nier: Automata is continuing the idea of multiple endings that really blow your mind and twist you around that the original NieR had as well. If you have time and the means, treat yourself to the older game as well. Just watch out for the price soaring after the sudden popularity of NieR: Automata.