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Here’s how Nier: Automata tells a story with its soundtrack

A perfect score for a perfect game

Chris Plante co-founded Polygon in 2012 and is now editor-in-chief. He co-hosts The Besties, is a board member of the Frida Cinema, and created NYU’s first games journalism course.

Nier: Automata is like a great book: It gets better the more time you have to chew on it. My own opinion on what makes the game so special has changed and expanded. At first, I just loved the fluidity of the combat, and then I dug deep into the lore. What has consistently impressed me, though, even now as I return for the umpteenth time, is the music.

I wouldn’t call Nier: Automata’s story subtle. It’s weird, loud, violent and shamelessly meta. And yet the music hits the same themes and ideas with an elegant and calm warmth. The visuals and score flatter each other. One abrasive and strong, the other delicately emphasizing its movements with the perfect flourish at just the right moment.

I can list thousands of reasons you should play Nier: Automata, but I don’t want to scare you away with verbal vomit about its conflict philosophy or how its open world intentionally frustrates the player. No, the music is the best way into this game. And it’s the music that, long after you’ve finished, that stays with you.