Nier: Automata is not a game you can really sell in a couple hundred words. While that's a marketing department's worst nightmare, it sort of works in the RPG's favour, as the reasons as to why the open-world action game is so good slowly reveal themselves throughout the second playthrough.
Unfortunately that means for the first few hours at least, the sequel doesn't seem to be anything special. The different sections of its limited sandbox lack personality, the side quests are a little rote and the combat itself, while retaining the spectacle Platinum Games are known for, doesn't seem to have the depth necessary to sustain a 40-hour experience.
Once the game opens up though, all of these initial drawbacks become the title's greatest strengths. The contemplative and poignant story at the heart of the sequel informs all of these gameplay decisions, with the immediately bland world slowly gaining personality entirely because of how sterile it is, while the combat itself eventually comes to reflect the developer's comments on violence in a way that's still tactile enough to be fun.
It's something you can't grasp unless you've played it, but there's no doubt that Automata will go down as one of the best games of the generation.