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Got a Nier: Automata-shaped hole in your heart? You shouldn't resist picking up this ambitious sci-fi title for PC and Switch, then

1000xRESIST picks up the slack while you wait for the next Nier.

A menacing red and black figure with a halo of light stares at the viewer.
Image credit: VG247

It feels somewhat hard to believe that it's been seven years since Nier: Automata released, and yet somehow that time has gone by in the blink of an eye. I think the more confusing thing is the fact that Square Enix somehow hasn't let Yoko Taro and co make a fully fledged sequel, despite the fact it's managed to sell 8,000,000 copies to date, even resulting in an amped-up remaster of the original game. Sure, there's the mobile game, but that's dead now, so I can't help but feel that there's a bit of a Nier-shaped hole in my heart at the moment.

There have been a lot of good games that have released over the intervening years, but nothing that scratched the particular itch that Nier: Automata did. Sure, there's been some exciting action titles, and some hard hitting stories, but Automata's particular blend of sci-fi, imagining what life is like in a post-human, android-filled world is hard to tap into elsewhere. That is, until, last week, when developer Sunset Visitor released 1000xRESIST, a title so ambitious and impressive I think has finally hit that same sweet spot.

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1000xRESIST follows a character by the name of Watcher, a clone of an immortal teenage girl named Iris, herself the last human left alive after aliens known as Occupants brought a disease to our planet earth 1000 years ago. Right off the bat, you can probably see quite clearly how Nier: Automata was an influence, though I'd argue 1000xRESIST amps the Square Enix game's themes up to, well, 1000. Much like Automata, there are twists and turns galore, and a few secrets that get uncovered too.

Gameplay-wise, you won't find many similarities, as exploration is the main focus of 1000xRESIST. But as good as Automata's combat is, the main thing it is loved for is its story, and 1000xRESIST has story in spades, one that feels very relevant to issues we face today. Alongside Watcher there is a whole society of clones, none of which have immunity to the disease like the original Iris has, leading them all to have to wear masks constantly in order to avoid catching it. Remind you of a certain pandemic we all went through recently?

Thanks to the game's sci-fi setting, you're able to revisit Iris' memories, where you get to learn about the past, and what life was like before the world went to hell. There's a lot of moments of melancholy, as you know the fate of the world, and it makes the conflict between long-dead characters all the more painful to watch. But there's mystery too, one that quickly hooks you into wanting to learn more. Who are the Occupants? Why did Iris survive while the rest of humanity died out?

The game's name, RESIST, is very important to its story, too. While not focusing on anything specific, 1000xRESIST partially sets itself in Hong Kong in the early 2020s, where there's much civil unrest and protests, likely partially in reference to similar protests held in 2019/2020.

It depicts resistance against oppressive forces as a complicated, painful, necessary thing, but also shows how even when humanity is essentially wiped out, replaced by clones of just one person, these issues can still persist. That feeling of repetition again feels similar to Automata's, though you won't have to outright replay certain sections.

It's also visually stunning, probably the most boldly art directed game of the year, and one I hope is a part of the conversation during awards season later this year. There really isn't any indication as to when we can expect a non-mobile sequel to Nier, but spiritually, 1000xRESIST feels as close to one as you can get, while standing on its own two legs and offering something you really won't find anywhere else this year. While you wait for the next big release of the year, maybe find some time to fit this one in.

1000xRESIST is out now on PC and Nintendo Switch.

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