First off, I honestly can't figure out what constitutes as a spoiler for this game because I am unaware of what was revealed during any teasers and trailers. As such, anything story related that is huge I will call a spoiler. However, there are also game mechanics that might be considered spoilers but I won't hide those because then this post would be filled with hidden texts. So, let's get started, shall we?
The controls for this game are pretty basic for a hack and slash game. You have heavy attack (2B) and hacking (9S), action/interact, jump, and light attack. The D-pad buttons can let you switch between weapon sets, pods, and bring up the quick menu for healing items. The shoulder buttons allow you to use use pod attack programs, evade, lock-on, and special pod attacks. You can alternate between light and heavy attacks as 2B and A2, however you only have light attacks when playing as 9S. But to make up for this, 9S has the ability to hack into enemies and make them remote control or subjugate them, if they haven't spotted you, or make them detonate, which will happen if you hack them after they've spotted you. There are three pods you can obtain and each has their own programmed attack. One shoots a volley of bullets, the other a streamed laser, and the last one has missiles. There are also pod chips you can equip them with that you find throughout the game. They range from a high powered laser, to a shield that protects against melee attacks, to bombs. Choose whichever ones you like. There are also four types of weapons to choose from. Small swords, large swords, spears, and combat bracers. Each weapon comes with two abilities that unlock as you upgrade them and each effect does something different. They can increase your attack speed, increase your defense, subjugate an enemy to fight for you, or even restore your health when you defeat an enemy. Small swords are the fastest weapons in the game and are the most common. Large swords deal the most damage, but are also the slowest to use. Spears have their own unique attack pattern and require a bit of work to get the hang of. Combat Bracers are the weakest, but can interrupt enemy combos if timed correctly. Also, you can self-destruct by holding in the analog sticks for a few seconds. This will bring your health down to 1 and cause you to lose your shorts as 9S and your skirt as 2B.
THERE ARE THREE PLAYTHROUGHS! After you complete route A and route B, you start route C as A2 and it switches between her and 9S. A2 controls the same way as 2B, though her dash is better I believe. Even though the first two routes play through the same story, there are times where the two androids are separated and different events happen. Side missions unlock as you progress, but once you start the mission in the Flooded City, most if not all side missions that were available up til that point are no longer accessible. If you're worried you missed a side mission, don't be. Once you clear the third route, the game gives you a chapter select option when accessing the game's save point sections (I forget what they're called). This allows you to go back to past sections of the game and do things like grab that one item you missed or do that one mission you didn't know was there. This has proven really helpful for me since there were missions I didn't do and certain items I needed to get that were easier to obtain in the early parts of the game.
The world around you will change as the game goes on. After fighting
the two Goliaths in the city ruins, a brand new area opens up. This allows access to the Flooded City as well as a few other places that are important to the main story and even one that's important to a side mission. Around the world you'll find treasure chests. There are three types of these: a small one, a big one, and one that has a weird lock on top. The third one can only be opened while playing as 9S due to his hacking ability. Anytime you see that kind of lock, it means only 9S can unlock it. I really can't go into too much more without going into spoilers, so the next few paragraphs are all spoilers. So don't click if you don't want to read them.
I'd say the hardest part of this game was near the start of the third route where you play as virus infected 2B. It took me forever to find a route that I could take without getting killed by enemy machines. That being said, I recently did this part again so I could get the ending where A2 walks away and doesn't help 2B and I honestly didn't have much trouble this time around. It may be because I was such a high level that my pod quickly killed any enemies. Emotionally speaking, this game really hit me in the gut quite a few times. The part where you have to either kill Pascal or erase his memories legitimately made me put down my controller and made me think. Eventually I couldn't bring myself to do it and walked out with the mindset of: emotional pain is a hard part of life and lesson that needs to be learned. I realize this makes me sound like an asshole who has no feelings, but it was how I justified my actions at the time. My second time around I chose to erase his memories and went back to his village as 9S to see the result. Pascal was there with no memory at all and was selling the machine cores of the dead children. This REALLY made my heart sink that I had to get out of there ASAP. Another moment that hit me hard was the fight with the Songstress during route B. Every time you hack her, you get more and more information on her backstory and it's just so tragic. She just wanted to be beautiful so the machine she loved would notice her.
In most games I play there's also that one boss that I hate fighting because it's either so damn hard or boring, or time consuming. In this game, though? There really wasn't any boss like that...at first. There are certain boss fights that I did a second time and I hated them the second time around because I just wanted to get the fight over with, but then certain things happen after they lose a certain amount of health and I'm strong enough that I can kill them in less than 5 hits. I actually just fought off the giant Emil heads in the desert twice and they really weren't too tough. I was level 89 and I kept hacking them. I also had offensive heal +6 equipped and had medium recoveries in stock. The first time I fought them I let them self destruct to get the ending and the second time I stopped them from doing so. Honestly, fights with 9S are much easier than they are with the other two. I'd actually say the hardest fight in the game is your fight with Emil just outside his home. The cavern isn't really small and they give you plenty of room to move, but the speed of his attacks is what makes him difficult.
I also completed the three fighting arenas that came with the DLC. The hardest one was in the desert where you have limitations put upon on the fight. Fighting in the dark and not touching the floor were the hardest ones because during the first one I kept accidentally turning on my pod's light and I kept falling off the pillars in the second one. The final rank's limitation was not taking damage and I only failed one time because I failed a hack. The forest arena is interesting because you don't fight as any of the androids, but as a machine of your choosing. I first chose a large biped, but instead I went with a medium biped using two axes. Right now I have every weapon fully upgraded, as well as the first two pods. Pod C isn't fully upgraded yet since I require certain items that are rare to spawn.
Overall, I really enjoyed this game and I'm glad I got it. I have 62 hours on my main file and I'm still not done.