10 Action RPG Games Like Nier Automata

Nier Automata is a game that I love for many reasons. Not only is it one of the best sci-fi games on Steam, but it also has one of the best sci-fi stories that I’ve ever seen. For that reason, I kept wanting more when I finished the game.

Nier Automata is unique, but it doesn’t mean you can’t find games that are somewhat similar to it. Other Action JRPGs might feel a lot like Nier Automata due to a crazy plot, an action-oriented battle system, or a combination of both.

Let me be clear, I don’t think that looking for games that copy Nier Automata in every way is the best way to go about it. Nier is a unique franchise with unique games. Therefore, looking for a combination of compelling stories and similar combat makes more sense.

That said, here are 10 Action RPG games like Nier Automata, from those that are kinda like it to the ones that are very much like it.

Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen

Available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC

If you want something that has everything Nier Automata has, you won’t find many games. After all, this game is a mix of Sci-Fi, Action RPG, and experimental ideas from a bold Japanese developer. Those are, at least on the surface, some of the things that make Nier Automata unique.

However, if you let go of at least one of those things, you will find many titles that can provide a similar experience. That’s the case here. Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is a dark fantasy game with some moral dilemmas and a mind-blowing twist at the end.

Throughout the game, you will explore dungeons, talk to NPCs, do side quests, and fight in some really awesome battles. Fighting feels very different from other games of its time, thanks to the developer’s creativity. Capcom released a game in which you fight giants by climbing them, not by cutting their ankles, and this gives Dragon’s Dogma a unique feel.

On top of that, you have a mysterious story with plot twists that were good enough to inspire an animated series. That said, I’ll assume you are looking for an experimental action JRPG with a different but familiar combat system. With that in mind, this recommendation will make sense and Dragon’s Dogma might be able to scratch that itch.

Tales of Arise

Available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC

Tales of Arise is an action RPG developed and published by Bandai Namco. Although this is an anime game, it has a distinct visual identity tied to its watercolor visuals and character designs. 

If you are looking for a game with an engaging combat system like Nier Automata’s, this game certainly delivers it. If you like fights that have meaning, this is an RPG, so you won’t just be fighting to get from one place to the next.

The characters who will determine what happens to these two universes are Alphen and Shionne. Along with their companions, they will have to face challenges and develop as individuals. 

Although the story is not necessarily mind-blowing, there are many parallels that one can draw with the Nier series. The game does bring some philosophical and ethical debates and feels like a Japanese story. Challenging themes constantly contrast with questionable visual choices when judged by western standards. However, those who are familiar with Japanese stories will feel at home.

The tale also includes exquisitely animated sequences by Ufotable. The work of this highly regarded Japanese studio adds that “something extra” that makes this experience much more intense and enjoyable.

Final Fantasy XV

Available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PC, Google Stadia

This is a game about a young prince who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. Final Fantasy XV was innovative for having a small party that follows the protagonist, Noctis, until the end of the game. That also allowed the writers to develop Noctis’ relationship with them in a touching story about friendship and responsibility.

Final Fantasy XV was also the first game of the series that experimented with an active combat system, being a very action-oriented Final Fantasy. Although it doesn’t play as loosely as a true action game, players do get to teleport and swing their weapons, run around, and cast spells while dodging powerful attacks. Honestly, the combat in this game feels amazing.

The story might seem a bit too simple at first. Yet, things escalate and become seriously complex like in any Final Fantasy. To be honest, if you don’t pay attention to the plot when playing through Final Fantasy XV, you might miss a lot of important information that explains all future plot twists.

This game is not perfect, and it did have many issues when it first came out. However, with the added content, DLCs, and the Royal Edition for consoles, players can experience Final Fantasy XV the way it was intended. It has become one of the best single player games on Steam.

Scarlet Nexus

Available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PC

When it comes to the story, it does feel like a random anime plot at first. The discovery of a psionic hormone in the human brain in the far future gave individuals psychic abilities and altered the course of human history. Weirdly, feral mutants known as Others, who had a voracious appetite for human brains, started to drop from the skies as humankind entered this new period.

Psionics, people with strong psychic talents, were Earth’s best hope of fending off the attackers from the skies. Unfortunately, although extreme efforts were made to contain the increasing threat, conventional weapons didn’t do much to keep the Others away.

Since then, people with special abilities, be they normal kids or soldiers, have been chosen for the Others Suppression Force (OSF), humanity’s final line of defense, based on their skills. They are humanity’s last hope.

Yes, the story is a bit anime. Still, there’s this apocalyptic feel that, combined with the combat system, makes this game very different from most things that came near its release. Scarlet Nexus is a fun, solid, good-looking game. It might be the kind of game you are looking for.

Code Vein

Available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, PC

This game is known by many people as the anime souls-like. When it comes to its story, I dare to say that Code Vein is not as complex and surprising as Nier. Yet, it does have enough things that might make you interested in it.

Firstly, this is a Japanese Action RPG. Unlike Nier Automata, it feels like it was highly influenced by games like Dark Souls instead of something like Devil May Cry. In other words, instead of having a highly frantic combat system, Code Vein is a game with slower and more methodical fights. It doesn’t mean they can’t be epic, though.

Code Vein’s story has some plot twists, although not necessarily too mindblowing, and highly emotional moments if you feel connected to the main characters. So you can rest assured that there is some plot to be enjoyed along with the excellent gameplay.

In this game, people that have contracted BOR parasites that transform them into superpowered vampires are called Revenants. The caveat is that Revenants mostly forget who they were as people. They must suck human blood to avoid becoming the Lost, a fiendish ghoul who behaves like an animal.

In Code Vain, players join forces with others to find out about their past and escape the living nightmare of their reality.

Astral Chain

Available on Nintendo Switch

Although this game is not nearly as experimental as Nier Automata, it’s another action RPG made by the same Studio, PlatinumGames. That said, one can easily have fun with this game if what they expect is a fun, frantic, and somewhat unique combat system.

Although most people comment on Astral Chain’s combat, it still has RPG elements. You’ll spend a lot of time interacting with people. In this game, you have to interrogate suspects and work with your task force teammates to solve crimes. That’s not all since you must defend the Earth against extraterrestrial invaders called chimeras. 

In this game, you do that with the help of legions, which are summonable allies that directly influence your gameplay during combat. Each Legion has unique attacks, stats, and special skills.

These investigations will heavily rely on the Legions’ abilities. They enable you to defeat violent criminals and even locate a missing person. Sometimes, you also have to deal with the Astral Plane, the dimension from which the invaders originate.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5

Created 20 years after the original FF7, FF7R is a reimagined version of the original game with modern graphics. However, better aesthetics are not what make it worth it. The game also reimagines some elements of the story and brings a re-design of the old RPG mechanics. 

Final Fantasy VII Remake tells a dramatic story set in a futuristic, dystopian world populated with fantastic creatures and giant corporations. It also talks about loss and personal connections. The characters are very well written and have many layers to them, making you care about all members of your party.

This game alone has managed to make people pay attention to JRPGs again. It caught the attention of both nostalgic gamers and new fans. Square Enix’s work is miraculous if you consider the fact the game looks impressive even on the base PS4.

Final Fantasy VII Remake only addresses the beginning of the original game. However, they managed to make it feel like a complete game. To be fair, it is a full game; it just doesn’t tell the whole story of the original one. If the remake is anything like the original, there are many mind-blowing twists to come that will completely change some perceived aspects of the story.

Regarding battles, Final Fantasy 7 is a perfect hybrid of action and turn-based RPG. You get to fight in real-time, but you can often freeze the fight to select special skills. This makes the battles both exciting and tactical.

God Eater 3

Available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC, Nintendo Switch

God Eater 3 is a game made and published by Bandai Namco. Although the core themes are not the same as Nier, this is an Action JRPG set in a post-apocalyptic world with many sci-fi elements. Sounds familiar?

The God Eater series is set in the year 2071, many years after the Aragami first appeared. Aragami is what people call the species of vile beings that devour much of the Earth’s resources and a large portion of humankind to the point of approaching extinction.

They are comprised of a group of “Oracle Cells,” single-celled organisms that can absorb anything and take on its characteristics. They can even absorb nuclear energy and are immune to all conventional weapons.

However, the biomechanical hybrid weaponry known as Jinki, developed by the Finnish pharmaceutical corporation Fenrir, may kill Aragami. These people are referred to as God Eaters. You might not consider this game’s concepts very innovative, but this series’ first game is over 10 years old. Either way, it’s a highly acclaimed game with an intense combat system and constant high-stakes. It’s competent at delivering what it promises.

Drakengard

Available on PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3

This franchise was made by the creator of Nier, Yoko Taro. While the gameplay of the Drakengard games has been criticized, the series has been praised for its intricate characters and plotlines. Gameplaywise, Drakengard 3 is the closest to Nier.

The series has developed a reputation for having dark or adult story topics, character themes, and many endings. The Drakengard games are set in a dark fantasy environment reminiscent of Northern Europe, where people and creatures from myth and legend coexist.

So, if you like Automata because of his work and artistic vision, there might be something in this series for you. In fact, if you go through all the different endings, you might discover something truly special about each of these franchises.

Yoko Taro’s main characters, in Drakengard or Nier, often are the kind of protagonist that is pushed into doing something. Usually, an event happens that severely involves them somehow, making them deal with it.

Although the way Yoko Taro writes his characters usually makes them relatable, you must remember that Drakengard is not a mechanical masterpiece. However, if you like the way his mind works, old games, and Dark Fantasy stories, there is a good chance you will like Drakengard as well.

Nier Replicant

Available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

This one should be very obvious. Nier Automata is the direct sequel to Nier Replicant. However, these games don’t need the other to feel complete. They can be experienced independently. On the other hand, players who have gone through both can easily connect more dots and understand better what happened to the Earth.

Nier Replicant is very much a science fantasy game, including mystical elements and mixing them with technological aspects in very mysterious ways. Its plot is also very complex and filled with shades of grey in the characters’ morals.

As for gameplay, Nier Replicant is an Action RPG with bullet hell elements that happens in a post-apocalyptic world. It isn’t a game populated with robots, but there are enough things in it to make it a lot like Nier Automata.

Try out this game if you are looking for the closest thing to Nier Replicant. It follows the same design philosophy, was written by the same person, has plenty of experimental elements to it, and its plot is just as crazy.

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