10 Action Games Like NieR: Automata

Image credit: Square Enix

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 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 having a crazy plot, an action-oriented battle system, or a combination of both.

To help you out with finding great alternatives to NieR: Automata, I’ve picked out my top recommendations for similar games with compelling stories, similar combat styles, and immersive environments. Some of them feel incredibly similar to NieR: Automata, and others are a little more out of the box.

Here are the best 10 action games like NieR: Automata to play today.

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 options. After all, the game is a mix of sci-fi, action RPG elements, and experimental ideas from a bold development team. Those are 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 narrative.

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.

On top of that, you have a mysterious story with plot twists that were good enough to inspire an animated series. Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen is one of the most unique open-world games on Steam by a mile.

That being said, I’ll assume you are looking for an experimental action RPG with a unique combat system that’ll feel familiar. With that in mind, this recommendation will make sense and Dragon’s Dogma might be the perfect new pick for you to check out.

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 from the team at 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, this game certainly delivers. This is an immersive RPG that manages to make every fight and interaction feel impactful.

The two characters that this game follows 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 it feels like a Japanese story.

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.

Fans of games like NieR: Automata are sure to love this game.

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 has got a lot of praise for being innovative and having a small party that follows the protagonist, Noctis, until the end of the game. This decision allowed the writers to develop Noctis’ relationship with the player 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 fully. It has become one of the best single player games on Steam and fans of games like NieR: Automata will love it.

Scarlet Nexus

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

When it comes to the story in this game, 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 of scientific discovery.

Psionics, people with strong psychic talents, were Earth’s best hope of fending off the attackers from the skies. Unfortunately, although people tried 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 to become part of 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 quite dramatic. Still, there’s this apocalyptic feel that, when combined with the combat system, makes this game stand out from the competition. Scarlet Nexus is a fun, good-looking game. It might be the kind of game you are looking for as a NieR: Automata fan.

Code Vein

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

This game is essentially an anime souls-like. When it comes to its story, I dare say that Code Vein is not as complex and surprising as NieR: Automata. Yet, it does have plenty of other elements that might interest NieR fans.

Firstly, this is a Japanese action RPG. Unlike NieR: Automata, it feels like it took inspiration from 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. This is one of the best anime games on Steam.

Code Vein’s story has some plot twists, although they’re not necessarily too mind-blowing, and highly emotional moments that’ll affect fans of the characters in this game. So you can rest assured that there is a great narrative to keep you hooked.

In this game, there are BOR parasites that are infecting people and causing them to turn into superpowers vampires, known as Revenants. Once transformed, Revenants will forget almost everything about who they were as people. They must drink human blood to avoid becoming the Lost, a fiendish, animalistic ghoul.

In Code Vain, players join forces with others to find out about their past and escape the living nightmare of their reality. If you’re looking for more games like NieR: Automata with a gripping story and smooth mechanics, this is the game for you.

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. You’ll have a lot of fun with this game if you’re hunting for an enjoyable, 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. 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

Coming out 20 years after the original FF7, FF7R is a reimagined version of the original game with modern graphics. However, better aesthetics are not the main selling point here. The game also reimagines some elements of the story and brings a fresh re-design of the old RPG mechanics. 

Final Fantasy VII Remake tells a dramatic story set in a futuristic, dystopian world full of fantastical creatures and giant corporations. It also talks about loss and personal connections. The characters are very well written and have many layers to them, and you’ll form a bond with everyone in 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.

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.

This is one of the best JRPGs on the PS5, and fans of games similar to NieR: Automata will get a kick out of it.

God Eater 3

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

God Eater 3 is a game that comes from the team at Bandai Namco. Although the core themes are not the same as NieR: Automata, this is an action JRPG set in a post-apocalyptic world with many sci-fi elements. Sound 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 made up 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. The term for these people is 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 comes from 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: Automata.

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 games like NieR: Automata because of the 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 end up doing things that they really don’t want to do. Usually, an event happens that severely involves the main character 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.

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, comes from the same person, has plenty of experimental elements to it, and its plot is just as crazy.

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