The best time to play Nier: Automata is now

2B and 9S pass under a bridge in Nier: Automaten.

Screenshot: Square Enix

Kidney: vending machines spent last week in the headlines, the result of a secret door that brought the community into a struggle. The mystery itself may have come to a sudden, surprising conclusion, but that doesn’t mean the base game it was part of should disappear from your radar. In fact, it’s all the more reason to revisit what many are billing as one of the best action RPGs ever.

That recommendation applies to everyone, by the way, whether you’ve hit the credits ten times or seen firsthand what’s loved. Kidney: vending machines for so many people. Developed by PlatinumGames and first released in 2017, Kidney: vending machines is an action role-playing game set 9,000 years in the future where you play as a small contingent of battle-trained androids. It mainly focuses on hack-and-slash combat, but there are times when it’s downright hell.

Kidney: vending machinesIts main gimmick – and what sets it apart from a busy field – is that it has multiple endings. Not just two or three alternatives either. All together there are 26 different endings. Most of them are semi-serious at best (including one where you get an item from the gear that specifically says will kill you when you equip it). But five are legit, meaning you have to play the campaign several times, from different perspectives, to understand the whole plot.

Kidney: vending machines is a narrative tour de force in its own right, which perhaps partly explains the recent cultural revival—again because of that secret door.

Over the past two months, dedicated members of Kidney: vending machines‘s online community was sparked by a player asking about a “church” that didn’t seem to fit well-known parts of the game. Some people called bullshit, but video evidence of the previously undiscovered area surfaced early last week. However, the door to the area seemed strangely only open to one player.

After a week of frenetic community-fueled speculation, it turned out the whole thing was a viral campaign for a new, potentially groundbreaking set of modding tools, which the designers say they plan to release to the public soon. In other words, Kidney: vending machines is about to be home to some really wild community creations.

That’s not all. In February, Publisher Square Enix announced it would produce an anime adaptation of Kidney: vending machines. (Details are currently scarce.) Kidney‘s story is branched and emotionally devastating, but it’s also deeply personal as only games can be. However you come to the final conclusion, you probably got there by a different route than anyone else. The only way to really compare the anime to the source material is, you know, by actually playing that source material.

And c’mon: While the release calendar will soon be picking up steam, it’s now dry AF. If you want to put something in the first place of your backlog, you would be hard-pressed to do better than Kidney: vending machines.

But some advice for the newbies: juggle multiple save files, and watch out for the fish.

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