Today I would like to present something a little different, a review of not only the “NieR Automata” Black box edition and its contents – but also a figure Review of YoRHa Unit Number 2 Type B, which is only bundled in the limited edition version of the NieR Automata PS4 Game.
The version that I will be reviewing today is the Japanese edition, which is slightly different from the US black box edition and has quite a few noticeable differences.
“NieR Automata” was released in February 2017 developed by PlatinumGames and published by Sqaure Enix. Automata is a sequel as part of the “NieR” Video game series, it is a fast paced action RPG by director Yoko Taro with character designs created by Akihiko Yoshida ( Known for his artwork in the Final fantasy and Bravely Default series ).
I picked up an English copy of the game recently and was absolutely obsessed – The game has such an interesting and in depth array of characters with such unique and elegant designs. A vast and beautifully crafted world with a deep and symbolic narrative. The Black box edition is well sought out and can cost quite amount of $$$ in the aftermarket, I was lucky to pick this up off Suruga-ya in near perfect condition for half the price.
Without further ado, let’s get right to it! -
– [PLEASE BE WARNED THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR NIER AUTOMATA] –
– [THIS IS AN IMAGE HEAVY REVIEW] –
– THE BOX –
The NieR Automata Black box edition is one of those gaming collectibles that makes the owner feel quite special and privileged by owning a copy. I would like to start off by saying this is by far the most well thought out/put together limited edition video game set I have come across and I am very impressed with its contents and packaging. So before we check out the wonderful contents contained inside, let’s have a good look at the incredible package design.
The box has quite an interesting shape, it is large and quite narrow – which works wonders for the full colour artwork presented on the front by character designer Akihiko Yoshida. This art piece of all the games main characters is absolutely gorgeous, the tone and colours really do a fantastic job at capturing the emotion and atmosphere of the game and its world right off the bat. What I love the most about this piece is its lack of text, rather than plastering all over the front of the box what game it is they have chosen to show case the art in its full glory which I very much appreciate.
On the sides of the box it simply reads in white text – NieR Automata Black box edition.
The back of the back features the NieR Automata logo and the necessary copyright and game information.
With the full colour artwork radiating on the front it makes for a great and eye catching display piece on its own already.
The artwork featured on the front is actually a slim cardboard sleave around the outside of the box. The sleeve simply slides up revealing the true box on the inside. As the name suggests, the black box edition is completely black with nothing by the NieR Automata symbol and its title on the front. The actual name “ Black box “ is an in game reference to a type of Internal organ component inside the YoHRa units. Not only does it act as a way of storing and transferring data but also as an emergency large scale self-destruct system capable of wiping out everything in sight. It’s a nifty little reference that gives the box a sense of “ handle with care “ type of indication.
This isn’t your standard type of “Box” per say, as there is no lid that opens to reveal its contents. Instead the box is actually two halves split down the middle that open up to reveal another open box on the inside. In order to open this up properly, lay the black box on its back with the YoRHa logo facing upwards. Gently grasp the upper half of the box and carefully slide it up revealing an opening on each side.
Once you have that open space running along the middle of the box, lift the top part of the box right off to reveal 4 separate compartments on the inside. Each compartment holds a different item as part of this limited edition set. I have never seen any type of packaging laid out like this so intricately, simply trying to open up the set is like a puzzle in itself! I will mention that the cardboard has this beautiful shine to it and is really sturdy. Combined with all the content inside the set has quite a lot of weight on it.
Now we will have a look at each separate compartment and what they contain -
– COMPARTMENT 1 –
–NieR Automata PS4 Game + NieR Music Concert and Live Talk Soundtrack–
The first compartment is a long thin box containing the PS4 game ( right ) and a special soundtrack CD ( Left ). The front of the packaging has two little cut out circles so you can see the contents on the inside.
Here are the contents all layed out. Also amongst the packaging is this fold out pamphlet acting as an in-game advertisement for YoRHa, almost like a piece of propaganda detailing their mission to reclaim earth from the machines.
Here is the PS4 game alongside the Soundtrack CD. The main element to note here is that the PS4 game that is included in the Japanese black box set is actually the “standard” edition and not the “Steelcase” limited edition, which I found very odd. Across different countries different cover art is used on the front, the Japanese cover art features the “main” illustration featured on the front of the Black box.
The Soundtrack is housed in a nice smooth thick fold out cardboard case, with some holographic black detailing around the edge, logo and text.
The main difference here is that the US Black box edition comes with the steel case edition of the set with the soundtrack CD inside the steel case – where as here, the soundtrack gets its own casing and is not in the PS4 case – this could be the reason for only getting a standard copy of the game in the Japanese edition, because the CD gets its own case.
Quick look on the inside of the cases. The fold out propaganda pamphlet folds up neatly inside the PS4 game case. Inside the game case is also an array of different DLC codes to be used in game.
The Soundtrack included in the black box set isn’t an “ Original soundtrack “ like most video game limited edition sets – instead, it’s actually a live orchestrated soundtrack featuring songs from not only Automata but the other NieR games as well. Scattered in the middle of each song is a “ live talk “ experience, which features the voice actors on stage reading out special drama stories that are not featured in the game which proves to add some interesting stories and details to the narrative.
The packaging for the CD is really quite nice and uses the same type of cardboard that constructs the rest of the black box set. The black holographic writing and detailing is a really nice piece of detail that brings the whole piece together. The contrast between the two discs is great, with the PS4 game featuring the YoRHa symbol while the CD features the Automata Symbol.
– COMPARTMENT 2 –
–YoRHa Unit 2 Type B – 1/10 Scale figure – Square Enix–
The second compartment is the most exclusive item to the Black box set, a figure of the main protagonist 2B! As most may know, The Company Sqaure Enix is really funny with its licencing and they don’t like any other company producing figures of their characters but themselves. The problem with this is that “most” Sqaure Enix figures lack the quality of the big name companies, which can be disappointing when your favourite licenced character only get figures in very rare sets like this.
Surprisingly though, Sqaure Enix has been really generous with the NieR Automata franchise and there are quite a few different figures being released in the future, including a Dollfie Dream of both 2B and 9S ( which are both featured in the “ secret ending “ of the DLC as part of the story ). So to see Sqaure Enix being kind with their characters like this is really good to know – so don’t fret if you cannot get your hands on this figure, currently it is the only available 2B figure but more are on the way! But this particular figure is only available in the Black box limited edition set!
So here we have the figure box, it has a simplistic design featured in all black with a large viewing window at the front. The large display window is great for collectors who want to keep her mint sealed but still marvel at her beauty. The figure is all one piece and held together in one solid blister, no construction necessary.
Here we have the figure in all her android glory. For the figures size, I am very impressed with its quality and attention detail. The figure features 2B standing on the remains of a destroyed machine. Wielding her signature weapon the “Virtuous Contract” and her Type B blindfold. One of my favourite elements about Nier Automata is the character designs, and 2B is no exception. She wears an intricate gothic Lolita style dress with thigh high leather boots - all of her dresses tiny details have been recreated, from the feathers on her sleaves to the woven open cut pattern on her chest, all in a tiny 1/10 size figure!
In my personal opinion – this angle highlights the figure quite well. It shows of her strong and imposing pose on top the decapitated machine and shows off all the main features and elements to the figure. This shot also demonstrates how long her Katana weapon is compared to the rest of the figure.
The back of the figure is hiding quite an array of different details which is such a shame! Along the bottom of her dress is this beautiful golden neo gothic pattern which looks absolutely stunning against the black dress. The sculpting work is also really impressive on the open part on the back of her dress with the arching design. Another small thing ill note in this particular shot is the beautiful texturing work on the underside of the machines foot. Look at all those groves and bolts!! Incredible.
A shot from the other side
Here is a close up of the upper half of the figure. I am so very glad that they decided to leave 2B’s blindfold on for this figure, it’s not that I do not adore 2B’s gorgeous face but more so because of the figures size. Trying to get the detailing on her face would be very difficult at such a tiny size, so I am glad that have chosen to portray her with her signature blindfold instead. You can even see her tiny mole on the side of her face – very nice detailing.
Again – given the size they have done a fantastic job, you can even see the clothing stich work! All the creases in the dress have been carefully recreated as well as her puffy sleeves!
A close up on the base: The figures base are by far one of the biggest stand outs for this figure. Not only for its simplicity but the texturing is phenomenal. The two parts featured on the base are a machine head and foot. Both have been textured in this beautiful rustic colour highlighting certain decayed and rusty features. I love the marks dripping down from the machines eyes
- “THIS CANNOT CONTINUE “-
A close up of 2B’s weapon, the “Virtuous Contract”. This is the weapon that 2B’s starts off with in the game, the first iteration of 2B is actually destroyed after using her Black box destruction system – so this sword is only used within the first sequence of the game till its retrieved later on at the point of your self-destruction. The weapon is a type of traditional Katana, with the woven fabric handle, tassels and a long pointed one sided blade. Considering the size Square did a pretty good job trying to capture the different types of materials that make up this blade. My favourite little attention to detail is the scuff marks and dents at the end of the sword after cutting up some machine life forms!
A close up of the massive amount of detail on 2B’s back. I simply just love the gold trimming of the pattern, absolutely fantastic. I also didn’t get the chance to highlight how great the creases look around 2B’s leather boots – really simulates that leather effect on the boots.
In this shot though I will take the time to mention the one shotty mark on my figure – the hair.
The hair all in all isn’t that great, for some reason there is this strange gradient that starts of white at the front and eventually becomes dark grey at the back? The only reason I can think of for this is to do with shadows? But strange gradient aside, my particular figure has a small white dot on the back of her head. It’s either a scratch or paint transfer, thankfully it’s on the back of the figure and not the front, but it certainly takes the realism away when marvelling at the figures details from behind.
Speaking of “Behind”, for the sake of all those curious, 2B does feature some 2Booty with her signature white leotard underneath her dress. Nice work Sqaure Enix! Considering how much of a big deal Yoko Taro made about creating the perfect booty on 2B ( He threatened to fire the character modeller if it wasn’t perfect ) it would be a shame not to include it right?.....right!??
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Over all, the figure is really stunning. I don’t own any small scale figures like this and with Sqaure Enix’s reputation for err…quality control, I did not expect much out of this. Instead I was pleasantly surprised. The sculpting is absolutely amazing, going as far to capture every crease and stitching seam in the characters dress. The texturing on the machine base is really impressive and quite a marvel to look at, with all its little dents, grooves, bolts and rustic detailing. An interesting and dynamic pose that perfectly captures the characters emotions and attitude. My particular figure game with a strange white dot on the back of her head – other than that – pretty solid paint job.
I can only hope for even larger and more detailed NieR Automata figures in the future!
– COMPARTMENT 3 –
–NieR RepliCant Re:Collection Novel–
The third compartment houses a small white book – This is the NeiR RepliCant Re:Collection Novel!
It features a nice shining white cover with a grey silhouette of the “Lunar Tear” flower featured throughout the Nier series.
Of course, this being the Japanese limited edition, the novel is entirely in Japanese, with a few illustrations plastered her and there throughout the book. This is one item that is exclusive to the Japanese edition and is not featured in the US edition. I love the little plant/flower detailing in the bottom corner of each page, really nice effect! The novel basically gives a re-telling of the events of NieR Replicant.
– COMPARTMENT 4 –
–NieR Automata Artbook–
The fourth and final compartment holds what it possibly my favourite item featured in the black box edition –an artbook! The artbook is absolutely gorgeous, strong black hardcover with holographic black detailing along the front. I just love the holographic detailing, it shines so well on just the right angle – magnificent!
The artwork for Nier Automata is absolutely beautiful; most of the artwork featured in this artbook contains full double spread pieces and at a size that is exclusive to this artbook alone. Each page features a quote of some sort from the game to match alongside the art piece being displayed in both English and Japanese. Akihiko Yoshida has such a beautiful and defining style, an incredible blend of water colour styled imagery with both bright and dark tones and textures. The landscapes featured throughout the game are so detailed, apocalyptic wastelands of humanity and triumphs of nature.
The artbook also features a main character gallery with full page colour art of each of the characters and a quote. It’s so nice to Yoshida’s incredible art pieces in such large clear detail. An amazing artbook and is definitely a highlight of the black box set!
– BONUS PHOTO –JP/US COMPARISON–
Thankfully, MFC user "nightFlarer" owns the US NieR Automata Black box edition, he kindly let me borrow his set so I could take this photo to compare the size of the Japanese and US set. The US set is a noticeably has a white square box (which I found ironic for the “black box” edition) and does not feature any of the games artwork on the outside. It instead features the games logo instead.!
– CONCLUSION –
The NieR Automata Black Box limited edition set is an absolutely incredible gaming collectible piece. The full-scale artwork featured on the front acts as such an impressive display piece amongst any collectors gaming collection. The packaging is sturdy and creatively put together, almost acting as a complicated puzzle to keep everything safe and secure inside.
Each item is carefully housed in their own separate compartment ensuring no damage is formed on each item during transit. While the Japanese edition only comes with the standard copy of the game, it does include all the DLC as well as a nice little propaganda pamphlet for YoRHa. The live concert soundtrack has its own cardboard case with beautiful holographic detailing and offering a new and exciting experience with both its live orchestrated tracks and drama readings.
Figure is really stunning - The sculpting is absolutely amazing, going as far to capture every crease and stitching seam in the characters dress. The texturing on the machine base is really impressive and quite a marvel to look at, with all its little dents, grooves, bolts and rustic detailing. An interesting and dynamic pose that perfectly captures the characters emotions and attitude.
The novel is a nice exclusive addition to the set, accompanied by the most beautiful art book showcasing some of the best of Akihiko Yoshida design works.
The NieR Automata Black box set is an absolute 10/10 and I cannot recommend this game enough.
I hope you have enjoyed this review and found it helpful! If you have any questions or would like to request any photos of different aspects I didn’t capture; I’ll do my best to help out! If anyone has any requests on ANY of the items I own I would be more than happy to review them also :)
Thank you so much for your time,