When NieR: Automata was released back in 2017, it quickly became regarded as one of the best action games of the decade. It had a deep and memorable atmosphere about depression and existentialism and the way it tells its story is one of the most unique and interesting presentations in the gaming industry.
However, if you played it on the PC, chances are, you encountered some annoying hiccups in your otherwise perfect gaming masterpiece experience. As good as a game NieR: Automata was, its developers seemingly prioritized the console audience and left the PC version in quite a frustrating state. Even the most basic of PC adjustments were somehow omitted or forgotten. Thankfully, the PC gaming community is known partly for one of its exclusive capabilities: modifications (mods) for any game. So, here are the best and most essential mods you can download and install in order for you to enjoy NieR: Automata as it should have been experienced. These are all free, by the way.
One advantage of being a PC gamer is that you get to experience all spectrums of controllers. That means every single controller: mice and keyboard, analog controllers, joysticks, steering wheels, etc. Even something that was meant to be exclusive to consoles like the DualShock controller can be used on PC with an easy tweak.
Sadly, NieR: Automata will not recognize the DualShock controller, but that's already expected-- plugging in any controller will make the user interface use Xbox controller button prompts, which can get confusing. You can, however, work around this with the DS4 Button Prompt mod which changes the default Xbox controller prompts to those of a DualShock 4 controller. This mod lets you have your cake and eat it too.
Despite being ported over to PC, NieR: Automata came with a host of problems for the mouse and keyboard control scheme. This was a problem since the big chunk of PC players do prefer the mouse and keyboard for precision. Granted, this has been an ongoing problem for a lot of Japanese console games, NieR: Automata was simply following the insulting trend.
Still, you can fix that with a mod specifically made to resolve the glaring mouse and keyboard control scheme problems. The Input Overhaul Mod brought the much-needed control polish that the developers of NieR: Automata implemented rather poorly.
Yet another annoying problem that NieR: Automata had was its cutscene framerates. Their cutscenes are actually stuck on the native PlayStation 4/Xbox One framerate, which is 30 frames-per-second (FPS). This made them sluggish to watch since PCs can usually handle better framerates even at higher resolutions.
Thankfully, this specific mod lets players watch the cutscenes in a resolution better suited for the PC. No longer will you be taken out of your immersion whenever important or dramatic cutscenes are displayed. This mod is quite essential no matter how you play, make sure to grab it before starting the game.
By far (no pun intended) the top priority mod for NieR: Automata. FAR actually stands for Fix Automata Resolution, and that's what it does. You see, NieR: Automata for PC was released capable of only playing at a default resolution of 720p (1280×720 pixels). For a modern PC gamer whose usual monitor resolution runs at 1080p (1920x1080), this was an eyesore and makes the game somewhat unplayable.
FAR can do some programming tweaks with NieR: Automata once installed to make it playable at a resolution of 1080p. It also proved that the game was actually ready to be played and ported at that resolution, it's just that the developers somehow did not make it so for PC players... for some reason. Additionally, FAR also improves the game engine's optimization while also making it look better. It's a supermod. Super-needed.
Now we're getting to the fun stuff. This marks the end of all the necessary improvement mods for NieR: Automata. Everything is purely optional at this point but can further improve your experience and make you better appreciate PC modding. If for some reason, you don't like the color palette and lighting of NieR: Automata, you can actually change it to your liking.
All you need is a graphics plugin called ReShade. The best part about it is it can be saved as a preset and be used by other players. So, all you have to do is pick a preset you like made by another player and try it out. Or, you can make your own by tweaking theirs, here's one of the best presets at the moment.
NieR: Automata's art style is one-of-a-kind and has its own identity. This also translates into the game's user interface (UI) which was made to look like a futuristic robot's firmware. There is one thing that can be polarizing about it and that's the grid overlay. It makes the UI look like a radar of some sort and also clutters up the screen.
With the Grid Overlay Removal, you can do away with that UI element. It is also no subtle change-- in fact, it may even give Nier: Automata's UI a brand new "look" or shine in case you're getting bored of it after several playthroughs.
2B Hook is not just one mod, it's more of a collection of basic mods inside one package. However, a word of warning: this mod is probably not intended for a first playthrough of the game since the variety of mods it has inside function more like cheats or trainers.
Among the mods 2B Hook features are Godmode, No Fall Damage, No Enemy Damage, Level Manipulation, Buddy Spawning, Item Spawning, and Pod Spawning and Entity Spawning to name a few. 2B Hook simply compiles all of them and makes them accessible in a single mod menu to make it easier for you to test things out if you ever get bored or curious.
2B, the undeniably beautiful goth robot and poster-girl of NieR: Automata is probably one of the reasons for playing the game... for some... not judging, okay? However, that isn't to say that there are also other notable and cool characters in-game which you would love to get the chance to also play as, such as... the Commander (oh, boy), etc.
2B Player Model Replacement lets you do just that. It swaps 2B's player model for another character's appearance. Do take note that the voice and animations will remain the same, and the latter could lead to some clipping and texture issues. Despite that, it's one of the most fun mods you ought to try out, just maybe not in your first playthrough.
9S is 2B's sidekick and is also one of the three playable characters in the game. For some players, though, 9S might not be their cup of tea. Be it his appearance or the lack of two other things which makes him less interesting than 2B... like stiletto heels. There are valid reasons to replace 9S.
Thankfully, like the previous mod for the 2B player model, you can also replace the 9S player model with whichever character you prefer in-game. Like the model replacement for 2B, however, the voice and animations remain the same.
Last but not least, a texture pack. While NieR: Automata is by no means a graphically ugly game, it has been more than two years since it was released. As such, it's starting to show its age, after all, graphics are evolving at a breakneck pace these days. So, you might want to give the game a new sparkle.
This can be done easily by updating the game's graphics thanks to a third party texture pack. It basically replaces most textures in NieR: Automata and makes them more high-resolution, something the developers also forgot to the for the PC version. There you have it, make sure to install the first four mods before immersing yourselves, enjoy.