The enigmatic NieR is finally getting a sequel in NieR: Automata, and fans can already give it a go in the PS4-exclusive free demo. Here’s what you need to know about NieR: Automata's release date, demo, trailers, gameplay and much more. You may also like: Most anticipated games of 2017

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It's been almost two years since NieR: Automata was first announced at E3 2015, but since then we've had multiple trailers, screenshots, and story teases to get us excited about the upcoming JRPG sequel, which is now just weeks away.

When is the NieR Automata release date?

NieR is an eerie game, unique for its kind. Launched in 2010, NieR didn’t impress critics much. However, it gave rise to a community of fans, fascinated by its cryptic storyline and esoteric setting.

These kinds of games don’t usually get a sequel. But Square Enix gave to the producer Saito and director Taro another chance to show their mastery in a new NieR.

That new game is now just weeks away, and almost two years after first announcing the second NieR game, Square Enix has finally revealed NieR: Automata's release date at the PlayStation Experience event: the PlayStation 4 version of the game will hit US shelves on 7 March 2017, and reach the UK and Europe three days later on 10 March 2017.

As well as coming to PS4 the game will also release for Windows worldwide on 10 March - that's a few days after the PS4 for US players, but simultaneous in the UK and Europe.

How much will NieR Automata cost in the UK? Where should I buy NieR Automata?

Pre-orders have now opened for NieR: Automata, and as with most modern game releases, you've got a few different versions to choose between. If you pre-order, you can get the 'Day One Edition' from most stores. That includes reversible box art and six pieces of exclusive digital content. These are all purely aesthetic, but include some fun retro PlayStation-themed skins for the in-game 'Pod' system.

At the time of writing, the best price for the Day One Edition comes from Amazon, who are offering pre-orders for just £41.99. Otherwise you can order it from ShopTo for £44.85, or Game for £49.99. 

For £45.99 you can also pre-order the T-shirt edition of NieR from Amazon. As you might have guessed, this comes with a T-shirt emblazoned with NieR character Emil, as shown off in one of the weirdest promo videos we have ever seen:

Also read: The best PS4 games

If you want something a little more special, Game is offering an exclusive steelbook edition of the game. This includes the same digital bonuses as the Day One Edition, along with the limited edition metal case, and is currently available to pre-order for £54.99.

Finally, if you're a huge franchise fan you might be tempted by the Black Box Edition. That includes the same digital content, alongside a steelbook case, hardback artbook, a figurine of protagonist YoRHa 2B, and a copy of the game's soundtrack, all in a special collector's box. You can only pre-order that directly from Square Enix while stocks last, and it'll set you back £169.99.

it's worth noting that all those pre-orders are for PS4, as the PC release will be digital-only, and the game isn't yet listed on Steam. 

NieR Automata demo

In addition to revealing the PS4 release date and two new trailers at the PlayStation Experience event, Square Enix also revealed a free demo of the game for the PS4. 

The demo reached the PlayStation Network on 22 December, and includes roughly an hour of gameplay, with a firm focus on action. It's all set in an abandoned factory, as you're tasked with destroying "a massive enemy weapon that lies within."

The demo is so far only confirmed for the PS4, and there's no word yet on whether PC gamers will get a similar chance to try the game out before its release.

What is the gameplay and storyline?

NieR: Automata is a third-person action role-playing game, developed in collaboration with Platinum Games, the studio best known for the Bayonetta games. Platinum Game is famous for being one of the best action game developers out there, and will no doubt help make sure the game's combat is up to scratch.

However, the game's developers have insisted that it won’t be a fight-heavy game. NieR: Automata will keep the design, fight system and overall mood of the original NieR. The aim is to stay true to the spirit of the original game while offering better action and gameplay.

The storyline and characters will be completely new, though will be set in the same world. NieR: Automata is set an unknown amount of time after the original game, at a time when humanity off earth to the moon by an army of invading alien robots. Mankind eventually sends its own machines down to fight a proxy war, and in the game you'll control one of these, YoRHa 2B, accompanied by two other androids: 9S and A2.

Trailers

First up, watch the very first announcement trailer for the game from way back at E3 2015:

If you want more of a tease of the game's story and setting, the release date trailer gives a few good hints:

The gameplay trailer from late 2015 gives a good look at the game's combat in action, showing off the benefits of Platinum Games' involvement:

Finally, the cryptically named 'Glory to Mankind 119450310' gives us the best look yet at some of the game's main characters while hinting a bit more at the plot: