After 6 months in a sealed jewel case...
... I finally took NieR: Automata out and stuck it into my PS4.
I bought Nier literally months ago and was planning to play it after I was finished with Persona 5. I ended up playing Persona alot more than I had intended to and NieR gradually got pushed back and back. It got pushed back even more after I started playing Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and ended up playing that for 6 weeks. I still haven't finished that but I've gotten a bit tired of it and wanted to move on.
As with most games that I play, I tend to choose harder difficulty settings for the first playthrough, especially as I want that extra challenging element and to work more for my victories.
However, I quickly realized that this was the beginning of a predicament:
Don't ever play NieR on Hard or Very Hard unless you know precisely what you're getting into
I made a big mistake picking NieR on Hard difficulty mode for my first playthrough.
When I died in the introductory sequence, which was effectively the tutorial, I knew something was very wrong.
Hard is substantially more difficult than Normal. On Hard difficulty, most hits are two-hit-kill and during boss fights, virtually one-hit-kill.
Now, that wouldn't be terrible, and it would force some rapid dextrous improvement, but here's the kicker:
Every time you die, you have to play the whole prologue from the beginning. That's potentially up to 40 minutes of repeated play for every single death.... and you die in one or two hits.
The reason for this is because this game uses save points and checkpoints, and there are no checkpoints in the prologue. I must have spent 4 hours grinding the prologue anywhere up to 50 times just to die at the boss every time. I took as much advantage of hitbox and AI cheesing as I could (exploting AI weaknesses, using singular attacks to slowly whittle down enemy HP), and I was nearly able to finish the prologue and making it to the first checkpoint, but I quickly realized that I was not having fun doing this and that the rest of the game might be the same way (me spamming a single attack to avoid engaging opponents up close).
I've since changed to Normal difficulty and commenced playing the game. I do wish there was a difficulty that was harder than Normal and easier than Hard (which should have been the true Hard difficulty, as Very Hard isn't much harder than Hard), but I don't want to frustrate myself and miss out on the fun aspect of gaming, even if for the accomplishment of sightreading the game on a higher difficulty setting.