Nier Automata 9S – combos, pods, and personality

Nier Automata’s 9S acts a bit like 2B’s sidekick, but once you play through more of the game, you find out the true depth of his character

Nier Automata 9S lying on the floor injured, his head being cradled.

Just like 2B, Nier Automata’s 9S is an android, dressed in black, with a blindfold over his eyes and flowing white hair. 9S is almost defined by his relationship with 2B in the first run of the game, but as any Nier fan knows, one route through barely scratches the surface of the intricacies of this game’s characters, story, and world.

So, what is there to say about Nier Automata’s 9S? He’s a newer model of android, which leads him to ask questions that maybe he shouldn’t. Plus, he’s a scanner – his job is to find stuff. So, let’s dive deeper into his character, as well as the fun stuff like how his combos differ from 2B and some good pod programs. Check out our Nier Automata 2B guide if you still need to learn about the main character.

Once you’ve got up to speed on 9S and all his wonders, we’ve got loads more guides to help you out elsewhere. You can find out when the Nier Automata release date is if you’re excited to play it on the go, check out the Persona 5 release date, as well as our Persona 4 release date and Persona 3 release date speculation if you’re excited for Atlus’ revered RPGs coming to the Switch.

Nier Automata 9S combos

9S is very similar to 2B when it comes to combat, at least on paper. He has a primary attack which is great for getting in quick combos but to do a heavy attack you have to do a different input.

That’s because 9S can hack. This is a separate minigame where you have to destroy cores in a bullet hell style, leading to either success – which either damages them or gives you a chance to control them – or failure – which makes 9S take damage.

Nier Automata 9S and 2B standing talking to a merchant.

That means, to do the heavy attack you have to evade and then press the primary attack button, leading to a light/heavy attack combo. Other than that, it’s all pretty standard fare, with pods and pod programs, aerial attacks (which make for startling combos), evades, perfect evades, and counters.

When it comes to pod programs, they’re all pretty useful, but you can find a list of my personal favourites below.

  • A140: Gravity
  • R050: Spear
  • R020: Mirage
  • A080: Wave
  • A090: Wire
  • A150: Volt
  • A060: P Shield

Nier Automata 9S standing with 2B and a pod, looking out at a derelict city covered in foliage.

Nier Automata 9S personality

9S is a little bit spicier than 2B, asking questions that might get you in trouble with the higher-ups. He’s a later model of android, meaning he has deeper emotional capabilities, and so he can think about things more deeply – asking why something is happening comes more easily.

Before we continue, be warned: big story spoilers ahead for Nier Automata. Really, really big spoilers. Like megaton big spoilers. Last warning, buddy. I’m being serious. Go away. You don’t want to read this.

Anyway, 9S is pretty weird about machines like everyone at Yorha, but grows to appreciate them after meeting Pascal and helping out his village. This doesn’t last too long though as after completing the first two routes, we see a whole new side to him.

This comes out when 2B dies, leading him out on a murderous rampage against machines. I think most people agree that this comes from his deep affection for 2B – one that goes beyond a platonic friendship. It’s hinted at throughout, but never made explicit, but it’s pretty obvious to everyone.

I think that the two times we see both 9S and 2B’s affection for one another come out reveals a core theme of the game, regarding the hiding of emotion or the inability to reveal emotion. And it helps make 9S endear himself to you, as you see just how much he cares for 2B. It’s heartbreaking.

That’s all we’ve got on Nier Automata’s 9S. For something a little different, check out our Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes review to see if it’s for you, or our Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes characters, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes Byleth, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes expedition, and Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes romance guides to get the latest details on Nintendo’s newest musou mashup.