It starts off with this stupid sequence where you play as a robot that goes to gather oil in a bucket to try and save its "brother". 9S comments on how dumb these robots are, and then gets a message that he needs to get in a mech suit and go take out some enemies in the factory. If you don't follow orders and take too long just wandering around, the game will automatically end and you'll get one of those "bad end" credit sequences.
This flight unit section is really easy, and it makes you use 9S's hacking ability (holding the Y button while targeting them, and then doing that little isometric hacking mode shmup thing where you have to destroy all the polygonal enemies in a time limit). These hacking sequences are required to progress the story, but you can also hack into enemies as an alternate way of defeating them. All of the stats and everything from the first playthrough carry over here. Even some of the sidequests that I completed/started are still shown in my quests list. And the enemies you're fighting during this 2.5d shmup section are all around level 30. It's not hard at all at this point, but I am still playing on Normal mode.
After 9S meets 2B, he continues flying around shooting stuff while talking to 2B and doing the same introductory dialog with 2B that plays out in the first playthrough... then when 2B starts fighting the goliath robot, 9S jumps in to help and you have to start hacking various parts of it to weaken it. At first I'm having some trouble with these harder hacking sections, and I can't figure out why my aiming is always messing up, it's like trying to auto target the shielded enemy for some reason... then I realized you can aim with the right stick while moving around with the left stick, and it became way easier... lol you can tell I don't play enough twin stick shooters.
The story plays out exactly the same way, but shows that 9S goes through a little inner hacking sequence when he gets incapacitated, and this is how he restores his sight and hearing abilities... then it shows that even while he's injured and unable to move, he's still continuing to help out by using his pod to hack the goliath boss that he's sitting ontop of, while also holding back the swarms of robots that are coming for 9S's body.
Some of the sidequests are reset and don't carry over, like the Supply Trader's Request that's required in order to buy plug-in chips from him. I already have enough materials to complete that quest as soon as I get there anyway. Then there's that "gotta kill some robots in the city" main quest that you gotta do again. All the transport/save stations need to be activated again... Navigating this city is pretty annoying when it hasn't been leveled with giant crater in the middle yet. The chests I've opened in the previous playthrough remain opened, and now with 9S's hacking ability I can finally open more of those locked chests that I kept coming across all throughout the previous playthrough.
Some of the enemies around here are a bit tougher to hack, and some of them apparently you can control them or make them fight the enemies for you.
Up until now the enemies have been just higher level version of the same easy enemies from this point in the previous playthrough, but now there's these 2 gold enemies that take forever to kill if you don't hack them, and even then, hacking them only does slightly more damage than using combat. This big gold enemy is especially tough to hack because of the sloped sandy terrain making it hard to stand still near it. I didn't seem to get anything for beating them other than some gold and random items.
Woah, there's this random scene that 9S sees as soon as you get to the desert apartment complex area, that shows the machines being brainwashed by propaganda. Apparently these are "Picture books", and there's no explanation given for them at all. Why is 9S seeing them?
There's a couple more gold enemies in the desert apartment complex, but other than that this part plays out exactly the same. The scene where you fight Adam is the same, except he's way easier now since he still starts out at level 1, and in the final phase he's only level 10. Then after you beat him you see Eve emerge out of him and Eve takes Adam and runs away while making this place where all these dead androids are gathered start collapsing.
Also, I think some of the emails are different in this playthrough. Not sure.
Reading up on some lore...
After you get back to where you can contact command, you get the choice between going back to the Yorha station from here or just continue fighting on the ground. I think last time I chose to go back to Yorha, so this time I'll choose continue. I then get a message from command giving me my next objective right away, to seek out some rogue androids that are still alive... Oh yeah, this "YoRHa Betrayers" quest that I was never able to figure out last time. You can clearly see the places marked on the map, but there's like nothing there no matter how hard I search... Anyway onto the Amusement Park. There's some random scene about the 9S and 2B's pods sharing information.
More interrupting machine propaganda cutscenes... And there's a big black screen dialog scene after you defeat the theater robot explaining how it became obsessed with looking pretty and dressing up in machine parts and dead androids.
There's a choice whether to go to the Machine Village or not, but it seems it's not really a choice and you need to go there anyway even if you select no. Also I think these scenes with Adam and Eve sitting outside the factory are different.
That weird grey level 20 enemy that's ontop of a building that you can't get to, he's back again now. 9S's pod suggests it is dangerous leaving that enemy there, so I killed it again and it took way less time now due to me being at level 32. And also there's more of of those gold enemies in the City Ruins now, which I'm pretty sure can't even be damaged without hacking them. They call out for their "brother" when you destroy them.
After going back and forth between the resistance camp and Pascal's village, the goliath attacks the City Ruins, and this part is exactly the same as last time, only easier. Now is the part of the game where there's a lot more hostile robots in the city, and the main bulk of the sidequests open up... but on the B story there's actually some brand new sidequests that weren't available before, and they reward you with a ton of gold and stuff. The sidequests in Pascal's Village have some really neat side stories, I think I'll enjoy doing these sidequests more than I'll enjoy redoing the main story parts that are exactly the same.
That robot peace parade quest... at first it seemed like it would be easy since you can kill all the enemy robots while time is stopped in hacking mode, but then it starts getting so crazy that it's hard to keep up even when you hack all of them. I barely managed to beat it on the first attempt.
There's this one quest where a kid robot runs away from his mother at the village, and I dunno where to go for that exactly, but looking at the map, I can see that there's a ton of things to do now besides the next main destination which is at the underground cave in the middle of the City Ruins crater. I guess I'll do this the same way as in the first playthrough, I'll just try to complete as many of the quests as I can without having to resort to a guide or grinding. I'm not sure how it determines which quests are carried over from the previous playthrough or not, but the inventor quest where have to give the inventor robot a ton of money IS carried over, thankfully. Now I'm starting to get a lot farther in the weapon collection and weapon upgrading... and probably getting way overleveled too and making the game even easier than it was before. Whatever...
This 2nd resistance camp member wearing a machine head has some new info about the hacking mechanic. So that's how it works.
This one sidequest is really interesting. I found a resistance camp member just randomly hanging out on the roof of one of the buildings, and he asks me to find some plug-in chips, and then we find out these plug-in chips belong to a YoRHa android and contain classified information. I tried to refuse giving the chips to him, but it seems that it's required to complete the sidequest. And then I found him again later in the desert apartment complex, while tracking down red dots in that area. The conclusion to this quest wasn't what I expected.
After I did the part where you fight Adam and Eve in that underground base, and a very strange, picture book scene (these are getting dark)... the Bunker has some different dialog that I don't know if I read all of last time. There's also a sidequest from someone here that I didn't know about.
I finally found that desert photograph by walking along the invisible wall border until I found another path to take... That Game Dev sidequest was really annoying, in the later stages of it, finding the glitch in the game is really hard and even after finding it I'm still not sure what I had to do to find it.
The Forest Kingdom part is exactly the same, except now there are a bunch of interrupting cutscenes showing you how this kingdom was formed. Also I met a machine that's taking care of the animals in the forest.
I'm now at both 43% quest completion and 43% weapon collection... I went to check out those 2 wise machines that seem to be staring at each other from a distance in the City Ruins, and found out you can hack them to get some interesting dialog.
Now heading to the Flooded City. There's some more gold machines here... I'm not sure but I think they're connected to Adam and Eve's obsession with hatred, and that's why they're acting like vengeful family members.
I'm expecting there to be a time skip after this section where 9S wakes up in the underground city... God damn these shmup sections are so boring now... I dunno why it showed me that exact same scene with the 2 pods talking to each other again.
Here's where 9S's perspective shows a bunch of new stuff while 2B is busy trying to rescue him. Eve hacked into 9S's internal system and is giving him a bunch of messages to try and make him give in to hatred. Oh man this is getting good now... And yeah I was right, this skips ahead to when 2B kills Eve.
Another internal hacking section... 9S checks all of his systems just in case there's any of Eve's corruption left over, and then he gets suspicious about the server, and connects to the Bunker's network while hacking himself, and snoops around and finds some restricted files that he needs to hack into. This part is really cool.
Catching up on more of the lore before starting the end game...
So this is what 9S was doing while 2B battled her way through the cultist robots in the factory... using the terminal on the Bunker to hack into a random deactivated robot so he can use that to unlock the elevator so 2B can get back up to the main floor.
lol this part is so dumb... you can switch between robot bodies if you sneak up on them from behind, but there's no need since all the enemies here are under level 10 and can be killed by hacking them anyway. This whole section is just a linear walking section with nothing resembling difficulty. The conveyor belt smashers looked like they might've been some kind of challenge to get through with a robot, but no, they're slow enough that you can just walk passed all of them.
This next hacking sequence is actually pretty good though, it becomes kind of a bullet hell. Although it's still easy since you respawn in the same room you died in and lose no progress from dying.
Back in the bunker... the commander surprisingly doesn't care about 9S gaining restricted information, and gives him the whole story. I kinda suspected all along that the humans were already extinct, but I didn't think they went extinct even before YoRHa was formed.
Here's where 9S takes a flight unit out to help 2B fight against the sudden huge wave of enemies attacking the city. And the rest of the ending is pretty much the same, except you get to play the part where 9S hacks into Adam to find his weakness, and gets corrupted again in the process.
I'm kinda hyped to play routes C and D now. This route was kinda boring due to it having so much repeated content, but the next two routes look like they involve that rogue android A2 and a bunch of new stuff.