just finished this a while ago. haven't played the original Nier, so can't really compare, but this one is pretty solid for what it does. some genre mixing and 'experimental' features make it pretty interesting, but it doesn't really pick up until late game when more options are available. from what i understand, this is a spinoff of Drakengard series, and it shows at times. there's a lot of fighting, but you're reminded all the time how pointless all this fighting really is, and i can certainly appreciate how the game subverts the glorification of fighting to promote a pacifist worldview, but i'm afraid this meaning may be lost on some people, because it's pretty subtle and not so in-your-face. and this whole 'do androids dream of electric sheep' trope isn't helping in this matter.
anyway, the story was pretty emotional, but rather towards the situations than the characters, and i was completely indifferent towards the characters for the whole game. after all, you're constantly being reminded that they're simply robots (robots, androids, machines, whatever),
and it really did get to me, because you know, fiction is just a reflection of the real world, and Nier manages to reflects back some pretty sad and disturbing stuff that tells a lot about ourselves. so don't be misguided, this isn't a story about a war between the machines. this is about us.edit: spoiler-tagged some stuff, but they're mild spoilers anyway and the game tells you pretty much all of that early on.