+Insanely fun boss bottles
+New characters and zones add a good bit of comical hilarity to the game
+New battle mechanics for bosses recreate what a boss fight is for the series
-Battles can be overwhelming for new comers
If you are someone who has played any RPG, you know that things do change in the franchises first and foremost. You also know that the games will recreate themselves in subtle ways to make the games worth the while, but also to provide a unique twist to things players have become used to. The Hyperdimension Neptunia titles are not excluded from this trend. When the games first launched in 2010 exclusively on PlayStation 3, we were given a JRPG series that was noticeably not going to take itself seriously – it’s a direct pun at the gaming industry, more-so the “Great Console Wars” that many of us grew up to if you are old enough to truly remember them. If not, I’m sure you’ve become semi-familiar with the current day one, which is most commonly attributed to Sony and Microsoft firing shots at each other. Behind this concept the idea gave birth to a franchise that many have become fans of. More so to the fact these games are hilarious and intend to be while playing on simple mechanics. Over the course of the past few years, all this has been revamped, and meanwhile given birth to remakes of the original three titles that made the franchise known.
We saw reboots on the PlayStation Vita known as the “Re;birth” series, which did a good job at rebuilding the franchise from the ground up. In turn we saw tweaks to combat mechanics, storytelling mechanics, and even character personalities that made the characters seem more alive and aware of their silliness. However, this latest title begins to break that trend rather carefully as it peels away from the focus upon a singular story plot to three separate story plots. Why is this? The answer is simple. They are shifting from the classic console war to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Wii U console war. More-so letting Nintendo sit this one out this time around. Much like in previous games, however, our goal is simple; players are once more helping these hysterical heroines save peoples to an entirely new dimension that Neptunia and Nepgear have been sucked into. This means their shares are gone, their CPU form is gone, and it’s time for them to become used to the CPU Shift Period, which changes some of how the CPUs will view their world. Fortunately this doesn’t rid us of our favorite antics or characters we’ve come to love, but it does introduce the new console war era into the franchise while breaking away from the console wars of the 90’s and 2000’s that the titles were renown for.
While changes are present in the story, the game itself has seen a few tweaks behind the scenes when it comes to combat scenarios while the rest remains widely intact. The biggest change is that characters are given a movement bar for combat. Here each character is given a set amount of distance they can move. Once out, those characters can’t move forward, but only side to side or backwards. They are still able to attack if enemies are available to do so with or even use items or abilities. This all does play a major role in the fact combat has been heavily altered since players can also edit character combo’s, bonuses, and placement rows. This does help in the long run once combat starts as certain characters won’t be as vulnerable when leading the charge. Interestingly enough, the biggest thing that has changed is the new system where players can put their characters into a team-based attack mode that deals rather devastating blows to enemies if they are surrounded. This does, however, require each of the CPU’s to be in regular form or HDD form for it to work. Irritating as it sounds, it pays off during difficult battles. This can be rather irritating when needing HDD forms for certain fights and needing to switch to basic forms. This attack is better utilized when planned ahead of time.
While combat remaking has been in discussion, one of the biggest enhancements, and the biggest improvement is the boss encounters. While we are familiar with the bosses being big, we aren’t used to them being big enough we are actually forced into moving across multiple platform placements for our characters to attack on. Instead, now we are given that, but alas, much hasn’t changed outside of the core mechanics for this. Let alone do they still hit hard, this tweak is rather nice, but is not utilized outside of core bosses, which in a way is saddening as it adds a nice change to bosses. While the aforementioned changes are nice, we still get to see some rather common enemies we’ve grown familiar with. Saddening, huh? Well, time will tell if that changes in any form.
While combat has seen a few changes, so has the overworld map as players will no longer find themselves simply clicking on the zone they want to go to, and warping in. Now they are challenged with going from node, to node, to node, and dealing with any random battles if they pop up. while this is fun, it is quite annoying int he long run, and will grow irritating when players just want to complete a mission or ditch a dungeon due to difficulty. If this becomes a core component? It’ll wear quickly on most players who liked the old system more. For now it’s up to players to voice what changes they did or did not like. At least the graphics have seen a rather polished look as the series have finally gotten what they want. A really, really, shiny anime style game, one that offers character sprites that look crisper, and sharper than in previous entries. While voice acting is unquestionably on par as usual, fans of the Japanese dub will be required to go download the add-on. As for Vita players? Those without a PS4 are being left in the dark if they are wanting to sample the new and some recycled music from previous titles that remain rather intriguing and all-to-familiar.
Megadimension Neptunia VII – PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)
Developer: Compile Heart, Idea Factory
Publisher: Idea Factory
Cost: 59.99 USD
Release Date: Now Available
With all this being said, it is hard to review the title since it focuses primarily on three things. Discussions in a graphic novel type setup, exploration, and exploring quite a bit to unlock new zones, abilities, and enemies that will be disposed of. If that’s your thing? This game is right up your alley and is a perfect addition to the console that is hurting for JRPG style games.
Our review is based upon the final version that the publisher provided us with. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.