+Nep Nep’s humour is back and funnier than ever
+Sega Hard Girls offer up a breath of fresh air
+The reimagined combat systems are rather enjoyable
+Old areas are back, but with subtle, and enjoyable changes
-Difficulty scaling tends to be out-of-wack
-The grind is real, once more, and it’s getting old
Over the years, here at Blast Away the Game Review, I’ve been the go-to-man when it comes to the Neptunia franchise. I’ve played them all, I’ve enjoyed them all, and I’ve invested many heartfelt hours into each title over the years. Whether it’s been a unique strategy game or even a rather fun beat’em’up brawler that ended up to be rather entertaining, I’ve just about seen it all when it comes to each of the titles.
Despite the fact I played them all, somehow Compile Heart’s has kept it fresh over the years, and has somehow kept me coming back for four main entry titles, a dozen more spin-offs (who’s counting anyways, right?), and even the enhanced remakes that landed on the PlayStation Vita. In turn we’ve somehow ended up here where we ended up with another spin-off that just happens to introduce a slightly new cast, and once more brings Nep Nep, Iffy, and friends into the mix. In the mix comes a new group of characters known as the Sega Hard Girls. In this title, don’t expect to see Neptune as she’s turned to relaxing as the backseat int his title (no I’m serious, she’s literally the backseat, just play it and find out!).
This latest introduces us to the misadventures of IF, whom just happens to somehow travel through time only to cross paths with the girls from SEGA Hard Girls. If you don’t know who these gals are, they’re from an anime that imagines the SEGA consoles as Japanese schoolgirls. Yep, that’s right, they’re here. Genesis, Deamcast (who just happens to have a VMU on her face), and the rest of the gang. They’re all there for the benefits of the player.
When getting started, many players will take not of one thing, the game starts off on an extremely strong route, one that puts Neptune in the backseat for the game, one that decides to axe her as a playable character. Later in, however, this changes as players will be introduced to a clone, one that can be used in battle, and unfortunately it puts players into the position of knowing that players are once more playing a Neptunia title. For those who want a story, there’s quite a bit of story that’s once more told in a visual novel like title.
Unfortunately, due to the amount of text, I found myself at times fast-forwarding when the banter became pointless, useless, and didn’t seem to push the story forward. This wasn’t necessarily due to bad writing, which is actually one of the best features of the game, but for the fact that the dialogue would become rather serious from to time. The downside, however, there’s so little character development within all the dialogue, which is strange for the series, none-the-less.
Luckily, the game keeps it rather light as Neptune’s crew manages to deliver a few laughing blows while the SEGA Hard Girls manage to keep the events fresh, enjoyable, and on a more-serious side of things. Something that comes off a bit interesting compared to anything else to be quite honest and even makes this one of the most enjoyable spin-offs in the series, unless you’re all for beating up on zombies that pester the girls in other titles.
When we talk about spin-offs, we’ve found each of them covering place sin different genres, places that extend from RTS, to action-RPG, to simple brawlers that offer a rather enjoyable time. The key differences here are quite noticeable when it comes to combat. Even though the game takes place within an already established system, Superdimension Neptune VS SEGA Hard Girls follows suit in the turn-based RPG element. Except this one is different. Movement in combat eats up your stamina meter, which determines how many times you attack, if you can use items, and even the abilities you can use. This change freshens up an already established system, which is honestly what the series needs, and unfortunately it’s not something we’ll see in Megadimension Neptunia VII, which felt stale after a decent amount of time.
This title also allows players to manage a squad of four gals. This new system also allows players to place the girls how they want in order to establish their place in combat. Not doing so could quite easily determine how quickly you’ll win or lose. This was something that does come with trial and error as enemies can easily swarm players, hitting multiple girls at once, and bringing players down to their knees. While this does determine how delicately you’ll need to balance your placement, it offers a challenge that is enjoyable and even new to the series. This is something that should quite honestly be implemented later in.
The series has been renowned for trying something new. It is a series that has twisted itself across multiple genres to provide players with the best experiences to date. While you tend to go across familiar places such as Virtua Forest, players will find themselves doing as much as possible in order to enjoy the game and do what they must to have an enjoyable experience. The game adds in new segments that weren’t previously available in past titles. This includes climbing walls, moving across rope-lines, and even dashing across the map, which breaks the monotony of revising old segments within the series.
However, as fresh as these changes may seem, there’s a few things that did carry over that probably shouldn’t have from past titles. This includes the atrocious grind to continue forth, rather long hours of exploring dungeons, but even the need to explore side-quests in order to find yourself getting the experience needed to progress from time-to-time. Luckily, side-quests actually benefit players who want to find the powerful bossed named “Time Eater” a bit weaker than they should. It does put some meaning to all those little tedious missions you’ll need to run around and complete, but to some, it’s just a nuance that needs quashed.
Superdimension Neptune VS SEGA Hard Girls PlayStation Vita
Developer: Compile Heart
Publisher: Idea Factory
Release Date: Now Available
Among many of the games new functions added in, players will find themselves enjoying the game the way they should, and they will even find themselves selecting character classes for each character to use. Much like the characters, each of these classes level-up separately from one another. This means classes such as the Nomad, the Noble Thief, and many others as they will become viable later on in the game.
While the game does carry over the problem of grinding from other titles, Superdimension Neptune VS SEGA Hard Girls offers up many changes that the franchise needs, and even attempts to re-invent an already established series with many of its installments that are already out, and the many more to come in the future.
Our review is based upon a retail version of the game provided to us by the games publisher. 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.