Strangely Coloured Crotch Rocket

An apt description of her transformation.

Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls continues the series’ strange naming convention which seems to get longer with each new instalment. It also continues the series’ fascination with alternate timeline stories. Which I do so dearly adore. Featuring IF as one of two protagonists that set out on a journey to understand why time is disappearing, how to reverse or stop the process, and ultimately work towards a non-post-apocalyptic future. It’s also got a rather neat character class system which is reminiscent of JRPGs of yesteryear.

Which is more or less the entire reason that I bought it.

That and the Dreamcast was a criminally underrated console and seeing a living incarnation of said system decimating her foes is a cathartic release of sorts. Each character has multiple classes and even unlocks a final ultimate class that is representative of everything that character embodies. Such as IF being a ninja. Or Neptune being a kangaroo.

The battle system introduces a few new mechanics, too. There’s the Fever Gauge which builds during battle and can be utilised to unleash Fever Time. Which is more less you having infinite turns and priority in the turn order until the effect wears off, but also makes available various powerful skills that can only be used when that delightfully upbeat music is playing. Characters retain previously established transformations as well. The CPUs are still able to utilise their HDD forms while IF gains a more powerful awakened form. Like a fiery, not-so-golden, less aerial Super Saiyan. It certainly aims to make button mashing in battle less of a thing and (mostly) succeeds, as your position in the turn order is governed by how much you do in any given turn.

The series’ tradition of using a system of plans to unlock new weapons, armour, locations, and bosses is sadly absent. Instead many of these things are unlocked when certain story events have taken place. That said, there is a rather neat conceptual approach to making dungeons more explorable with different collectibles, breakable objects, and unique ways to access other floors. It’s definitely something that helps to prevent dungeons from becoming mundane or repetitive too quickly. It also suits IF as a protagonist as that’s pretty much what she does.

My only criticism is how (surprisingly) clunky the PC release is.

The translation is most baffling as information about items is either entirely absent or doesn’t accurately describe what items do. The fonts in dialogue boxes (especially for names) are weirdly distorted, too. Not to mention the awfully inconsistent dialogue for certain characters whose personality is then harder to understand.

It’s certainly not what you would expect from a series that usually has reasonably high quality PC releases, but it doesn’t detract from the experience too greatly. I’d be almost entirely okay with it if there were more information available about the different classes. They’re quite easy to figure out, though. It’s still an enjoyable instalment in the Neptunia series and features the series’ trademark humour, characters, and the internal quandary that Neptune has whenever she’s not the protagonist. In that way I can still recommend this title as something that will keep you busy for 30-40hrs. Perhaps longer if you’re achievement hunting. Or trying to get every character to Lvl 99 and every class to Lvl 50.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Those Who Travel Alsgard

Neptune is the second Lvl 110 Paladin I’ve played.

Cyberdimension Neptunia 4 Goddesses Online is an ARPG that is heavily influenced by MMORPG mechanics. Mostly because you’re playing an MMORPG with the cast of the Neptunia series. It boasts all of your favourite features, including, but not limited to: crafting, exploring dungeons, group events, loot, bosses, character classes, and character progression systems. It doesn’t boast the overflowing (and overwhelming) number of skills that most MMORPGs have, though. Which makes this a less intense and more enjoyable experience overall.

Not that having options is ever a bad thing in either an MMORPG or an ARPG.

But, in this case, the lack of options doesn’t restrict you. Each skill is generally more useful than several iterations of applying the same effect in a slightly different way. The only exception being the elemental damage skills which each class has limited access to. Naturally, Nepgear, the Mage, has access to all of the elemental damage skills. Including some that the Goddesses have.

The equipment strengthening mechanics also remove much of the busy work usually present in MMORPGs. It’s sort of like a crafting system that isn’t a crafting system. You still need to gather raw materials to strengthen your weapons or armour, but it is handled independently to your characters or their individual expertise. You can easily fully upgrade your starting equipment for quite the boost should you have the money and materials to do so. This is especially important later in the main story when more expensive equipment becomes available. Each upgrade is surprisingly potent, too. I was pleased to discover that some of the equipment I’d upgraded near the beginning of the story was still useful in the later areas. It’s a refreshing change of pace.

We must make haste for there are monsters to loot.

While there are some mechanics which I really enjoyed, there were some which were quite hazy. Like the choice of party tactics. I don’t really know what each of those options mean or what they change about the behaviour of my party members. I would assume that Blanc, a Priest, would default towards healing over damage, but when specifying what I would assume is that option she still seemed more concerned with damage. Then again, I don’t think any healing AI will ever do what I want it to do. But that’s just me being a defensive player.

That said, it’s a minor drawback that doesn’t impact things too greatly.

I’ve been looking forward to Cyberdimension Neptunia 4 Goddesses Online for some time now and it hasn’t disappointed me. It’s not exactly a full length adventure like Megadimension Neptunia VII or other earlier instalments, but it is a greatly enjoyable way to spend thirty hours. There’s definitely potential for regular additional DLC akin to MMO content patches, too.

I wasn’t sure if I’d get around to playing this one as soon as I have due to wanting to play Final Fantasy XV (Windows Edition) at release, but I’m glad that I spent the time on it. I really did enjoy the experience and do wish it were longer. It intentionally feels unfinished (for reasons explained in the story) and that only makes me want to find secret dungeons and/or bosses. I’ll be attempting to get all of the achievements, too. I’m mostly there save for the quests which I still need to finish. I’m hoping that Neptune at Lvl 110+ with an additional roster of Lvl 85-90 characters is enough to beat the final final boss. The most final of bosses. With instant death attacks and several million health. Most likely. I guess I’ll find out when I get there.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

The Realisation of a Dream

The very fabric of the universe is tearing apart.

Megadimension Neptunia VII is the first adventure that I’ve experienced in the Neptunia universe that isn’t part of the Re;Birth remake series. It’s an interesting one for that reason. Things that I’ve become acquainted to (such as the Remake system and Stella’s Dungeon) are not present, but there’s a bunch of other interesting ideas to replace them. Like the ability to invest in cities, which, for the most part, replaces the Remake system. Or the use of Scouts. Which also replaces some aspects of the Remake system.

There’s a world map (with actual enemy encounters), too.

Along with more emphasis on New Game+ in which more items become available the further you go. I was most surprised about this, as I know that Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 Sisters Generation used a similar mechanic for multiple endings- but New Game+ is almost required in Megadimension Neptunia VII. It’s still incredibly content dense without it, though.

It’s broader (with a much longer story) but simultaneously narrower (with much less to unlock and use) but there’s more emphasis on each choice. Weapons have been completely overhauled in this way, they are fewer in number but actually have specific combo capabilities. Chaining together effective attacks is more important, too. The EXE Drive returns but only lasts for a single battle, while Formation and Coupling Skills are actually based on surrounding an enemy. Or slicing straight through it. There’s quite a variety of those as well. You’ll easily be able to build effective parties (even with DLC characters) and utilise those powerful attacks. There are also specific intense boss battles with unique conditions which require HDD to be activated.

Even the quests have been reworked so that you need to earn access to higher rank offerings. It’s incredibly ambitious and ridiculously enjoyable. The lack of opportunities to grind endless experience in your first run presents much tougher opposition, with some boss battles becoming quite heated. The introduction of a smaller but more specialised cast is appreciated, too. The DLC characters are some of the best I’ve seen in the series, with many not only having a great selection of skills but really unique (and gorgeous) character models.

Then there’s the HDD Next Form for the CPUs.

Introduced as the ultimate evolution of the CPUs and requiring a second activation to unleash once available, it boasts skills that are so powerful they cancel out HDD once used and return the CPU to their human form in return for devastatingly powerful results. They also feature really gorgeous character models and some of the most impressive animations in the series.

I’ve only one regret with regards to Megadimension Neptunia VII and that is that it marks the end of the currently available content. That said, I’ve scarcely been happier with a series than I have been with this one. I’m looking forward to seeing them all through again in New Game+, too. Especially this one. Which boasts the highest replayability of the series. I was surprised by the depth of the story- which is actually three stories- and how enjoyable it was. The true ending was among the best I’ve experienced so far as well. I’m certainly looking forward to the return of Neptunia (in any dimension) and can easily recommend this series to anyone who enjoys JRPGs. Or Neptune. Even if you don’t now- she’ll grow on you. I promise.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

A Neptune to the Past

That’s what you get for going into the light.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3 V Generation is an alternate universe continuation of the story present in the preceding entry in the series. We’re also in the past… so it gets a little confusing as to where this Gamindustri fits into the universe, whether we’ll see it again, or if it’s just a pudding induced Neptune fever dream. Or eggplant induced fever dream. Stella’s Dungeon makes a return alongside a new Remake system with the (much appreciated) ability to search for materials, while everything else is generally bigger and better.

Stella’s Dungeon has an impact on the main story now, too.

Each time you successfully complete an area you’ll get a bounty of goodies- items, plans, materials, keys to the next area, and much more will be awarded for your efforts. These not only help when progressing to new areas in Stella’s Dungeon, but also with quests and the like where these materials will help you meet the requirements. It’s also a steady source of easily attainable income.

There are also new character challenges which fit into the Remake system to provide further party customisation. Most are statistical changes and are valuable in varying degrees of importance, but some will unlock new skills and new passive bonuses. The EXE Drive system has been completely reworked as well. SP is now immediately and permanently set to a maximum of 1000 for each character, it’s generated through Rush Attacks (or through general combat), and will be how you activate the EXE Drive. Either through having to reach a particular amount to use EXE Finish Skills, or by consuming a considerable portion of SP to unleash an exceptionally devastating EXE Drive Skill. It’s a change which adds a strategic layer to most combat.

Within which there are many positive changes from having more EXE Drive Skills available per character, more advantage being taken of the various Coupling and Formation Skills, further choices for the equipment CPUs and CPU Candidates will use in their HDD form, and a fifth combo slot for each attack type which expands the potential for damage and chain bonuses. It definitely feels more content dense (in a good way), while, at the same time, there are opportunities to expand on these mechanics even further in later entries in the series.

Which the Hyperdimension Neptunia series has done quite successfully so far.

No two entries are the same and that’s a good thing. It’s enjoyable to experience new mechanics or at the very least alterations to existing ones. This makes the desire to continue playing through the series even stronger than it normally would be, as you can’t wait to see all of the positive changes they’re making. Or all of the new things you’ll have to get accustomed to.

I’ve definitely spent more time with this entry than anticipated but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the time spent. Which is why I would recommend this series to anyone looking for something akin to the JRPGs of old from the days of the SNES or the PS1. They’re light hearted, fun, and not too complex. There are a lot of characters to choose from (especially with the free DLC options) and each is genuinely interesting in their own way. It’s also sure to induce a few pangs of nostalgia given it’s a parody of the gaming industry (and many of the series and characters therein). There are also quite a few different titles available which branch off from the main series in interesting ways, which might also interest those who love the characters and want more from them.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

Hope for Planeptune

CPU Candidate Nepgear has arrived.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 Sisters Generation is a slightly shorter but just as enjoyable sequel boasting multiple endings, an excessively huge roster, and an alternate universe Gamindustri that doesn’t reflect the events of the first entry in the series. There are new mechanics in the events of Stella’s Dungeon, an expanded Remake system, and even in the character progression. In comparison to the previous entry you’ll find that many characters now have multiple roles, with healing being more generously distributed.

In fact, one of the CPU Candidates of Lowee, Rom, is excellent with support magic.

While I would still agree that healing magic is probably not required to reach any one of the endings (due to an abundance of healing items) it’s nice to have the option. Even Nepgear has limited single target healing capabilities. The offensive magic selection across many characters has been improved, too. While the selection of EXE Drive options has been vastly expanded.

That’s one of the recurring positive elements of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series. The roster of characters is quite extensive, with each having their own particular approach and weapons to use, but each also provides benefits to others through the Lily Rank system, so you’ll be spoiled for choice as to who will make it into your party. The party itself is slightly bigger, too. Now with four members compared to the three from the previous entry. It seems like a minor change but it does alter the pacing of the combat enough that it remains fresh. It does get slightly expensive to outfit all of these characters for combat, though. I tend to just keep their weapons up to date and shuffle the accessories around the active party.

I think that’s one of the reasons that this series appeals to me as it does. It feels very much like a classic JRPG, with characters that you don’t necessarily develop in any way other than by accruing experience and providing their various pieces of equipment. You can’t make Nepgear into a second Rom and that’s nice. It’s nice to have a party of individual characters, each with their own strengths, and each with their own reasons to be in a party, instead of having an army of clones that you could change into what you required them to be.

If they were clones I’d never have got the opportunity to hit someone with a guitar.

This entry leans heavily on New Game+ with some of the events, dungeons, and other goodies sealed behind a second or third attempt. It will be interesting to see what they deem so important that they hide it behind completion, though. There’s a host of secret optional characters which technically require multiple attempts as well. In that way it’s quite content dense.

It’s going to be interesting seeing how they take it forward from here. I don’t believe there will be many changes to the core aspects of these titles, but I do believe that the next adventure is set in the same alternate universe Gamindustri after the events of this entry. So it will be nice to see an actual sequel. Then, it’s onto the last available title at the moment which I believe is a direct release to Steam instead of a remake. But I’ll be getting to that much later. Until then if you’re looking for an engaging, funny, and enjoyable JRPG that makes many humorous jabs at events in the gaming industry I’d recommend this series. It’s also a pretty cool series to follow if you enjoy anime. As I do believe there’s a Hyperdimension Neptunia anime, too.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie