I have somehow managed to avoid the Neptunia series since its inception. This is the first time I have been exposed to, what seems like, a really interesting premise tied around a relatively deep RPG. Megadimension Neptunia VII marks the series first outing on the PlayStation 4, so it is only fitting that it be my first time playing it. It is also interesting to note that this is the first canonical game in the series since 2012, which astounds me as it seems these titles are released as often, if not more, than the LEGO games. Still, my first outing with this bubbly RPG left me both intrigued and uncomfortable, which is about the same consensus I get from everyone who has had the pleasure of experiencing it.
Megadimension Neptunia VII starts off with the iconic characters from the series, Neptune, and Nepgear. Work with me here, I am still trying to sort all this out. For those uninitiated, the game takes place in a world called Gamindustri, and all the main characters are modeled after game consoles. Everyone is represented from Nintendo to Xbox, and there are a lot of references and inside jokes. The story is actually quite deep, if not a bit bubbly and exaggerated.
Price I’d Pay: $49.99
It is best not to attempt to think about the plot of this game too hard. So much of the time it plays out more as a fantasy than anything resembling a coherent narrative. Props to the team that wrote it though, it is so far beyond any type of comprehension that it actually makes it entertaining; trusting players don’t attempt to apply any logic to it at all.
It is weird coming into the series at this point. On one hand the story has never been all that comprehensible, but at the same time I feel like I am coming into a conversation that has been going on for years. A lot of what they are spitting out makes little sense to me, and let’s be frank, this game is Metal Gear Solid levels of chit-chat.
Feeling lost on that side, at least the game play doesn’t assume players have torn through previous versions of the game. Neptunia VII is broken up into three distinct chapters, and is one hefty adventure. This is a good thing, because the combat system is chock full of so many systems, it took me a large chunk of that adventure to finally feel comfortable with all of them.
Battles are turn-based, and take place inside a specific area. Players can move characters around the battlefield in limited fashion. Attacks are pretty standard, using the face buttons to punch in a sequence of combos that do varying damage. Combos can be set and ordered in the stats menu, and new attacks unlock as players grind their way up the level chain. Each character also has a set of special moves that use SP, and deal much more damage. These systems alone are ripe with customization, and knowing which attacks are most effective against various enemies takes patience and experimentation.
That is just one piece of the puzzle though. There are also team-up attacks that are dependent on character placement on the battlefield. These attacks are also reliant on which characters are being used. Every character in the game has an affinity for the others. The higher it is, the more powerful the attacks are. It is kind of insane when I started to dig into it. It is such a simple idea that takes on so many variables it can be overwhelming. Thankfully none of it is mandatory, and I could power my way through most battles with brute force if need be, or at least some healthy grinding.
While the game throws a lot at the player early on, it becomes relatively trivial throughout the game. The difficulty curve takes a steep dive about halfway through the game, and never recovers. Once I finally came to grips with the systems, the game seemingly gave up trying. Honestly it was a relief because I wasn’t enjoying worrying about deep mechanics to derive my enjoyment, instead I was just enjoying the ride through this wacky world. The battle system is fun without the distractions, and collecting new loot and watching the special attacks made the journey worthwhile.
Being the first of the series to hit PS4, I expected it would receive some upgrades in the visuals department. Sadly, the game still looks about the same as it did on PS3 and Vita. That doesn’t take away from the art style, which I do enjoy, but perhaps some larger scale could have gone a long way. Of course, when you are pumping these games out at the rate they have been, it has to be hard to make massive improvements from game to game.
Megadimension Neptunia VII is a bubbly game that I could easily see getting worn out with its abundance of releases. However, coming into it as a new player I really enjoyed the ride. There is a ton of content, fan service, and solid RPG mechanics to make it entertaining, if not a bit too cute for my own tastes. I have zero clues what happened in the story; as I said coming in on a conversation I missed three quarters of, but I still was able to appreciate the genuine humor in the writing. There are a lot of RPGs flooding the PS4, but none quite as unique as the Neptunia series.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.