In the past, there has been a bit of a lull with JRPG’s releasing in America, but with recent releases like Sword Art Online and Tales of Zesteria for the PS4, this is not one of those times. Megadimension Neptunia VII is the fourth game in the series, not including the PS Vita ports, and is the most recent JRPG for the PlayStation 4. Fortunately, Neptunia can still stand on its own two feet, but the game is more for the fans of the series but is still fun to play regardless.
Megadimension Neptunia VII, or V-2, Victory II, or however you like to pronounce it, the game is actually a set of three new, smaller games; Zero Dimension Game Neptune Z: Ragnarok of The Abyss Goddess, Hyperdimension Neptunia G: Gold Vanguard Gamindustri Existence of Change, and Heart Dimension Game Neptune H: Trilogy Final into the Legend.
The first game is a pretty standard JRPG that gives us a decent grasp of a couple of the main characters and offers a decent story, even though the majority of the regular cast takes a back seat for the first act of the game. The second, Neptunia G, takes a different approach as you are split between the four goddesses and you play each of their shorter campaigns, individually. Neptune H brings the whole game full circle as the events of Neptune Z comes back to close out the story.
The overall story takes place in a world known as Gamindustri that is divided into four areas; Planeptune, Lastation, Lowee, and Leanbox. If you haven’t already figured it out, the areas represent game consoles (Sega Neptune before it was scrapped, PlayStation, Wii, and Xbox) and the characters in the Neptunia series are the CPU’s for each. All the characters are cute, anime girls that are able to change their persona to what is referred to as a Goddess form, which is a more mature form of the characters as they battle through a few different scenarios. When stumbling onto an old game system that resembles a Dreamcast, two of the main characters are brought to a new world to help fight off a foe for a new ally, Uzume Tennohboshi.
Those that are new to the series may be a little lost at first as there are many references to past games. Hell, it took a while to understand the nature of the game and its meta representation of videogames in general at first. While game tries to play catch up for new and old fans, it is not really that necessary to understand it all and you can enjoy the game regardless. It was refreshing to see a JRPG not take itself too seriously in its meta dialogue. In fact, the main character in the series, Neptune, makes it very obvious that she is aware that this is story and dives into the lot of the clichés in JRPG’s immediately and that helps bring the enjoyment of the game up a couple of notches. There is also frames that pop up from time to time that bring the other anime cliché of girls bathing together and the soap conveniently covers the areas need to keep the game from getting a mature rating, so in other words, NSFW in some instances.
The artwork is quite lovely once you get into the second part of the game, the character designs are great, and the animation of the eyes, mouth, and breathing are well done, as you basically watch cut scenes using still art with those animations put onto it. If only the enemies had a bit more imagination to them. The enemies you battle randomly are very generic and they were not thought well in this entry. Some of them seem to have been borrowed from other franchises with something else tacked on, which may or may not be accidental given the meta nature of the game anyways. Enemies show up often with another color palette to help differentiate them from the other, while some seem quite lazily created; like the stick figure riding a paper airplane.
One of the aspects to this entry that is being boasted is the use of tactical player placement before each battle; characters can be stationed up front or in the back of the line. While this mechanic has good intentions, I never felt the need to use it too often, or at all, when playing the game. However, that is how I decided to play the game as I level grinded often to make sure of an easy boss victory. I may have had an easier time if I planned more strategically, but even with not doing so, I didn’t have that difficult of a time playing; except when I forgot there is no auto-save and had to start back from the last save point.
What makes Megadimension Neptunia so great to play is that you are rewarded for actions that you would normally do in a game like this anyways. Doing simple tasks of running through the world, jumping, using special abilities, healing, and so on, actually can increase your HP, SP, Vitality, to name a few. I do have to admit that seeing my stats go up on a consistent basis kept me going as there is dip in the story in the second act.
The second area, Hyperdimension Neptunia G, didn’t grab me. An event occurs that splits the four goddesses to the four split areas on the map and you essentially play each character’s quest one at a time. You can choose the order you go in, but it’s more like that pesky filler episode in anime that has no real need to be there other than to fill up time. It’s just like that. I may have been into the game more if it just went from character to characters between scenes instead of having to go through each one individually.
The soundtrack, while being good in general, seemed to be consistently repeating itself for the majority of the game. It would have benefited the game a bit more if there were some extra tracks that played during cut scenes and when you are navigating through the world map.
Megadimension Neptunia VII is made more the fans in mind, it is still a good JRPG to play. What may hinder the experience, or make it better, is the comic and meta voice the game has and that it doesn’t really take itself too seriously. What will keep you coming back is the consistent reward system that increases your stats just for doing something you would do anyways. There is nothing new or innovative to the series for the most part but that doesn’t hinder it, but the game does have a lull in the middle to be sure, but if you can get over that hurdle then you will find a good JRPG for the PS4.