Megadimension Neptunia VII
Developer: Compile Heart
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: Available Now
Price: $59.99 US – Available Here $89.95 AUD – Available Here
Over the last few years Compile Heart and Idea Factory were spending their time re-releasing enhanced versions of their original three Hyperdimension Neptunia games or working on spin-off titles and after dabbling with the PlayStation 4 a bit last year with Omega Quintet, the company has finally taken their headline series to the PlayStation 4 with Megadimension Neptunia VII. Does this long running series manage to make a successful splash now that it has a new generation to work with?
Before we go on, it is worth noting that Megadimension Neptunia VII is a game that isn’t very friendly when it comes to newcomers to the series. The re-releasing of their original titles may have been meant as a way to easily bring people up to speed but regardless, those who haven’t played any game in the series prior to this will find themselves rather lost at times. The game does make some small efforts to explain the world but many returning characters and various situations are introduced in a manner that treats players as if they have already sunk hundreds of hours into the games so far.
Anyways, Megadimension Neptunia VII continues the series’ trend of taking the various game industry and making numerous running gags that poke fun at the various big name companies while taking the biggest consoles and handhelds and transforming them into the main characters of the series. This time around the series begins a little bit different as Neptune and Nepgear find an old looking console that neither of them remembers. This “Not a Dreamcast” is a bit messed up and when Nepgear works on it and powers it on, the pair find themselves sucked into a strange portal that transports to another dimension.
This strange new world is a shell of what they are familiar with as the landscape lies in ruins and powerful machinery roams the land in an apocalyptic setting. After a short time the pair comes across a lone fighter, named Uzume Tennouboshi, who is battling against the evils running rampant in the dimension. Learning more about the situation Neptune and Nepgear agree to help fight, especially once they learn that Uzume is also a CPU.
In many ways Megadimension Neptunia VII is as ambitious as Compile Heart has ever been when it comes to their storytelling. In an effort to not reveal too much and spoil the experience, the story in this game is divided into three very different but still connected chapters that cover a thin storyline that holds everything together. The aforementioned details are only the start of the first of these chapters and as things progress players will find the story jumping between different characters, into new dimensions, and even focusing on a crew of brand new characters all based off of big Japanese publishers.
It is worth noting that this time around, Megadimension Neptunia VII’s tone is darker than what was presented in previous titles. There are a number of story arcs and character arcs in the game that reveal some new sides to long established characters and even a few secrets. That being said, the title may present a serious storyline but this is still the Hyperdimension Neptunia series we are talking about here and as such the series’ trademark humor remains as great as ever and is still a shining reason to pick up the game for the fans who love it and have been sticking with the series through the years.
This means that while the apocalypse may be nigh, the game will still work in plenty of self-aware fourth wall breaking jokes that either make fun of certain aspects of the series, drop a pop culture reference, throw a bit of fan-service into the mix, or simply riff on the running jokes that have followed these characters for such a long time, making the humorous character interactions one of the best reasons to enjoy the series. Sure things may get a bit too silly at times considering the situation but that ends up being the point. Now with more characters being introduced and plenty of new opportunities to take swipes at the game industry, everything fans have loved in this series is back and bigger than ever before.
Although this may be the first main entry in the series in a while, Compile Heart hasn’t really changed too much in regards to the way the game play is handled. Various improvements have been made and a few things have been removed but for the most part those familiar with the series will be able to jump into Megadimension Neptunia VII rather easily. The majority of your time will be spent exploring various dungeons and fighting against the enemies that are seen roaming the field while trying to reach the next part in the storyline.
The way these dungeons work are as simple as before, though harvest points have been removed as a returning feature that we will mention in a moment covers that, though breakable objects can eventually be unlocked. As far as the combat system is concerned, players will still be able to perform an attack to gain advantage before being transported into a battle field. In this field players can still move and perform attacks in a turn based manner but this time around there are a few changes.
The combo system has been slightly altered as the weapons you have will determine what type of moves you can do out of the Rush, Power, and Standard attacks. This means that you will often need to balance weapon traits and power against what type of attacks you can actually pull off with the weapon. Also it is worth noting that the positions of your characters can also play a fairly large role in combat as Formation Skills now must be triggered by certain enemy and character placement, meaning you will need to often surround an enemy in a certain fashion to pull of specific skills. It is also interesting to note that unlike past games that featured an enemy Shield that had to often be dropped bosses in this game will now feature certain parts of their body or pieces of equipment that can be broken off to weaken them.
As usual, players can also take advantage of certain characters being able to transform into more powerful versions of themselves, unlocking new attack patterns and powerful new skills at the cost of being a drain on that character’s meters. With the new NEXT forms allowing CPUs to transform a step beyond their HDD forms, it is easy to see that these characters may be overpowered but the title seems to find a fairly decent balance when it comes to combat. Those who do grind a bit will find themselves easily plowing through standard enemies so if you do feel like a real challenge, tackling optional tasks will provide that.
It is interesting to note that, as mentioned earlier, a feature that allows for players to gather various items from dungeons has returned for the first time in a bit. This is the scouting system that means sending a scout to a certain area to gather various items and money and if you happen to enter a dungeon that is being handled by a scout, the party will even receive some bonuses.
With Megadimension Neptunia VII being the series’ first appearance on the PlayStation 4 it is clear that a few improvements have been made thanks to this upgrade. The character models are more detailed than before and everything runs at a flawless pace with even large flashy skills being executed in battle being immune to any slowdown. It is also worth noting that while plenty of signature common enemies do return, a number of new monsters and all new areas are included in the game with certain “Giant” fights being a real standout.
As mentioned earlier there still is some fan-service included here and there and while this mostly comes in the form of the skintight suits, there are a number of CGs mixed in here and there but nothing is explicitly shown and it is all played for laughs. Even the transformation sequences featuring the girls entering their HDD, Gold, or NEXT forms remain a welcome feature.
As for the soundtrack, it is worth noting that the base version of the game only offers the new English dub and those who wish to experience the game’s original Japanese dub will need to download it from the PlayStation Store. Thankfully that DLC is free of cost but those who are fans of the series will likely be more than familiar with the voice cast at this point and they have all returned to perform a fantastic job here with their characters.
As far as the soundtrack goes it is interesting to note that there are more vocals included in the soundtrack this time around and that the mix of music on offer is rather stellar. There is a nice variety of heavy rock songs to fit the combat and boss sequences as well as simpler music that is used while exploring or watching a dialogue sequence play out.
Megadimension Neptunia VII is a massive game when it comes to the amount of content that can be explored combined with the better graphics and numerous improvements across the board. With a combat system that is as smooth as ever, powerful new forms to test out, and a story that mixes a darker tone than usual with the signature humor that this series is known for, those who have enjoyed previous games in the series will definitely want to continue the story with Megadimension Neptunia VII, though newcomers may want to get a bit of background before stepping into this one.
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