The Hyperdimension Neptunia series has been one that has flourished since it debuted back in 2010. With a number of main-line games and numerous spin-offs the series always has something fresh for fans and nothing is more unexpected than a combination with another highly self-referential series such as Sega Hard Girls. That is the case though with the latest release in the series, Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls. Does the combination of these two franchises create something great?
The world of this entry in the series has fallen into apocalyptic ruin. Where life once thrived lay only ruins and desolation and the cause is not immediately known to players, but IF is still one of the remaining survivors that travels the globe. Using her signature motorcycle, IF travels as she pleases and has heard murmurings of a Grand Library that is said to have the history of the world contained on its shelves.
Once she manages to find its exact location, IF witnesses a falling star that turns out to be a girl in distress. After rescuing the girl, IF learns that she is named Hatsumi Sega, or Segami and that she suffers from amnesia. To make matters worse, when the pair arrive at the library and meet Histoire, entire shelves filled with books of history begin to vanish. With the help of Histoire and Segami, IF is tasked with traveling through time (via her modified motorcycle) in an effort to resolve the problems in the worlds history and try to return things back to normal, or as normal as it can get in this series.
Compile Heart has really managed to take advantage of the fact that they are working with two series that are so highly self-referential that it might be a bit off-putting for some who haven’t been following the main series up to this point. I say that because the comedic element often relies on various jokes that mention events that have taken place in past games but even if you haven’t played other entries in the series, fans of games in general will find a lot to enjoy here as this entry really takes things to the next level. With jokes such as the girls acting as if they know each other despite it being the first time, at least in this story, that they are meeting, Neptune being transformed into a talking motorcycle and joking about being ridden, and that is only the tip of the iceberg when you consider the fact that there are entire worlds based around Sega consoles such as the Dreamcast, Mega Drive, and more.
The main plotline does allow for players to have quite a bit of freedom thanks to the way the missions are structured. Players will be given various missions they can attempt to complete and depending on what you select there are various endings that you can begin to travel towards. With the Goddesses battling against one another and potentially destroying the world and only IF and Segami attempting to put a stop to things, this is a highly entertaining entry that will keep fans laughing along with the story but might be a bit much for those who haven’t jumped into the series yet.
For the most part players will use the Grand Library as their home base where they can purchase items and equipment and select missions that they are given by Histoire. As mentioned before, missions are given on a timer and if enough time passes, these missions will disappear completely so players will need to be careful depending on what ending they are trying to obtain.
After selecting a mission and traveling through time, players will find that Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls plays very similar to past games though the field exploration has been upgraded a bit. IF and her allies have the ability to run quickly through dungeons, crawl through holes, climb certain walls, and more while traveling which is a nice addition rather than simply running and jumping through the same dungeons and fighting enemies as you encounter them.
Combat is again highly similar to previous entries as players move party members around the battlefield, attack an enemy, use skills, or items. This time around though there are various gems that can be floating in the air and when they are collected will restore some health or give other bonuses which is a nice boost at times. As you take actions in the game an Action Gauge will fill whenever you move, attack or use an item before ending your turn while also boosting up a Fever Gauge when dealing damage. When the Fever Gauge is filled players can activate Fever Time by obtaining a rainbow gem and boost the entire party’s stats while also stopping enemies from taking a turn, often giving players a chance to either completely wipe out basic enemies or turn the tide of a boss battle if they are in a pinch by utilizing special EXE Drive skills.
Since IF is the main character of this entry, she has been given her own transformation form for the first time in the series. When IF enters her “Flame Awakening” state she will be given a large stat boost and given a number of bonuses that allow her to become a real force to be reckoned with on the battle field. With these little additions to the standard combat Compile Heart has thrown a little bit of extra life into a series that is always trying to refine itself bit by bit.
Visuals & Audio
With Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls being released on the PS Vita the company has been able to take advantage of the numerous amount of titles they have released for the series on the platform so far. While the character designs and the new characters are given quite an eye-catching level of detail, with a bit of fan-service here and there, the actual amount of enemies that players will run into and the dungeons that they explore are fairly repetitive and recycled, though there are a few new ones sprinkled in here and there.
The soundtrack for the game will also feel quite familiar as many background tracks are re-used from previous titles but considering the quality of these tunes, most players will feel right at home rather than annoyed at the recycled nature of the music. The voice work for the English cast is also handled quite nicely with the new girls being voiced well enough and the old fan favorites voicing returning characters.
Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls brings with it more referential comedy than ever before and when you combine it with the signature character humor that the Hyperdimension Neptunia always brings to the table and does once again here, you have a very funny game with a solid storyline and a few decent modifications to the combat and exploration mechanics. Fans of the series will get the most enjoyment out of this game while newcomers will likely be caught a little off guard by some of the jokes made but those that take the dive will find a solid RPG that dips a bit too deep into the recycle bin for some of its assets.