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Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters Review

Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters

Developers: Compile Heart, Idea Factory
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Platforms: PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, PC
Release Date: January 24, 2023
Price: $49.99 USD – Available Here


Few could have guessed that Hyperdimension Neptunia, a JRPG that thrived on comedic references to the game industry, hints of drama, and cute girls, would not only manage to see multiple releases over the years but also see constant spin-offs covering numerous game genre to the point that thirteen years later the franchise is still alive and kicking. Now, while many fans of the franchise have been hoping for a more mainline entry after so many years since a proper continuation, the latest release Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters blurs the line between spin-off and core release. With Nepgear and her fellow CPU Candidates taking the lead, is this newest release in the Neptunia franchise worth it for fans?


The world of Gamindustri has continued to thrive after overcoming various obstacles in the past and a relative peace has settled across the four primary nations of Planeptune, Lastation, Lowee, and Leanbox. The Goddess CPUs that lead these nations have continued their friendships with one another to the point that they spend their free time hunting for rare items in video games together. When word comes in that a powerful force is threatening the PC continent, Neptune and the other Goddesses set out to put a stop to this threat, leaving Nepgear and their little sisters, the CPU Candidates, in charge. The same day that the Goddesses depart, Histoire learns that a large number of monsters appeared near Planeptune and sends Nepgear and the other girls to go investigate only for them to find a mysterious pod containing a girl that appeared to also be a Goddess. With only an ominous warning, this Gray Goddess seals Nepgear and the rest within the same type of tube she was previously contained in. When the girls awaken after being rescued by Histoire, they learn that two years have passed since they were sealed away and the world has suffered greatly since their disappearance.

The Goddess CPUs battle with Arfoire on the PC continent took a turn for the worse and Nepgear learns that Neptune has seemingly perished holding off the powerful foe in an effort to help the other Goddesses and residents of the continent escape only for the land to be swallowed by a dimensional rift. To make matters worse, the “Trendi Outbreaks” that have seen monsters spawn throughout the land have forced the residents of Gamindustri inside where their only hope for staying connected are mysterious cell phones that appeared one day and receive updates out of thin air, called rPhones. With these rPhones being their only way to connect with others, many have turned to playing games and eventually becoming addicted to their phones forgoing all other types of games, forcing the Shares that once powered the Goddesses of the four nations to plummet. With Vert, Noire, and Blanc barely holding on against the monster outbreaks and Planeptune turned into a land of refugees, Nepgear has awoken to find that she is in the midst of an apocalypse. 

All is not lost however as Nepgear quickly makes new friends with new characters Maho and Anri and learns that the CPU Candidates must do their best to try and uncover the source behind the Trendi Outbreaks and where the Shares of the rPhone users are being sent to in a storyline that is a bit slow to start but becomes quite engaging once things begin to pick up and mysteries are revealed. The Hyperdimension Neptunia series has always drawn parallels from the real world to try and add interesting elements to their core storyline but Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters hits extremely close compared to usual as the Trendi Outbreaks and lockdown of the people is a clear reference to everything that has occurred over the last two years as well as the ever prominent rise of the cell phone as a gaming device for many. In fact, it is a bit ironic that the CPU Candidates, who are based around the portable consoles of the past such as the PSP, DS, and fictional Sega handheld, take center stage as the lead characters when their own platforms are a thing of the past.

A good portion of the game’s classic comedy and references come in the form of side-content but the character interactions throughout the story also remain a strong source of humor as well as some of the best moments in the game. Along these same lines players will find that the game makes full use of its referential humor to great effect mentioning everything from current Vtuber trends, adjusted policies on certain platforms, obvious references to other prominent games, and more. Since much of what is referenced is quite recent and fresh in the minds of most fans that would play these games most of this humor is right at home for fans. That being said, it is a bit disappointing that the actual cast list is surprisingly small as series regulars IF and Compa are relegated to side NPCs and a large number of other characters from past releases either make no appearance or only through bonuses, something that cements the game’s place as a spin-off despite its well-written narrative. Most of the game’s focus is placed on Nepgear as well as the newly added characters Maho and Anri with other sisters: Uni, Ram, and Rom, getting some time to shine though the addition of new Higurashi and Touhou styled characters is a nice touch.

In fact, Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters manages to strike a surprisingly solid balance between the off-the-wall humor and references that the series is known for and the more serious storyline that the game focuses on. It is also worth noting that one of the elements that helps make Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters‘ story a bit more serious in nature is the fact that it makes numerous callbacks to events that have happened in previous games, especially when it comes to either mk2 or Re;Birth2. This means that those who have plenty of experience with the franchise will certainly get the most out of the storyline, especially with regards to a certain ending in mk2.  As such, Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters manages to tell a highly enjoyable storyline that longtime fans will get the most out of while offering plenty of side-story dialogue to enjoy as well as a signature approach to how players obtain a true ending.


When players aren’t spending their time in the visual novel style cutscenes or checking their “Chirper” they will be spending most of their time exploring dungeons and taking on enemies in a more action based combat style. Players will no longer be battling against enemies in a turn-based fight but will instead find their team of three fighters immediately battling a foe as soon as they encounter them in the field in real-time pseudo-action combat. Every character in the party will have AP (Action Points) that are used to unleash a standard string of combo attacks, meaning that while the battles are real-time players will need to pause between attacks to refill AP or swap to another fighter in the meantime. Combat remains swift however as players can trigger “Chain” attacks with the tap of L1 or R1 which will swap to another character while also boosting the damage they deal. 

Alongside standard combo strings each character has their own tactical skills that can be executed between cooldowns as well as powerful screen clearing moves that deal plenty of damage but take a while to refill. It is also worth noting that all of the CPU characters eventually regain their ability to transform into their Goddess or Goddess Candidate forms though chances to actually transform mid-fight are a bit on the slim side against most standard foes as battles generally are resolved before the opportunity arises. 

As the characters level up they will earn additional special attacks that can be worked into their combo chains through the “Combo Maker” system. This system allows players to build their team a bit to their own liking though they will always need to make sure they actually have enough AP to pull off a full combo. Every combo attack also has a certain type to it, dealing either pure damage, building up an enemy’s break meter, or pushing them back and players can build their combos around these specific types as well. Alongside this Combo Maker players will also find that they can use Discs to power up their team. Disc Development allows players to craft equipable game discs that provide a number of perks that can be extremely powerful though it does appear that most of the outcomes are random, so those looking to get the most out of the system will need to spend some time seeing how certain combinations play out.

Alongside the various attacks players will note that they have a few defensive options as well though these are a bit on the flaky side of things. During combat characters can dodge incoming attacks or simply run around the field to avoid an incoming hit but it is worth noting that the dodge is not the most responsive around meaning players will likely take a blow most of the time rather than avoiding like they should. Along these same lines the standard “Symbol Attack” that players can use to initiate a fight while exploring a dungeon rarely works in giving players the proper advantage at the start of a battle.

What makes matters worse is that actually exploring the dungeons in Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters is often a boring affair. Rather than having the fantastical designs of the past almost every dungeon is generic in appearance and is often used multiple times through the game with both side-content and even story critical missions often tasking players with traveling through an area they have been through multiple times in the past. Puzzles that appear from time to time are rather generic and easy to solve and it is worth noting that even though some dungeons may appear different, players will realize that they have often traveled through the exact same layout before only this time it is slightly different in color. This repetition grows wearisome rather quickly and is a big disappointment considering what the Neptunia series has been capable of.

Visuals & Audio

Everyone’s favorite characters have once again seen a nice graphical improvement for release on the PlayStation 5 as the character models in Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters are nicely detailed with vibrant coloration.  Not only are the 3D models used in combat rather impressive looking with players able to unleash a number of great looking skills but the Live 2D style character portraits used in story sections have a wide range of expressions and plenty of detail that fans will love. It is also nice to note that players will find tons of accessories, ranging from cute to meme worthy, that can be used to customize the appearances of their characters. Enemy designs remain true to Neptunia form though it does make a bit too much use of recoloration for stronger foes and, as stated before, constant dungeon reuse.

With the release of Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters Idea Factory International has gone the extra mile for a spin-off to provide an English voice track to accompany the game. This sees the return of many familiar voice actresses returning to reprise their roles and they continue to handle the cast of characters incredibly well. There are even bits of dialogue that pop up while exploring dungeons as characters chime up while traveling through areas, helping give the exploration of dungeons at least a little more flair. Alongside the English dub the standard Japanese voice track is also included featuring all of the returning voice cast as well if players wish to stick with that option. The soundtrack for the title features a number of fairly solid pieces of background music with a stellar sounding battle track as well as an exceptional opening theme performed by Ayane. 


Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters blurs the line between spin-off and mainline entry by offering a well-balanced storyline that may take a little to get going but once it does tells an engrossing tale that longtime fans of the franchise will truly enjoy. The latest approach to combat may feel a bit clunky at times but offers plenty of customization between combo moves and the unique outcomes players can create with disc creation, if only actually exploring the dungeons between battles and story was entertaining.

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Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters tells one of their best Neptunia stories in recent years but some rough combat elements and dungeon reuse hold this latest spin-off back.
Travis Bruno
Travis Bruno
After playing games since a young age and getting into anime a bit later on its been time to write about a little bit of everything.
<i>Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters</i> tells one of their best <i>Neptunia</i> stories in recent years but some rough combat elements and dungeon reuse hold this latest spin-off back.Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters Review