The word ‘love’ is often a strong word used to show how much affection someone has for someone else or something else, and that is definitely me with the Neptunia franchise. I can still remember the first time I played mk2 back in mid-2013 and just how fresh and fun the game was for me mainly because I hadn’t really properly played a JRPG before. Between the story, gameplay and overall quirks, and just the endless amounts re-playability the game had. After that, it was straight onto Victory, which I ended up buying on the day of release alongside a majority of the DLC, and my feelings only grew for the series, hell, I spent New Years Eve of 2013 just playing the game. Ever since then I’ve tried my best to get the games on the day of release, pre-ordering the physical copy of PP the day of it’s announcement, and in the case of the Re:Birth games trying to get my hands on the limited editions.
However, the release schedule of the games have gotten a bit out of hand for me recently, out of the past 5 releases I’ve only been able to get 2 of the games, Re:Birth 1 and 2, and I’ve only finished the basic, or better yet ‘normal’, ending for the first Re:Birth game. Between all the spin offs, with even more of them coming later this year mind you, and the remakes, or reboots or whatever they actually are, and add to the fact that the Neptunia games are not exactly short games by any means. The series is getting really out of hand for people like myself who also like to, well try at least, play other games or do other things in general. Really it’s more of a personal complaint, but the series is getting way too hard for me to keep up with as of late, and that really, REALLY sucks.
Because then I don’t get things like THIS
Now that my personal mini-rant is over, let’s get to the topic at hand: Megadimension Neptunia VII. For those that don’t know, yes I WAS getting to this, the Neptunia series focuses around the personification of consoles, namely the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and Sega Neptune, that fight for the peoples ‘shares’, think of it like the usual console wars you see on the internet but thrown into the real world and essentially becoming World War 3 (give or take some seriousness of that), and every now and again have to protect the world from things like piracy and the big video game crash. Throw in 4th wall breaking jokes, parodies on just about every game under the sun and plenty of fan service and you have your series. VII is the first direct sequel to the main series in quite a long time, for us it’s been roughly 3 years give or take a few months since Victory was released, and this was the one game from the series that I knew I could not miss. The game is set after the events of Victory and is split into 3 parts, Z, G and H which have their own stories that all connect in chronological order. Now, I won’t spoil anything so I’ll only give a brief synopsis about Z.
Z follows the good ‘ol Nep sisters, Neptune and Nepgear, as they’re in the middle of a power shift, a time where the people look to put other leaders in charge or keep the current CPU’s, or goddesses whichever you prefer, in the leaders seat. During this time Neppers finds an old game console, which she gives to Gear to try and repair. Well, it turns out to be an ‘inter-dimensional transporter’ which sucks them into the ‘Zero Dimension’, hey look at that fancy use of the letter Z in the title, a wasteland where humans have been eradicated. To sum it up they come across Uzume Tennouboshi, the CPU of the dimension, and Umio, a ‘fancy’ ally, which they work together with to take on the “Dark CPU’s”, which are giant blood-thirsty robots(?) that want to completely destroy life as a whole, while also trying to find a way back home.
That’s when our girls aren’t fighting each other that is
Story wise the game has really picked itself up once more, blending both seriousness and jokes together to give us the typical Nepping experience that we know and love. Looking at Z specifically, one minute we’re breaking the fourth wall, the next (mini spoiler) it’s about the sudden realization of the wasteland they’re in and the fact the world is rapidly dying, and then we’re back to Neptuna breaking the fourth wall again. Another thing to bring up would be the seamless transition between the 3 stories, with them done almost flawlessly. The way the stories stay on the same path and don’t drift away from the main plot, while all happening simultaneously is really something to be proud of. The story isn’t really something you should take, or look into, seriously however, this IS a Neptunia game after all, so if you’re looking for an epic, heart touching story then it’s probably best that you check out something else.
Gameplay, well going off of Victory at least, has been updated to make the game both more challenging but also more flashy. Combos can go for longer than three hits now, maxing out at around 5 or 6. To counteract the possible ‘OPness’, snicker, of this however weapons have limits, or locks if you will, where you can only set a certain amount of combos to them. Say for example, one weapon might be able to have four ‘rush’ attacks, but only one ‘power’ and ‘break’ attack. Another new example would be the battles against the Dark CPU’s, where you can only use your special attacks against them but you have recharging SP, more well known in other games as ‘mana’ that you have to try and reserve. In turn, it turns into a mini-RTS game in a way, or better yet a game of chess. On top of that, you have a circle arena of sorts to fight them in, being able to jump to new platforms for safer attacks. Seriously, talking about the new gameplay features could go on forever, between the route building system, Spelunker mini-game aptly titled “Neplunker” and a city investment system there are plenty of new gameplay features added to VII. And for the finishing touch, the power of the PS4, thanks Noire, finally gives Neptune her big break, irony out of 100. No longer will you see the occasional still image in a fight, or drastic frames drop when there are multiple explosions happening. The only real problem I have with the gameplay is the grinding that you have to do, but really that’s just me complaining about something that just about all JRPG’s and RPG’s have in general.
Plus, after all that grinding you get a cool robot
Finally, let’s move onto our final two pieces of the game, the visuals and sounds. Besides what I mentioned earlier about the game running so much better and smoother thanks to the extra boost the PS4 gives, and the obvious graphics boost from the console, the visuals aren’t really different from earlier titles. Of course this isn’t a bad thing however, the Nepperino series have always had amazing CG and character design from the get go. Seriously, keep going with the same art style and we’re set for many years to come. The sound however is another story all together. I’m not quite sure who handles the OST’s for the game and the general sound effects, but the amount of recycled files are pretty easy to spot out and that’s especially so for the players of previous titles. They have added new music, really good music at that, but I can’t get over the fact that they seem to keep using some of the same tracks and effects over, and over, and over again. I’m all cool for memorable soundtracks, but having 100$ for example in pretty much every Nepsy game kinda gets boring, and borderline irritating, after a while guys. I highly doubt they’ll be vanishing any time soon though, songs like 100$ are kind of a staple point for the series now and as irritating as that particular song, there are a few others by the way, is after the amount of times I’ve heard it, it would also be sad to see it go. Just tone down the usage of some of the old songs and I won’t have any more complaints.
Overall though, Nep and Friends have once again captured my heart and soul and I am so happy that they have. Sure grinding sucks and you might start muting the TV when you start hearing songs from 4-5 years ago throughout the game all over again, but those are really just very minor complaints. The gameplay especially keeps you coming back for more, with all the new additions to the game and the updated combo system, and I’m sure that you’ll either laugh, or at the very least smile, at the crazy antics our mixed bag of characters bring to the table. The story should keep you entertained as well, with lots of twists and turns along the way. Really, if you’re fan of the series get this game immediately. No questions asked. If you haven’t played the games in a while, maybe you don’t own a Vita, then get this game immediately as well. Should get the spin offs eventually as well, but this is a main series entry so priorities. Finally, for the people that have never played a game with the legend that is Neptune, go buy the original trilogy immediately, or Re:Birth if you prefer that and finish them. After that, go buy VII immediately and join the internet in deciding which CPU is the best.
The correct answer is Neptune by the way. Other accepted answers are Nepgear and Cave.
See, even Uzume agrees
Megadimension Neptunia VII is now available pretty much everywhere with plenty of free DLC to give you a good starting point in the game.
So, let me know your thoughts about the game, and the series as a whole, down below! Also while you’re at it, can you guess how many times I referenced Neptune throughout the review?