MegaDimension Neptunia review – A Nep to remember

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I’ve been on the Neptunia train since the series first arrived in North America in 2011. However, in the more recent years with Idea Factory International taking over localizing the series, we’ve seen remakes of Hyperdimension Neptunia, Mk2 and V for the PlayStation Vita and Steam, and spin-offs. This has left fans waiting for a new game in the main series. Now after 4 years of waiting, the fans will finally get what they’ve been looking forward to the 4th game in the series MegaDimension Neptunia, but was it worth the long wait?

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For those unfamiliar with the series, it began as a humorous take on the console wars featuring female characters as the personification of the different console generations. The Neptunia series didn’t take itself seriously and was filled with silly puns, along with hit and miss jokes based around video game culture. Enemies and NPCs were parodies of characters and items from video games past and present which all existed together. Of course in standard JRPG style, you have all four CPUs working together to defeat the evil, leading to peace between all four regions… or at least until the next game.

MegaDimension Neptunia tries something different in the fourth installment of the series. Rather than using the same formula that has been seen in the first three titles, it splits the game intro three different chapters, each one being a standalone plot that eventually ties everything together at the end. It follows the concept of Hyperdimension V3 where it starts off in another dimension after Neptune and NepGear get sucked into another world. They find themselves in a desolate world where they find Uzume and even an older version of Neptune.

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With the game being on the PlayStation 4, Compile Heart and IFI not only upgraded the graphics, character designs and overall style of the game but also the CPU Goddesses. We’ve seen their HDD forms in every Neptunia game, but MegaDimension also introduces a new form called ‘Next Form’, a stronger form above their HDD which gives them a whole new look and even better hardware.

Traveling to locations has been redesigned from previous versions. I like to think of it like a board game, where when you travel between points, you might find yourself in a random-encounter battle. It’s set up like the map system in Super Mario World, including entering dungeons and maps; however, it gets old fast. There were times where I would get no random encounters and be able to get to my destination 10 spots away with no problem, while other times after fighting a huge boss and returning to base, I would fight at nearly every point. You also completely heal by going to towns and safe areas just by traveling past it. Once you reach your location, you have large maps to explore.

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The map system and battle systems are very reminiscent of the previous titles, with some light changes made. A turn-based, real-time battle system let’s returning fans feel right at home, and isn’t difficult for first-time player to pick up, thanks to a few tutorials. As the game progresses things actually get more challenging and fun. While I was never a fan of the overly pushed quests you had to do to proceed in previous games, you can just progress through the game at your own pace. You can even just grind or enjoy the scenery including themed stages that look like you are in a Super Mario game complete with evil warp pipes that you can fight.

Everything about the game works. The game isn’t perfect and it has its faults, but it makes up for it with its silliness and well-done localized story. One concept I actually enjoyed was the new large boss battles; it actually changes the dynamic of the game’s normal battle system, but it loses its uniqueness and originality after the third time because the enemy doesn’t really change. I would have loved to see more large boss battle added with different enemies, especially with all the character combinations. Speaking of characters, while I’ve really enjoyed many of the guest characters based off of different companies or even character, the series has incorporated over the series including the original Gust, Falcom, Tekken and Lid. I actually was a huge fan of the members of Gold Third, who were the personifications of certain gaming companies (Square Enix, Capcom, Konami and Bandai Namco), and it shows in their fighting style and in personalities.

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From left to right C-Sha, K-Sha, B-Sha and S-Sha

The one thing that was missing for me in the game was the Japanese audio track. I’m not a huge fan of all the English voice actors personally. Luckily, Idea Factory International has released a Japanese track as a free DLC which will be around 3.5gb. MegaDimension Neptunia is easily the best entry into the Neptunia franchise, as it takes a step out of its safe zone and incorporates new things in the mix while keeping elements that gave it its identity. The game is, however, shorter than its previous counterparts, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This was mostly due to the fact that I didn’t complete all the side quests available and extra dungeons. There is quite a bit to do and with a large cast of characters to play as, there are plenty of combinations and skills to enjoy. The game looks detailed and is fun to watch as it is to play.

Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

MegaDimension Neptunia
Developer: Idea Factory
Publisher: Idea Factory International
System: PlayStation 4
Price: $59.99
Available: 2/02/ 2016

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