The Latest

Megadimension Neptunia VII review

Megadimension Neptunia VII  (8)

Not long ago, message boards were proclaiming that the death of the Japanese role-playing game was imminent. Stagnancy seemed to be the genre’s unassailable final boss, and developers had run out of creativity-restoring potions. But the 2011 release of Hyperdimension Neptunia demonstrated that originality wasn’t obsolete. The Idea Factory and Compile Heart-developed title imagined an ingenious allegory where a quartet of anthropomorphized game consoles vied for market share and battled the scourge of software piracy. Beyond this playful representation of the real-world industry, the game delivered a procession of comical references and a playful sense of impishness.

But despite its redemptive plot-based charms, the original Neptunia also had its share of issues. Mechanically, allowing AI to manage the use of health potions proved frustrating while battles moved at a plodding pace. Visually, the game was inconsistent, with dazzling portrait art undermined by a lethargic framerate and bland environments. But across two sequels (which were later remade, remixed, and rebranded as Re;Birth) Neptunia gradually mended many of its transgressions, growing into the JRPG that would help quash those “end is neigh” prophecies for the genre.

Megadimension Neptunia VII  (3)

But since the release of 2013’s Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, the franchise has veered from its role of resuscitator of RPG plot. In the past three years, there have been no canonical sequels, only remakes and forays into idol management, musou-type mayhem, and grid-based, tactical combat. For series fans that have made the leap to Sony’s new console, the release of Megadimension Neptunia VII offers an enjoyable and aesthetically rewarding trek which demonstrates the series shaping into role-playing requisite. More importantly, the title extends the exploits of Neptune, Noire, Blanc and Vert and the CPU candidates, while adding a number of amusing new characters.

Officially conceived as a trio of standalone titles (confirmed by the game’s different title screens), Neptunia VII is split into three different acts. Each chapter takes place in a different dimension, offering its own distinct cast. Initially, Neptune and Nepgear are transported to an alternate dimension which resembles a devastated Planeptune. There, the duo runs into Uzume Tennohboshi, who obviously represents SEGA’s Dreamcast, complete with a swirling logo on her necktie and a VMU-like communicator strapped to her wrist. Although Uzume’s outward appearance is stern and uncompromising, the girls sense contrivance when the crimson-haired CPU transforms into Orange Heard, revealing a HDD personality that’s cordial and childlike.

Megadimension Neptunia VII  (6)

For the game’s second act, Idea Factory and Compile Heart exhibit their expertise for transforming corporations into quirky characters. Here, the game gives a gentle ribbing toward Bandai-Namco, Capcom, Konami and Square-Enix. Expectedly, each Gold Third member is vying for dominance across Gameindustri, resulting in gags that revolve around Metal Gear Solid dialog, LovePlus-style dating sims, and alternate forms which recall Sephiroth’s solitary, black wing. For dedicated gamers, spotting all the allusions will be delighting, especially when they’re dispensed with rapid-fire delivery. The sole downside revolves around the structure. While Neptunia VII’s middle chapter ends with a converging cast, shifting between small teams during the bulk of the campaign feels like a prolonged exercise in delayed gratification.

Unsurprisingly, the game’s third act does a commendable job to linking the two previous journeys, endowing the game with an appropriately rousing finale. Like the two proceeding acts, conversations feel more restrained, with fewer of the loquacious interludes that disrupt dungeon skulking. Sure, there’s still the occasional longwinded interchange without payoff or the sporadic need for CPUs to shirk their clothes for an impromptu communal shower- but largely the game tries to adhere to its narrative structure. And while the prospect of nubile goddesses depicted almost au naturale will infuriate the prudish, near-nudity is presented playfully. Often when supplying fan-service, the game simultaneously satirizes it.

Megadimension Neptunia VII

Battles mechanics don’t veer from the systems established by 2012’s mk2. Combatants begin fracases in customizable party formations, with a time line establishing turn order between comrades and creatures. Upon each characters turn they can move a predetermined distance, as they try to enclose enemies in a translucent zone that depicts their melee range. The traditional options for combos focused on Break, Power, and Rush attacks remain, with change imposed on the EXE gauge, which now resets between battles.

The other big alteration occurs when the battle party is able to surround an enemy. When this occurs, players will see a line connecting friendlies, while an option in the menu system allows for the execution of a powerful team-based attack. Neptunia VII’s other significant addition allows the CPUs to achieve a second-level of transformation, called a NEXT form. Although characters must switch through HDD mode first, seeing the new costume designs and witnessing their destructive capabilities is quite a treat and easily worth the effort.

Megadimension Neptunia VII  (1)

Despite being turn-based, combat feels nimble with party members flaunting speedy attack animations and as well as the ability to fast-forward through enemy turns. On the downside, battles can be a bit uneven. One early dual-stage boss confrontation trounced the adventuring party multiple times, but after that defeat, things became significant easier- perhaps even too tranquil when compared to the challenge level of other Neptunia titles. But for players seeking adversity, the inclusion of Neplunker, a mini-game based on the MicroGraphicImage classic, Spelunker extends an elevated level of difficulty. But woefully, exertion stems just as much from Neptunia’s rudimentary modeling of jump physics as it does from level design.

Aesthetically, Megadimension Neptunia VII sets an invigorating new precedent for the franchise. Gone is the irregular visual delivery, replaced with a sinuous sixty-frame per second output. Naturally, the character art used during conversations is exquisite, providing each personality with a range of comical emotions and reactions. In keeping with tradition, enemy design is delightfully eccentric, with players battling everything from Super Mario Bros. warp pipes to dating sim screenshots. In fact the only disappointing graphical element is the starkness of dungeon environments. Often these milieus are so non-descript, you’ll be forced to consult the map screen when navigating. Socially, the game’s soundtrack establishes a new water-mark for the series, with each act contributing its own distinct vibe.

Megadimension Neptunia VII

Although Megadimension Neptunia VII’s progress and polish extend an inviting inroad for newcomers, the title does require a certain level of role-playing familiarity. While Histoire is back with her static-screen lessons, this method still breaks up the flow of gameplay and doesn’t explain many of Neptunia’s nuances. As such, the Goddesses latest adventure feels tailored for faithful fans rather than newcomers. Still, with such a high level of quality and refined playability, Megadimension shows that the role-playing genre still has an abundance of HP.

Megadimension Neptunia VII was played on the PlayStation 4
with review code provided by the publisher.

Megadimension Neptunia VII
Platform: 
PlayStation 4
Developer:
Idea Factory, Compile Heart
Publisher:
 Idea Factory International
Release date: 
February 2nd, 2016
Price: 
$59.99 via retail or via PSN
Not long ago, message boards were proclaiming that the death of the Japanese role-playing game was imminent. Stagnancy seemed to be the genre’s unassailable final boss, and developers had run out of creativity-restoring potions. But the 2011 release of Hyperdimension Neptunia demonstrated that originality wasn’t obsolete. The Idea Factory and Compile Heart-developed title imagined an ingenious allegory where a quartet of anthropomorphized game consoles vied for market share and battled the scourge of software piracy. Beyond this playful representation of the real-world industry, the game delivered a procession of comical references and a playful sense of impishness. But despite its…

Review Overview

Gameplay - 80%
Story - 85%
Aesthetics - 95%
Content - 90%
Accessibility - 75%

85%

VERY GOOD

Summary : Megadimension Neptunia VII establishes a new high point for the series, with graphics and playability that match the ingenuity of its plotline. Anyone who appreciates an amalgam of monster slaying, madcap antics, and moe should be delighted by the title.

User Rating: 4.27 ( 5 votes)

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

34 comments

  1. Wow, pretty epic review. This is going to require an extended bathroom trip.

  2. I can’t wait for Tuesday. Preordered!

  3. Good review and before release! Good work!

  4. Very fair review especially the part about near-nudity. I wish the big sites were as level headed.

    I also wish I had a PS4. 😉

    • I saw one review that said they were really pushing it to the AO ledge with this one. Care to comment on that?

  5. Please tell us what kind of DLC is in the game. I hate when publishers make you pay for the best characters.

  6. Are the Gold Third playable?

  7. Its unofficial Megadimension Neptunia VII week at Tech-Gaming? I’m not complaining.

  8. ‘grats on providing the interview and the first Western review of the game. Nicely done. Too bad you didn’t do the same with Disgaea 5, though.

  9. So when’s the PC port coming?

    Wow, I don’t think any single reviewer has covered as much Neptunia as you. Hats off to you, sir!

  10. Great review. I’d love to know all the cameos But I guess that would be spoiler-territory.

  11. Fantastic review. Nice work.

  12. I’ll be getting this on Tuesday morning. I can’t wait.

  13. moe isn’t italicized in the summary! C’mon Robert, I expect perfection!

  14. Change your name to weeaboo gaming bc that’s all you do anymore.

    • Oh no! A website chose to celebrate the launch of a popular game! HOW DARE THEY?!

      Seriously, grow up

      • Hey I like the reviews enough. Especially the hardware ones. But all these anime games are stuff are just weird. I’ve tried playing them, too so you can’t say I haven’t tried.

        But when you pick the game for new release, post an interview and review the game (favorably) it’s just a bit too much.

        • You’re a troll and no one cares about your displaced anger.

        • So the reviewer’s pick of the week also got a good review? I don’t get it, what is so surprising about that?

          • Internal validity in my book.

            Actually, there are two picks for Megadimension. At a certain point you have to face the facts, its a good role-playing game.

  15. Looks pretty, but I expect that on a PS4.

  16. About the number I expected.

  17. Pretty much one of the better game reviews I’ve read. Its refreshing to see something that actually analyzes the game instead of just “if you press X to can attack” style writing.

  18. Nep-Nep, hold tight. Daddy’s coming for you.

  19. Ok, that’s just a little weird. Even for anime lovers.

    When people start acting like game and anime characters are real, I worry about the future.

  20. I’m happy to see a review that doesn’t focus on the negative and shows the games good points. Nice work.

  21. I’ve got to admit – these get a little bit better with each release. This one looks like it might be good.

    • I was there when the world imploded by Sean’s words. February 1st, 2016, if I recall.

      • The world ends on the day when both Project X Zone 2 and Fire Emblem Fates are released. The history books will explain it as too much turn-based goodness.