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Megadimension Neptunia VII review

On February 12, 2016 by Aaron Meehan

Idea Factory International’s Megadimension Neptunia VII is the latest main series Neptunia title and sequel to Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, and after playing Megadimension Neptunia VII for over 37 hours I can easily say it is the best game in the franchise. Megadimension Neptunia VII offers the best storytelling in the franchise to date and raft of gameplay changes that are both good and mildly frustrating.

For those unaware of the Neptunia franchise, it is a relatively niche JRPG franchise that takes the video game industry and puts a JRPG spin on it. In the franchise and this game, there are four main characters called CPUs, these characters are humanoid versions of consoles, this means the four main characters, Neptune, Vert, Noire and Blanc all represent a console. Neptune is Sega (if they still made consoles), Vert is Microsoft Xbox, Noire is PlayStation and Blanc is Nintendo. Their nations in the world are built around each company’s ideals, for example, Blanc’s nation of Lowee is very childlike and Vert’s nation of Leanbox is a look towards a more soldier and military lifestyle.

The references don’t stop with the CPUs as all playable characters represent a platform, game, developer, publisher or section of the video game industry. The franchise for all intensive purposes is a satire of the game industry, this is made even clearer when some enemies have turned out to be piracy, hacking card etc. The satire also leads to fourth wall breaking moments and even comments about the current state of the games industry.

So, enough of a basic introduction, let’s talk about Megadimension Neptunia VII.

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In terms of storytelling, Megadimension Neptunia VII contains three stories, 1) Zerodimension Neptunia Z Twilight of the Desperate CPU, 2) Hyperdimension Neptunia G the Golden Leaders, Reconstructors of Gamindustri, and 3) Heartdimension Neptunia H Trilogy Finale: Into Legend… Each one of these stories could easily work as their own game, but Megadimension Neptunia VII puts them together to create an amazing overarching storyline that will leave you shocked, sad and happy.

I’ll try not spoil anything important, but here is a breakdown of the game’s story and my overall impression.

Zerodimension Neptunia Z’s story focuses on an old abandoned console Neptune finds in Planeptune, this old console has a striking resemblance to the Sega Dreamcast as it is white with an orange spiral. Upon bringing the console home, Neptune and Nepgear are transported to another dimension, the Zerodimension. In this dimension, Gamindustri is in ruin as a giant CPU rains terror on the dimension. In the dimension Neptune and Nepgear team up with the dimension’s only CPU, Uzume Tennouboshi and her friend, Umio, who is a fish with a man’s face. While in this dimension they learn Arfoire is involved in the story, for those unfamiliar, Arfoire was an antagonist in all previous main series Neptunia titles.

Zerodimension’s story is a change of pace for the franchise as Neptunia games always have a light side to them, but Zerodimension has a lot of dark and mysterious undertones that in many ways surprised me, Zerodimension’s dark and mysterious tone is a tone that is carried into the game’s second story, Hyperdimension Neptunia G the Golden Leaders, Reconstructors of Gamindustri.

Hyperdimension Neptunia G’s story takes place shortly after Zerodimension and is set in what you could describe as the prime dimension. This story focuses on the CPU shift period, a time where residents of Gamindustri look for a new CPU to follow, and just like in the real world there is a lot of half truths and slander being thrown around as people select their CPUs (think the game’s version of 4-Can and Reddit), and so to stop this the CPUs create multi-nation festival. The festival is a success until a group known as Gold Third show up. Gold Third is made up of four members – K-Sha, C-Sha, B-Sha and S-Sha. These members fight the CPUs and easily defeat them, but defeating the CPUs causes the world the suddenly change. This change involves the CPUs being forgotten and the members of the Gold Third becoming the new rules of the four nations of Gamindustri.

In Hyperdimension Neptunia G, the four CPUs have to track down each member of Gold Third and learn how their fight changed the entire dimension, find out who created all the false and hate-filled rumours about the CPUs, and most importantly find out why a mysterious figure is trying to alter events to fit her desire.

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Hyperdimension Neptunia G is the most interesting of the three stories as the story is divided into three parts. 1) The world before it changes, 2) each CPU getting their own individual character arcs, and 3) the rejoining of all the CPUs and characters to fight the big bad. The splitting of CPUs into four different character arcs was something I wasn’t initially happy about as I felt it existed to pad out the game, but the four CPU arcs create some powerful back-story for the CPUs, the CPU candidate and Gold Third. The arcs show just how each nation would exist without a CPU or proper ruler, and honestly, like Zerodimension’s story, it makes for dark tones. In the arcs, we see a harsh dystopian society where people’s lives are determined at birth, executions, disregard for life, war etc. Hyperdimension Neptunia G’s tone does shift from character arc to character arc, but the overall tone of uneasiness exists in all of them. This overall tone can be best seen with the story’s boss, General Affimojas, leader of AffimaX, as he doesn’t care about what’s happening in the world as long as he making money, with Affimojas we see how his insane greed changed the world, but like all Neptunia games there is a silly side to his money grubbing actions. Hyperdimension Neptunia G also introduces players to the next level of HDD mode, Next form.

Now we move onto the final story, Heartdimension Neptunia H Trilogy Finale: Into Legend. This story ties everything together because before this story there is no clear reason on how the first and second stories are connected apart from the Sega Dreamcast. As far as story finales go Heartdimension Neptunia H is very interesting and it is what really made me love the game’s overall story. Heartdimension Neptunia H explains everything to its players, for example, we learn what Gold Third is, who Uzume is, why are we hopping between three different dimensions etc. While I don’t want to say too much due to not wanting to spoil the game, Heartdimension Neptunia H is a fantastic conclusion that answers nearly every single question I had about the game. Heartdimension Neptunia H also offers what I feel is one of the sadness normal route endings in a Neptunia game to date.

So, when you look at the three stories as a whole Megadimension Neptunia VII is an amazing rush that does a decent job of not burning itself out by managing its high and low points extremely well. And, of course like all Neptunia games, the overall story centres on one aspect of video game culture, in Megadimension Neptunia VII it most definitely focuses on the greed of both developers and fans.

Since I’ve focused on talking about the story, let’s talk about the game’s characters. If you’ve played the previous Neptunia games the CPU and CPU candidates are mostly unchanged, however, the single character arcs provide some nice additional character development

The new characters, i.e. Uzume, Gold Third, and villains Affimojas and Steamax are all well developed. For being the two main villains in the second story, Affimojas and Steamax are very relaxed and nerdy characters a fact that is both annoying and heart warming. K-Sha, B-Sha, C-Sha and S-Sha of Gold Third are an interesting cast as they are representations of four real world game characters, Konami, Bandai-Namco, Capcom and Square-Enix. This representation is played up well as each character has personalities you might attribute to the company they represent, this makes for some hilarious moments especially when you realize the controlling/yandere character K-Sha represents Konami.

Finally, we have Uzume, whose character is difficult to talk about without ruining important parts of the game while I can’t say much I will say she does have a personality shift when transforming, but it isn’t as overbearing like Plutia from Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory. Uzume is basically a character that is trying to be happy and composed in a dimension that has torn itself and her apart.

If you are wondering about the side characters from the previous Neptunia games, I’m afraid I have bad news as characters such as Gust or Red are not in this game.

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Now let’s talk about an important aspect of Neptunia games, humour. While I did say Megadimension Neptunia VII is darker than previous titles, it keeps the franchise’s trademark humour, which for those who don’t know includes four wall breaking, video game jokes and, of course, jokes about character’s proportions and personalities.

Personally, the best aspect of Neptunia VII humour comes Vert’s character arc, the humour in this arc stems from the Gold Third member S-Sha, who is the representation of Square-Enix. At one point in the arc, she says she almost died making a film but was saved. This line and subsequent lines refer to the fact that Square-Soft almost went out of business because of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and how Enix saved them.

While the humour can be very much in your face there is one bad aspect that exists alongside the humour, fan service. Yes, Neptunia VII contains numerous pieces of fan service, which go from jokes about the size of a character’s breasts to a bath scene. While I don’t mind fan service it is off-putting when you realize that in some of the more risky scenes depict young looking characters.

Before talking about the gameplay and combat in Megadimension Neptunia VII, I have to mention that story and character developments take up the vast majority of the game. How much you ask? Well, it takes about 20 minutes to get to your first piece of actual gameplay as these 20 minutes are taken up by a lot of reading and listening to dialogue.

Now, let’s move away from story and characters and talk gameplay. Gameplay in Neptunia VII has received some changes and enhancements. Two of the most noticeable new features are investment and road building. Investment involves donating money to improve the commercial, industrial and public relations of each individual nation, levelling up each section offers new items in shops, additional development items and special events.

The Road building feature is a brand new way to travel from dungeon to dungeon on the world map. Road building is essentially creating a path connecting a nation to a dungeon. While Road Building is an interesting idea it is annoying. The reason why it is annoying is because you have to spend credits to create a route and while you are travelling along these routes random encounters can occur, which can be incredibly annoying as travelling from say nation to nation can involve a near constant barrage of encounters and for me barraging a player with random encounters isn’t fun.
Personally, I enjoyed the old world map travelling solution of clicking on a location and going directly to it without interruption.

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Apart from Road Building and investment, changes have been made to several existing gameplay features. The plans feature has been altered and turned into development. Stella’s dungeon has also been changed in favour of scouts, the scout feature now allows you to send scouts to a dungeon to look for items, unlock hidden items, find new monsters and scouts etc. Also, while a scout is in a dungeon the dungeon is altered so that you might get extra experience or have powerful monsters appear.

Before I forget there is also two other gameplay changes. These are changes to conversations and the share system. With conversations, there is one major change and that not all conversations involve 2D models talking directly to you in a visual novel style, some conversations now occur during 3D in-game cutscenes.

Regarding share changes, it isn’t anything major; it is just that shares now effect the gameplay instead of just the story. The level of share energy a nation has can alter the CPU’s power in combat, the main way this alteration occurs is the CPU with the most shares does extra damage.

Now, let’s talk combat. Combat has also gone through a number of alterations with the inclusion of formation skills, break parts, multiple health bars for bosses, and giant battles. In terms of changes, the combo system has been given an overhaul and attachments have changed from providing stats to being pure cosmetic pieces.

First let’s talk about the new features, all of which are pretty simple. Formation skills involve moving characters into certain positions and attacking together. Break Parts is a change to the guard break system from previous Neptunia titles, break parts is essentially attempting to break a piece of a monsters equipment to do extra damage. Giant battles and multiple health bars are two massive changes. At certain points in the game, you will fight giant enemies and you can only fight them using SP and EXE Skills, and as for multiple heath bars for bosses, it is just simply a way to make bosses different and appear more powerful.

So, I talk about what’s new, but what has changed? Well, the biggest change is the combo system. On the surface, it is identical to previous Neptunia titles, but there is a large tweak, and this tweak is that the amount of combos you can perform is tied to the weapon you are using. For example Neptune’s Beam Katana -V- allows her to perform three attacks with the choice of two rush, two power or two standard attacks, but in comparison her Claymore while still allowing to perform three attacks alters her choice of attacks because with the claymore she only has a choice of one rush, two power and two standard. It isn’t a change that’s immediately noticeable, but it offers a way to change your style and to use more attack types as some combo together.

Another combat change is HDD mode. HDD mode no longer uses SP, but instead uses your EXE Drive. It now takes 1 EXE bar to transform. While this change slows down the transformation process it frees up some valuable SP.

The changes to combat make for an overall new experience, but this new experience has one small issue you can no longer make fine adjustments to your directional attacks with the directional pad.

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Before I reach my conclusion I want to touch on the game’s graphics, sound and music. Graphically, Neptunia VII is the best looking Neptunia game to date with both 2D and 3D models receiving huge makeovers in terms of polish and overall appearance. The level of polish and overall graphical improvement can also be seen in the scenery and monsters.

When it comes to sound, the voice acting is still great, but the repetitive and annoying dialogue in dungeons still exists. Honestly, I feel the Neptunia series has done a great job with its English voice work. Finally, the game’s music which I can only describe as fantastic, from the first dungeon to transformation sequences the music is spot on. The music also does a great job at creating the right tone for a situation.

Conclusion

Megadimension Neptunia VII is by far the best Neptunia game to date. The game has a massive three-part story that offers some surprisingly dark moments and a cast of humorous and interesting characters. However, the game suffers from some poor and annoying gameplay changes.

SCORE: 8/10

Pros Cons
 + Massive three-part story  – Several sexualised scenes
 + Interesting characters  – Can be confusing for those who aren’t fans of the series
 + Fourth wall breaking and video game reference humour  – Some gameplay alterations such as road building are disappointing
 + Music
Developer Publisher Genre Rating Platform Release date
 Idea Factory  Idea Factory International  JRPG  16+  PlayStation 4  Feb 2, 2016 (US)Feb 12. 2016 (EU)

*A review code was provided by the game’s publisher.*

For more information on Megadimension Neptunia VII or to find out where to buy it, visit http://ideafintl.com/nep-v2/.

Author: Aaron Meehan

Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.


Trackbacks & Pings

  • SGGAMINGINFO » Megadimension Neptunia VII coming to Steam this summer :

    […] Megadimension Neptunia VII was originally released for PlayStation 4 in both Europe and North America in February of this year. Megadimension Neptunia VII offers a large single player experience with a massive three-part story and of course, like many Neptunia games it has its fair share of humour. If you are interested in knowing more about Megadimension Neptunia VII, I recommend checking out my review of Megadimension Neptunia VII for PS4. […]

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