5 reasons why the Neptunia franchise is fun
*Potential mild spoilers ahead*
1) Fun and interesting characters
As I’m sure most people are aware the characters in Neptunia games are based off various video game developers, publishers, platforms etc. and well this simple fact make for some interesting and fun characters as each character plays of their real life counterpart. A good example of this is with Noire, a CPU Goddess and a representation of the PlayStation 3/4. Throughout the majority of the games, Noire makes a habit of bringing up her Nation’s network praising it and saying how it’s better than the rest as it is cheap and reliable, Noire also takes time out to say the following about her nation’s system “Lastation only does everything”.
When the main characters aren’t praising and comparing consoles, they are of course fighting villains, and since the Neptunia franchise is built around the idea that it’s basically a video game about the video game industry the villains are basically what the industry proceeds to be evil. This means the villains you fight are based on the likes of piracy with one reoccurring villain being named Arfoire after the R4 flashcard that allows you to play pirated games on the DS.
Just like the characters, the humour is very much based around the video game industry with the franchise liking to reference past mistakes or serious events in a humorous way. For example Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory for PlayStation 3 and its remake Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 3 for PlayStation Vita and PC references the 2011 PlayStation Network security breach as Lastation’s network is compromised by an unknown hacker who turns out to be a drag queen robot called Anonydeath, a possible reference to the hacker group Anonymous.
While a good portion of the humour is based around the video game industry, the franchise takes a lot of pride in breaking the fourth wall. There are numerous moments where the like of Neptune will break character and talk about how she is the protagonist and nothing bad can happen to her etc. the ending of each game also breaks the fourth wall with each character taking turns to thank you for playing the game.
3) A willingness to try new things
Now this might seem odd point at first, but Idea Factory does attempt to try new things with the franchise. While you don’t see any major changes in the main series of the games, the spin-off games do show the company’s willingness to try new things. In the three Neptunia spin-offs that are currently available to western audiences, each game has a different battle system. The first spin-off title Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection doesn’t have a battle system as it is an idol management game where you the player attempting to turn the CPUs into idols. The second spin-off Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart not only has a new lead character but also changes the battle system from its strategic setup to a more tactics based system. The final spin-off Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed is a completely different beast from the main series as the game is a hack ‘n’ slash brawler title.
The three battle systems and the themes of the different spin-offs are interesting to see, and it makes one wonder what could Idea Factory could do next? Personally, I wouldn’t mind a Neptunia cooking game spin-off.
4) A lighthearted take on serious situations
In the majority of Neptunia games the world is in serious danger be it via piracy or someone wanting to destroy the world, but in these serious encounters the developers just can’t help but make them seem just a bit less serious than they otherwise should be. A prominent example of this is with the Zerodimension Neptunia Z Twilight of the Desperate CPU story in Megadimension Neptunia VII. In this story the Zerodimension is all but destroyed, humanity has been wiped out and the world is literally falling apart, but in this hellish and desolate world Neptune and Nepgear make the best of it, as Neptune’s unending supply of optimism somehow makes what should be a slog through a bleak destroyed world into a Sunday stroll. Neptune’s constant look on the bright side of life approach to issues manages to make those who still live in the Zerodimension seemingly forget that their world is falling apart, I mean when I played the game there were times when Neptune managed to make me forget how bleak the Zerodimension story was.
5) It doesn’t take itself too seriously
As you might have gathered from the previous four points, the Neptunia franchise doesn’t take itself too seriously. When you strip down the franchise to its most basic point, you can easily see that it is essentially a lighthearted representation of the video game industry. As I pointed out earlier, the characters really hammer the video game industry influence home, while the games are influenced by various aspects of the industry it also likes to have some fun with them. A good example of this is the character K-Sha, a new character that was introduced in Megadimension Neptunia VII and the personification of Konami. How do we know K-Sha is the personification of Konami? Well in the chapter that introduced her she reveals she enjoys hiding and moving around inside a cardboard box, which is, of course, a nod to the Konami published Metal Gear Sold franchise.
When it comes to the villains, the lack of seriousness in their design is clear to see with the franchise having villains that include a drag-queen robot, a middle-aged businessman, and a talking mouse.
Now I know the Neptunia franchise doesn’t always produce the best overall games, but I find they have nice relaxing and colourful charm to them.
For more information on the Neptunia franchise, visit http://ideafintl.com/.
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.