Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online (PC) review
Neptunia spin-off titles are well known for mixing up the established formula and well Cyberdimension Neptunia is no exception, the game’s developers, Tamsoft, have reintroduced a hack ‘n’ slash combat system, implemented online co-op multiplayer and have decided to move some of the series’ beloved side-characters to a more background position.
Jumping straight into the story, Cyberdimension Neptunia is the shortest game in the franchise to date with the story taking about 13-14 hours to complete. This short story length means that Cyberdimension Neptunia is less bogged down with unnecessary filler. In terms of the game’s plot the four CPUs and four CPU candidates: Neptune, Noire, Blanc, Vert, Nepgear, Uni, Rom and Ram are all invited to beta test the latest instalment of Gamidustri’s most popular MMORPG, 4 Goddesses Online. To test out the game the CPUs and CPU candidates must complete the game’s new story, which involves collecting four sacred treasures to free the four Goddesses, who look like the CPUs transformed states, and then defeat the Demon King Jester. The story is rather straight-forward, which is why running alongside the main story are subplots involving the characters of Kiria and Black Cat Princess, along with someone attempting to hack into 4 Goddesses Online and break the game.
Overall, while Cyberdimension Neptunia’s story starts out strong the addition of multiple and at times boring side-plots only really exist to pad the game’s runtime, on top of that the main villain is barely fleshed out with the Demon King Jester only appearing on screen once, and that is just before the final battle.
Moving onto the characters, the game is limited to twelve playable characters, which are the four CPUs, CPU candidates and the four goddesses. The traditional side characters of IF, Compa and other anthropomorphised video game developers and publishers are relegated to shop owners who occasionally appear in visual novel style conversations.
The main cast of characters have their traditional personalities, Neptune breaks the fourth wall, Noire is a closet cosplayer and Vert is still hung up on looking for a little sister. Speaking of Vert, her character gets the most development in the game not only because she is the most proficient with MMORPGs, but also because of her longing for a sister, which sees her dote on the character of Bouquet, the game’s AI assistant.
The game also sees the introduction of two new characters, Kiria (yes, it is a reference to Kirito from Sword Art Online) and Black Cat Princess. Both these characters are incredibly annoying with Black Cat Princess having an I’m better than everyone attitude and Kiria passively doing whatever Black Cat Princess tells her to do.
As I said earlier the villains are forgettable, the Demon King Jester is a poorly developed villain whose only real appearance is the final fight to finish the story, honestly, if the game didn’t say he was the main villain I would have thought he was just another dungeon boss. The hacker mastermind who also plays a villainous role in the game is slightly better than the Demon King as her motivations and actions are better explained.
Moving onto gameplay, Cyberdimension Neptunia has a similar gameplay structure to previous Neptunia titles, by this I mean the gameplay consists of going to the hub town, getting quests, exploring a dungeon and returning to the hub to find a new quest or use the shops and then find the next quest.
Now, what makes Cyberdimension Neptunia standout out amongst the other Neptunia titles is the hack ‘n’ slash combat, awakening skill, item management, improved cosmetic options, gem system and online co-op multiplayer.
The item management aspect of Cyberdimension Neptunia has players place up to five items into their quick slot bar for easy use during gameplay. This is a handy tool for those who want to heal up or restore their SP quickly, although if you are like me you might accidentally press the wrong button and use some of the items in your quick slot bar.
In regards to the cosmetic options, you can add costumes and equip up to five accessories. The accessories include glasses, butterfly wings and elf ears. The accessories are what make the cosmetic option interesting as you can place them automatically or manually decide where they should be placed by using x, y, and z coordinates.
The gem system allows you to add up to three modifiers to each of your characters, these modifiers range from increasing experience earned to increasing one of your character’s main stats.
The co-op mode allows up to four players to team up and attempt one of thirty plus co-op only missions these missions are a great way to get money and powerful rewards. While the idea of the mode is fun, the mode itself has serious issues from rubber banding to general lag for all players excluding the host. If you are looking at playing the co-op mode right now I would recommend passing on it until the developers find a way to fix the connection issues.
Moving onto the combat, Cyberdimension Neptunia departs from the series’ traditional turn-based combat in favour of hack ‘n’ slash combat. Combat in the game involves a 4 person party with you controlling the leader and your computer controlled allies following the tactics you set before them. The hack ‘n’ slash combat really helps bring out your character’s power as you can take down weak enemies with a quick flurry of attacks.
While combat is hack ‘n’ slash heavy you are able to use up to 8 skills at any one time, these skills are broken into two skill sheet that contains four skills each. These skills are great for dealing out large amounts of ranged and melee damage, and of course allowing you to heal your allies by using SP instead of healing potions.
Since Cyberdimension Neptunia is set within a game, the traditional CPU transformation abilities of the main cast are not available, and so to accommodate for this Cyberdimension Neptunia has the awakening gauge. This gauge, which fills up as you do damage or perform a perfect guard, allows you to do more damage when activated and if the activate gauge is filled three or more times over activating the gauge again will allow you to perform a skill similar to that of the EXE attacks from the main line Neptunia games.
Before I finish talking about the combat I want to bring up the difficulty and block mechanic. Combat in Cyberdimension Neptunia is incredibly easy, as I found myself being able to trigger a perfect guard, a block that sees your character takes zero damage and perform an automatic counter-attack, without any issue. The ease of use of the block ability made it almost impossible for me to die. Overall, the difficulty of the combat is determined by just how well you can block or how fast you can level up.
Now before reaching my conclusion let’s look at the graphics and audio. In terms of graphics, the unreal 4 engine really shines with incredibly well-rendered models and terrain. It is also worth noting that the models look at their best during 3D cutscenes, unfortunately, the game has barely a handful of 3D cutscenes. In terms of audio, Cyberdimension Neptunia is just as great as its predecessors with excellent English voice over and music.
Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online offers great hack ‘n’ slash combat alongside a fun if not predictable story. However, the game is let down by a buggy co-op mode and one-note characters.
|+ Fast flowing combat||– Co-op mode is a bit buggy|
|+ Graphics and audio|
|Tamsoft||Idea Factory International||JRPG||12+||PS4, PC||May 5, 2017 (PS4)
Febuary 27, 2018 (PC)
For more information on Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online, visit http://store.steampowered.com/app/632350/Cyberdimension_Neptunia_4_Goddesses_Online___CYBER_DIMENSION_NEPTUNE__ONLINE/
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.