Megadimension Neptunia VII Review

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Idea Factory and Compile Heart really do have their fanbase in mind through every step of the way onto the Nintendo Switch. There’s been some amazing success with titles like Moero Chronicles Hyper and Mary Skelter 2 being incredibly solid and competent ports, due mostly in part to the games being set in a great first-person dungeon crawling perspective and, as such, not needing as much TLC coming to the Switch. Fairy Fencer and Arc of Alchemist were a bit rougher, with Fairy Fencer being one of the most difficult ones in terms of the game, struggling to render the performance and general movement of the characters, but damn they were there. And Super Neptunia RPG was a fun adventure, even if it was a bit offbeat, though my issues with the controls sometimes turned me off from the overall experience. Still, IF and CH keep going, and they wanted to bring the biggest and the best Neptunia game to date to the Switch. So, stepping up to the plate for ambition and fan service, Nintendo fans can now rejoice at the surprisingly playable, good looking version of Megadimension Neptunia VII.

Megadimension Neptunia VII (pronounced as “Victory 2”) is one of the most ambitious of the titles regarding the universe of Nep, Blanc, Noire and Vert. In this game, all the Console Patrol Units and the Candidates are pulled into a massive battle that stretches across three dimensions, with the fate of many more hanging in the balance. Though the game world of Gameindustri is currently dealing with the CPU Shift period (in which the main goddesses may be dethroned and replaced by new CPUs), their leaders have vanished into an area known as the Zero Dimension. There, the lone CPU left, Uzume Tennouboshi, is quietly raging against the Dark CPUs, evil masters who seek to enslave and annihilate the entire dimension. Through three chapters, we see Neptunia and her cohorts work together to attempt some salvation for Uzume, though the battle will, ultimately, be brought home, and the goddesses of Gameindustri must unite in order to save not only the Zero Dimension but also their own.

It should be noted that, like other Neptunia games, each of the characters is an anthropomorphic representation of a video game console, and Uzume, who is also called Orange Heart when she transforms, is the avatar of the Sega Dreamcast. The Dreamcast is, far and away, the best damn console I ever owned and still own, and I hope and pray every day that Sega goes hard on their “cash in on nostalgia” business model and makes the Dreamcast Mini. Uzume is a fascinating and lovable character, who has a very no-nonsense exterior as her HDD personality (the one she assumes when transforming) is much more idyllic, happy and positive. This girl sincerely just wants the world to be alright, and she has an undertone of wanting to be cool (a leftover attribute of the Dreamcast itself), but she kicks ass just as good as the rest of the Goddesses, so kudos to her. I’m also really glad she ended up appearing in Sega Hard Girls and 4 Goddesses Online, so thank you Idea Factory.

Alright, down to the meat of it all. Megadimension Neptunia VII is a JRPG, peppered heavily with visual novel elements of storytelling and a fair amount of branchwork and available choices for the second chapter as far as how the game unfolds. In fact, due to the way the game is handled, I often believe that the Neptunia series is THE JRPGs to beat and to look too. This isn’t because they’re inherently better than other JRPGS out there, far from it. I believe this because the games are constructed in a way where they are fully aware and conscious of the tropes, the flaws and the excessive points used and made within JRPGs, and capitalize on such. The fact that Neptunia herself sings a little song when levelling up that is directly copied from the old Dragon Quest level up tune is just one of a thousand points of 4th wall breaking and dead-to-audience jokes that occur in the life cycle of the game, which is a pretty sizable chunk. Still, if you are fully unaware of what JRPGs are, here’s what you can look forward to: grinding levels in turn-based combat, exploring zones for hidden treasure chests and secret panels, running a series of quests both main and side, and customizing your characters in equipment and skillsets through careful purchase and maintenance. Later on, as the plot unfolds further and you get deeper into more bizarre situations, you’ll be able to choose different members of your team as well, though you never get to mix and match quite as much as you might like.

The reason that Megadimension Neptunia VII is such an ambitious project to port to the Switch is due to the massive size and scope of the game itself and the fact that it’s already seen an illustrious release on PC and other consoles prior to Nintendo’s version. As such, certain factors need to be considered, allocated for, and then forgiven when you remember where you are. For example, you will get some frame drops and lags that we saw within the Fairy Fencer F port, though arguably less and generally smoother action. Additionally, even some cut scenes don’t look as nice as they did on the Playstation 4, and we all understand this because, hint, that machine is way more powerful than the Switch, especially a Switch in handheld mode. It’s this double standard that we must contend with, as JRPG fans who also are Switch enthusiasts, that we hold first party, in house games for Nintendo too much higher standards than we do games coming in from others. Astral Chain and Bayonetta 2 proved that we can have gorgeous graphics and anime action on the Switch without a serious decrease in quality, and that’s a big nod to Platinum and its staying power. In the same vein, I look at the slightly less colourful, less dynamic Neptune and Purple Heart transformations, and the minor dip in wow factor during boss battles, and I have to say “this is alright.” Ghostlight did a heavy job here, and they did a much better job than other titles in the past, so credit where credit is due: they’re figuring out the Switch well. You need to look at the game and decide if you want to play it the full glory way or the convenient way, and that will help you decide which console you embark upon. If you choose the Switch, you accept the drop in some aspects.

Which is pretty reasonable terms, given the amount of quality content leaking out of Megadimension Neptunia VII. As a Neptunia game, this is the high water mark of the series. The voice work is top-notch in English and in Japanese, with the dialogue between moments being presented in visual novel style antics, leading to a further slip into the world that Idea Factory has created and lovingly gives us periodically. There’s some genuine moments of sisterhood and tenderness between the CPUs and their Candidates, as well as the burgeoning friendship with Uzume and Neptune, but for the most part, it’s over-the-top dramatic moments that are purposely hilarious to help remind everyone that this is just a game (as though you needed reminding). The simple actions of playing the game (walking around, jumping, hitting things) unlock achievements and new bonuses to your characters: if you take the time to jump about ten times before even entering your first fight, Neptune’s tech stat will be higher, allowing for more spell-based combat to occur. These are some silly ideas that seem borderline absurd, but works so well for the Gameindustri world. The game is literally about moe representations of video game consoles, with the main heroine being a console that never really existed, but is beloved here, within this universe. One of the main reasons that Megadimension has been ported to the Switch before the others is due to strange continuity issues within the earlier titles, plus the fact that VII handles all old information with grace and aplomb and is a solid starting point even though it’s technically so far along in the series.

Also, the Megadimension Neptunia VII combat system is a freaking work of art. A dynamic landscape during turn based strategy, you have so many levels of attacks for each character with each enemy. Further levels and better weapons allow you to combo things up, adding different layers to your simple base attack even from the very beginning. Moving along, you add the ability to coordinate with other characters, using your positioning on the battlefield to activate multiple attacks as a unified front (and dealing massive damage in the process). On top of that, there are still transformations, including the new NEXT mode that’s exclusively for the core CPUs to experience a brand new form and some seriously dope attacks. There’s also Giant Battles where you see the Goddesses achieve a size and monstrosity that puts them on par with the Evangelions of a totally different franchise. I love being able to dive into the combat for everything, mostly because the game has never incorporated invisible random encounters, the bane of every JRPG I’ve ever played, and one trope they mercifully leave on the side of the road far, far away from this game.

As for fan service…look, you know it’s there. Even in Super Neptunia there were panty shots if you looked hard enough, and we weren’t really looking hard at all. The number of DLC costumes for Megadimension Neptunia VII is insane, though once you dress everyone up like Super Sonico it’s hard to play this game in public anymore. The characters all range from cute to sexy, Vert is always put on display due to her assets, and we all know what’s going on here. I think I’m just curious if Nintendo Switch owners will be as willing to drop a dollar at a time as PC and PS4 fans were, especially since Million Arthur WILL be available after being delisted some time ago. This is one of those areas in the game where I could give a critical eye to everything, but the long and the short of it is “if you were considering buying it, you should just buy it” because the DLC weapons will be hilariously unbalanced, the costumes are eye candy and it’s all in the name of good fun to keep the grind going, to max out your characters and become the beast we all know that you want to become when it comes to postgame. And you can even get some Trillion costumes to really emphasize your godhood!

There’s such a fun, borderline stupid joy to the Neptunia series, and Megadimension Neptunia VII is the best damn one of the bunch. I will never not jump at an opportunity to play these games: the combat is always fun, the voice acting and dialogue make it a joy to watch, and it is such a flexible system that gives so much to players looking to challenge themselves or merely burn through that you can’t help but find a way to play you like. This port is leagues better than I thought it would be, with some necessary drops in textures and animation to keep it from being a hot mess, and it’s acceptable, and even fantastic, at times. You’ve got hours upon hours of story and gameplay to indulge, and the only limit is how long you want to humour Neptune and the world at large in your quest to save the dimensions. We got a long summer ahead: you should come cool down with some hot CPUs.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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Megadimension Neptunia VII Review
  • Gameplay - 8/10
    8/10
  • Graphics - 8/10
    8/10
  • Sound - 8/10
    8/10
  • Replay Value - 8/10
    8/10
User Review
0 (0 votes)
Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)
Overall
8/10

Summary

It’s a game about a living Sega console that you can now play on a portable Nintendo console; this is a fantastic time to be alive.


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