The Neptunia series has been around for a long time now. The first game, titled Hyperdimension Neptunia, developed by the Idea Factory made its debut in Japan in 2010. Since then the series has touched multiple platforms with several sequels and spinoffs and it’s nice to see that the series has arrived on the switch, first with Super Neptunia RPG and now Megadimension Neptunia V-II. One of the most appealing aspects of this franchise’s story resides in its metaphor of the gaming industry, how it draws parallels and parodies real world gaming subjects. The long running theme throughout the franchise development revolves around a “console war” between four nations (consoles) that make up the world of “Gamindustri”. Planeptune, Lastation, Lowee and Leanbox, these four nations and their goddesses battle for supremacy, to be known as the greatest of all consoles.
Megadimension Neptunia V-II continues the story of Neptune, the leader of Planeptune, and her sister Nepgear. They have found themselves in a time of uncertainty as rumours of new consoles have emerged. Before they have a chance to prepare for the coming struggles, they are both transported to a strange dimension known as Dimension Zero.
In dimension Zero you will spend a lot of time trawling through various locations known as dungeons, these locations are infested with local monsters that are desperate for a good whacking. Dungeons are where you do the tough work and so you need to know how to fight! Combat in Megadimension Neptunia VII is turn-based with positioning and formation mechanics, which means playing strategically will help you win those tougher fights. Taking control of a character at the beginning of the fight allows you to move her within a limited radius, starting a standard attack on your foe opens a combo which you can follow up with any attack that you have equipped to A, Y or X. Combos can be edited once you unlock more attacks and you can have a sequence of up to 5 attacks once you are a high enough level. As well as regular combo attacks, you can use offensive and defensive skills which cost SP. Combining combo attacks, skills and strategy are the basic rotation of the battle system.
I mentioned positioning earlier and for good reason, as you progress through the opening stages of the game you will unlock EXE skills. These skills can only be activated when the party is in a certain position and are also dependent on how many people you have in your party, these skills are really important for dealing bigger damage numbers so try to think strategically wherever possible. Another very important aspect of combat is the ability to transform your characters, this is unlocked as you progress through the story, there are two stages to transformations and each stage gives a bonus in stats. I found combat to be a great deal of fun; the story feeds you a new mechanic every so often so you are encouraged to experiment with what works best for you. I particularly like the combo customisation, think of this similar to games like Tales of Vesperia and Tales of Berseria, where you can customise your chain artes.
The campaign length is around 35 hours, but there is a fair bit of side content so you can expect around 60-70 hours to complete it all. DLC will be available upon launch that offers new characters and side stories too! At times I struggled with the campaign because of the pacing. There is a great deal of visual novel style scenes weaved in between gameplay segments and I got a little fatigued. However, nearly all the main questline related scenes are voice acted, which were delivered superbly.
Speaking of voice acting, I was impressed to see options for Japanese and English V0s which I’ve spent time with, and they are both great additions, particularly Melissa Fahn who voices Neptune for the English dub. The dialogue is dripping in humour, innuendo and parody and it’s never better than when there is a voice behind those cheeky one liners. This is something I appreciated most about the game, I was convinced the actresses had a good time with their characters. This point only serves to highlight what is missing from the scenes with no VOs, I understand that this is a huge game and to expect every line to be voiced is unrealistic but those scenes in comparison felt flat to me. Outside of dialogue scenes, Neptune and her allies will deliver joyful one-liners and cheer each other on and these are all fully voiced too, I particularly enjoy jumping around the map while Neptune gleefully shouts “BOINNNNGGG!” and “Like a Kangaroo!”. Aren’t we all having a great time?
Visually Megadimension Neptunia is about what you would expect from an Anime style JRPG, beautiful artwork, an expanded colour palette and kaleidoscopic light shows from battle animations. I am a big fan of the JRPG genre for that reason, I’ll take bright and vibrant colours over the greys and black of most modern AAA games. Where the game shines is, surprisingly, in its visual novel style scenes, the artwork looks fantastic. The characters are beautifully crafted, although these scenes are mostly static the cast do pull over the top “anime” facial expressions and move around occasionally. On paper, this does not sound like much, but when it’s all added together, the end result is a rather satisfying experience. Elsewhere things don’t look so great, littered around the main questline are full animation scenes and unfortunately, these scenes look rather dated and actually caused some frame rate issues. I also noticed some frame rate drops when loading into a battle and going into the celebration sequence at the end of a fight, It doesn’t last for very long but those few short moments can be quite jarring. Dungeons are mostly bland, although there are a variety of dungeons to explore with unique aesthetics. And now we really do have to address it, Fan service…… Is it a JRPG if it doesn’t have fan service? As mentioned earlier, there is a ton and a half of innuendo dropped into regular conversation, it is all very much tongue-in-cheek stuff, but there are a scattering of stills in dialogue scenes that you might not want your Mum/Wife/Partner/Dog to see, so do bear that in mind!
Overall, I had a great time with Megadimension Neptunia VII. If you like JRPGs then you will like this one. It does all the things a good JRPG should do. Some story sequences can feel like a drag (especially those without voice acting). The game runs well on the switch for the most part; I experienced frame rate drops when loading in some areas, but these never impede battle. It is not perfect; the combat can get repetitive, poor pacing in parts of the story and frame rate issues degrade the overall quality of the title. For those new to the series the game offers a brief introduction into its universe and characters, obviously there are still a lot of events that haven’t been covered, but I do believe that the game can be picked up by a new player and still be enjoyed. My favourite aspect of the game is its light-hearted, humorous nature. Combined with great voice acting I could create a connection with Neptune and her friends. This fact pushed me forward, when I felt frustrated with an onslaught of dialogue, the connection I had with those characters made me want to finish the game. I think that is what a game is supposed to do, this one in particular is a breath of fresh air, those funny little quips made me smile on more than one occasion, I laughed out loud at some jokes and mostly smiled at the rest.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Megadimension Neptunia VII Review
Gameplay - 7/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 7/10
User Review( votes)
Where the game shines is, surprisingly, in its visual novel style scenes, the artwork looks fantastic.