Pudding, oppai, eggplants, shower scenes, dogoo’s, and CPU’s… yes, we’re talking about a ‘new’ Neptunia entry, as you may have guessed from the Eggplant inclusion. I say ‘new’ but in reality, I’m taking a look at Megadimension Neptunia VII (V2, not 7), a port of the PS4 and Steam game from five years ago, which has just landed on the Nintendo Switch. It’s a strange situation as this appears to be a port of the original game and not the remastered Megadimension Neptunia VIIR which we reviewed a few years back, for some reason.
So, as a fan of the franchise, yet never having actually played the original Megadimension Neptunia VII or the remastered/enhanced version, I’m taking a fresh look at the game on Nintendo’s console without comparing it to previous versions of this particular game.
Megadimension Neptunia VII is rather unique in the sense that it’s fractioned into three different stories…
Zero Dimension Neptunia Z: Twilight of the Desperate CPU.
The world of Gamindustri is in a ‘CPU Shift Period’, which is where the public can vote for new CPU Candidates. Whilst touring the city, Neptune comes across a game system that seems to be busted which she brings to her sister, Nepgear – who is a prodigy with technology, in hopes of getting it fixed. Little did they know that when activated it transports them to an alternate dimension; the Zero Dimension – an alternative wasteland version of their Gamindustri, inhabited by monsters. The sisters must return to their world!
Alongside the companions you meet and help along the way, you’ll need to find fragments of the Share Crystals so you can gain enough power to return home! Without spoilers, a later event leads to the separation of the sisters where Neptune returns home and Nepgear remains behind. The shift of the story now becomes Neptunia needing to find and repair an ancient artifact in hopes of bringing Nepgear home, and Nepgear is to aid in the saving of the Zero Dimension!
Hyper Dimension Neptunia G: The Golden Leaders, Reconstructors of Gamindustri.
So, you saved Nepgear and the Zero Dimension is now stable, time to relax… except there is still the matter of the CPU Shift Period! Rumours, slander, media, internet and other means of public brainwashing have caused Shares for the Gamindustri CPUs to disappear at a frightening rate. To overcome this the CPUs band together to host a festival concluded with a friendly tournament. This tournament is cut short with the interruption from the ‘Gold Third’ who overpower the CPUs with little effort. The world is engulfed with a blinding light that leads to the CPUs being unconscious for a few days’ time only to awaken to an odd phenomenon. This mysterious white light though has caused everyone to not only forget all the CPU’s but the four-member team of Gold Third now rules Gamindustri. It is now up to you to restore Gamindustri to what it once formerly was!
Heart Dimension Neptunia H: Trilogy Finale: Into Legend.
With what would normally encompass enough to create a game, there’s yet another element! A wormhole opens over Gamindustri, which the four CPU’s took care of… or so they thought! As they’re fixing the wormhole, two of the Candidates, Nepgear and Uni, spy on them from afar. This spying allows them to take witness in a kidnapping of the four CPUs! The candidates must now, with the help of Histoire and some ‘mysterious’ friends, rescue the CPUs. This rescue mission will tie in all three stories together and give rise to a final ending; to which there is a normal ending and a true ending!
I’ve been playing the Neptunia series since Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 on the PS3, so I’ve borne witness to many of the titles and different gameplay they execute, so let’s get this out of the way first… Megadimension Neptunia VII is (obviously) a Neptune title, meaning there will always be certain expectations to be met – VII met them in every manner. The character bonding and development is here in full force, the witty humour and adult settings are present throughout, and the common bullying and banter between the characters is there. Basically, everything is here in it’s fullest potential. Yes, that includes bath scenes and fan service as well – I know why we’re all really here…
The strongest point of this title is clearly the story and, as I said above, it has A LOT of content! I heavily summarised it to avoid spoilers as there are so many twists, turns, surprises, and exciting content that keeps you engrossed within the game throughout! That isn’t to say the battles or dungeons aren’t strong either, they all have valid pros and cons to them. Unfortunately, the delivery of mechanics is slightly haphazard as the first arc is almost entirely linear with “go-to point A” missions and “do this task”, with a lack of real sub-quests and whatnot. You’ll need to invest quite a bit of time and make it to the 2nd arc before you get to really appreciate this title.
Megadimension Neptunia VII is a JRPG, almost everyone and their grandma knows of the series by now, and that means it’s customary to be encompassed by dungeons. VII has a plethora of different dungeons that you’ll come across, all of which is commonplace in Neptunia games; factories, forests, cities, caverns, etc. Being a newer entry, there are a few mechanics that were added that I quite enjoyed, such as the overworld dungeon info telling you of enemy spawns and treasures remaining, so no more scouring the in-game glossaries! Actual dungeon exploring has some touched up tidbits too, such as destructible environments – mind you, it’s not a big part, but it is there.
Dungeon size and complexity again remain the same from previous entries; multiple pathways, teleports, multiple floors, labyrinth-like pathways, etc. If you’ve played any prior entries in this series, you’ll come to expect roughly the same amount of detail to the dungeons with a couple of new mechanics that aren’t too defining. On the one hand, it feels comfortable and recognisable, but on the other hand, being this far into the series and on the Switch, you’d expect it to be more visually appealing; dungeon design feels very geometric, similar colour schemes, layouts, etc. This is tacked onto the fact that some dungeons get repeat uses through the different arcs, making it feel like lazy design as well.
I will mention a neat tidbit that may be overlooked though, stairs are marked on the map and a visible field marker as well; the markers though change colour from orange to blue, depending on if you came from that set of stairs, preventing accidentally backtracking – which was a huge help. The devil does remain in the detail though, if you’re scouring for treasures in dungeons, you’ll come across invisible walls. Before you say, ‘of course there are!’ I don’t mean boundaries at the edge of the map, I’m talking about random tiles in dungeons you can’t walk over, small objects you can’t jump over, a wall that blocks your path, etc. It felt like poor level design and really nagged at me as it’s apparent from the beginning of the game.
The battle system that Megadimension Neptunia VII utilises makes up for some of the lacking dungeon design, tenfold! It’s not the traditional turn-based, but more like turn-based with field movement and positioning, which fans of the franchise will come to know. Every character utilises different combo set-ups for their regular attacks; standard, power, and rush, all of which have different uses. You’ll have skills that’ll come in offensive or supportive roles to help turn the tides of battle. Every skill has one of a number of ‘area of effect’ attack patterns such as a single enemy, vertical line, horizontal line, circular field, fan-shaped field, etc. You must plan how to use each attack to damage the most enemies at once, or simply pay attention to the enemies elements and attack their weaknesses. The strategic element is further expanded with certain characters performing a combo attack if they share the same form and are in the correct positioning.
It’s common knowledge about the CPU transformations in Neptunia games, where they change into their HDD form, but VII introduces a new ‘Next Form’! This ‘Next Form’ is an upgraded HDD transformation, almost like reaching a 2nd or 3rd Saiyan form. Be mindful though as Next Form is only accessible by the four main CPU’s. Making use of your attack patterns, skills, character positioning, and combos is essential to not only winning but enjoying the expansive nature of VII’s battle system. This is quite essential to staying alive, which is an important aspect because yes, it’s commonplace to not want to die in RPG’s but levelling up in this title doesn’t restore your health or mana which became rather annoying as it’s a universally well-known mechanic in RPG’s nowadays.
The enemies in Megadimension Neputnia VII are your general run-of-the-mill Neptunia enemies. What this means is you’ll see a lot of re-hashed enemies; plummets, ghosts, pixel invaders, 8-bit robots, etc. The crux of the enemy design falls into the unique battles and event battles as they’re unique to this title with only a handful of enemies too, so don’t come into this expecting a lush new world of enemies. This isn’t to say that they haven’t revamped some systems to make the enemies more appealing though, namely mini-bosses or bosses though.
You’ll bear witness to an annoying mechanic, a barrier which nullifies most of the damage until you destroy the barrier. This adds a newfound strategy to gameplay mechanics as you’ll have to figure out how to destroy the said barriers if you care to win, albeit winning isn’t particularly easy either. Once the barrier is down, or even some barrier-less ones, a lot of stronger opponents you come across now have multiple health bars which will add a steep difficulty curve to your battles (ironed out though, nothing extreme like the Re;Birth series). My favourite addition is probably the Giant Battles though, as you’re forced to utilise positioning and techniques to take down your opponents. This allows you to really understand the mechanics and come to know the depth of the battling system.
Megadimension Neptunia VII suffers from pacing though, in the sense of how everything is executed. As you travel between maps and cities, which isn’t done by selecting map locations like prior entries – it’s more akin to travelling on a board game, you’ll get your first taste of what could’ve been polished in this game. Seldomly do the nodes contain story events and occasionally there’ll be a random overworld battle, but you get a neat feature to build paths and explore the different dimensions.
A lot of in-game actions and events can be skipped or sped up using the shoulder button but if I’m always holding it, what’s the point? Shouldn’t it have just been better paced? Then at times, shoulder buttons don’t help – enemies’ deaths are a great example. I am unsure why, but whenever you defeat an enemy there is about a 1 to 2-second delay before they de-spawn from the battle which really gets annoying, especially when you try to target enemies. Also, some of the gameplay feels repetitious in the sense of ‘Déjà vu’ for a few times, looking at you 2nd arc.
Megadimension Neptunia VII has that genuine nostalgic ‘Neptunia’ feel we’ve all come to love and expect. Progression is growth though and for the few alterations VII makes to the formula, it isn’t enough to say it’s a big enough step forward in the right direction. The goofy slapstick characters, fan service, humour, and the strong narrative is still prevalent, but it feels more like a continuation rather than a breath of fresh air for the Neptunia franchise. Despite all that, being able to pick up and play it on the go makes it all worth it.
Megadimension Neptunia VII£26.99
- - In-depth combat
- - New transformations
- - Witty and humorous
- - Long game length
- - New battle mechanics to the Neptunia series
- - Basic dungeon design
- - Lacklustre side-quests
- - Frame Rate issues at times
- - Invisible Walls
- - Various delays in some features, like enemy despawning, and poor overall pacing