Neptunia and her friends have finally crossed over to the new gen! Megadimension Neptunia VII (it's V-two by the way) has noticeably higher definition graphics and a host of changes and new things so you can save Gameindustri from yet another threat, this time on PS4!
The story for Neptunia VII is separated into three arcs. The first has Neptune and Nepgear meet a new CPU, Uzume, in a desolated dimension. She is a pretty cool new character that uses a megaphone as a weapon. The second arc has the characters split up to deal with new threats from the Gold Third, who are characters that represent four of the third party companies. The final arc ties it all together to its conclusion. It's actually a pretty long game, all things considered.
As would be expected, the game looks nice. It is a step up from the previous iteration of the series. However, what I was not expecting was the new enemies. While there are some returning enemies, there are a lot of new models, like a few different big robots, crabs with sand castle shells and even good old Koitsu. I really like the new enemy models. Some of them even have voice files. Not just monster sounding grunts, there are more human-sounding ones (even from obvious monsters), and actual spoken dialogue.
Battles have also been tweaked from previous iterations. Break attacks are no longer present, so the guard meter isn't there, either. This is actually really nice, since bosses really made use of that to be more of a chore than they should be. Instead, bosses and strong enemies now have multiple health bars, represented by pip marks under the main bar. This was a system used in Fairy Fencer F, and is a good way to show normal damage but have lots of health. Rush attacks hit a more times and help build the EXE meter, while Power are for more damage. The Standard attack is in-between those two, and is what replaced the Break attacks.
Attacks sometimes have a combo trait. If you use the attack when the conditions are filled, it is a guaranteed critical. These are pretty nice since they up your damage, but aren't necessary. I'd still recommending juggling around where you put the different combo attacks to take advantage of it as best you can. There is thankfully no CP system like some previous games, so you can put on a lot of your best moves. Each attack can only be put on once, though. Each weapon allows certain combo moves to be used, but you can fill the unused slots anyway. I'm not too fond of this part of the new combat system. It makes each weapon unique, and probably adds some balance, but a stronger weapon might not actually be better, and that bothers me. I'd be happy if it gets reworked in a future title, though, since it does have promise.
Some enemies have different parts that can be broken off of them. In my opinion, this would have been a good use for the Break attacks. Either way, it is a bit tricky to hit them since you cannot target them directly. You will do damage to them and the enemy if you attack them from the appropriate position to hit the breakable part. For example, if the enemy has a weapon you can break in their right hand, attacking from their right side will also damage the weapon. The system works...alright. As far as I can tell, you need to use an item to see the health of the breakable part, and again to check its progress. It's a bit cumbersome, but I would like to see the idea come back in a future game with some retooling.
|C-Sha knows how to rock, man.|
The world map has also changed. The different dungeons are connected by routes that you move over when travelling to your destination. Battles can occur on the different points. There will be times you must spend money to build the actual route to a given place, which seems a bit unnecessary. I like the ideas, but I don't really think the game needs either of these. The random battles are more annoying than useful, and I'm not convinced the game needed another way to use up money, like Investing. Yes, you can now spend money to unlock more store items, more blueprints to develop and extra event scenes with items.
Scouts also return, but with changes to their function. They are deployed to a dungeon of your choosing for a certain time length. When they return, they might find items, money, a new dungeon, another scout to join, or nothing. It's pretty nice. However, they can also find stronger enemies in dungeons, which is annoying until you can deal with them. If, after finding them, they could be turned off (like the previous blueprint system), that would be better. Scouts at a location will also give it their effects. Some give bonus experience, change the enemies, or even lessen the share penalty for transforming. There are also negative effects, too. You can send multiple to the same location, so definitely take advantage of them as much as possible. At first I sent them one at a time, then I figured out you can send multiple at once (just mark them with the d-pad). I am so glad I figured that out for myself. It made it much faster to send them and keep track of where I sent them to.
With so many changes, did anything stay the same? The item development is largely the same as it has been in previous games, but there seems to be less to make. Also there are no more plans that change the dungeons, as a similar function is on the scouts. The character challenges, which I really liked, are also back. These give you stat bonuses for jumping, being the leader in dungeons, hitting a lot, etc. The final level of some of them give a nice big bonus, which really helps out if you can get them as early as possible. Moving around the dungeons and in battle is largely the same as well.
As mentioned earlier, the game is pretty long. With three complete arcs, the playtime feels higher than previous Neptunia games. There were still several points where I had to grind out some levels, especially during the second arc when you don't always have a healer in your group. There are a few different endings too, so there is a reason to replay the game, which the new game+ will help with.
Like most of the other Neptunia games, Megadimension Neptunia VII was fun for me. There were a lot more changes than I would have expected, and a lot of new enemies, too. I like some of the battle system changes, but some of the others I would like to see reworked into something more fun. The three arc story is pretty neat, and I do like the new characters. It can take awhile to get through the game, longer than other Neptunia games, but still has parts where you will want to grind. I also really enjoy the new references! Fans of the Neptunia franchise should definitely pick up Megadimension Neptunia VII.