Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online (PC) Review

As is the case with Idea Factory's other PC releases, I sat down and played a few hours of Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online for review.  It plays pretty much the same as the PS4 version I reviewed, so I'll reiterate a few of those details for anyone that hasn't read my review of that version.  I was surprised to see that was just in November, then I realized that November was five months ago.  It feels like not that long, but was almost half a year.  WHAT EVEN IS TIME ANYMORE?!

Ok, that was weird, but we're back in the club.  4 Goddesses Online is an online MMO that the Neptunia CPUs and CPU candidates are playing.  As such, craziness happens in the game and threatens to destroy reality...or maybe just the game itself.  Not ones to let a game they enjoy be ruined, the girls band together and set it right.

The town looks much like the towns in many other Neptunia games.  There's the picture of the town, with several different places you can select, like shops and the quest guild.  Besides housing cameos from characters not participating in the fighting this time, these places also serve vital functions, such as buying items, fortifying equipment, or taking on quests for extra money.  Main scenario and extra skits are clearly labeled which I always appreciate.  Sometimes you have to do random quests to further the story, which feels aimless.

Battles are real-time action, and much more akin to the Tagmension spin-offs than the main series RPGs.  You can attack, jump, dodge, block, use healing items, lock-on to enemies, use special moves, and after a certain point, power up.  Since I played the PS4 version, I was quicker to acclimate to the controls, which take some getting used to.  Locking on to an enemy and attacking them works fine, it's the movement that feels a little off to me.  Moving in a different direction isn't just a straight switch.  Instead, you turn toward that direction.  For large moves, it doesn't bother me, but is a pain when trying to make minute movements, such as when you are trying to grab a chest or gathering point.  Like most minor gripes, it's not a deal breaker, but bears mentioning.

Combat is fast-paced, but it does remind me of a lot of MMOs, for better or worse.  A lot of the smaller enemies die off pretty quickly with your four party members hitting them, but larger ones can take quite a beating.  You and your party will hit it for a few seconds, then dodge or block its attack, rinse and repeat, sprinkling in some special moves, until it dies, then move on to the next threat.  Dodging is still inferior to blocking.  Blocking at the right time not only nullifies damage, but gives you a counter attack.  The timing on it is lenient, which offsets the strict timing of when you can block.  Holding it before you can block (like in the middle of an attack, for example) won't put you in the block stance immediately when you can.  You have to actually press the button when you can block, or it won't work.  Knowing this from last time, I can watch out for it, but it's something new players will want to learn.

I'm still using my i7-4790 PC with 16GB of RAM and Windows 10.  The game looked good, maybe a bit better than the PS4 version.  I didn't view them side by side to see for sure, though.  The only real strange thing was the in-game cut-scenes.  Not the still pictures with the dialogue, but the ones that use the battle graphics for scenes.  The ones I saw early on looked like a slightly lower frame rate.  It may be a setting, as I didn't really mess with those.  Overall, the game has some small issues, but is still enjoyable.  I would recommend Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online for Neptunia fans that like the action games in the series.

The Good:
The story is pretty good, and the MMO qualities of the game feel accurate.

The Bad:
Small issues with movement and blocking.  Plus the dodge isn't very useful.

The SaHD:
Did I use this opportunity to run a different party, or even play as a different character?  Nope, I stuck with Noire.  She's really good in this game.

(Review code for Cyberdimension Neptunia was received from the publisher)

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