Neptune is back, and this time with one of the mainline games on the Nintendo Switch console. Originally released for the PlayStation 4 and PC in 2015-2016, this marks the first time any of the mainline games has been released on the Switch.
The game kicks off in the world of Gamindustri during the beginning of the CPU Shift Period; a period in which slander is spread through the net to discredit current CPUs with the intention of replacing them with newcomers. Neptune and her sister attempt to fix a broken video game console, but it doesn’t go in their favor. Pulled into the console’s video game world, they must figure out how to return to their own world while dealing with the difficulties that force themselves onto them.
Megadimension Neptunia VII feels like three short games, each with their own story fused into one. It may seem confusing at first, but it all connects to each other in the end; to sum up the plot of the game and to clear any confusion. Each story is distinctly different and never feels repetitive. They all deliver the humor Neptunia games are respected for and come up to 30-50 hours of gameplay.
Is Playing Previous Neptunia Games Required?
It’s fine to jump straight into Megadimension Neptunia VII without regret. As it’s the first mainline Neptunia game on the Nintendo Switch, accessibility to previous games relies on the consoles you possess. Rest assured that the empty gaps get filled as the story progresses, and characters are reintroduced properly enough to make the events less confusing. Some references made may be enjoyed more from playing previous games, but there will still be a lot of laughs to go around even if you haven’t.
The game has three endings – the bad ending, the ascension ending, and the revival (true) ending. The first two aren’t difficult to trigger; it’s as simple as playing through the story and making a decision on whether to watch four events or skip them. Triggering the true ending is more complex and requires research. The simplest of mistakes can unforgivingly remove it from your grasp. While it’s also possible to achieve on the first playthrough, grinding will be necessary.
The bad ending isn’t too satisfying, and can leave you with a sense of disappointment; it feels as though you’ve failed to properly complete the game. The other two endings are more rewarding, and compensate you with additional dialogues and boss fights. It’s recommended that you aim for either the ascension ending or the true ending for any type of fulfillment. While it’s easy to avoid triggering the bad end, people who rush to the main objective and ignore the distinctive event symbols may just do that.
Starting on the map of the world, you must travel from checkpoint to checkpoint to discover dungeons and partake in events. The chance of being intercepted by monsters is high when progressing through long routes, and entering a dungeon prompts you to its open-world environment.
Histoire takes it upon herself once again to explain the important parts of the game in short tutorials throughout the story and she does it particularly well. Revisiting each is as simple as opening the help screen in the library.
Megadimension Neptunia VII delivers various dungeons for Neptune and her allies to traverse through. Some are small in size while some are larger, but the majority are straightforward and can be completed in under 15 minutes without much effort. Unfortunately, some of the game’s dungeons are lackluster and it shamefully shows; one specific dungeon design, while not complex, suffers from poor visuals, making is difficult to navigate through properly. Some dungeon layouts are also recycled, but coated in new colors to seem new. It’s not all bad, as there are still a lot of dungeons that demonstrate the true beauty of the world and also fit the current state of its demolished counterpart considerably well. References to popular Nintendo titles also exist. There’s even a pipe enemy.
Traveling through dungeons of this game isn’t the best RPG experience. Movement feels choppy, although its minor roughness is something you’ll eventually get used to, to the point where it may not seem troublesome. While this difference is adaptable, it makes a special (optional) dungeon of the game extraordinarily more difficult with the simplest of mistakes. Each death accumulates to the stockpile of frustration and results in rage quitting the dungeon unless you’re determined to clear it.
Enemies appear in the overworld, which is common for an RPG of this age. They are easy to avoid, which makes completing dungeons faster; however, as they are capable of catching up with you, you’re still vulnerable to back attacks. While striking them first gives you an advantage, the game doesn’t always make it easy because of the likely unintended thick invisible layer between the enemy and the weapon, causing a battle before impact. As unfavorable as that may seem, it is tolerable but may take some adjusting to.
The party leader is interchangeable with the variety of characters the game has to offer. It’s always a welcomed addition to rejuvenate dungeon crawling. They each have their own unique sneak attack against overworld enemies and their own set of muttered words when they jump. Their rotated lines are severely lacking, so it’s no surprise if hearing them continuously gets tiresome. Fortunately, the game is magnanimous with its characters, so swapping to someone new or alternatively muting voices in options solves the problem.
Battles can feel slow during the early stages of the game. Thankfully, it does not stay that way. They pick up the more you progress through the story, and feel more appealing when new skills are learned, new weapons are obtained, and acquired combo attacks are set. The real charm of the battle system lies within its combo attacks and formation/coupling team attacks. They differentiate the battle system from other turn-based RPGs with configurable and selective multiple strikes and organized position skills. Dealing combo attacks can be both satisfying and rewarding, with various strike scenes unique to each character. Additionally, each character has their own set of skills, each with a stylish animated scene, which is always a delight to watch repeatedly. If it gets tiring, skipping the scene is always an option. While combo attacks can be powerful depending on the enemy you’re facing, special skills seize the spotlight with their overwhelming power. As they consume SP, there is a limit of how often they can be spammed, keeping balance in mind. The real struggle begins when SP is at a low and enemies hit hard — especially when characters lack ‘area of effect’ attacks.
A majority of the fights are easy, however, as the game isn’t generous with healing points in dungeons, recurring battles are capable of doing even the best of us in. Returning to major checkpoints on the world map is the only sure way of recovering HP/SP, which forces the effective usage of healing items and healing skills. Otherwise, wearisome back and forth trips must be made. Running out of SP with a scarce amount of SP restoring items can be the same as staring death in the face in some of the tougher dungeons. It always feels like a one-time coin flip determines whether each new boss is strong or just buffed up on HP. Some of the bosses are noteworthy for their strength, but not too difficult to overcome with a healthy supply of medicinal items. All of this adds to the little challenge the game has to offer, especially since most fights are easy and enemies are no trouble to avoid during dungeon runs.
On the battlefield, characters can move and use attacks within their range. Formations and couplings provide a sense of strategy to the gameplay, although casual players need not worry too much as it isn’t forced upon them to use the best optimizations to withstand the wrath of enemies. The appearance of some monsters can be deceiving. Large monsters that seem like a boss may not pack quite the punch you thought they would, while tiny beasts can.
One of the key features of Neptunia games is its HDD transformations. Each CPU character has their own unique transformation and a short animated scene plays when activating it, enhancing the experience of battles. It’s a nice touch and doesn’t feel repetitive because of its length. An option to skip the scene is available to those who don’t care for it, catering to both sides.
Megadimension Neptunia VII adds an additional transformation form called NEXT mode. It’s exclusive to the four Goddesses and further adds to their HDD costume. The nature of the battle system makes it onerous to transform all Goddesses in their NEXT form if they haven’t already entered the battle in it. Even if done against a weak boss with a lump sum of HP, there is no real lasting benefit to it.
Fan of previous entries to the series will be happy to know that the Colosseum has made a return, bringing many additional challenges to the table with no penalty. Fight against monsters ranging from weak to strong, and test your wits to see if you’re capable of overcoming them. Each victory carries awesome rewards. Level grinding to grow stronger might be required to overcome the higher-ranked challenges.
Additional content is always pleasing to have and it distracts you from the main story, providing another aspect of the game to be entertained from. Completion of the Colosseum will undoubtedly require a lot of time investment in level grinding to reach the enemy’s levels. As it’s an optional addition, you can play at your own pace and mix between clearing story dungeons and Colosseum challenges.
Good Ol’ Grinding
Not uncommon to RPGs, grinding plays a part in this game. In its simplest form, regular activities such as jumping or running complete character challenges and help improve their stats. Although it’s not the sole method of improving stats, it’s an excellent addition and a unique way of heightening a character’s stats to promote their usage in the overworld.
Money grinding, on the other hand, can get tedious. Finishing quests and defeating groups of monsters are the best sources of money in the game, and some quests will have you going back and forth to find monsters or materials to clear them. It can get exhausting, as a large sum of money will be needed to help complete the objectives of triggering the true ending, not to mention stocking up on battle supplies.
Megadimension Neptunia VII does not overexert itself with fanservice; however, the amount of it in the game cannot be underestimated. From closeup motion underwear shots to bath towel scenes, the game has its fair share of it. Some of the dialogues are sure to please fans who claim anime characters as their waifu. It doesn’t go overboard to discourage those who aren’t interested in such niche content.
There is a decent number of costumes and accessories for characters to equip. Each character has their own costume with a set of color schemes to choose from, but obtaining them all will be a laborious task as it demands money grinding.
Try and Buy
Shops offer a ‘Try and Buy’ feature that lets you test costumes and accessories before purchasing them from the shop. This makes it so that you don’t have to blindly purchase clothing or reset your save file to try each item. Even though it would have been better to implement the feature in the core of the shop, it’s good to at least have it in the game.
Paid Downloadable Content
Paid DLC will not be exclusive to the PS4 and Steam versions of the game. All of the DLC currently available on both platforms will also be available on the Nintendo eShop to purchase. These DLC packs can be purchased individually and add additional weapons, costumes, items, and even playable characters for use. These playable characters include the famous story character, Umio, as well as three other characters — Nepgya, God Eater, and Nitroplus.
The cost of all of the downloadable content comes up to around the full price of the game, which can be discouraging. The party character DLC packs might be the most worthy purchases out of the options. The swimsuit pack is there for people who want another layer of fanservice to battle scenes and the nightwear pack is available for those who wish for the sleepover vibe. The weapons packs aren’t necessarily important unless you want a carefree experience from the start, or wish for whacky-styled weapons from the trial weapons pack.
Upon finishing the game and getting one of its three ends, New Game+ becomes an option to play again and choose what you wish to carry over. It’s possible to use all characters straight from the beginning, as well as carry over other achievements such as money, items, levels, ranks, and much more. Even though all characters are usable at the start, some characters are required at the front of the party for specific events where they play a crucial role. Additional features were added to make speeding through the playthrough less of a pain, which is nice for people who are purely motivated by getting another of the game’s endings.
Despite the above, Megadimension Neptunia VII feels like a game that urges players to try its New Game+ mode. Besides the many optional dungeons and quests that could have been missed in the first playthrough, it gives the opportunity of trying the second route that was not chosen on the first playthrough. It is important to note that even though the game offers two routes to choose between, it does not affect the story in any way; rather, it provides an extra scene and an additional boss battle.
New Game+ does not increase the difficulty of the game; if anything, it makes certain aspects of it even easier. The rage quitting dungeon, Neplunker, is more lenient because of the bonus perks the mode offers returning players. It may appeal to some people who had a tough time before, so that they can finally indulge in conquest. Outside of the hairsplitting dungeon, the only challenge would be the Colosseum. Everything else feels like picking up what was missed, such as getting a different ending or locating all of the optional dungeons.
One of the main attractions of Neptunia games is its female characters. There are lots of them and their appearances are all top of the line and as adorable as ever. The developers have gone the extra mile by adding body motion to their dialogue scenes to add an extra layer of fanservice, visually demonstrating its jiggle physics throughout these scenes. The niche crowd would certainly find it as a delightful addition while it doesn’t distract the uninterested bunch.
The dungeon designs range from plain to mediocre to astonishing. The graphics aren’t the best, but still strive to visually please the eyes. Aside from that, the hard work put into the game for its artwork, character models, animated action scenes, and cinematic cutscenes truly shows.
The game does not come without its performance issues. Loading screens take their fine time to load, lag is noticeable when resuming from a save point in dungeons, and frame rates sometimes take a dip during late-game play. Regardless of these issues, the game can still be fully enjoyed without irritation levels reaching to sky high.
Soundtrack and Voice Acting
The soundtrack is a delight to the ear. The melodies it contains are always a joy to listen, and never become a nuisance regardless of how many times you may enter the same dungeon. They also help amplify battles to make them more enjoyable with the little voice acting during the character or enemy’s turn.
The voice acting rivals the best of the best in terms of the quality of the English voices. Even the crowd who despises it in anime-styled games will likely come to compromise. They work exceptionally well with the characters they’ve been assigned to, and there’s no shortage of it during a majority of the cutscenes in the game. Those who are still not convinced have the convenience of switching to Japanese voice acting.
Voice Acting Extras
Finishing the game will unlock a new option in the character library with additional voice acting to dive into. The playable characters of the game will speak directly to you in their own way to wish you a happy birthday, as well as address you other special occasions. The one that stands out the most is its Rejection, which is entertaining to listen to, considering the male NPCs in the world.
Megadimension Neptunia VII isn’t a serious game in nature. It’s jam-packed with hilarious characters who aren’t afraid of breaking the 4th wall, a dash of fanservice, and a combat system that shines brighter the further you get in the game. Although it’s not going to offer the best dungeon crawling experience, it’s loaded with many hours of gameplay and a thrilling story that holds its own weight.
Megadimension Neptunia VII gets a 7.5/10.