“Megadimension Neptunia VII” Review

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Next up is the most recent main entry in the series and first entry on PS4.

Gameplay: 10/10 – The combat in the series has been almost completely overhauled from previous entries in the series. Some things are a little rougher to deal with like having to build the EXE gauge again every fight or not healing on level up, but with changes like chaining attacks for critical damage bonuses or the battles against giant bosses, it’s an overall improvement. Combat flows well and if this is the direction that the combat in the series takes for a few games, I’m totally okay with it. Frustratingly, the game requires two playthroughs to get the platinum trophy due to the requirements for ending splits happening pretty early in the game. However, this is made easier by a number of ability flags you can get at endgame and in new game+, ranging from things like causing enemies to ignore you to increased movement speed to incredible moon jumps in certain dungeon types that allow you to bypass huge chunks of each floor. The only truly frustrating part of getting the platinum trophy was collecting cards. Cards and chocolates can be obtained from specific items, but which card or chocolate you get is random. Cards have the problem of having three rarities, the rarest of which holds four cards at a rate of one in… two thousand or something? I can’t remember anymore, but expect to do a lot of reloading to get the trophy for collecting them all. It’s just a completionist thing, though, and doesn’t affect gameplay at all, so I won’t dock points for it. As the story goes, the game is split into three smaller games. Each one contains its own roughly standalone story, but all three combine into one large, overarching story. The first story takes place in the Zero Dimension, a new world for the series. The second takes place in the usual Hyper Dimension and have four different sub-stories where you control one of the main CPUs. They all come together by the end of this story and it leads directly into the last story. The last story takes place in the Heart Dimension, another new world. The game introduces a new character, Uzume Tennouboshi, AKA CPU Orange Heart. She takes a starring role alongside Neptune and is a wonderful addition to the series. While Plutia/Iris Heart from Victory/R;B3 was a pretty polarizing character, reception to Uzume is overall quite positive. Additionally, the game introduces Gold Third, an ironically named group of four girls representing various major game companies (Square-Enix, Bandai Namco, Capcom, and Konami). They each get a major role during the second story, each one featuring in one CPU’s sub-story. B-Sha, who features in Neptune’s story, has quickly risen through the ranks to become one of my top three characters. Gold Third also features a special transformation like the CPUs, allowing them to fight on even ground with them once they become party members. I really enjoyed the new characters added to the series with this entry and I hope to see them return, even if just as DLC. And on that note, there are a lot of DLC characters with their own stories to play, each representing a developer like Nitro+ or a series like God Eater. Also worth noting is the introduction of NEXT forms for the four main CPUs late in the second story. These forms allow you to transform one level beyond normal CPU form and execute special powerful attacks that aren’t available unless you’re in that form. They’re not easy to use, though, so you don’t usually see them unless the story forces them on you. They also don’t allow for combo attacks with transformed CPUs or Gold Third members as they’re counted as different tier of transformation. A good idea, but the execution needs some improvement in future entries. Stepping back to the story, it manages to take itself seriously without becoming overly dramatic and successfully maintaining the light humor the series is famous for. It’s worth noting that it’s a direct sequel to Victory (and mk2 as a result), so while not required to play other games beforehand, you’ll really appreciate the plot callbacks that are pretty heavily integrated into the story, namely returning characters and plot elements. The game does a good job of trying to summarize the important points as they come up, though. Overall, I think this game is probably the best, plot-wise, since the original game. I’ve had a lot of issues with each game since, especially the remake of the first game, due to the very obvious change in tone as it shifted away from a one-shot industry parody to a series. V-II doesn’t necessarily shift back, but it makes the “new” formula work better than any previous entry has.

Graphics: 10/10 – The series takes its first step into true 1080p HD with this series and things have gone quite well. High res textures and higher poly models that match the original art style look better than the series ever has at 1080p and the game runs at a mostly consistent 60fps (with some framerate drops here and there) on PS4 and a much more consistent rate on PC with a good machine. The series looks better than it ever has. I assume there are some limitations because of the engine, which I think is the same one they’ve been using for ages. I guess the benefit to doing this so late is that it’s recently been announced that the next game in the series (based on the in-series MMO Four Goddesses Online) will be made in Unreal 4, so I think we can expect more improvements in graphics and performance with an engine made for current-gen performance, but the current engine is still chugging along well.

Sound: 10/10 – As usual, the series nails it here. Vocal tracks are great in both languages, the new music tracks are good, etc. The English version still struggles with a getting a complete dub, but that doesn’t reflect on the Japanese track, so no points deducted.

Overall: 10/10 – This is the first 10/10 I’ve given the series since Victory, despite six games appearing since. Like Victory, I feel that the series has hit a new peak in quality with this entry. It may be downhill from here for a bit because of the on-target hits of great new characters, a strong story, a successful gameplay overhaul, and plenty of content. Hopefully I’m surprised and the series goes strong from the next main entry. The future looks pretty bright for the series after this game.

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