What the Goodness? But in VR Sometimes.

Reviewed on PS4 / PSVR

I’ve maintained a love/hate relationship with the Neptunia series since its inception. The satirical nature of the original game on the workings of the video game industry (set in the world of Gamindustri, pronounced the same) and the console wars that raged on between Xbox and PlayStation fans really struck a positive chord with me. Since that generation, however, the console wars have all but faded and the sequels of Neptunia all seemed to decrescendo into subpar work. Granted, there were a few solid spinoffs and enjoyable pieces in each game, but the biting satire has been replaced with silly irony and fan service. Megadimension Neptunia VIIR takes that to a whole new level by introducing virtual reality segments to be viewed via a PSVR, and Idea Factory and Compile Heart attempted to revitalize gameplay by revamping the combat system. Is it enough to save Megadimension Neptunia VII, a game that I both loved and hated, from the score of average reviews?

Megadimension Neptunia VIIR tells the story of Neptune and her friends (and sisters), all various gods of their world. Each represents a different console – Noire is the goddess of Lastation (PlayStation), Blanc is the goddess of Lowee (Wii), and Vert is the goddess of Leanbox (Xbox). In Megadimension, you’re catapulted all over the fabric of time and space and find yourself helping Uzume, the Sega Dreamcast of the Neptunia universe. It’s a game that will last a whole lot of hours and provide a few laughs mixed in with a few uncomfortable scenes.

As far as plot goes, Megadimension Neptunia VIIR (and its original form) features one of the better narratives of the series. Check out my review for the original game to learn more about plot points, as this review will focus more on gameplay and engine updates along with the VR aspect. To that point, there have been a number of noticeable updates that have, in fact, changed the game for the better on multiple counts. The question is: Are they significant enough to be worth your investment?

The first significant update you should notice – assuming you’ve played both versions – is that the in game engine has been updated. Visuals become smoother and clearer thanks to this, and there is less lag overall. These are welcome editions because Neptunia games have never been the tip of the graphical iceberg, and choppiness at the wrong time often allowed enemies to surprise attack me (as opposed to me getting in a symbol attack). Combat, then, sees the most significant updates. The battle system, which was once moving your character and slinging together combos on the fly has become a more strategic endeavor. Each character has attack types (like light, heavy, or technical, so to speak) that you can select in certain orders to create pre-planned combos. Likewise, the positioning of your characters, much like Resonance of Fate, can set up combo possibilities (assuming you have enough action points {AP} to go around). While the system isn’t overly intuitive or innovative compared to other great turn based systems of our day, it certainly is a welcomed improvement over the original iteration. As I said, the combat and engine received the most impactful updates, which leaves me with the VR addition.

For a game advertised around including virtual reality, Megadimension Neptunia VIIR features content for your PSVR in a manner that feels forced and, almost, like a gimmick. If you’re using your PSVR (an accessory that’s not even required to play), you’ll see through the eyes of the Player. Each of the goddesses will occasionally visit you in your room in a fourth wall breaking series of events, but they’re wholly meaningless and serve as overt fan service. With a headset, the visitations are kind of cool, but the visuals are way prettier when viewing on your TV (an obvious statement, but it’s a significant difference). The worst part is, the entire game does not play in VR. Once those VR segments are done, the game goes back in to what I like to call cinema mode on my headset (that is, it looks like you’re playing a game on an enormous theater screen). It’s something I hate, as the screen always slides away in cinema mode, and since the Indians lost the 2016 World Series, I’ve had this negative correlation with the experience. All joking aside, I eventually put down my VR headset for the fact that it wasn’t necessary and hardly added anything worth wearing the gear for.

In all, Megadimension Neptunia VIIR makes enough updates to probably warrant a revisit. The original wasn’t a game I particularly cared for due to various reasons you can read in the original review. While much of the sexualization of lolita-esque characters still exists, the mechanical and gameplay aspects have improved. Fans of the original game will find this to be the perennial version, and newcomers may have a better time adapting to the gameplay system. As a fan of many of Idea Factory and Compile Heart’s work, I’m glad to see a continuation of production and look forward to new things to come.  

 

Megadimension Neptunia VIIR Review
Noticeable improvements in gameplay and frame rateAddition of VR is intriguingValue increases due to quality of life improvements
VR is unnecessary and feels tacked onSexualized and uncomfortable scenes still pervade Sound is still weak, though I found I enjoyed the soundtrack more this time through
71%PS4 / PSVR
Presentation76%
Gameplay80%
Visuals76%
Sound56%
Value65%
Reader Rating 0 Votes
0%

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