There are only so many times you can keep retelling the same story using the same characters over and over again while still keeping things fresh. The Neptunia games mainly deal with anthropomorphized video game consoles as goddesses/anime girls tasked with saving their world from destruction, with different regions of the world representing different video game console worlds (Sega, Xbox, Nintendo, etc.). The girls typically fight each other before uniting and then venture into dungeons together to fight enemies that are loosely based on characters and enemies from other popular video games, yet at the same time it manages to maintain a unique feel and aesthetic quality that has become familiar to its own series. Superdimension uses the exact same formula and game flow from the main Neptunia series, literally copy/pasted, except the usual familiar console heroines take a back seat here and are swapped with newcomers Sega Hard Girls, a group of anthropomorphized Sega consoles into anime girls. Instead of lady Xbox, Nintendo, etc., we get lady Game Gear, Dreamcast, MegaDrive(Sega Genesis), etc. This group of girls is led by heroine ‘IF’ who is tasked with saving history by revisiting previous SEGA eras with her trusty time-traveling motorbike.
Sega Hard Girls is a light novel and anime property very similar to Neptunia games and makes a perfectly fitting addition to the pre-established game series. While new anime girls are added, a lot of familiar characters, environments, assets, music and quality voice work from the main series are still used and the original Neptunia girls are still very much present. As this is a crossover event, the two worlds are connected and anchored by original series anime girl ‘IF’, who is known for gathering knowledge and typically makes appearances in a form of supporting role, offering information about world events. This particular adventure revolves around the Grand Library which holds all the world’s history but if tampered with can cause history to be altered, rewritten or erased. As books begin to vanish, IF is tasked with solving the mystery of vanishing history by revisiting previous Sega eras via her time traveling motorbike ala Back To The Future, along with her mysterious new partner named Segami who she suspects might be connected somehow?
One of the things that I do appreciate about Superdimension is the open world approach. You can select and choose between any number of either fetch quests or story missions in any order you like and can take on a tougher boss when you feel ready, although each mission has a timer next to it causing the mission to disappear once the timer expires, which helps you prioritize your objectives. Revisiting dungeons doesn’t feel as monotonous by utilizing the dash feature which lets you sprint through dungeons and evade enemy combat if you’re just pushing forward to the next story event. Dungeons are also a bit more interesting with the added features of wall climbing and rope crossing.
One issue I’ve had with previous games is item management. There is typically one or two characters in your party with healing skills and restorative items tend to be pricey in item shops so I found myself farming for gold in order to buy items and they became a very precious commodity while traveling through tougher dungeons or preparing for hard boss fights. Superdimension still does this, however, there is also a new gem system to added to combat to help alleviate this. Different colored shaped gems randomly appear during combat that can replenish health, boost combat stats or trigger fever time, which increases attack stats for the entire party for a limited time. This doesn’t seem like much, but in practice, it makes combat a lot easier, especially in the beginning when your party has very low health, defense or lacking special skills. It also saves time from gold farming or restocking trips to the item shop. Another useful feature is the charge attack. Previous games mostly allowed you to use simple attack actions and conserve the more powerful super skill attacks at the cost of magic points, but now there is a special charge attack that each character can perform, with the only disadvantage being that your character has to wait longer for their next turn to attack. It’s a fair trade-off, as it adds a bit more of depth to the combat because giving tougher enemies extra turns might give them an advantage.
As with most Neptunia games I’ve played, the side games usually make for better experiences, adding incremental improvements, features, and amenities to each new release that fix issues I tend to nitpick about which is commendable. Grinding is a very big part of the experience, actually most JRPG experiences, but it’s also fixed feature of most JRPGs so it feels futile to nitpick. They’ve even added a class system, this time, around to freshen up the dungeon diving experiences. The presentation is top notch featuring the usual beautifully crisp anime animations, whimsical art design, sound and voice acting to complete the package.
It’s hard to nitpick on the series too much as it sticks to a JRPG formula that works, making slight improvements and adding new material to each new release, keeping things fresh and worth another play through.
This review is based on a review copy of the PSVita version of Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls by Idea Factory/Compile Heart/Felistella
- Open World
- New Story
- Balancing Issues