By Steve Baltimore / October 2nd, 2017
|Title||Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online|
|Developer||Compile Heart, Tamsoft|
|Publisher||Idea Factory International|
|Release Date||October 10th, 2017|
I’ve been a huge fan of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series since day one. I can never get enough of the antics of the Goddesses because they play off each other so well. The series has come a long way since then and includes many different spin off titles from various genres. These include two beat ’em ups and one strategy game, and with the release of Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online now we have an Action RPG. I was very stoked when Idea Factory International announced this one for localization earlier this year, but the question is, does it live up to my hype?
The story begins as our favorite Goddesses are all selected to participate in an online Beta for the famous 4 Goddesses Online MMO. Upon arriving in this new online world the gals meet up with their guide, Bouquet. Vert immediately tries to claim her for a little sister, but that’s another story altogether. The girls are then told they must revive the Goddesses of this world to stop the Demon King from awakening and destroying the land. Little do they know this will lead to a far grander adventure for not only them, but their sisters as well.
This story really highlights what makes the Neptunia franchise great: the characters. When you pick up one of the games in this series you always have a good time no matter what kind of crazy plot is going on. This is because the localization team at Idea Factory does an amazing job bringing these characters to life and making their personalities really shine. I had a smile on my face from start to finish and couldn’t wait to trigger the next event to see what kind of craziness was gonna happen next.
This is the first game in the series to use the Unreal Engine and I have to say the team pulled it off pretty well. The character models are more detailed than ever, so your favorite CPU or Candidate looks even more adorable and bad ass than ever. The environments all look sharp and have a fair amount of detail. From deep caves to lava filled volcanoes, there is a lot of variety here. The enemy models are all new as well. The Dogoos and Turtles we’ve slayed thousands of over the years have never looked better! Particle effects are used when magical and special attacks are preformed. This looks really cool, but I think this contributes to the frame dropping issues this game has. It runs for the most part at 60 FPS, but every once in a while it drops a few frames and stutters. This didn’t happen to me too often, but it did happen a few times when I needed to block an attack and that just wasn’t cool.
The music for this game is different than what you would find in other titles in the series. It actually sounds like music you would find in a traditional RPG: medieval style dungeon music with a modern flair. There are even some tracks that blend the franchise’s normal electric style with the classic style and it works out great. I really loved this soundtrack. This is probably one of my favorite OSTs in the franchise, but I am a sucker for this kind of music. The Japanese voice cast all returns to reprise the characters we know and love. Most of the English cast returned as well except for Noire’s voice actress Erin Fitzgerald, who was replaced with Erica Mendez, the voice of Eryn in Fairy Fencer F. Honestly I think Erica did a fine job as Noire, in fact I hardly noticed the change most of the time, and when I did it was for the better.
The gameplay here is that of a basic Action RPG. You have normal attacks that are mapped to the square button and pressing it multiple times will do a combo. Holding R1 and pressing any of the four face buttons will perform a special move or magic spell. You can map up to eight of these in the camp menu via two movesets. You can switch between these movesets at any time by pressing up on and down on the D-Pad. Using these moves will consume a set amount of SP. This SP will regenerate slowly as you land normal attacks on enemies or if you use an item to recover it. The rest of the top triggers will allow you to block, dodge, and lock on to enemies. The lock on isn’t that important for melee combat but it really helps out when aiming magic attacks or dash moves. Items are mapped to the triangle button and you can set up to five items for quick use in the camp menu. You can scroll through these items easily on the field by using left and right on the D-pad.
Since all of the girls have different classes this time around they all fight very differently. Neptune is a Paladin, so she can dash in to do a decent amount of melee damage as well as use magic attacks and healing. Vert is an Enchantress, meaning she is the only character with skills that can give elemental properties to your weapons to exploit enemy weaknesses. Uni and Nepgear are ranged fighters with their Gunner skills and magic respectively. Blanc takes on a support role as a Cleric, and she is a party essential when healing is needed. Noire as the Dark Knight has tons of attacking power, and last but not least Rom and Ram become front line fighters with their Samurai and Ninja classes. Party members and character you control can be switched at any point during the stage so you can experiment with the best party and characters to fit your play style. Note that members not in the active party will not gain any experience points. I was not really impressed by this since running members in and out of your party just so they don’t fall behind is a chore, but there are some levels with monsters that give out huge amounts of exp. So it’s pretty easy to catch everyone up to the same level.
Enemies will have an HP and Guard gauge displayed when you lock on to them. Most normal foes will fall long before their guard is broken, but the boss monsters are a totally different story. You will have to work toward breaking their guard before you can do any real damage to them. I found magic attacks generally work the best at doing this, but there are some melee attacks that bust it pretty quickly as well. Just be sure to bring plenty of items to restore your SP, as you will need them. There is no real penalty for losing to a boss other than getting sent back to town and having to try the stage over again.
Wishuel is the only town found in this world and it will act as your world hub. Here you can upgrade your weapons and armor, take on quests, buy sundries, get new costumes and accessories, and much more. Doing the guild quest is what progresses the story, so if no events are happening just simply complete more quests and the story will start moving forward. Going to the cathedral will let you save your progress or pay for a Prayer. Prayers will grant you certain bonuses on the next stage depending on how much you want to spend. Lower priced ones will give 10% more attack and defense on the stage, while others will give you up to 20% or increase items drops,
The character customization here has really been amped up from the previous series titles Tamsoft has worked on. There are a ton of accessories that can be equipped on several different body parts. These include the characters’ backs, arms, hands, legs and more. They can be resized, reshaped, rotated, set to where they follow behind your character, or even rotate on them. Each gal can equip up to five accessories and that’s not even counting the different costumes for each of the gals that come in different colors. You can spend a ton of time just making your Goddess or Candidate of choice look amazing.
I have to say I had a ton of fun during my time with Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online. The combat is fast and fun, I can switch party members and playable characters on the fly, the story and writing is top notch, and there’s even some online quests to do with friends. The framerate issue isn’t a huge deal, but it happens at some inopportune times. Some might say the gameplay is simple here, and while I would agree to a point, I think all of the characters playing so differently balances that out. This one clocks in at about 20 hours for the main quest, but there are tons of post game quests and goodies to unlock. If you’re a fan of the Neputnia series, at the $50 price tag this game is well worth it. If you are looking for a good place to jump into the series this is a good place to start. Neptune’s fourth wall breaking comes in handy for catching new players up to speed and I think everyone can have a good time with Goddesses in this crazy virtual world.
Review Copy provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Compile Heartcyberdimension neptunia - 4 goddesses onlineIdea Factory InternatiaonalNeptuneTamsoft