By Steve Baltimore / May 13th, 2015
Now that we are all set up, it is time to start a mission. You can select up to two characters at the start of each mission. Some missions will require you use two certain characters in order to complete it. You can switch between the two characters anytime during the mission by hitting down on the D-Pad. Combat is that of your typical button masher beat ’em up. You press Square and Triangle to perform attacks. You can mix the two in combinations to pull off different combos. Most of the gals will fight melee style, up close and personal. However Uni, Rom and Ram will be more ranged fighters. Uni uses a gun and the twins like to light their foes up with fire. Overall, each character is different enough that you will want to mix and match them in many combinations too see whom you like the best.
There are some SP bars on the bottom left corner of screen which you will need to pull off the SP moves. All you have to do perform one is hold down the R trigger until a menu comes up on the right side of the screen, then press the face button of the move you want to perform. Beside each move there will be bars that let you know how many SP bars each move will consume. You can refill these bars by defeating enemies or picking up Nep Bulls that are dropped by defeated foes. If you have played a Neptunia game before, you will recognize all the moves by their names. These can be mapped to any of the face buttons other than Square, and you earn different moves later on. Though only three can be used at a time.
The other bar on the bottom left is the EXE Drive gauge. This will fill up as you defeat enemies or your costumes is broken. If you take too much damage, your costume will break, causing the gauge to fill almost halfway. When the gauge is about half full you can active HDD mode for a big boost in stats. The gauge will deplete as long as you’re in HDD mode. Your costume can be broken in this form, as well, filling the gauge giving you more time. In an odd twist, defeating enemies will not fill the gauge of the character on screen, but, rather, the off-screen character. This makes the combat more interesting, as you will sometimes have to work out a strategy to defeat tougher bosses.
While I thought the combat was very fluid and a lot of fun, the enemy AI can be really dumb at times. You can stand there and stare at them, and it will be a while before they decide to attack you. Also, if you are hit with an attack from a decently strong monster, it will do a ton of damage. This throws things a little out of balance at times, but mostly is only an issue when you’re completely surrounded.
I had a lot of fun with title. The combat is great, the music and voice acting are top notch and the story is simply fantastic. There are a few minor issues with the combat, but they don’t take away from the overall fun here. It took me around 16 hours to complete the story mode. From there, you will unlock two additional play modes – the Gamindustri Gauntlet, which is a one-on-one tournament, and the Neptral Tower. In addition to that, there will be some more story missions to play, as well. So, there is a ton of content here. For the $39.99 price tag, this is a must for series fans and folks the enjoy a good beat ’em up.
Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
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