Megadimension Neptunia VIIR (PlayStation 4) Review

By Renan Fontes 23.04.2018

Review for Megadimension Neptunia VIIR on PlayStation 4

With the exception of 2016, the Neptunia franchise has seen at least one release per year since its inception in 2008. While a good chunk of said releases are spin-off titles, the series has managed to pump out four main games along with corresponding remakes typically released not terribly long after the originals. Developed just two years after the base game, Megadimension Neptunia VIIR is the latest remake in the franchise, reimagining the fourth main title in the series with some minor VR elements. Cubed3's first look at this was less than stellar, but perhaps the RPG can find some new love with its VR mechanics.

It almost seems wrong to push VR at the front and centre of Megadimension Neptunia VIIR considering how inconsequential the mechanic truly is to the overall experience. VR is utilised to customise the Player's Room, a sort of first-person home base, and to interact with characters one-on-one, but, as far as the gameplay is concerned, VR is virtually non-present. The meat of this remains a traditional RPG experience, although that's not to say the remake isn't without a few noticeable improvements.

Screenshot for Megadimension Neptunia VIIR on PlayStation 4

Along with smoother graphics leading to a much better looking experience, the battle system has seen a few minor tweaks for the remake. While the spirit of the combat is the same with characters positioning themselves on the field to attack and chaining combos together against enemies, the new changes made add a new layer of strategy to each battle. Combos take SP to use now, are selected prior to each turn, each party member's actions are now limited by action points, and a new counter mechanic has been introduced to deal some damage during enemy phases.

Given the rather low-key nature of the additions, it should go without saying that the battle system is mostly as is, albeit a bit more thought-provoking. Having to manage SP in order to use combos is a smart change, along with limiting character actions through action points. The counter mechanic is by far the most useful even as it trades away a turn in order to use a counter skill against an enemy in the event that said character countering gets attacked during the enemy phase. Other than that, though, the improvements are mainly all quality of life and fail to drastically change the overall experience.

Screenshot for Megadimension Neptunia VIIR on PlayStation 4

The main issue with the battle system stems from the fact that it may be too convoluted now. All the additions make for a more engaging RPG, but the philosophy of a complex combat system clashes with the more traditional JRPG design, especially when taking the frequency of random battles into account. In an RPG where, quite frankly, grinding is inevitable, an in-depth, turn-based battle system starts to drag the game out. That said, though, the complexity works well for boss fights where the new mechanics get a chance to shine in the right setting. Bosses are better with a bit of meat to them.

Writing-wise, Megadimension Neptunia VIIR's script is about what's to be expected at this point in the franchise's run: character-driven humour, with the occasional videogame reference and perhaps a moment or two for genuine growth. The story is charming in its own right, but it does falter from an inability to properly establish stakes and tension. This isn't the kind of narrative that necessarily needs a high stakes plot, but the humour alone isn't enough to carry the rather lengthy story. The script feels noticeably lost, and a big reason why may be because this is the 15th release in the series in just eight years.

Screenshot for Megadimension Neptunia VIIR on PlayStation 4

It is worth noting that VIIR's nature as a remake is quite questionable at best. While it certainly brings with it aesthetic and mechanical improvements, it's still a remake of a game that was released a mere two years ago. There simply hasn't been enough time to reflect on the title and re-imagine it in a way that a "remake" would imply. In reality, this is more of an updated re-release. Is that inherently bad? No, not at all, but it is an issue with Neptunia as a whole. Main games are released followed by remakes shortly after. The biggest issue of all, however, is the fact that the turnaround time truly did not allow for Megadimension Neptunia VIIR's kinks to be ironed out. Even as a re-release, there's more that could have been done to rebalance the gameplay in order to tone down the grinding. As is, it is an improvement, but it's not as much of an improvement as it could have been.

Screenshot for Megadimension Neptunia VIIR on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

As tends to be the case with the franchise, Megadimension Neptunia VIIR makes for a solid entry in the series for pre-existing fans, but may alienate newcomers expecting a more engaging battle system or plot. The script's humour certainly does a good job at keeping the cast mostly likeable, and the references directed at the games industry is charming enough, yet nothing ever truly comes together to deliver a gripping narrative, satirical or not. Battles are conceptually interesting thanks to the new mechanics, along with an emphasis placed on character placement, which works quite well for boss fights, but starts to lose its lustre in smaller scale battles. Megadimension Neptunia VIIR isn't a bad RPG, but a slow battle system and a focus on grinding hardly make it a great one.

Developer

Compile Heart

Publisher

Idea Factory

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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