Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Compile Heart, Felistella
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Platform: PS Vita, PS TV
Tested on: PS TV

Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls – Review

Site Score
7.7
Good: Witty, Fun, Simple
Bad: Clunky controls in dungeons, Characters don't know each other anymore
User Score
8.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Another year passes and another iteration of ‘Neptune/Neptunia’ hits the shelves. Even though many games have been released in this particular franchise, most being J-RPGs, other being brawlers, it always feels a bit like coming home once more. This time we get treated to very familiar gameplay mechanics, with a few new additions, but there’s one humongous difference, Neptunia takes the backseat in this game, and IF becomes the new protagonist. Refreshing? Quite so.

Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls

Story

We return to Gamindustri once again, albeit in a seemingly different timeline. The story starts off with IF driving through a part of the land that has become a true wasteland in which normal people dare not venture. As IF is a true adventurer she decides to properly explore the barren lands in search of a legendary library, which supposedly holds all the world’s secrets. Nonetheless, when finally reaching said legendary place, a girl suddenly falls from the sky. Even though IF is always looking for thrills, she has her heart in the right place and takes care of the girl, and even brings her along inside, hoping she can rest up there.

When entering the library, it’s clear that someone is still looking after the building and that ‘person’ just so happens to be Histoire, who is pretty much the ‘queen mom’ of the goddesses in the previous games, but for some reason, she seems to have a different role in this title. She allows IF to explore the library, if she promises not to steal or damage any of the books, as they hold significant value. Close after, Histoire notices some books are gone, and after initially accusing IF, who proved she had no part in the theft of the items, Histoire explains that these are no ordinary books. These books hold the essence of history itself, and when they are destroyed, history will be altered, as the events penned down will no longer be true. From here on out you head out on a journey through time, in the different ‘Sega’ generations in order to find the disturbance, fix it, or recover the stolen books.

It’s fun to see IF take the lead in this game, but if you have played the previous games you’ll notice that this title situates itself in a seemingly alternate timeline, as Neptune doesn’t know IF and vice versa. Overall this game feels like a standalone story, as former bonds are unknown and this is probably due to the addition of the Sega Hard Girls in this title, which proves to be a very entertaining change of pace. Enjoy a lighthearted story, with many Sega references.

Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls 1

Graphics

Graphically the Neptune games always stick to nearly the same visuals, namely a 3D rendered portion for the dungeons, and a 2D visual novel-like presentation for the dialogue sections. The overworld is done by simple static pictures, which mark the different interactable characters or mission locations.

The 3D part of the game is done in a fairly pleasant style, where the characters immediately pop out, as they are rendered better than the surroundings. You’ll be treated to proper 3D equivalents of the manga/anime versions of the cast, and rather loveable looking enemies. Nonetheless, the franchise keeps suffering from the same flaws as the dungeons in which you find yourself more than once are pretty much void of any life. The areas lack clutter to spice things up, and the backgrounds are fairly bland. The only signs of life you’ll come across are the enemies that block your path. One thing rather surprised us, namely the fact that this game seems to be using dungeons from the previous games, which makes it feel as if the designers were trying to cut corners.

As always, the visual novel sequences are bright, colorful and allow you to see the characters in a near perfect form. Small animations give these otherwise static scenes a bit of extra life, making them pleasant to browse through, as they show sufficient variation. Perhaps a few extra poses would have been nice, as the characters’ bodies remain a bit too static from time to time.

Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls 2

Sound

The sound quality is probably one of the biggest motivational features of the franchise, as it is always taken care of with the utmost care. These games are nearly always voiced for the most part, and both the English and Japanese cast do a superb job. Overacting tends to be a big part of this series, but even then, it’s simply pleasant and/or adorable to listen to.

Overall the soundtrack proves to be catchy and upbeat, and the combat music gets you pumped up properly. Perhaps some tunes are being looped a bit too much hither and thither, but everything remains rather fun to listen to, never truly becoming bothersome, even during longer gaming sessions.

Gameplay

Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls is, just like many of its predecessors, a rather old school J-RPG, with a few original quirks dabbed over the entire game. You’ll be crawling through dungeons most of the time, while getting enough story content mingled in-between in order to create a sufficient drive to keep plowing through the many combat sequences. Overall things prove to be straightforward, but there are a few items that will take some time getting used to.

Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls 3

As this game is all about time travel, you’ll be going back and forth from the library, to one of the periods in which you’ll have to do quests. These quests all have a certain impact on history, but some more than others, thus sometimes you’ll have to choose wisely which quests should be completed first. Of course most of the time you’ll be able to do them all in the set timeframe, but if you should try to tackle ones that are too hard at first, they might go ‘lost’ if you decide to retire from your attempt. As just stated, there are time limits for most quests, which means that all quests have a counter, which will reduce by one, when you aim to complete another quest first. All in all, it’s a simple matter of planning, and/or deciding if you also want to try less important missions.

There is no world to freely roam in, in the Neptune games, thus you’ll go from a map based world to dungeons and vice versa all the time. This means that you’ll also revisit some of the same dungeons over and over again, to complete different quests or to farm some extra experience. There’s often one goal, with a boss zone, or you’ll have to complete certain objectives, such as gathering items or killing a specific amount of monsters. The latter roam freely around the dungeon, and you can decide to attack them before the actual combat sequence begins, which will give you the advantage. If you fail your fist strike, you will have to start combat with the enemy taking their turns first.

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Combat itself is also quite straightforward, as you, and your enemy, all take turns in dishing out damage, defending or using skills. You’ll have a meter which shows how many actions you have left, and if you properly time your actions and end your turn before the gauge turns red, you’ll probably be able to have a second turn a lot faster than when you completely use all of your action points. Your characters can move around in a small circular area, in order to reach (some) if your attackers, but moving also costs a bit of said action points. Skills use SP, which don’t replenish after each battle, but after a fixed amount of normal actions over the course of several battles. Again, this part of the game works smoothly if you properly plan your actions and moves. You’ll notice that some characters handle a bit differently than others, and that classes can be switched, even if the characters are already diverse enough.

Moving around in dungeons is actually very clunky and doesn’t feel intuitive at all. The developers now added a ‘jump’ feature which feels equally clumsy, thus not really adding any value. As stated earlier, you can ‘charge’ enemy units by attacking them, but the hit detection in combination with the horrid movement controls makes this a rather frustrating imprecise mechanic.

Conclusion

If you have played any of the previous iterations, Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls will surely be up your alley as well. You’ll be presented with a cast of familiar cute ladies, as well as a hefty amount of new additional faces. Combat feels familiar, the story is catchy and for once, you’ll have someone else in the lead of the story at hand. Even though movement might feel a bit clunky and certain aspects can end up becoming fairly repetitive, this game is a solid lighthearted J-RPG.

Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls 5

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Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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