Thursday, February 11, 2016

Megadimension Neptunia VII - "Hyperdimension Neptunia G" (PS4)

I know it's been a while since I promised the follow-up reviews from this amazing Neptunia trilogy, but I do have some valid excuses. The fact of the matter is it's taking longer than normal, because the game is much larger in scale than I anticipated. It's like reviewing three separate games in one go. There's a lot to do, and a lot I've yet to discover. The fact that Idea Factory continues to release game expanding DLC has me paying attention to even more in-game offerings. Currently, as it stands, I find myself deep into the second portion of the game with enough knowledge to keep you in the know. This portion of the game, as it were is known as "Hyperdimension Neptunia G", and like the first game in the series it follows the Gamindustri gals' encounters during the Gameindustri shift period. It also takes places directly after the events surrounding the discovery of the mysterious console, and Uzume in the previous story. There are of course new features introduced as well as four different branching stories involving specifically paired off Gameindustri CPUs, and their sister CPU Candidates. Each of which is playable in any order from the start.

In the all inclusive game industry parody plot that is "Hyperdimension Neptunia G" problems hit from all sides as the Gameindustri CPUs try to recover their shares from the previous influential loss. Like other Neptunia stories before it the plot herein mirrors what's wrong with our own real world gaming industry, but focuses this time on the outside influences instead. Things like software piracy, harmful journalistic opinions, and biased media coverage are all addressed in some form or fashion. To combat said threat in the latest story arch the CPUs, and their CPU Sister Candidates ultimately devise a plan to hold a Gameindustri-wide celebration in which to celebrate the Gameindustri itself. They think this act of celebration, and mutual kindness will help build shares as well as fan faith, and strengthen the bond of their loyal supporters while doing so. In a fluke event though the CPUs hold an exhibition match to see which CPU would come out on top. If you've played previous Neptunia games you'll know that these all out brawls between the CPUs happen frequently, for one reason or another.

This time around though the CPUs' boastful antics catch the attention of some mystery guests who have their eyes set on the challenge as well. These girly yet dominant individuals with a CPU aura announce themselves as being the "Golden Third". After their surprise introduction, and their own boastful introduction the Golden Third, and the CPUs battle with an unexpected result. In a moments passing, after the CPUs fall to the might of their new adversaries the previous nations' CPUs (Neptune, Vert, Blanc, Noire ...) awake from the trauma to find things in the Gameindustri have completely changed. The Golden Third had not only beaten them in the exhibition match, but they had become the nation rulers as well. To figure things out Neptune, Noire, Blanc, Vert, and their CPU Sister Candidates each make their way to their respective Gameindustri Basilicom (home base) in hopes of finding out what happened. This is where the second portion of the game truly begins ...

Prior to all these disclosed story elements coming into play you will be given a choice to choose one of four different character specific story paths via CPU card panels. Your choices include Neptune, Noire & Uni, Rom & Ram, and Vert & Nepgear. Depending on what pairing you choose you will experience the story from a different perspective, each of which begins with the CPUs'/Sister Candidates' discovery of the problem at hand, and their dealings with those characters who are involved in the latest Gameindustri disaster. Along with the usual cast you'll encounter, and get to play as one member of the Golden Third per branching story arch. Speaking of the Golden Third it's party members mirror that of the real world gaming industry's major developers. There's B-Sha which represents Bandai Namco, K-Sha which represents Konami, C-Sha which represents Capcom, and S-Sha which represents Square Enix. As you interact with the Golden Third, and play as them in-game you'll come to learn their place in the game's lore, and why exactly it is that they did what they did.

When it comes to new game specific features this follow-up portion of "Megadimension Neptunia VII" has a few new tricks up it's sleeves, so-to-speak. Along with the previously mentioned character, and map development/management comes Gameindustry "Investments", "Scouts", and other character/plot specific items that were not previously available. When it comes to the "Investments" you can open the Gameindustri up beyond it's original state by investing in three different Gameindustri focal points including that of "Commerce", "Industry", and "Public Relations". Each of which is kept track of in the "Investment Status" chart. To level up an investment stat you merely need to apply earned credit towards each level block. Once you level up enough in a certain area it'll open up new in-game features to you.

As far as the "Scouts" menu option is concerned you will be able to send out Dengeki, and Famitsu to a stage to boost various effects (treasures, credits earned ...), and to farm for items. It's not a necessity in the way of features, but it helps you to make your time spent in-game more lucrative. Other new features are tied specifically to character plot paths, and affect only the pair of characters involved. In Vert's and Nepgear's story arch, for example you'll find that some enemies will drop special healing items that come with an undisclosed prize, or item. These items are actually collectible character cards. As of now that is the most unique of the extras that I have stumbled across during my playthrough. I'm sure there are plenty of more surprises in store though ...

Well, my readers ... that about sums up "Hyperdimension Neptunia G". I hope I didn't spoil too much for you, and that you feel inclined to experience the game for yourself! Be sure to stay tuned to this blog for my last review which will be coming up as soon as I can get to it! ...

The Verdict ...

As before, I stick to my initial verdict. This game is very much worth having. It's quality JRPG content with more bang for your buck. While the physical copy may be more difficult to find at this point I feel it's still worth owning in digital form regardless. The added fact that Idea Factory has released, and may release more free DLC makes this game purchase a smart buy. If you own the game be sure to pick up the free Japanese voice-overs, the raised lvl.300 cap, and the Coliseum add-ons! Also know that there's character costume DLC available for a small price, if you are into that sort of thing!

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