Megadimension Neptunia VIIR is the latestin a long line of revamps for the Neptunia series, following on from the ReBirth lineup for previous games, with Megadimension Neptunia VII the focus of this one. This revamp looks to go a little beyond the usual tweaks, with improved graphics and the addition of an all new VR mode. Does it do enough to bring people back or entice new converts to the church of Nep? Lets take a look
Megadimension Neptunia VIIR picks up from Victory as Nep-Nep goes on another dimension hopping adventure. The game opens with Neptune finding a retro Dreamcast inspired console and hurriedly heads back to the Basilicom for some quality gaming time. Upon sitting down with Nepgear and firing up the console, a vortex opens dragging them both into the Zero dimension. Curiously, there are three dimension adventures in total on this game. Each is different, they even have their own intros & themes making them feel as though they are self-contained mini RPG’s on the same disk, with their own new characters to meet and worlds to explore.
The goofy & joke filled writing is as good as ever with this release, having Neptune as the protagonist always helps as she has the charisma to carry a story during its lulls (she is gamings greatest portag afterall). Most of the story is still delivered in the traditional visual novel style, but we now see in-game cut scenes interspersed amongst the dialogue sequences and they are a little more numerous in this updated release as well. There’s even full anime styled animated sequences at numerous parts of each story, which is good to see from a developer that has a shoe string budget. The headline VR also features during the games story, with special story VR sequences interspersed throughout your playthrough. Neptune refers to it as a ‘VR dimension’, so it all fits into the rest of the game pretty well. These are also played out even if you don’t have VR, so noone misses out on the extra content.
Originally, Neptunia VII was somewhat of a mixed bag on its debut release. There were times when things looked much improved over Ps3 and other times when it just didn’t aside from the resolution bump. With this re-release being built upon Compile Hearts latest engine, all the work done on games since VII have found its way into this. The 2D side of things, dialogue sequences etc, are pretty much unchanged from the previous game and this was expected given the high quality before. It is when it comes to the dungeons & other 3D areas that things have been spruced up. The previous release was uneven in that there was occasions when things would look similar to the Ps3 games, but thankfully this new engine sorts that out. Dungeons are now packing more texture detail alongside environmental effects, reflections, fog, foliage etc, that brings this revamped release up to a similar graphical standard to the latest Neptnuia releases. A little work has been done on character models etc, but not enough to be immediately apparent and its really just the environments you’ll easily notice the improvements.
Another area of the previous release that needed some work was with regards to performance. VII would suffer from some framedrops, usually in expected areas of the game, but most of that is fixed here. Things are generally smoother, even more so if you are running on Pro, and this is one area I’m glad to see sorted. With regards to Ps4 Pro, there doesn’t seem to be any noticeable enhancements and any performance improvements could just be simply down to the Pro’s boost mode – it’s a shame to not have at least a resolution bump. The VR is the games headline feature and it does a good job of providing a sense of presence within the player room. Again we could’ve probably done with a little pro enhancement, sumpersampled resolution would clear up some of the aliasing, but otherwise it looks pretty good in the headset. I did originally have an issue with the VR mode, it would flat out not work stating I was outside the play area, but changing the camera to above the TV fixed the tracking issue.
The gameplay flow in this revamp version is relatively similar to the original, with plenty of dungeon exploring & turn based battles galore. The likes of formations, support systems (boosted by the lily system), EX drive, customisable combo’s and the combination attacks (which allow all party members to attack as one when lined up for some spectacular special moves) all still play out in the same way. A little tweak to the AP system options up some additional options each move even though it doesn’t have as much of an effect during battle as hoped. The biggest overall change would be in the UI overhaul. At first the whole things looks a little convoluted, but once you get to grips with it you begin to appreciate the changes. There’s more information on offer which certainly helps develop a tactical side the encounters and gives plenty of options to mull over.
The overly familiar nature of the gameplay mechanics can hurt the game a little, especially if you’ve recently finished VII, as the few additions only add an extra tactical layer & don’t switch things up much. So what exactly does the VR offer then? Unfortunately anyone expecting to be blasting through the game in VR will be left disappointed. The VR is focused around a ‘player room’ which receives visits from the in-game characters. Some of these are done during the standard game, but there are also additional scenes you gradually unlock for each of the goddesses. To be honest I was expecting a little more myself, the special attacks during battles would look awesome if playable there, but as a Neptunia fan I still enjoy what is on offer in VR.
Whilst the general gameplay flow of Megadimension Neptunia VIIR is similar to it’s predecessor, it’s other areas of the game that has seen more noticeable improvements. A new UI geuinly makes a difference and the graphical upgrade brings the game in line with more recent releases. The headline VR is a little limited, only really offering story segments & hangouts with goddesses, but is enough to please Neptunia fans. To be honest the VR implementation is a bit of a missed opportunity, but the revamped released should offer plenty for newcomers and fans to get the most Nep for their buck with.
Megadimension Neptunia VIIR (Playstation 4/PSVR) - 7/10
- Nep. in VR.
- Noticeable boost to graphics & performance
- Good revamp to the games UI
- Gameplay is still very similar to VII
- VR limited to events
- Doesn’t seem to have any Pro enhancements
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