Hyperdimension Neptunia & Senran Kagura are two franchises that have been around for a while now on various systems, but have never really crossed paths much. That finally comes to an end now as we have this crossover which creates a whole new dimension in the Neptunia universe for the girls of said franchise and the shinobi of Senran Kagura to cross swords. Crossover to end all crossovers? Let’s take a look.
Gamninjustri is a place where all manner of ninja’s gather, with constant competition between the various Daimyos to prove which school is the most dominant. Two nations in particular, home of the Compa Style and Honeypa Style, rise in this turbulent time and fight to something of a stalemate. As they fight to their latest stalemate, a mechanical army of ninja’s descends onto the world, conquering the smaller nations in an instant, as their leader Yoh Gamer announces the beginning of the Great NINJA War to decide Gamninjustri’s strongest school.
Usually with the spin-offs our goddesses are usually thrown out to another dimension and can find themselves beta testing MMO’s or attending school for example. The same applies here as our ninjafied goddesses take on some of the girls from Senran Kagura as each tries to prove the superiority of their nations Shinobi school in a quest for domination. It all fits perfectly together, plenty of typical protagonist goodness from Nep, but those first couple of chapters almost kill things. There’s a LOT of dialogue, more than gameplay it seems within the first couple of hours, but it does thankfully open up if you get past it as plenty of gameplay is up for grabs once missions etc are available at the shrine.
The switch from turn based to frantic action hasn’t seen the usual high points of a Nep presentation suffer. The character models are of the usual high quality, with decent voice work to back them up, and there’s been a refinement to the detail on the usual fodder you’ll face. I’d say the real highlight would be special effects that are more flamboyant than usual and can create quit the light show in a big skirmish.
Another highlight for the game, from the audio side of things is the BGM, sporting some new ninja style Nep tunes alongside some that you’ll recognise from the Senran Kagura series. Downsides? Not for me, the anime aesthetic does allow for a steady framerate to go with the action, but it does also mean a lack of fine detail and more modern effects that could leave some wanting for a PlayStation 4 release.
As is usually the case when it comes to a Nep spin-off, the turns based gameplay of the mainline series is ditched for something else – and here we have another action RPG like some of the previous games. You’ll generally be slashing your way through enemies, whilst dodging & countering to get behind for extra damage, with the secondary attack now being for throwing out some shuriken’s of sorts that can have various effects applied. The game does try to lay it on with different ninja arts etc. But you really don’t need to make much use of these, outside of healing or stat boosting during a boss fight, as the general fodder are easy enough. This is due to the main crux of your attacks coming from recognisable special moves, 4 in total, that can be accessed at any time. These are powered by a stamina of sorts that recharges from attacks etc. Meaning you always have these powerful attacks on hand. When you need a break from the fighting, you can always go for some meditation on a peach, which can get you some bonus items, XP, abilities etc. If you have the patience.
There’s a decent roster of characters you’ll recognise and some new additions for this spin-off, but it is a bit disappointing that there’s not much of a difference in how the characters feel to play. Outside of the visual impact, each doesn’t feel much different – likely due to gameplay being the same for everyone and not much difference outside of weapon type. You can craft these kind of spirit gems that give different boosts and lay them out differently for each character, or you can apply the same loadout to each, but that only goes so far. Its a shame there wasn’t an attempt to use the differing schools setup of the story to have a different take on the action RPG gameplay for each set of characters – or introduce more of the hack & slash elements from the likes of Neptunia U and the Senran Kagura series itself.
As a fan of both Hyperdimension Neptunia & Senran Kagura, this should really be the crossover to end all crossovers. The story is good fun, graphics are nice and the ninja designs for the Nep cast are good, but it just feels a bit lacking with the gameplay. Don’t get me wrong, the gameplay itself is decent, it’s mainly the lack of variety within the roster of how each character feels to play, surprisingly enough, that could probably turn people off the game early. Fans of either series will likely get the most out of this crossover, for everyone else there is competent action RPG here that could serve as an introduction to either franchise for newcomers.
Not quite the crossover to end all crossovers, but a good spin-off to either franchise.