History is a mess, a mysterious girl has fallen from the sky, and all you can find is a library about history! IF takes the lead in the latest installment in the Neptunia series of games, Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls!
Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls takes place in some sort of alternate universe in which the Sega Hard Girls spent centuries facing off against the Goddesses, ultimately resulting in the world getting destroyed. Sounds like a peachy place, doesn’t it? One day while IF was going around she spots (and catches) a girl mysteriously falling from the sky. After a bunch of stuff happens, it turns out that history is actually being eaten and IF and Segami – the mysterious girl – need to go and investigate. This sends them into the various Sega console eras in which they’ll meet each of the Sega Hard Girls and Goddesses… and end up with Neptune stuck in IF’s bike.
The biggest thing I can say about Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls is that if you’ve played previous Neptunia games you’ve already pretty much played this one. Ignoring all the issues I have with time travel plots, the dialogue in the game is your typical Neptunia fare. It doesn’t help that you’ll also be going through areas you’ve seen plenty of times before, maybe with a slightly different colour scheme or an obstacle thrown in the way here or there.
The game isn’t totally like the previous Neptunia games, though a lot is definitely very copy-paste. Superdimension Neptune goes for a more “action” vibe on the field, achieved by allowing you to run, jump, climb, and crawl through or over various objects. Unfortunately, it becomes pretty evident that they aren’t used to working on action games all that much. The jumping and platforming feels really stiff, which turns into a pretty bad thing when you’re faced with platforms in which you need to actually have well timed jumps.
Superdimension Neptune features a fairly “open” storyline – you can choose which of the four eras you want to go to and can freely change between them. There is a pseudo time limit to these quests, and the game describes this as being how long until the Time Eater eats all of that history. You can see how long you have left before a quest vanishes through Histoire’s mission menu. Unfortunately, you can only accept one quest at a time, and ALL of your side missions/quests are included in here. That means that all of those quests you see to go kill X you can only take on one at a time and have to go back and forth to get the new ones. I really wish that these had excluded from that limit. Luckily this isn’t a hard limit, and all you need to do to restore these quests into the menu is to go fight the Time Eater and either win or lose against him.
Superdimension Neptune suffers from some serious hitbox issues when you’re trying to get a pre-emptive on an enemy, an issue that will likely cause you to have a lot of battles turn into surprise attacks… and surprise attacks can turn deadly pretty fast. It also doesn’t help that if you try and start a pre-emptive, your character will take another couple steps forward if you tried to do so while already moving. Considering previous games actually had fairly decently working pre-emptive encounter methods, I’m not really sure WHAT went wrong here that has caused these issues.
Battles, like most of the game, play out pretty similarly to previous titles. You can get through most encounters simply by spamming the X button. The difference here is that a couple new elements have been added into combat, even though you still ultimately go into doing just the same things. As you battle, a Fever Gauge will increase on the right side of the screen. Once this gauge hits 100%, a star will appear on the screen. Once you jump into this star, be prepared to be blinded as a giant “FEVER!” overlay comes up on the screen. In this mode you will be able to attack without the enemies getting a turn, and you’ll also be able to use special EXE Attacks that do a ton of damage and take approximately ~30% of the gauge.
Another piece of combat that will play a big role is your turn limit. Every action, including movement after having stopped to attack (or at the start of the turn), will use up a bit of this gauge. Once it makes it into the red, you will no longer be able to perform any actions and your turn will end. Thanks to this, you can now actually attack multiple enemies in a single turn if the one you had been targeting dies before your turn ends. How much of this gauge you use will also determine how long it will take until your next turn rolls around. Should you max it out into the red, that character won’t get another turn for quite some time.
As far as the music and voice acting goes, it’s all still pretty Neptunia. Music will sound familiar and the voice actresses are all the same. As for how the graphics go, I tried the game on both PSTV and Vita and it felt like the graphics were a bit washed out in places. When they didn’t feel washed out, they felt far too blinding, particularly in the “blocks” types of levels. The by far worst offender in what will blind you in this game is the “FEVER!” overlay though. I really don’t know WHAT they were thinking with this and why it has to stay on the screen during your entire Fever Mode, especially since it also blocks out a good chunk of your view.
I can’t really recommend Superdimension Neptune. The game feels pretty much like every other game in the series, and it really just feels like it was phoned in so that they could pump out another title. Going through the same dungeon multiple times just to collect all of the little medals or find a certain enemy gets old, and when it’s the same basic areas in each of the four eras… It gets old REALLY fast. If you want to play a Neptunia game then I’d recommend grabbing one of the Re;Birth titles instead. If you’re a die hard Neptunia fan though, you’ll probably find something to love in this title. I know that I didn’t really find much to love in it.
Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls Review Score
Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls is available now for Vita via Amazon and PSN.
I would like to thank Idea Factory for providing me with a Vita code for review purposes.