Our favourite console-inspired goddesses sure have been on a lot of adventures over the years. Now that they're testing the latest online RPG, let's see if it's up to their standards.
Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online begins immediately within an RPG realm where Neptune, Noire, Blanc, and Vert put aside their differences to work together while beta testing the online game known as 4 Goddesses Online. Although their avatars are merely slightly altered versions of the characters that we're used to complete with nifty new outfits, you can later unlock costumes to make them appear much more familiar. Anyway, this plot premise paves the way for plenty of game references, boob-related humour, and a generally lighthearted tale (as to be expected from the series).
One aspect where Cyberdimension Neptunia shines brighter than many other entries in the franchise is its fine-tuned story sequences. During dialogue scenes, the transitions where characters slide in and out of the scene look fantastic. It's enjoyable watching everyone interact as the camera pans and zooms to offer a livelier conversational dynamic. Of course, the voice cast is great (although some repeated lines in the field can get annoying) and the art is top-notch. Overall, watching the kooky and often cheeky scenes in Cyberdimension Neptunia can be just as fun as playing it.
Speaking of playing it, the gameplay presented here is in-line with MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies (which is also co-developed by Tamsoft) although with a bit more emphasis on RPG mechanics. This means that you spend most of your time hacking and slashing away and unleashing the odd skill or special attack. It's fairly basic stuff and you can get away with merely mashing the attack button most of the time. This simplicity gets repetitive after a while but there's no denying how enjoyable it is to slice through the variety of enemies. As a result, it's a good idea to play Cyberdimension Neptunia in short sessions to get the most fun out of it.
The character growth dynamic is one of my favourite aspects of Cyberdimension Neptunia. Basically, you gather money and materials as you slay enemies and forage through the stages. Meanwhile, you usually have an assortment of quests to carry out that award you with even more goodies once you complete them. When you amass a wealth of materials and money, you can then trade it in at a handful of shops at the central town. There, you can purchase and upgrade weapons and armour as well as buy an assortment of accessories, costume pieces, and items. Defeating an optional boss via a quest then heading to town to equip the latest gear, enhance it at the blacksmith, and optimize your skills and gems loadout is an exceptionally rewarding endeavor.
Thankfully, there are some added extras that help provide some variety to the experience. First, you can eventually play as eight additional characters including Nepgear, Uni, Ram, and Rom as well as the four goddesses themselves. Next, there's an option to play online. I must admit, I couldn't find many people to play with online and when I did, it was extremely choppy and difficult to enjoy. Although I would have loved to have more fun with the online component, I'm glad that it's completely optional.
Aside from the simplistic gameplay that becomes repetitive, Cyberdimension Neptunia has a few other issues that hold it back from being a great action RPG. First, I found the difficulty about halfway through the campaign to be a bit unpredictable. Sometimes, I'd have to grind a little to defeat a boss but then after that, I might run through the next area while the enemies do no damage whatsoever and the boss falls down much easier than the previous one did. Speaking of bosses, I didn't find any of them to be particularly challenging although their health meters become extraordinarily large. Hacking and slashing away at these beasts for 10 to 15 minutes can be brutally boring, especially when they're barely damaging you. Where's that beat-a-game button when you need it?
Finally, there sure aren't many environments to explore. There's only about a dozen or so small stages and you'll find yourself running through them over and over again to complete quests and advance the story. On top of that, many of the environments share a general theme such as a few that take place in a forest. This makes the visuals get stale much faster than you'd hope.
If you're in the market for a mindless hack and slash action RPG with endearing characters and plenty of cheeky moments then Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is sure to satisfy. Just don't expect the fun to last very long.
- + Basic and enjoyable hack 'n' slash gameplay
- + Neptunia world and characters are fantastically presented with flashy dialogue scenes
- + Rewarding quests and character growth
- - Core gameplay is a bit too simplistic
- - Uneven difficulty / most later bosses are massive damage sponges
- - Very few environments to explore