Developed by Silicon Studio, Compile Heart Published by Idea Factory International Reviewed on PlayStation 4
Its natural that popular franchises will introduce a new entry whenever new hardware is released. We have seen this a lot recently with the release of PlayStation VR! Coming into the VR trend is Megadimension Neptunia VIIR developed by Silicon Studio and Compile Heart. This entry is a remake of 2016’s Megadimension Neptunia VII with added VR elements. How does this remake do over the original? Let’s break it down!
Seeing that Neptunia VIIR is a remake of Neptunia VII, the story remains the same so some veteran Neptunia players might be discouraged from going through it. However, new cutscenes and CGs have been added to parts of the story and serves as a nice change of pace for players who have already experienced the original. I definitely was taken back the first time a new cutscene started. Unlike the story, the battle system of Neptunia VIIR is vastly different than its predecessor and is closer to the Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 combat system where combo attacks are all selected at once. Attacks use between 2 – 4 AP and once you run out of AP you must end your turn to have it refill. At the start of the battle you start with 4 AP but, depending on how you play, you can gain additional AP capping out at 10 AP. Everything from special skills, formation attacks, and transformations use AP. It is very important to plan out your moves ahead of time to make sure that you can use everything.
At first this really slows down the battles but when you start getting the hang of everything you can get through everything pretty quickly. Apart from gaining AP every turn you also start the battles with zero SP and gradually gain SP with each turn that passes. A major change for the remake is after each battle you regain all of your health, making each battle a fresh fight while not having to worry about HP and SP. I feel this takes a lot of challenge out of Neptunia VIIR and don’t like this choice but I can understand why since you do have a set amount of SP.
Apart from the battle system the world map and dungeons have seen some major changes as well. The world map no longer has random encounters so you are free to move around without worrying if you’re going to run into something. You can sell items at any point now so you don’t have to be at a city which saves a little time. The world map is now also a 3D image instead of a flat picture which gives it some life over the original game. While the dungeons you’ll be visiting will be the same as the original game they all received a face-lift and look better than ever! The world map and dungeons all received graphical and sound upgrade. Grinding is still king in Neptunia VIIR given all quests that you can take. Another nice addition is the ability to sprint through dungeons with a short cool down. While I think the battles seem slower these changes outside of battle really make it fast to run through dungeons. The game is caped at 30 FPS (VR mode may be higher than this) but all of the movements are smooth and the character animations look really clean.
Let’s talk about the shining star of this remake: the VR experience! At the start of the game it is made apparent that you are in the player’s room while playing through VIIR. You are essentially just watching memories that have already happened. Once you complete a Nepstation event you’re normally paid a visit from adult Neptune. I will not spoil these events but they are pretty great. Apart from the adult Neptune events there are a small amount of other cutscenes in VR. One graphical complaint is that the VR scenes are a little fuzzy and takes away from the experience slightly. From the start there is a VR exclusive mode unlocked where the player can interact with each of the four main goddess. Only one scene is unlocked during the main game and you can unlock the addition scenes for you to enjoy any time you wish. While I did get to try some of these scenes during the Idea Factory International 2017 press event, I was excited to see it more on my own leisure. All of the interactions are dubbed in both Japanese and English, leaving it up to the players to choose the way they would like to experience these scenes.
While I have already experienced this game many times, the addition of the VR experience was enough for me to want to experience Megadimension Neptunia VII again. Fans of the series who also have a PSVR should feel right at home with this welcome addition to this series!