The girls of Gameindustri gear up for another gaming adventure this time in the world cyberspace.
Title: Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online
Developer: Compile Heart, Tamsoft
System: Playstation 4, PC
Length: 25-35 hours
Within the Hyperdimension Neptunia universe, the online game world of “4 Goddesses Online” has been something of a running reference throughout the series and a much speculated idea for another spin-off. After all, with Vert being the only main character lacking a spin-off, it only made sense and hey, maybe the chance for a sibling of her own, too. Well, fans were right on the money with Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online being next, as the titular goddesses (and siblings) end up as beta testers for the new updated game and hoping to clear it. And while Vert is not exactly the de facto main character (Neptune won’t stop reminding us of that) or name getting top billing, the little sibling area is somewhat filled..maybe. Well, you will just have to play it yourself to see what I mean.
Despite the game going for a MMORPG feel with a classic fantasy backdrop, Cyberdimension plays similarly to the Action U and Blanc+Zombies spin-offs. Still having Tamsoft bringing in the old mechanics, but overhauled with additions like the perfect guard system, the game does feel more active, albeit, still very simple. Having the girls take up the mantle of classic and iconic RPG classes such as: Nepgear as a Mage or Noire as a Black Knight also adds some variety as they do play differently (as far as usage goes anyway) and learn different special skills upon leveling. Out of the group, Nepgear had to be the most enjoyable to play as: hitting enemies from afar with magic and learns some lethal spells before getting halfway in. If I do have one major gripe with the game, I do wish the notifications of when characters learn skills were more pronounced since you often have to go into the menu and switch up their active hotbar skills/items just to discover they gained a new one.
The dungeons in the game are simple in design: traverse the area, beat enemies, and make it to the boss room where if you are victorious, get some loot and head back into the hub town. As uneventful as most regular encounters are, the bosses are somewhat more enjoyable to play around with, but probably will tire of after subsequent meetings. Between cleaning up dungeons and strengthen your party, the online functionality is there for people that want to team up with friends or strangers, but aside from tackling optional content (trying to hit the max guild rank and complete all quest), I can only say your mileage will vary. And as always, there are many events during the story that range between cute to humorous. While the humor does not cross the same level as Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls or the mainline titles, it fairs okay. And yes, cheap Sword Art Online jokes are ripe for the picking.
Thanks to the decision to use Unreal Engine 4, Cyberdimension does receive a nice visual boost – more impressive looking environments and character models, but somehow does not fit the style of the game and ends up causing a lot of technical mishaps. Aside from the two random crashes I experienced on the Playstation 4, it also takes a significant time to load up the game every time you decide to play. This is shortened in the PC version, yet still unable to skip through the introductory sponsor/developer cards at the beginning. Being the first foray into the Unreal Engine for the developers, I am not exactly surprised of this, yet hope it is not a deterrent for using it in the future. The musical selection for the game is also an area that receives a great boon, however, still sounds to similar to Kenji Kaneko’s work despite not being at the helm. Text language options include Chinese in addition to the original Japanese and English options and can choose either to enjoy the Japanese or English voice acting.
Having completed the main story back on the Playstation 4 around 30 hours and some minor post-game content to go, Cyberdimension is a mercilessly short affair, but enjoyed my time with it nonetheless. And while I wouldn’t necessarily call it a “2017 Game of The Year” candidate, it was a nice palate cleanser to end the year on and should a nice one to begin with. Having access to the meager DLC offerings does not hurt either. Unsure of where Neptune and friends next adventure awaits, now is the time to ask the real question: Where is that Grand Theft Auto Iris Heart spin-off? Wait, no one is asking for that?! Okay, well back to the drawing board we go.
Pros: Simple controls, clean-looking visuals, most of the character differentiate in play-style.
Cons: Minor annoying technical issues, hotbar item/skill usage can be pain without being able to configure the controls to a degree (PS4 only), limited post-game content.
Final Verdict: Another standard and offbeat adventure for Neptune and friends. Still lacking the polish of a proper action-orientated game, it still effortlessly captures the ambience of a real MMORPG without some of the annoyances. Not being as strong in humor or gameplay as a mainline Neptunia game, Cyberdimension is still a worth a go for those that must experience everything Neptunia related. Just make sure you get into the habit of saving.
Disclaimer: In no way, shape, or form was I compensated for the composition or publication of this review. This by my own volition. A review copy of the game was kindly provided by Idea Factory International.