Game: Megadimension Neptunia VII
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PS4 and on Steam for PC)
Developers|Publishers: Idea Factory, Compile Heart| Idea Factory International
Price: US $29.99|EU €29,99| AU $45.00|CAD $39.68|UK £26.99
Age Rating: EU 12+ |US T | AU M
Release Date: July 28th 2020
Review code used, with many thanks to Idea Factory International!
Megadimension Neptunia VII (pronounced “V Two”) is a JRPG developed by Idea Factory and Compile Heart and published by Idea Factory International. It’s part of the popular Neptunia franchise that parodies the Console War and other elements of the gaming hobby and industry! This is a Switch port for the game that was released in 2016 for PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam. Is this version worth the pick-up for fans of the franchise and newcomers? Let’s find out in this review!
Fanservice, Cute Art Style and Visuals at X FPS!
Graphically, Megadimension Neptunia VII looks pretty good on the Switch despite some differences between the Switch version and the PS4/PC version, like the lack of bloom (a lighting effect) and the game looking a tad bit darker in some spots. The art style and cute anime aesthetic is also something I really love seeing as a huge fan of video games and anime alike.
In terms of sound, the OST is really well done and there is dual-audio so you can play the game either with English voices or Japanese voices. I personally played the game with the Japanese voices, but both options have great voice acting.
The game’s resolution is 1080p docked and 720p in handheld mode or on Switch Lite. Performance, however, is all over the place since the frame rate is uncapped. During dungeon exploration and fights, the game runs below 20FPS and can suddenly jump up to 50FPS or near the 60FPS mark when special attacks and HDD/NEXT Transformations are performed and performance in menus and the world map run smoothly. The game just feels poorly optimized on the Switch due to the frame rate being all over the place.
I honestly do not believe that the performance issues this game has are some form of proof that the Neptunia games can’t run properly on the Nintendo Switch, especially when the frame rate can jump up into the 50s or 60s in certain spots! I do hope that the developers will work on an update to fix the performance issues the game has, as well as capping the frame rate at an acceptable level and optimizing the game properly.
A Lighthearted and Funny Adventure
The story of Megadimension Neptunia VII takes place in the world of Gamindustri, a world composed of four nations, Planeptune (which represents Sega), Lastation (which represents PlayStation), Lowee (which represents Nintendo), and Leanbox (which represents Xbox). Each of these four nations have a goddess they worship, known as a CPU, with Neptune being the representative CPU of Planeptune and so on.
Neptune and her younger sister Nepgear get warped into a different dimension called the Zero Dimension after Neptune finds a broken game console (that suspiciously looks a lot like a Sega Dreamcast) and having Nepgear attempt to fix it. There they meet Uzume Tennouboshi, the sole CPU of that dimension and swear to help her defeat the threat that is looming over the Zero Dimension.
There is, of course, a lot more to discover in this lengthy 35+ hour JRPG adventure, but I am not gonna spoil that! Just know there are many hijinks and fun about to ensue!
The game’s writing is very tongue-in-cheek and doesn’t take itself too seriously, with quirky and likeable characters, meta jokes, and fourth-wall-breaking gags. There is also a good bit of fanservice that isn’t censored, surprisingly, as I suspected that would be the case with the age rating the game has on the Switch.
I had a good laugh at a good few of the jokes in the game, and it does show that the writers are really passionate about the hobby and the industry they work in. Now I will also say that this may not be for everyone, but I definitely enjoyed the very lighthearted story of this game.
Gameplay is Important Too, You Know!
Megadimension Neptunia VII has you travelling through dungeons, fighting enemies, and of course managing your party with various items, combo attacks, skills, and other things like stats and Lily Ranks, which is a relationship ranking system that allows characters to team up and assist each other.
Combat in this game is turn-based. However, you can roam through the battlefield with the character that has their turn up and to a certain distance. From there, when they target an enemy, they can use regular attacks which also allows them to perform various combo attacks that you can set up in the menus. They can also perform skills that either consume the SP or EXE meter. And for characters that are CPUs, they can transform into their HDD/NEXT form (NEXT form is limited to Neptune, Vert, Blanc, and Noire) that gives them a power boost and access to EXE Drives, which are amazingly powerful skills. The combat is pretty fun to play around with.
Also, during the game, you have various challenges that can enhance the characters’ stats with various conditions, like jumping a certain amount of times in a stage, or length of time spent in a dungeon with a certain character as the party leader, or pulling off combo attacks, among other things. These challenges have various levels, and it can take a while to max out these challenges. So the gameplay can be a bit of a grind, but those who love grinding will have a really fun time!
Megadimension Neptunia VII is a very fun game, but the very wonky and unoptimized performance leaves me scratching my head, especially since certain spots show that the Switch can handle this game just fine. But hopefully these issues will get fixed. Aside from that, I have had a fun time with the gameplay and the wacky, lighthearted story filled with fanservice, fourth-wall-breaking, and meta video game and anime jokes.
Final Rating: I like it