2016 was a rich year for fans of the series Hyperdimension Neptunia, which saw not only a new chapter in the main series coming up PlayStation 4 but 2 spinoffs. After having to fight a horde of undead and kept the good name of the Gamicademi high in MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies now the time has come for IF e Neptune to face a new "threat" that tries to change the normal course of history. But let's not get lost in chatter and let's find out Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls, available from 21 October on PlayStation Vita.
Back to the Future
Before starting to talk about the game it is necessary to open a quick parenthesis on the figure of Handjob Hard Girls, personified version of the consoles Sega, multimedia project born from the pages of the Japanese magazine Dengeki Bunko. Given the nature of the Sega Hard Girls that follows that of the protagonists of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, what better opportunity to put them together in a crackling cross-over that united these 2 worlds?
As we have learned over the years, each series of Hyperdimension Neptunia is represented by a very distinct universe and its own timeline. Here in Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls the heroines of the house Compile Heart they will have to contend with the Sega Hard Girls, and together prevent the disappearance of history from the world by a mysterious monster which feeds on the various past eras. The plot of this spin-off immediately starts in fourth place, messing things up at the right point and bringing up paradoxes and problems related to the intricate mechanisms of time travel. Having to do with another dimension, the narrative links are limited only to the characters present here, which differ in a tangible way from that of the other episodes of the series. In Superdimension Neptune we will find IF in the role of protagonist and adventurer, and only some of the CPUs of the main series, whose presence is linked to that of the Hard Girls. We will therefore have Neptune, Nepgear, Plutia e Uzume, or the personifications of the Sega consoles in Hyperdimension sauce that will have to clash with the "real" humanized versions of Saturn, Dreamcast, Mega Drive e Game Gear, in a generational conflict that has been going on since the dawn of time and which risks compromising the future of the world. Not even a new girl is missing, Segami, whose past is shrouded in shadow and only with the help of IF will she be able to recover lost memories.
If the initial premises are good and promising, playing we are faced with yet another chapter that fails to offer anything new from a narrative point of view. There is no shortage of beats and breakages of the fourth wall, especially by Neptune, here in the role of shoulder in an unprecedented motorized version, but in principle we are faced with a cyclic repetition of situations already seen in other chapters . The presence of the Sega Hard Girl fails to get this spin-off off the ground, which lacks all that self-referentiality and fanservice that was clearly evident in the animated series dedicated to them and that would marry well with the spirit of the series.
A whole different story
Also the structure used to tell the story fails to fully convince, opting for a series of selectable missions in free order that make you lose the sense of the plot and confuse ideas. Furthermore, each mission will have a time limit to complete beyond which it will disappear and will no longer be accessible. This at least until the first part is overcome, when we will go to face the final boss of the game for the first time and we will enter the mechanism of time travel, which will allow us to rewind the adventure and make the lost missions available again. Each quest will have a value quantified in stars, and once completed they will reduce the monster's power, until it is possible to defeat it. The quest part will therefore be one of the aspects that will take up the most time in Superdimension, necessarily having to unlock new ones to continue the story, which as always will be full of long dialogues to read, very often ends in themselves. In addition to the story missions, progressing in the adventure will unlock new ones that will allow you to eliminate the level cap of the classes or learn new skills or slots to equip them.
Classes are one of the first novelties of this chapter. Each character will be able to change them at will, and depending on that choice, skills and statistics will change influencing the results of the clashes. Also the combat system follows the turn-based one of the original but it takes completely different paths. Here, moving within the limits of the fight area, you can attack by unleashing a series of blows, use objects or skills or special moves, until the Action Bar it won't be full and will force us to move on to the next girl. As for the blows inflicted with the weapon, we will be able to deliver single attacks or charge the Action Bar to its maximum to unleash a combo with greater power. Whatever we decide to do in the field we will upload the Barra Fever, which once full will allow us to activate a special mode in which (until its exhaustion) the enemy will not be able to attack us and we will therefore have a considerable tactical advantage.
Now not only the CPUs will be able to transform into their HDD version but aeven IF will be able to count on a new shape (on balance a simple reskin), which will guarantee her greater attack power. As in the main chapters of the series (From Re; birth onwards) the enemies will have access to the Viral state, which changes not only the aesthetic connotations, but increases the battle statistics, and the possibility of infecting other enemies close to him, increasing the level of challenge.
To learn more:
Megadimension Neptunia VII
The art of fighting nep nep edition
Another novelty in battle concerns the presence of some special crystals, which if collected by jumping, will allow you to restore some health, magic points or charge a small percentage of Fever. The now classic is not missing either Lily Rank (Now Lily Assist), a system that regulates the affinity of heroines in battle, here mainly linked to the formation they will take on once they take the field. Depending on the tactics used and the slot of the station assigned, the relationship between the companions of the party will be more or less strong, reflecting on the charged attacks, which if activated in the presence of high Lily rank values, will be performed with greater commitment, and therefore more damage to the enemy. The training also helps to activate immediate benefits, such as greater group defense, the ability to obtain crystals more frequently, and so on. Compared to the classic series, exploration also undergoes some slight changes: IF as an adventurer will be able to run in the dungeons, thus speeding up the general action a little, as well as a greater propensity to accentuate a platform aspect, prompting the player to make long jumps in the race to reach new areas, climbing climbing walls or hanging from ropes for dizzying traverses. An addition that certainly rejuvenates a now rather stale formula, but that unfortunately it is faced with a harsh reality that is the recycling of the assets of the old games. Most of the dungeons are taken over by the previous titles, as well as almost all of the graphic system, from the artwork to the 3D models (except the new ones of the Sega Hard Girls) of the CPUs and enemies. The mazes to be explored will be repeated throughout the game, to be exact in the various eras, changing just in some detail or adding new areas, most of the time forgetting the new gameplay additions.
Out of the dungeons game management will take place via text menus or via the map, in which in addition to accessing the various areas where, from time to time, curious characters will appear, some of which will unlock new quests or give us rewards, such as new items in the cheat menu, which allow you to modify some aspects of the game, such as difficulty, experience received in battle and many other more or less useful values, especially in view of having to face the now all too usual grinding sessions, essential to be able to advance in the game.
As pointed out during the analysis of the dungeons, Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls is a title made on a budget, and after the first few minutes this feeling becomes unnerving, especially if you are a fan of the series and have never lost a chapter. . From graphics to music, everything belongs to the past, in a forced recycling disguised as fanservice. Some news is also found, such as some levels, the Sega Hard Gilrs artwork (and related 3D models) or the new opening, Symmetric Generations, which pioneers the game, but overall the changes are generally few. As per tradition, we also find a decent English translation that will accompany the many hours of reading of the numerous dialogues that will intertwine the battles and the possibility of alternating the English dubbing with the original Japanese one.Verdict 7/10 Segami is not a Sega Hard Girl, but a suggestion: v Comment Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls fits within the vast universe of Hyperdimension Neptunia in a not very incisive way. In itself we are also faced with a good title, with a story that holds up overall, a solid gameplay that also tries to add something to the classic one of the series and in general an atmosphere that follows the other chapters. Where Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls is wrong is in reproposing certain situations in terms of plot and dialogues to exhaustion, not taking advantage of the Sega Hard Girls that could be a great opportunity to baste, precisely at a narrative level, something potentially funny and comic. The continuous recycling of the game's assets also weighs further on the economy of the game, in particular for those players who have never lost a chapter, and it is perhaps to them that the Idea Factory title could risk being liked less, working instead for those who approaches the series, perhaps attracted by the charm of Sega consoles. Pros and cons ✓ The fanservice of Sega consoles is priceless
✓ Solid gameplay
✓ Good narrative opening ... x ... that does not develop properly
x Unhappy characters
x Too strong asset recycling