- Manufacturer:Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls
- Publisher: Idea Factory International
- Genre:3rd person JRPG
- Release Date: 18/10/16
- Platforms: PS Vita
- Game Supplied by: Publisher
For the PS Vita, exclusive triple A titles don’t really get much bigger than this. The Neptune series is the “Call of Duty” for the vita system and has now spawned the 7th game in the series, Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard girls.
The Neptune series is known for its humour, turn based combat, ( apart from Action unleashed ) and utterly bonkers plots lines. Well Neptune fans, it’s more of the same right here but with a great new combat system.
First of all though the presentation is of top quality and the graphics and style are really making the little vita sing with this game. It’s such a little design choice but such a big end difference in the fact the font for all the text reading of a 25 hour game is larger than normal! It makes reading so much easier. The voice actors speak at the same time as the text and are again top quality when it comes to the lengthy dialogue they have to read.
The rest of the game is standard stuff although this time the focus is on a new character called IF. IF is joined by SEGA (and a goddess to me) Hatsune Miku, known in the game as “Segami”. The story, batty as it is runs along the lines of IF discovers a barren world, where Segami drops from the sky. She takes her to the nearest building which is a library run by Neptune regular “Histoire”. Histy is the keeper of this library that holds the world’s knowledge and history. However while IF is there, parts of the library and history go missing. Histy calls on IF’s help to find out what’s going on and converts her motorcycle into a time traveling machine and off IF goes to 4 worlds to solve the story.
Previous Neptune games have lots of characters and a fair amount of humour and it’s all back here again too. It’s not long before Neptune herself makes an appearance, and the world is a rich, inviting and at times funny place.
New to the series is some of the movement and combat. In the movement around the dungeon/linear area’s is the ability for the character you’re playing to climb ropes, ladders, vines and dash and dash jumps to reach other areas. Don’t fret at the platforming is nothing tricky at all but is a great way to break up the gameplay into something different.
Combat, is basically the same but a little tweak has improved the system very well. In SDN V SHG, combat is now a mix of actions and moves that all add up on a gauge to the right of the screen until whatever you are doing reaches red. The more into the red it goes the more moves the enemies have until you recover. So you can do one move and guard and only then have to worry about a little movement from one enemy or you go all out as much as you can well into the red, but if you don’t defeat all enemies on the screen in that go they get a longer time to attack you while you recover.
It sounds more complicated on paper than it actually is, but refines the combat so much better than the systems before as they could be a little confusing at times.
As well as combat there are new special moves, in battle power ups, breakables on the field of battle, all of which again refine the normal tried and tested turn based system even more.
Levels generally run a natural course of smaller battles to the end of level boss, but unlike previous games, the bosses here, all of them, are tough, REALLY tough. This will lead to a certain amount of grinding to rank up to defeat them, as you can be woefully underpowered. So much so, at times, a boss can wipe your entire team out in its first opening attack!
Altogether, this means there are a lot more tactics and thought to go into the types of team you can develop as you go, and to aid this are classed based attributes that can be assigned to players. For example you can have on of your team focus on support roles or another focus on attacks.
Either way the strength and appeal is that the design of all this is superb and lends itself to a fun but challenging game. To choose the way your story goes you visit Histy in the library to be told what missions are available. There is a time limit on some but nothing to stress about if you don’t achieve them, but how you approach the game and it’s story is a little up to you.
Graphics are great for such a small system and the text scenes have a silky smooth almost 60fps feel to them ( but i know they haven’t ). Audio is fun, with great background music of a wide variety that never seems to get boring to listen to, as well as the superb voice actors. There is very limited in game effects as it’s mostly talk and walk about but the stylish super power moves are a joy to watch and listen to. An honourable mention has to go to the voice actors as they do deliver a dialogue, that can be fairly benign at times, with some great vigor and enthusiasm that simply encourage the gamer to enjoy what’s going on.
Power ups, collectables, a deep character development system, artwork, medals, customization, it’s all there in spades for any discerning JRPG fan on top of all of the above as well.
Arguably the best Neptune game in the series here as it’s refined the aspects that needed a little work on, however the difficulty spikes from combat to bosses may annoy / frustrate a little more than they were designed to. It’s probably impossible to complete the game in one run through without any backtracking or rank up grinding sessions. However all in all it’s much the same familiar Neptune game with very high production values for a quality gaming experience.