Thanks to IDEA FACTORY INTERNATIONAL for the review code
Title: Megadimension Neptunia VIIR
Release Date: 05/07/2018
In this VR-enhanced version of Megadimension Neptunia VII, you take control of Neptune, who goes through several different game worlds in order to repair them one by one, from leading a resistance fighter in a war torn world, to going to a cave where she’s insanely prone to death, the comical insanity and reference-focus the series is known for returns!
Right off the bat, it’s pretty apparent, both when this game was out in 2018 and now that this review is finally at the finish line, that the game looks very identical to the original VII, to the point it makes you wonder why it wasn’t just an update. Models are the same as they’ve always been, environments look similar to VII and other games, and it just continues the asset reuse and engine from older games. Since that’s per the norm in neptunia games, that’s not too unexpected.
However, there are new VR events in this game, indicated by the VIIR in the title: these are first person sequences triggered by the PSVR. For years, I was planning to just cover these in 2D when I got around to it, but to make up for the long delay due to the events of 2019-2020, I bought a PSVR mainly to test this aspect for you guys.
…And it doesn’t work. More on that later. So in 2D, these events are pretty OK, you can look around, interact with certain party members, and unlock new interactions overtime, and even customize your room to have the characters act differently depending on the layout or items. The visuals here are fine, and once again the english VA does a pretty good job with all the characters they’re given. That being said, I swore I encountered an undubbed line at one point during the game, which threw me for a loop. The music is also pretty fine, though I recognized an awful lot of it from prior Neptunia games. Still, it gets the job done.
Right away, I need to stress this about the VR mode: I struggled to get this review out the door for years since, I felt playing the VR mode in 2D would be a bit short of meeting my “discuss all gameplay mechanics” requirement I set out for each review. I was in a bit of a bind, and being derailed hard in 2019-2020 didn’t help at all. Alas, I finally got a PSVR headset, booted the game up right away and continued my save, and then…
Crash. It died the moment VR mode activated. Again, crash. And it repeated endlessly. Looking up online, it seems a PS4 system update outright murdered the game’s VR mode worldwide, and there’s no way to fix it. Thus, I’ll have to begrudgingly cover the rest of the game and only give the VR segments in 2D.
To be blunt, they aren’t as in-depth as I was hoping, and even if it was in a VR perspective, they’re little more than silly, yet charming interactions with the series’ humor to it. However, seeing how the main RPG mode throws in occasional VR interludes now and then, you need to play this without the headset as you may hit a crash, since every VR trigger kills the game with a PSVR on. So sadly, I couldn’t do much with the basic game either, and had to play in full 2D. I’m sure it did the job back when the game was new, but the fact a system update caused this much chaos to the game is pretty surprising, to say the least.
So, how’s the main game? Well, it’s mostly standard Neptunia fare, with Neptune recruiting allies across several “games” (each with their own title screen), and the game splitting up into dungeon, dialogue, and overworld bits. It’s pretty typical of the series, though the battle system here feels a lot more restricted than before. You still take turns and can openly move and attack with positioning and the like, but the combat here feels a lot slower, with chaining combos and activating the CPU being a lot clunkier than even Sega Hard Girls was, and with a strange diversion from the formula, that’s pretty tough to explain: it’s basically other Neptunia RPGs I’ve played, but way, way more boring.
From what I gather, the original VII didn’t do this at all and was more in line with the main series on the Vita, while this game sorta went for a more methodical approach. Like always, you have differing difficulties to choose between, and otherwise, it’s pretty much more Neptunia, but with more clunk. It’s honestly impressive how it took me so long to put into words this game, and not even being able to get motivated to go for any trophies! (Which to be fair, aren’t given out as easily as in most IFI games, refreshingly) Which oddly enough, are fully different from VII’s list, so at least trophy hunters will be able to enjoy this redux a bit more than I was able to, and I definitely don’t recommend you play VIIR over VII either like I did. The game feels quite boring, slow, and the busted VR really killed my mood after all these years of trying to prepare for an ultimate review. At least the tribute to spelunker is a concept that’s legitimately funny, even if I barely cared long enough to give it a shot.
In conclusion, I can sum up this game as “the title I bought a $300 headset for that doesn’t even work with it anymore”, and that’s a big shame, as the core RPG here is pretty decent at best, but even that feels weirder compared to prior Neptunia RPGs, with some changes to the usual formula that don’t really feel that great.
In all blunt honesty, with how busted the VR mode is now, and how the game itself just feels so disjointed and clunky, you’re better off buying vanilla VII on PS4/Switch instead, as at least there you’ll get more focus on the RPG segments and it’ll actually work. Plus, that way you’ll get a more focused experience and honestly, have a bit more of the fun that these quirky games provide, despite their low production values. It’s a shame that life slowed me down and it’s definitely not all on IFI for the PS4 update breaking VR, but I do hope they at least fix it soon for the sake of fans wanting to play this in VR (it’s also dead on PS5, as an aside)
I give Megadimension Neptunia VIIR a 4 out of 10.