Also available on Windows
Dedicated to my fellow Nep lovers, Chris and Josh
Anyone who knows me knows that the Hyperdimension Neptunia series is my all-time favorite and that I weeb fangirl HELLA hard for it. Some of the more recent Vita entries in the series haven't quite lived up to my expectations, but Megadimension Neptunia VII on PS4 was fantastic, so I had high hopes for Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online as well. Those high hopes were not in vain.
Although principally a JRPG series, one of the things for which the Neptunia series is known is the variety of genres its games have hit, and Cyberdimension Neptunia is no exception to that, marking the series' first foray into the action RPG genre. The game plays a lot like a cheap knock-off of some of the more recent Tales games, and I don't mean "cheap knock-off" in a derogatory sense. Neptunia games have pretty much always felt a bit like budget games mechanically in my opinion, but for me, that's part of their charm. The combat is simple; you just mash the square button a lot, occasionally hitting the triggers to guard or dodge, and expend SP to use one of eight of your selected skills when the situation calls for it.
The game's plot is appropriately silly for the series, although this one might take the title of second silliest plot so far (Producing Perfection is definitely the silliest). The four nations' CPUs (along with pretty much every other character who's appeared in the series) have all received beta keys for the testing of a new version of the 4 Goddesses Online MMORPG and have decided to venture into the world of Alsgard together, although a hacker quickly threatens the existence of the game's beta test. In terms of playable characters, you get the four CPUs, the four CPU candidates, and the in-game four goddesses (Purple/Black/White/Green Heart). That's my first disappointment - IF, Compa, Plutia, Peashy, and Uzume aren't playable characters. I was really hoping to have a party of Neptune, Nepgear, Plutia, and Uzume to hae the ultimate Planeptune team. They do make appearances, mind you, but at NPCs. Better than nothing, I suppose.
The scope of the game seemed a bit smaller than the previous PS4 title, although whether that's because the game actually has less content or because I went into it gung-ho and determined to get the Platinum trophy (I did, btw), I couldn't say. You've got around a dozen dungeons and a variety of bosses to fight, but it doesn't take long to figure out that the bosses can all be beaten with the exact same strategy. None of them have any elemental weaknesses, so they all boil down to "spam magic attacks to deplete the guard, spam the square button, spam magic attacks to deplete the guard again, use your now-charged special attack and then spam square, use an item to refill your SP, repeat the cycle until boss is dead.
The game isn't difficult in the slightest, but that's par for the course with Neptunia games; none of them (at least none of the post-PS3 games) are difficult in the slightest. You don't play Nep for the difficulty, though; you play Nep for the characters, the humor, and the spiritual experience. My only two real gripes with the game are that Black Heart's face looks wrong, and the quests get repetitive. For the first one, Black Heart's face just looks....off. In some stills, she looks alright, but in most, she looks more like Nepgear than Black Heart. I can't quite put my finger on why, but I think it's the mouth and perhaps the eyes. They just don't quite look right, but I'm not sure if this was intentional or not because Uni and Nepgear make a comment about Black Heart's looking not exactly like Noire's CPU form. As for the quests, they're not awful or anything, but they get really same-y. You get like three or four quests to kill the same boss with the only difference being an increase in HP. The first story-based boss fight could have 35,000 HP, and by the last optional quest boss fight, he'll have 820,000 HP. Otherwise there's no difference; he just takes longer to kill. Other quests are your usual fetch quest or kill-X-number-of-this-monster quests. There's just not a lot of variety for the number of quests there are if you're going for completion or Platinum.
Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is a competent entry in the Neptunia series and a decent action RPG. It's not a landmark game for the genre, and it's not the greatest game in the Neptunia series, but it's a fun game, and for fans of the series, it's a fantastic entry. Your usual heaps of fanservice are present, although Neptune breaks the fourth wall a little bit less than usual which may be a bit disappointing to some. Regardless, though, it's definitely a must-play for fans of the Neptunia series. Those who aren't Nep fans might not find much alluring here, but I'd still recommend giving it a shot if you've got a friend from whom you can borrow it.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.