Review: Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online (PS4)

Review: Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (5.68 GB)
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Developer: Tamsoft
Original MSRP: $49.99
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 12
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Despite the “online” in the title, Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is not an MMO or even an online-focused title. This Neptunia spinoff game merely imitates an MMO while being being primarily an offline game.

A quick refresher course: the Neptunia series is set in a fictional world called Gameindustri split into four nations. Each of these nations is lead by a goddess who is the personification of a major video game console: PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, and a lost Sega console.

Other characters also personify handheld systems, game publisher companies, and the world as a whole likes to poke fun at the real world game industry through the lens of a fantasy world.

This one sees the four major goddesses invited to beta test an MMO. Along with their younger sisters and eventually some of their friends, everyone jumps into this MMO to have fun and clear the game, eventually having to deal with hackers and other obstacles.

Gameplay:
As the game takes place within a fictional MMO, the gameplay emulates that type of gameplay rather than the traditional Neptunia games. The combat is more MMO-like and the structure tries to feel that way as well. However, this is not an MMO and therein lies some of my problems with the game.

The normal Neptunia formula, as well as several other Compile Heart games, relies on turn-based combat, but this version forgoes that. Instead, characters explore the world in real time, where they can see and fight monsters at will. Attacking and dodging all happen in real time, with the player having direct control over one character.

A lot of MMOs have somewhat clunky combat though to facilitate online play in a laggy environment, and sadly Cyberdimension Neptunia emulates this a little too well. Perhaps it was because I was just coming off of playing Ys VIII, but the active combat here felt sluggish.

Using a skill doesn’t seem as snappy as it should. Dodging seems to have a slight lag and doesn’t move the character far enough to avoid larger boss attacks. Changing how party members fight is done only through the Options menu and this doesn’t pause the game, making it impractical to adjust mid-battle.

That said, for the most part the combat gets the job done. It’s functional but after a few hours of playing, I started to feel like it was just a filler to keep me busy until I next advanced the story.

While these aspects imitate an MMO, other parts fall back on traditional Neptunia. For example, the player is confined to the small selected-by-a-main-map areas rather than the large sprawling worlds that most MMOs take place in.

Even the game’s town is just a 2D image with a few images of characters standing around in it. While these do make the game feel like a Neptunia game, they don’t always fit well with the MMO-like nature of the experience.

Progression is primarily done by ranking up with the guild, however this is not immediately apparent. Though the game does highlight main story required conversations, it doesn’t always make it obvious how to progress in the story when it comes to quests and objectives. Again, this is probably to imitate MMOs but it makes the story-driven Neptunia game muddled and confusing.

It may sound like I’m being pretty harsh, but it’s not all bad. As usual, the character’s personalities are fun and make for amusing stories and interactions. The writing also seems aware of some of the MMO tropes the game is emulating and it pokes fun at them, which unfortunately makes it all the worse when some of those tropes drag the game down.

Visuals:
For a Neptunia game, Cyberdimension isn’t half bad looking. Environments are bright and colorful with plenty of variation between them. Character designs are distinct and do a good job at selling the Neptunia characters in the new classes they picked for the MMO.

The town and world map being static images are the major cut-corners in the game and a few of the enemies are also just carryovers from past Neptunia games. Though the enemies do look like they got a facelift from past games and there are some new bosses and enemies sprinkled in as well.

Audio:
The music is pretty standard fare for an RPG and particularly a Neptunia game. There are some good tracks but most are generic and merely get the job done.

Anyone who has played any of the past games in the series should know what to expect from it, and from the character voices. The main cast are all pretty comfortable in their roles at this point and both English and Japanese voices are available.

Online/Multiplayer:
While the game is primarily a single player game and it can be completed fully offline, the game’s missions can be played with other players as well. Offline, the player’s three party members are all AI controlled but when played online, all four players can be human players.

There’s a pretty simple lobby system to host and find other players and it works well enough. My only real complaint is that the host must pick a mission and when looking at lobbies it’s not always apparent what level the mission is or if you’ll be able to help at your current level. You can see the name of the mission the host picked but you’ll have to be familiar with the mission names to know which one is which.

Conclusion:
Overall, Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is a mediocre experience. Near the beginning it’s a generic MMO story, by design, and even some mid-game additions never grabbed me. The combat is functional but rarely much fun. With the game focusing solely on MMOs, the typical Neptunia digs at the game industry aren’t as prevalent to help sell the game.

If you’re a fan of the series I might recommend this if just for a change of pace from the other games. But I’m sure most of you already have it. For everyone else, it’s technically competent but never really excels in any meaningful way, making it a difficult game to recommend.

Score:
6.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Andy Richardson

Andy Richardson

A longtime PlayStation fan who enjoys JRPGs and rhythm games when he’s not tweeting about his parrot.

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