Well, I have Gamefly so I got this most recently. It’s…well, let’s just say I’m glad I have gamefly and didn’t spend full price on it.
There’s no substance, it’s just all filler to push some generic archetypical characters and fanservice rather than an actual game, which is no surprise to anyone who knows Idea Factory / Compile Heart.
Anyway, the characters in Neptunia are just amazingly generic for the most part. The looks aren’t all that unique – but I can overlook that…however the personalities are all just cookie cutter archetypes and they are executed the same way as all those before them as well. You’ve got your tsundere lesbian for the MC girl with twin tails, you’ve got your clumsy airheaded titbags, you’ve got ANOTHER clumsy airheaded titbags, you’ve got an angry loli who looks like the bitch from Pangya and has the typical tsundere-to-the-MC shit going for her…think Azusa especially during her first episode, that’s pretty much all she is. There are a lot of other characters, I won’t go through all of them.
From what I’ve seen, all the less main cast is way better. NISA is a fun genki type who thinks she’s a superhero, Falcom is a really cute purposefully made (and constantly bringing up) generic adventurer type though available only via DLC otherwise she’s an NPC, yet from that personality she’s very unique, and Gust is an amalgamation of Atelier franchise stuff. But aside them the rest of the cast is rather lack luster and uninteresting – especially the cast of the first game which shows up here as well. Basically the entirety of the game console characters are pretty much terrible.
The combat is iffy at best. The problem here is they picked a 3D free movement kind of system, but then threw in turns. It really messes up the flow of battle. And my BIGGEST complaint – for this and probably for the game as it annoys me to no end – is that you use x, square, and triangle for attacks. Sounds fine, right? Yeah, until you keep pushing it out of habit waiting for the next button press to be needed, then OOPS you accidentally waste 100sp on transforming to HDD mode and having it turn RIGHT back off because she doesn’t have enough SP to maintain it…how? why? Oh, because they decided to make the same button you use the majority of the time you’re attacking – square – for the transform button. Sure, you can avoid this by pressing only when the input will go through, but I’m the type who keeps pressing the next button until it goes simply out of habit like bouncing your leg up and down. It’s not even something I do on purpose, and I know it’s not unusual because I’ve known plenty of people in shit tons of games that do the exact same thing (and actually, purposefully playing slower you still press the button once it asks without reading the text cuz you don’t expect it to RANDOMLY CHANGE what a button does), luckily, most games take this into account and don’t have a button switch pretty much randomly unless you stare at your SP bar the whole fight from doing one thing to doing another out of nowhere in one of those situations where you DO notice but not until right when you’ve pushed it. This ruins half the fights for me and really fucking annoys me. I mean I still win, but that’s 100SP down the drain and a transformation wasted.
What’s worse even more is the games scaling with the bosses – it’s totally unbalanced. I’ve noticed this in every single release from Gust ever aside some of the Atelier games, the normal battles will be easy, even the higher level ones, but no matter what bosses – or most of them at least- will be a billion times more powerful. You can run around one-hitting every other enemy but then story boss shows up and suddenly it can kill YOU in two hits but you can’t even see the sliver of damage you’ve done to it over 30 minutes of hacking away at it. It’s terrible, not fun, not a ‘challenge’, it’s just bad game design and it’s something that has made me quit bothering with almost every game of theirs outside of the Atelier titles like halfway through.
And on top of all that, still in regards to fighting, it’s just not fun. It’s very boring and repetitive. It’s also the type of system where you attack once or twice then the enemy gets to hit you like 20 times in a row for no fucking reason and you get to sit waiting for it to finish for a couple minutes. And the whole gimmick of “look you’re fighting a DIFFERENT COLORED TETRIS BLOCK THIS TIME” gets really old really quick. Over half the enemies are just recolors or slight variations of other ones, and the ones that aren’t are just clearly try-hard bullshit that shouldn’t have been put in because it’s just trying to be LEL SO RANDUM XDD like some guy’s head, or a visual novel screenshot hitting you with the text box. One time? Okay. A billion more? No. Please give me actual enemies, and not just the recolored same fucking ones or ‘we added different shaped ears so its a new monster right?’ bullshit. I get the relevancy and jokes and references behind these gimmick enemies too, so it’s not that – I just find that it’s really trying way too hard to push the stupidest shit and failing at making it intriguing at all.
The game does have it’s good points. The voice cast is great, they have a lot of high-end seiyuu in there and they all did pretty good work here. There’s some good tracks in the OST, for the most part it’s average but I really liked some. The graphics aren’t amazing, but I did like the visual novel style (typical of gust games) talks having actually animated characters throughout all of them instead of just stick up images with some facial changes like usual. I also kinda liked the Chirper (fake twitter in the game) in each town, it was a small addition but it was cute to look at and i liked the little tidbits of shit the characters say on it, it also fits the theme of the modern gaming industry – given how much everything now has fucking connections to twitter or facebook or both to post your trophies and shit on like anyone gives a fuck what game you played today.
Overall, I’d say it’s a …well, I wanted to give it a 6 or 7, but I’d have to go with a 5 or at most a 6 now because I honestly can no longer force myself to keep playing it – at least not for now…maybe I’ll get it again in the future, but I don’t want to keep wasting time on it, which sucks because I purchased the Falcom DLC already and haven’t gotten to when you can use her.
The story is lacking in just about every way, the characters it focuses on are beyond fucking generic and borderline unbearable, and everything else is really lackluster or extremely boring or frustrating. Combine that with all the other issues and you have something far from a masterpiece, but still fun and entertaining enough in it’s own ways for awhile. Worth trying if you can rent/gamefly it or find it for way cheaper than retail price and are into JRPGs I suppose. Definitely not worth full price though, and please don’t go in expecting moe girls to somehow make the bad game bearable, they only do for so long. It kept me interested enough and the gameplay was good enough that I didn’t quit a handful of hours in like fucking Ar Tonelico.
No, instead I quit a little further in this time.
I really would like to finish it some day, if only to spend more time with NISA and to get to play with Falcom…but for now I just can’t push through the game any longer. Apparently it’s only a 30~35 hour game too, but it feels like even 30 minutes of playing takes hours because of how monotonous and bland it all is.
And given apparently people misunderstand, I point out Gust because this game is basically, well, the exact same as all the garbage they tend to pump out in almost every way, not because I don’t know who made it.