The original Megadimension Neptunia VII was a fun game that never took itself seriously. When Idea Factory announced a VR enhanced release for it, I was curious to see how they would tackle it. Now that the game is out, it turns out that more than the VR features, the actual upgrades to the game are a welcome addition and even if you don’t have any interest in the VR support, the game seems to play out just fine without it.
Megadimension Neptunia VIIR is basically a remastered release for the original game that features many quality-of-life improvements and a partial support for the VR headset. This support comes in the form of viewing your favorite Goddesses from the Neptunia series in a first person mode that is set in ‘Player’s Room.’ I couldn’t really test it out with a headset but even without it, you can experience these moments with the so called VR events. The other support comes with cutscenes that can be viewed with the VR headset, although the same rules apply here if you are playing it without one.
They will cover the Goddesses from the Neptunia series and start with atleast one event unlocked for them. You will unlock new events after meeting certain requirements. The Goddesses can be summoned in your room which can be customized as you like. If you add new items to the room, these characters will also often interact with them and can lead to new dialogue choices.
The visuals are slightly tweaked for this release and seem to fit in nicely with the art style. There isn’t really much to say about the changes in combat. The new tweaks make it a lot more strategic than the original system but at the cost of a new limit with the SP system. You will control your characters on a battlefield where each character has its own restricted field of vision. If the enemy is inside your character’s field of vision, they can be attacked, otherwise you will have to pick a move or defend yourself.
The focus on SP and action points makes the battle flow more smoothly now and add some layer of strategy to them. The addition of a new counter system greatly helps with the pace of battles. Learning to exploit the combat system or trying to chain combos leads to a satisfying experience. Despite that, if you are new to the series and didn’t really play the original game, it will be a bit hard to get into the battle since it can be convoluted at first. The game does try its best to explain it with tutorials but it will still take some trial and error gameplay before you can understand most of it.
The exploration aspect of the game feels dull. The story is mostly presented in visual novel style cutscenes with character portraits. The world map is pretty lackluster to navigate and the game feels quite linear in nature, which might not be a bad thing for those who are tired of the open world formula that is repeated in majority of the games.
The flaws of Megadimension Neptunia VIIR start to show as soon as you get a little further in the game. The grind nature of the battles makes the combat a chore because you will be forced to do these random battles. There is the chance to get a sneak attack on enemy in order to start the battle with an advantage, but the enemies can pull the same with a back attack that can result in them leading with attack in the battle. It is a double edged sword that has been used in countless RPGs by now.
Story wise, Megadimension Neptunia VIIR doesn’t exactly feature any interesting narrative. The charm of the game lies in its main theme about the characters belonging to a fictional universe where they are represented by a certain console brand. There are plenty of references to video game development and mechanics thrown in the mix that should please the fans of the series. The writing of the game is fairly generic with the jokes failing to make an impression, but there are also some nice nods to how the gaming industry works in the current market.
Overall, I will say that this is a decent JRPG that is held down by some flaws. The lack of appealing narrative, flawed combat system and the disappointing VR implementation makes it a tough recommendation for those who are looking for a good JRPG, but if you are a Neptunia fan, the inclusion of the VR Room that allows you to have some close encounters with your favorite characters should prove to be a nice addition.
Megadimension Neptunia VIIR Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Megadimension Neptunia VIIR (pronounced "V-two-R") is an enhanced version of 2016's Megadimension Neptunia VII featuring smoother graphics courtesy of a new engine, a revamped battle system, and a whole new VR experience.
This is more of a fan service update rather than a proper remaster. There are some good changes to the combat system that add more strategy to it, but overall, the experience of the game is still mostly the same if you ignore the partial VR support that is typically limited to a single gameplay mode.