For those who haven’t stumbled throughout this side-scrolling RPG collection, the Neptunia video games have been knocking round since 2010. Initially created by Compile Coronary heart, Thought Manufacturing facility and varied different Japanese studios since, the adventures of chirpy goddess Neptune and the continuing Console Warfare have been a PlayStation console unique for years till now. And Tremendous Neptunia RPG isn’t simply the primary instalment to look on Nintendo , but additionally the primary one to be developed by a Western studio. Whereas not fully unparalleled, it’s fairly uncommon for a really Japanese-centric franchise to be handed over to a non-native outfit – even when that is only a spin-off.
To its credit score, Canadian outfit Artisan Video games clearly is aware of the collection its drawing from, taking cues from each the mainline Neptunia collection and from various different much-loved JRPGs. Whereas different spin-offs have spun into the whole lot from CCGs to relationship sims, Tremendous Neptunia RPG as an alternative opts for one thing a bit extra in-line with the collection’ roots. There are nonetheless loads of these visible novel-style cutscenes, with long-winded conversations between varied atypical anime characters with large weapons and questionable style decisions, solely now there is a larger concentrate on side-scrolling motion and platforming reasonably than 3D exploration.
Set throughout the identical vibrant universe as the primary collection – a humorous meta-world the place nations within the land of Gamindustri are divided by their allegiance to sure fictional consoles – Artisan has moved away from the 3D fashions of outdated and opted for a extra pleasing 2D artwork model. It’s an excellent selection, and the whole lot from the attractive background vistas to monster and character designs appear and feel immediately extra timeless than the 3D fashions discovered elsewhere within the franchise. Your complete mythos is likely to be a pastiche on video games as a tribalistic battleground – and using an amnesia-stricken hero is past uninteresting at this level – however that cute aesthetic helps lend a storybook high quality that’s harking back to Octopath Traveler and Legrand Legacy: Story of the Fatebounds.
When synced up with a poppy and energetic soundtrack and a surprisingly first rate quantity of voiceover work (which you’ll be able to play in English or Japanese, with assist for English subtitles as nicely), Tremendous Neptunia RPG is each devoted and refreshingly completely different in its presentation. Nonetheless, figuring out usable platforms and figuring out precisely easy methods to stroll up a number of pathways when in a metropolis (you must leap, reasonably than pushing up on the analog stick) can typically be far much less intuitive than it must be because of this vibrant visible take.
As with earlier video games, the majority of your time with Tremendous Neptunia RPG can be cut up between exploring the 2D dungeons and cities of Gamindustri and collaborating in battles. Platforming isn’t significantly difficult, though Neptune’s motion can typically be a bit too slippery as she strikes from standing to sprinting in seconds. Whereas exploring, you may converse with NPCs to achieve new quests, open treasure chests for brand spanking new gadgets and equipment and discover forests, cities, cities and labyrinthine caves. You possibly can provoke battles by approaching an enemy or by slashing them along with your outfitted weapon to start an encounter with a brief stat enhance.
Fight is semi-active, along with your squad of teammates positioned in a diamond formation on the suitable of the display, in a similar way to Valkyrie Profile. You’ll begin off solo for some time, however finally you’ll be reunited along with your fellow deities, with every character represented by one of many 4 buttons above their respective head. You possibly can’t assault in real-time, however you may as soon as a small meter within the backside right-hand nook of the display begins refilling segments. Enemies will even assault periodically, so that you’re left with deciding between utilizing a small quantity of AP to carry out a light-weight assault or maintain off, take in some hits then unleash a way more highly effective strike because of this.
Switching formations will place completely different characters within the place of squad chief, which can allow you to regulate the type of assaults and assist strikes each can pull off, however these subsystems aren’t defined significantly nicely so don’t count on to utilise this comparatively key characteristic immediately. And whereas it does throw fairly a couple of pages of educational textual content at you, it quickly turns into obvious that there isn’t very a lot to fight. In actual fact, you may even maintain ‘ZL’ to hurry up and automate the method. It’s clearly a call to make battles extra interesting to new or informal gamers, nevertheless it leaves Tremendous Neptunia RPG feeling a bit hole because of this.
Tremendous Neptunia RPG really has extra in widespread with South Park: The Fractured However Entire than it does extra conventional RPGs, just because it takes programs that may usually be a bit too sophisticated and makes them way more palatable for gamers hoping for a extra informal expertise. Fight can usually drift a bit too far into the informal zone – particularly with the power to hurry up battles – however the power of its environmental design and the light-hearted nature of its quests helps this spin-off maintain much more weight than a number of the throwaway cash-ins which have graced PS Vita lately.