Neptunia is a series that I have mainly ignored until recent years, but one that I have to admit I’ve become a fan of. It is a series that takes a lot of anime tropes and turns them on their head, and has a great cast of well-developed characters. The gameplay is pretty standard fare for a JRPG, but nothing special. So why has the series remained popular in Japan? The short answer is fanservice, but a lot of fanservice. The best example of this is one of my favorite characters, Noire, who is a tsundere version of the classic Sega console, the Dreamcast. As a result, I was extremely excited when I learned that Neptunia would be getting its own 3
As a huge fan of JRPGs, I had been looking forward to this game for a long time. The last Neptunia game I played was Hyperdimension Neptunia MKM, which I enjoyed, but I can honestly say that this game was a disappointment. I had expected the combat system to be somewhat similar to the last game, but it turns out that it’s very similar to Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, which I didn’t enjoy as much.
There are many anime games, most of which have a fairly similar RPG style and minimal stage animation. While it’s nice to feel like you’re experiencing the story and not just watching it, most games start to blend into each other, e.g., “The Story of the World”. Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon? (Is it wrong to try to pick up a girl in a dungeon?) Neptunia Virtual Stars wants to stand out. Since this isn’t an anime, this game doesn’t need to follow a certain path or be sure of a certain plot rhythm.
Neptunia Virtual Stars is set in a world guarded by four goddesses, each of whom is a typical anime girl goddess. Black is a moody girl with dark hair, White is calm and controlled, Green seems goofy and oh I said a little sexy, and finally Neptune who is just too excited and looks like a kid. Anyone who’s seen anime with a slice of life is used to similar stylistic devices. Once you get over the initial amazement of a world ruled by four teenagers pretending to be goddesses, the rest of the plot comes. When the goddesses visit the GGS (an exact replica of E3 in their world), they find themselves trapped in an MMO. Yes, we follow all the trends. What’s next, Titans?
Honestly, the plot is hard to follow, except for the fact that the physics of the breasts in the scenes are completely insane! Trying to read what’s on the screen while seeing breasts bouncing right above you is distracting, to say the least. I hope you’ll enjoy the story, even if you’re only halfway through, because there’s a lot of dialogue before you have any kind of control. But once you have control, you want to go back and let the characters tell the story.
The majority of the game is incredibly limited for what an MMO should be. For starters, the areas are incredibly small, boring and have nothing really distinctive about them. The main game plays like it was made for the original PlayStation. When you move your character, the movements are not as free as they should be in the PS4 version. Instead, they are limited to eight directions (front, back, left, right and along four diagonals). Of course, if you just move forward and the camera moves in the direction you want to go, the movement seems freer. But who plays these games?
God fights are incredibly boring: holding onto an enemy, constantly shifting to avoid them attacking you, shooting to kill. It’s a tried and true method that works throughout the game. Unexpectedly, in the story you encounter two pop stars, Me and You, who instead use a sword and a bow respectively. These two are much more interesting to play because the play style requires a little more attention. But the biggest problem is that the sword combos aren’t very well put together, so it’s hard to string attacks together like it should be possible. On the other hand, a bow is just a bow, but it’s incredibly difficult to hit the right enemy, especially if there are more enemies.
Neptunia Virtual Stars suffers from artificial complexity. The game isn’t difficult, but the territorial enemies and terrible sword combos make it feel like it is. At least you have the opening song of the anime, right? This is probably the best part of the game overall. With most of the story elements already done elsewhere and gameplay that is at best average and at worst almost unplayable, this game is definitely not recommended unless you are a huge anime fan waiting for something new to come out.
|Neptunia Virtual Stars looks pretty mediocre. Visually it certainly doesn’t stand out, but it’s not the ugliest thing in the world either.||The monotonous and boring gameplay, with its horrible weighting of artificial difficulty, is what will keep me from returning to Neptunia Virtual Stars.|
|An absolutely stunning theme song and some pretty classic anime tunes in the game make the music stand out more than anything else in this game.||This is one of the few games I can say I didn’t like.|
|Final decision: 3.0|
Neptunia Virtual Stars is already available on PC and PlayStation 4.
The test will be conducted on the PlayStation 4.
A copy of the game Neptunia Virtual Stars was provided by the publisher.
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