Action RPG Neptunia Virtual Stars brings together the franchise’s cast and some newcomers to PS4. Check out our Neptunia Virtual Stars review!
Neptunia Virtual Stars is an action RPG coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the Neptunia series. This game follows the CPUs as virtual idols teaming up with Mi and Yu of MEWTRAL to save planet EMO from the invaders known as “Anti.”
Neptunia Virtual Stars begins in a new dimension outside of Gamindustri, a place we’ve grown used to play in over the past decade, along with the colorful Neptunia cast. After an introductory segment with new characters being introduced – pop TV Idols -, we get to see Neptunia, Blanc, Noire, and Vert characters along with their upbeat musical themes.
In this game, “Antis” are threatening to erase “content,” which is a weird premise, but then again, the Neptunia series does not have games with traditional plots. After being introduced to “Me” and “You,” two VTubers artists, Neptune, along with her usual friends, is drawn into a new world… and is tasked with saving it!
Once the introduction is over, you’ll be drawn into the actual action, and this is where this game doesn’t shine as much. The levels design is okay, although the levels themselves are quite basic: linear paths, rooms to review, and crates to destroy. Fighting enemies is done by pressing one of the action buttons, and you’ll mostly want to keep it pressed down to hit enemies. While you’re attacking them, a circle around them will start to fill up, and when it’s full, the enemy will be stunned for a few seconds, which gives you some extra time to go all out with your attacks. I would have liked it if the game was more strategy-oriented, instead of forcing players to keep an attack button pressed down, strafing left and right to avoid receiving any damage. At least each character has its own attack scheme, which does add a little variety, and the whole VTubers angle is certainly different.
My biggest issue with the game is with the combat. Even small monsters take way too many hits to defeat, and as you do this, the camera will be your worst enemy. If you’re in front of a horde of, say, 4-6 enemies, you’ll be there for a handful of minutes just constantly hitting them while strafing left and right. Aiming is also approximative because your character does not lock onto enemies, so you have to manually adjust the crosshair to target your enemies. To make all of this worse, when you press and hold down the attack button, your character will constantly scream, which is highly annoying as you play.
The boss fights add a new musical game in which you can turn the tide of the battle in your favor, but the combat itself is actually boring. You’ll do the same as with regular enemies, constantly hitting the boss for a handful of minutes, then simply dodge when it attacks. When a gauge maxes out, you can unleash a powerful attack, but it’s, in fact, the exact same “keep the attack button pressed down” situation, but with a different background, and your opponent does not attack you as much.
The game features different worlds to save, and I thought that this game’s presentation is great. As expected, it’s voiced in Japanese with English subtitles. The voice acting itself is pretty much what you can expect from an all-girls Japanese anime: mostly high pitched but still overall good. The background music isn’t great, and the available music is certainly not going to end up in a “best of” compilation of Neptunia tracks. I did like the main game theme.
As for the trophies, there’s a bunch of trophies that will unlock as you progress through the game, while others will require that you grind a lot of experience points in order to level up a character to level 30, 50, and 100! There’s a trophy for using the Video Battler for the first time and another one for using it 100 times. There are also some trophies tied to you defeating the extra strong bosses in the game, which you will probably leave for after you’ve beaten the main adventure.
I’ve been a fan of the Neptunia franchise from the moment I played the first one, but this one is hard to recommend. The combat is boring, and the dungeon crawling is uninspired. If you’re looking for a good game in the Neptunia franchise on PS4, then definitely check out Megadimension Neptunia VII!
This Neptunia Virtual Stars review is based on a PlayStation 4 code provided by NIS America.