After a slightly longer wait than expected due to a printing error with the soundtrack CDs, the limited editions for Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online are finally here.
As with most of Idea Factory International’s releases, it’s a substantial but affordable release containing a nice selection of goodies — some practical, some purely to go “ooooh” at. IFI’s limited editions are always reasonably understated and never feel the need to go for the excess of some “Collector’s Editions” — particularly those from triple-A Western publishers — and it’s for that reason I like them. They’re easy and fun to collect and display, and they keep the focus on the game.
So let’s take a look inside the box of this newest one, then!
We’re off to a good start with that cover art, which I liked as soon as I saw it for the first time. One thing I particularly appreciate about this is the strong contrast it presents between Black, Purple and Green Heart’s normal HDD outfits (which are primarily black) and these new costumes. They look great in white, and it’s gratifying to see that Green Heart is as eager to show off her fine ass as ever.
Open the box and the game is right there on top. In many other IFI releases, you have to dig down beneath all the extras to get to the game disc, but here it’s right on the top ready to go.
The box art shows the characters in their “human” forms — albeit with their all-new costumes seen within the “game within a game” of 4 Goddesses Online. I really like the new costumes; they’re somewhat evocative of the characters’ usual appearances with a nice fantasy twist.
PEGI ratings on the back of the box promise bad language, sex and violence — although as any longstanding Neptunia fan will know, all of these will be mild at best, hence the 12+ rating. The “sex” rating is probably the most misleading in that Neptunia games never feature any explicit sexual content; at most, there are some provocative outfits, and there are some bondage-esque scenes early in Hyperdimension Neptunia mk.2/Re;Birth 2 along with a character that is a paedophile (that you promptly kick the shit out of), but the games never cross the line into outright lewdness.
The case inlay is reversible, so you can have the “goddess” artwork rather than the “human” artwork if you so desire. Peculiarly, the “human” artwork features a standard UPC barcode on the back, but the “goddess” artwork says “not for resale”. If you plan on trading this one in (but why would you?) make sure you put the inlay back the “correct” way around!
Next we’ve got the soundtrack CD and the replacement CD to correct the printing error. There are 27 tracks on the CD, all of which look to be unique to this game rather than recycled songs from previous games. I have no doubt we’ll hear some of those in the game itself too, mind you — it wouldn’t be a Neptunia game without hearing “$100” a few times — but it’s nice to see so much original music.
Next there’s this charming little Nep figurine, based on her in-game outfit. Considering she’s a “flat” rubber figure rather than fully 3D, she’s built a little on the thick side (just how I like ’em, whoooo) and thus is able to stand up firmly and stably without needing any extra support. The bold dark lines on her artwork also means she looks great any time you’d care to use her to photobomb another picture.
The reason the figurine is so thick is because her head is actually an 8GB USB stick. So if you’ve ever wanted to pull Nep’s head off, jam it in your computer and fill it with pornography, now’s your chance. You monster.
Probably the most “extravagant” thing in the package is this art stand thingy. The front is kind of like a giant pin badge; the artwork itself is printed on a kind of matt surface at a pleasingly high quality and looks great. It holds itself up with a cardboard stand you pop out of the back; this feels a bit flimsy and I was a bit wary when setting it up, but once you get everything in place it supports the whole piece firmly.
The final piece of the puzzle is this artbook. This is probably the largest artbook I’ve seen from IFI; most of the time, they adopt a size format somewhat similar to a DVD or Blu-Ray case, but this one is approximately full A4 size, taking up the full width and length of the box bottom. This is a good thing; it feels nice and hefty and provides plenty of page space to appreciate the contents.
As for those contents, the majority of the book is taken up by character profiles and rough sketches, with some high-quality versions of the box art and event backgrounds in the middle. Unlike many other IFI artbooks, there are no spoilers in the form of event images in this artbook, so you can read and enjoy it without fear even before you play the game.
Here’s a sampling of the “Rough Sketches” pages, featuring some character designs. There are a wide variety of different sketch types throughout this section, including weapons, enemies, characters and all manner of other good stuff. It’s cool to see how the designs have developed — or stayed the same — over time.
And here’s what to expect from the character profiles at the start of the book: a nice large image of the character in question, a summary of her character and the unique information for how you can expect to see them in this particular game, since it unfolds in the “virtual” world of 4 Goddesses Online rather than “reality”. Also, how frigging cute is Nepgear as a mage/witch? I may be a bit biased, but still.
All in all this is another nice limited edition from Idea Factory International, and a game I’m very much looking forward to getting stuck into. Expect a full Cover Game feature on it when I finally get around to booting it up!
More about Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online
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