The Neptunia series has always, at least in part, been about taking a sidelong glance at elements of popular culture, particularly those related to video games, and Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is no exception.
Through its overall aesthetic — particularly its art and music — it both pays homage to and parodies a variety of influences in both the online and offline role-playing game spheres, but in doing so it manages to retain a strong enough sense of its own identity to still be clearly recognisable as a Neptunia game.
In fact, through the combination of Tsunako’s distinctive character designs, their energetic scripts and their light-hearted, inclusive nature that draws the player in to the experience, there’s a strong argument for Neptunia games being some of the most immediately recognisable Japanese games on the market today. And I’m all for that.
Continue reading Cyberdimension Neptunia: Art Imitates Life
One of the interesting things about the Neptunia series as a whole is that it doesn’t really have an overarching “big plot” as such, but nonetheless sees each of its characters getting plenty of development.
Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is an especially intriguing case in that, although it is a spinoff title from the main series, previous examples of which have been regarded as non-canonical, it feels like one of the most significant instances of each member of its main cast “advancing” in their overall development and growth.
In fact, in many ways, the fact Cyberdimension Neptunia does not feature a prominent note that it is a non-canonical installment can lead us to believe that it is a quasi-sequel to Megadimension Neptunia V-II and its predecessor Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory/Re;Birth3, particularly given the presence of characters who were introduced in those games, such as Plutia and Peashy (Victory/Re;Birth3) and Uzume (V-II). And in that context it’s actually a very significant installment in the series from a narrative perspective.
Continue reading Cyberdimension Neptunia: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation
While the Neptunia series is primarily known for being RPGs, developer Compile Heart’s frequent collaborator Tamsoft has had a number of shots at bringing the franchise into the real-time action realm.
Over time, the scale and ambition of these “action Neptunia” games has expanded considerably, with Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online marking the most convincing realisation of the formula to date at the time of writing, blending elements of the mainline Neptunia games with an appealing and enjoyable real-time combat system.
Let’s look at how “action Neptunia” has evolved over time, and how Cyberdimension Neptunia refines the formula.
Continue reading Cyberdimension Neptunia: Action Neptunia’s Latest Evolution
The Neptunia series is not only one of the most remarkable success stories in Japanese gaming, it’s also one of the most interesting, diverse franchises out there.
From its humble beginnings as a low-budget RPG with an atrocious critical reception to its current, widely recognised status inextricably associated with Sony platforms, even the most hardened cynic has to admit by now that there’s probably something to this series.
A big part of what has kept Neptunia fresh and interesting over the years is the fact that it’s not afraid to step outside of its traditional RPG comfort zone and experiment with gameplay styles. And, since we already explored the history of the mainline series when we dove deep into Megadimension Neptunia V-II back in 2016, it’s these spinoff games we’ll be looking in more detail today.
Continue reading Cyberdimension Neptunia: Introduction and History