Review: Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online (PS4).
Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online again takes us to the world of Gamindustri, where this time four goddesses we know are playing an online game together. It’s time to see if Neptune has been successful in shoving the series into the currently fashionable reality of MMORPG titles.
As fans of the Neptunia series probably know, 4 Goddesses Online is a revamped version of the (fictional) network RPG that Vert (Green Heart) has so passionately played in during previous adventures of our CPU goddesses. The beta-tests of the remastered blockbuster have just begun, which, of course, could not do without the presence of the aforementioned girls, i.e. Neptune, Noire, Blanc and Vert, and their younger sisters. In a virtual world called Alsgard, the center of which is the huge Leanverde tree of life, they are looking for sacred objects that will allow them to recall the four titular goddesses. Unfortunately, as it turns out, instead of staging adversities, they also have to deal with errors in the game and cheating players (cheaters) spoiling the fun of others. Of course, everything was supposed to be a pretext for funny scenes, but it seems that the theme of free MMORPGs is not very suitable for a humorous story.
Unfortunately, while the fine fictional envelope, characteristic of most F2P chains, can be understood, because the local mechanisms and pathologies have been parodied in the game, little has been done to make the whole story more attractive. Yes, there are interferences and scathing comments about the gameplay, but there are too few of them. The girls were too empathetic to their role as the heroines of a tacky MMO, which made me feel like I was playing them. Fortunately, everything changes for the better later in the scenario, with funnier gags, more interesting events and more references, but for almost the entire first half, it is simply boring. On the plus side, the presence of most liked (or not) characters from the Neptune universe, even if they are only secondary or tertiary. Ultimately, however, the whole story did not turn out to be as bad as it looked at the beginning, but compared to the series, it belongs to the worse.
As 4 Goddesses Online is another spin-off of the series, the creators changed the style of the game again to resemble online non-target RPGs. We got the standard Wishuel main city for them as a base with everything that adventurers need, from where we go to penetrate the available locations. Unfortunately, there are not many of them, besides they are not too big, so the game progresses relatively quickly, especially since the challenge level is quite low. In addition, the development of the plot is more closely related than in the main installments of the series with the tasks that we undertake in the guild building. However, the combat style underwent the greatest metamorphosis – in relation to the main canon, turn-based battles were turned into a simple action RPG like Zelda or Rune Factory. We control one of the four goddesses present in the team, mostly using the attack button and using special skills specific to a given class of characters.
Finally, we got the expected breath of freshness, which is good, but not without some drawbacks. When trying to stab / shoot an opponent, it is strangely easy to miss him and get hit by himself when we “scrape” the air. Even powerful bosses as big as a barn are incredibly agile and can easily evade us. In any case, despite the arcade gameplay model, quickly tapping one button is not the best idea. In addition, the fights with the above-mentioned bosses trigger a yawn reflex rather than increase the pressure, because they are painfully schematic, and besides, the giant adversaries lack assets that can surprise us, apart from a large number of health points. The option to quickly change the character or the fighting squad would also be useful, because now, to do this, you need to enter the menu, which is not convenient during combat. After all, apart from fights with bosses, the quick cutting down of hostile flora and fauna can be quite pleasant, but some patch in the future, eliminating at least some of the shortcomings, would undoubtedly be useful.
The graphic design has also undergone significant changes thanks to the Unreal Engine 4 engine used, which is often used by MMORPGs, which makes the new Neptunia similar to these titles. Of course, the cartoonish visuals were introduced on purpose to give the game the right atmosphere, and it worked. The animation runs smoothly in 60 frames, the interface is also designed to match the game’s atmosphere. The two-dimensional pictures during the cutscenes are beautiful and detailed, although one of the icons of the cycle, i.e. the moving figures of the characters, was taken from us. Now it is strange to look at your favorite goddesses, who unfortunately do not budge during the dialogues. Another disadvantage is the sporadic freaking camera and the bizarre behavior of characters controlled by artificial intelligence. Sometimes they get blocked on some obstacle or try to attack an opponent that is unattainable at the moment. However, the long loading time of the game irritates the most, as if we were trying to run it on a weak computer. The sound layer is at a high level, including Japanese voices or English dubbing to choose from.
Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Onlinelike other installments of the series, it is intended for a small group of players, but even they will turn their noses a little. While the game is not bad, there are quite a few good things to be found, but many gameplay elements ask for some extra polish. You can spend time with her pleasantly, but nothing will happen if we skip this episode of adventures of Neptune and her friends.