This just in, folks: Neptunia games are still a-comin’ out, and people are still a-buyin’ them! That’s completely fine with me, I continue to think these games are great. They’re kind of dumb, they’re kind of anime, but you know what? I pay my taxes, gosh darn it, and if I want to waste my precious few remaining years on this earth playing Superdimension Neptune Vs. SEGA Hard Girls, then that’s what I’m going to do. So lonely.
Superdimension represents another “facet” of the Neptunia series; essentially yet another parallel universe story that’s not canon with the rest of the games. At this point it’s unlikely that matters at all, since the games reference each other as well as the rest of the industry constantly, but that’s how it is. This one stars perennial long-sleeved sidekick IF; she’s the anthropomorphic representation of this game’s development company, and wow, reading that sure makes me feel like a gigantic dweeb. She teams up with Segami, a new shapeshifting character who can turn into the titular Hard Girls who are themselves representations of SEGA hardware, because that’s totally a thing, and…yeah, it’s Neptunia. In this one Neptune turns into a talking motorcycle! Holy crap!
I’d like to say that Superdimension shakes up the Neptune series with a new and exciting battle system and gameplay elements, except that would be a complete lie. There’s a little more action going on while exploring the game’s fields now, as IF is a more acrobatic character so she can climb and dash around more readily. Meanwhile, we’ve largely got the same battle system we’ve been enjoying since Fairy Fencer F or thereabouts; take turns running around the battlefield and stringing together attack combos, transform into a super mode if you need to, grind a whole bunch when you run into a boss and get stomped. The biggest difference is that all actions, from movement to attacks, run from the same meter now. Staying relatively still can lead to move impressive attack combos since you aren’t wasting all your juice via movement, and you can sort of cheat the system by backloading all your more “expensive” actions.
As is often the case with these initial Vita versions of the Neptunia games, though, Superdimension suffers a bit from the limitations of the platform. In particular, the framerate can get a little heinous, particularly in large-scale battles, and it’s never as solid as you’ve come to expect if you’ve been playing these on PC. Fans who continue to play these on Vita are probably used to this by now and are unlikely to bat an eye, but it still bears mention.
Otherwise, Superdimension Neptune Vs. SEGA Hard Girls is more Neptunia. The familiar battle system and characters are sure to bring nostalgia for…wait, the last one of these was released like two or three months ago, right? Okay, so it’s more Neptunia. Hardcore fans of the series have already bought it. Plain ol’ regular fans are waiting for the inevitable Steam version, which in true Idea Factory fashion is bound to run at a lovely 60FPS in a drastic improvement from this version. Meanwhile, anyone who hasn’t played Neptunia before really should be able to find Re;birth 1 somewhere for a couple bucks.