"It's a wonder the Sega Hard Girls haven't crossed paths with Neptune's crew until now."
The console wars begin anew in Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls, the latest in a never-ending procession of Neptunia games from Idea Factory. As always, the buxom girls of the Gamindustri universe unite against a nebulous threat, but this time, they're teaming up with anthropomorphized versions of classic Sega consoles. Newbies Game Gear, Dream Cast, Sega Saturn, and more take to the stage alongside returning face IF to rediscover the lost history of a new world.
It's a wonder the Sega Hard Girls haven't crossed paths with Neptune's crew until now. As a crossover title, Superdimension Neptune is sure to have plenty in store for fans of both series. The action centers around IF, who rides around a foreign world on Neptune, who is a motorcycle now because reasons
. It's still an RPG, but movement is faster-paced and takes cues from the Sonic series — IF even runs like Sonic, collecting gems and jumping between platforms throughout dungeons. In battle, which plays out similarly to previous Neptunia titles, characters can now jump to obtain power-up items littered around the combat area. There's a new class system, too, allowing for further customization of characters. Amusingly, one of these is the Kangaroo class, which allows characters to jump even higher in battle to reach especially potent power-ups normally beyond their reach. Attacks can now be charged, which takes longer but does additional damage, and IF can even transform into a demonic alter ego that mimics Neptune's goddess form to unleash devastating special abilities.
The Idea Factory International team mentioned that while previous Neptunia games are rather comical, this one in particular takes its humor even further. Don't go in expecting an epic tale of romance and sacrifice here — memes and other wacky hijinks are far more likely to make up the bulk of the game's dialogue. One particular touch that European fans might enjoy: the character Dream Cast's outfit is adorned with the system's emblematic swirl design, and while it remains orange in North America, it was recolored blue for the European release. It's a cute nod to the Dreamcast's history, and with Sega's historically greater presence in Europe, it makes sense for them to embrace their fans in that region.
I'll be the first to admit that I have no great love for the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, but even I can see that this entry makes some noticeable differences to exploration and combat. Fans can see for themselves what kind of mischief IF gets into when the game releases Fall 2016 for PS Vita and PS TV.