I’ve been a fan of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series for a long while now. Between its self-referential humor, the satire of the gaming industry, and the variety of genres and gameplay types across the series and its spinoffs, there’s a lot to love from the series as a whole. That’s why I became very excited when I found out that Superdimension Neptune Vs Sega Hard Girls was coming to Steam, allowing PC gamers to enjoy a game that had previously been only on Playstation Vita.
Neptune and IF team up with the girls of Sega (representing the Dreamcast, Sega Saturn, Game Gear, and Mega Drive consoles) in an all new adventure. In Superdimension Neptune Vs Sega Hard Girls, IF discovers the Grand Library, which holds the world’s history. This is a spinoff of the normal series, so you don’t have to worry about playing the other entries. The story is entirely unique and features new interactions between the characters. The Steam version of Superdimension Neptune Vs Sega Hard Girls contains the DLC content of the Vita version, including items, an extra character class for IF, and bonus settings to increase EXP and money earned.
Gamindustri has become a wasteland following a cataclysmic battle. Years later, IF discovers the grand library, and begins a quest with Neptune, IF, Hatsumi Sega (and other Sega mascots) to restore history and protect Gamindustri from the Time Eater, a creature that aims to consume time itself. This requires them to undergo quests, and eventually take on the Time Eater, if you fail then, it resets, allowing you to try again.
Unlike other entries in the series, Superdimension Neptune Vs Sega Hard Girls enhances the dungeon-crawling mechanics that already existed in the series. Now in addition to jumping, you can break objects in the dungeons, dash, crawl, and climb to new areas and take advantage of all new exploration mechanics. Some of these exploration mechanics include climbing ladders, ropes and vines in order to reach new areas. Another interesting mechanic unique to Superdimension Neptune is the collection of medals and baseballs.
Medals convert into credits (or in game currency) and if you collect all medals in a dungeon a crown icon is marked to show that you have completed it. Baseballs let you stock key items which you can return to their rightful owner for a reward. This adds both a collect-a-thon mechanic and a side quest mechanic to the game that will encourage you to return to areas you’ve already explored to make sure you have collected everything.
Combat is very similar to previous Neptune titles. You are able to move your characters around a circular field, attacking and using skills or items. However, each action consumes part of the action gauge, which determines how long it will be before the character’s next turn. The interesting thing is, as long as you have room in the action gauge (meaning as long as it isn’t in the red section) you can perform as many actions as you like. You can hit enemies multiple times, defend early to mitigate damage or heal more than one party member.
Also new to the series, IF now can transform into her “Flame Awakening” state, much like CPU’s could transform in previous games. Transformations increase character stats dramatically, allowing them to take on the toughest of foes. Gems may appear on the battlefield at times and can heal HP, SP, or charge the fever gauge. Some may even activate Fever Time, which makes stats for allies increase, while also reducing enemy turns for a period of time. Fever Time also allows characters to use EXE drives, powerful special abilities that can do massive amounts of damage while depleting the fever gauge.
Superdimension Neptune Vs Sega Hard Girls also has a new class mechanic, which allows you to level each character’s classes, to unlock new abilities. Over time (or through DLC) you may earn new classes, which allow you to change for different party loadouts. The downside to class changing is that you will have to level the class, as a class at level 1 is weaker than a higher level class. However each class has different skills, so it is helpful to grind out levels in order to get new skills and discover which class is suitable for your playstyle.
The library also allows you to access past scenes, music, and story content to refresh your memory, or simply to enjoy a hilarious scene all over again. Using IF’s bike in the Library allows you to travel through time to different eras. Eras are essentially how you adventure, explore, and progress through the story (after all you are trying to restore history right?) Histoire will assign missions to you as you progress, and keeping track of missions is incredibly important. Missions can expire, so it is important to clear out the missions closer to expiration so they will not expire. As you clear missions in an era, the observation level will increase, signifying that you have uncovered more of history. The observation level increasing, allows more/better items to appear in shops, new missions to appear, and better items to become available during exploration.
Superdimension Neptune Vs Sega Hard Girls is incredibly entertaining; however, it has a few flaws that have been common in the series. The difficulty spikes in weird places (as is common with Neptunia games) requiring you to grind very often in order to progress. A new problem however that Superdimension Neptune has created, is an issue where, in the overworld enemy hitboxes are weirdly inconsistent. This means that you may end up being caught by an enemy who is nowhere near you or you may fail to get a Symbol attack (to determine initiative) to land on an enemy.
Aside from the hitbox problem, and the difficulty spikes, fans of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series will feel right at home playing Superdimension Neptune Vs Sega Hard Girls. I greatly enjoyed it, and its Majora’s Mask-esque approach to time travel is an interesting mechanic that hasn’t been used effectively in a while. If you haven’t played Superdimension Neptune Vs Sega Hard Girls on Playstation Vita (or if you want it on PC as well) then give the Steam version a try.
A PC review copy of Superdimension Neptune Vs Sega Hard Girls was provided by Idea Factory for the purpose of this review.