Cyberdemension Neptunia: Four Goddesses Online Review
Release Date: February 27 2018
Platform(s): PC, Playstation 4
Developer(s): Idea Factory, Tamsoft
Before this review begins in earnest, I have a bit of a confession: I have never properly played an MMO. The closest I’ve got was playing half of the tutorial of Star Trek Online before it permanently crashed on my underpowered student laptop. Not only that, I’ve never played a Cyberdimension Neptunia game before, so I walked into this brand new gaming world knowing virtually nothing about the characters, the setting, or even the genre it was basing itself around. This is most definitely one of those reviews where I didn’t know a whole lot about the game going in.
Cyberdimension Neptunia: Four Goddesses Online is a spin-off of the Cyberdimension Neptunia series which focuses on the four main goddesses (or CPUs) of the world of Gaminindustri playing the beta of a new MMO. If you haven’t met these characters before, never fear, throughout the game main character Neptune will fourth wall break to introduce you to each character. In addition to Neptune, there’s Vert, the competitive MMO player, Blanc, the caring-but-occasionally-angry healer and Noire, the slightly insecure cosplayer. Neptune also introduces the players to the supporting cast, but unfortunately, a large portion of what she tells you is often about the character's looks, not particularly helpful, given the player can already see them. It’s nice that the game attempts this introduction for newcomers to the series, but it’s very clumsily done. It ends up still feeling like you are missing a lot of information, and more importantly, reasons to care about the main characters if you haven’t played previous games in the series.
That lack of effective communication with the player continues to be a problem further into the game. The whole first third of the story is based on characters obsessions and actions from previous games, making it very hard to follow. It wasn’t until my fifth hour into Four Goddesses Online that it started to introduce a story that felt original to this game itself. This storyline about cheating and hacking MMOs is quite interesting and tells new players far more about the goddesses and their younger sisters (who are also playing beta) than Neptune’s earlier introductions do. It would have been great to see this story started earlier to make the game more accessible for those playing the series for the first time. Luckily the gameplay is enough fun to keep the player pushing through the opening until the main story begins.
Four Goddesses Online’s gameplay is definitely one of my favourite things about it. It’s pretty simple for the most part, but there are a wide variety of different characters to master in different settings and different roles. I enjoyed playing the DPS characters the most as beating monsters around the level feels hugely satisfying, especially in boss fights. I loved the special abilities of the characters too, which the player can customise based on level and the type of role you’re playing in the fight. It’s also heaps of fun customising your character’s look and weapons before she goes into battle. I have to admit, I particularly love playing with Neptune’s giant popsicle sword and Vert’s ice-cream cone rapier. The visuals are also a large part of what makes the game so entertaining.
A lot of the Cyberdimension Neptunia fans seem to love the visuals of the series the most, and it’s easy to see why. The anime style of the game and fun character designs make the world of Four Goddesses Online incredibly charming. It’s beautiful to play through the different areas, and see the different anime art styles interact. However, quite a few people (including myself) didn’t get to experience the visuals in their full glory, due to a series of glitches.
My copy of Four Goddesses online had a recurring problem that, about twenty-five percent of the time, textures wouldn’t properly load into the game. It’s pretty disappointing for a game that is so much about its visuals. It also took about two hours of work to get game graphics to play in high definition after downloading it. This seems to be because the game consistently recognised the wrong settings on both of the computers in our house, and would update to them regardless of the game being on manual settings or not. Almost every time I booted up the game I would have some version of this issue. There have also been quite a few reports of the game crashing after being played for a couple of hours, although I didn’t experience that myself. It’s pretty unfortunate that the game still has these issues after launch, and hopefully, some of these issues will be fixed in a patch soon.
Four Goddesses Online is a fun game, but it did take me quite a few hours to start enjoying myself. I’m not sure it’s worth pushing through the glitches and in-jokes of the first few hours to get to that point as a newcomer to the series though. In the end, while I did end up enjoying later parts game, I can only really recommend it to big fans of anime games, or fans of the Cyberdimension Neptunia series.
Great anime-style visuals
Not good for newcomers to the series, as story relies heavily on prior knowledge of the series
PC port has quite a few bugs
Thanks to Idea Factory and Tamsoft for providing us with a review copy.