While it was released in 2018, I only fairly recently got around to playing Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online (aka Cyberdimension). I felt that I needed to play the Neptunia games in order of release because why not?
The setup is that the Goddess CPUs decide to play the beta for the new 4 Goddesses Online game that’s coming out. Despite the usual trope (and how tropey the Neptunia games can be) they don’t get trapped inside the game! Instead, they have a pleasant time battling monsters and talking to other players. Until someone starts cheating and breaking the game!
You play as the CPUs: Neptune, Noire, Vert, and Blanc, as well as the CPU Candidates; Nepgear, Uni, Ram, and Rom. Make up a team of four (and substitute them at any time), and head into one of the many dungeons throughout the world of Alsgard to fight monsters and complete guild quests. Fighting is done in true MMO style, where you can see the enemies and just wander over to start wailing on them or leg it if you need to. This also means you can become swamped if you get too close to a group of monsters, but conversely, you can avoid them if you need to.
Cyberdimension does its best to mimic an MMO especially in the fact that you cannot pause the game. If you need to swap out a character during a fight, you’d best be nimble with your menuing! You can play with other people, but I didn’t get a chance to try it out. There are even emotes, which honestly, seem pointless at this point in time because there are only like 20 people playing it on Steam on any given day…
Admittedly, the gameplay does get a bit samey after a while, especially after you learn the layout of the levels, which you will go into over and over again, trying to level up enough to take on the next boss. There’s a lot of grinding involved, because there aren’t enough side quests to keep things interesting. You’ll just be going into a level, killing every enemy, then leaving the level because they don’t respawn until you return… To be fair, you unlock one of the harder dungeons very early on and are told to avoid it, but used carefully you can level up quickly.
Story-wise, however, is where Cyberdimension shines — as usual for the Neptunia series. All of the character interactions are entertaining, the jokes are funny, there are references to other games (as well as other Neptunia titles), and the voice acting is as good as always. Honestly, I enjoyed the story not concerning the fate of Gamindustri (the world) and just this game-within-a-game. It’s nice to give the ladies some time off from saving humanity, you know?
The graphics are fine, but not what I’d say is the best work that developer Compile Heart has ever put out. Though saying that, it might have been a conscious choice because this is an MMORPG world, and graphics aren’t the highest priority in those. The cutscenes all take place in the style of visual novels, so it’s mainly talking heads with jiggle physics. Though I will give the developer credit for the costume designs, as some of those are great. You can find new outfits around the dungeons, as well as accessories in case you want to add a set of devil horns or some wings to your characters.
Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online isn’t for everyone — newcomers to the franchise should pick a different game — but fans will enjoy it for the characters. While MMO veterans might enjoy getting a look at a game that points out the genre's flaws in a cheeky manner, there are definitely better Neptunia games out there that don’t require quite so much grinding.
Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online (Reviewed on Windows)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
While it can be a grindfest, fans of the CPUs will want to check it out just to see how often Noire is referred to as having no friends.