Sega has gone through a lot in the last few decades – the Dreamcast, whittling away of it's series, a failed Sonic game every few years – it takes a toll. At this point it's a far cry to what it used to be. But it's also not forgotten – great Genesis games are being pushed back up and it's getting more and more credit for it's innovation. Even in smaller circles, like the Neptunia series, it's getting it's due, especially in the latest installment - Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls.
This time around, a girl named IF is upset about a lost library of a once great history that's destroying her world (hint hint). She teams up with the Neptune gang and fights back across several eras, each being part of Sega's history (i.e. worlds based on the Saturn and Dreamcast). I always thought they should go more on Sega in the series, and here, it shows how good it can be. Saving the world isn't exactly old hat, and there's more than enough story to keep going.
The controls on Steam worked well. This was originally out on the Vita, and while you can easily tell at some points, it worked seamlessly with my laptop. Granted, half the time you're just clicking to the next text, but on the PC, it works well enough.
The graphics were a little disappointing. Instead of making each new world different, they went with another color scale and maybe a few advances for each. It was hard to tell which era you were in sometimes. Beyond that, the 3D parts looked not too slick in some parts, i.e., a characters hair moving in huge chunks unorganically. Graphics were also gorgeous, but looked a few years behind. Some outdoors graphics had amazing water flowing down in the background, but had heavily pixelated grass and dirt in the foreground. But hey, stills are still gorgeous as ever.
Gameplay was fun. Characters are still very literal in what they say sometimes (i.e. jumping produces a “Jump!” exclamation from the character now and then). Fighting flowed nicely, and except for some camera centering problems, so did moving around. Fighting can be repetitive at times, but it holds firm and doesn't let you down. The same goes for the mechanics – it was smooth, and fighting and moving were a cinch. The leveling up through dungeons has been done to death, but it works nonetheless here.
The sound and the music is about the same as previous games. You still have that late 90's, early 00's arcade fighting techno music going all the time, but it works – even more so than usual because that was Sega's forte. Voice Acting was good too – it never felt being read, and besides for some unusual choices of exclamations during fights, it was really well done.
The frame rate was a little to be desired. Sometimes it lagged a bit, and sometimes a player paused for an incredibly long amount of time before switching to another. It didn't happen that often, but I noticed it a little more as time went on. Generally it's bug free, but little quirks like that happen now and then.
Superdimension Neptune VS Sega Hard Girls isn't the strongest game in the series. At times, it even felt paint by numbers when it came to comparing other games playing through. There's a good story and fun to be had, but there is also some disappointing visuals and other issues. If you're a fan, you'll love it, and if you like anime games, there's still enough to keep your interest. It's at least worth a play.
Final Score: 7.9 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.