"Super Neptunia RPG represents a big change to the series, which is always welcome."
Super Neptunia RPG is the latest game in the Neptunia franchise and will release in the fall of this year. For the first time, the series goes 2D, with this title being developed at Canadian-based Artisan Studios. I sat down with some of the staff from Idea Factory International to learn more about the game.
In this game, Neptune has once again been sucked into an alternate dimension, resulting in another case of lost memories. In this world, the denizens worship 2D games, and the rulers of this world force game developers to only make 2D games or be punished for making 3D games. Neptune, believing in equality for all games, fights for 3D justice alongside Noire, Blanc, and Vert.
Super Neptunia RPG is a 2D, turn-based RPG seeming to take inspiration from Valkyrie Profile. Outside of battle, you can wander around town and explore dungeons at your leisure. Encountering an enemy in the overworld pulls you into a turn-based battle. "Turn-based" is a loose description; while you can't attack while the enemy is attacking, you can queue up actions when you're under attack and execute attacks as soon as the enemy is finished. During battle, an "Action" gauge fills up over time. You can wait to build up the Action gauge to unleash multiple characters' attacks all at once for increased damage, or you can burn attacks as quickly as possible. It reminds me of Final Fantasy's ATB system.
The leader of the party enables different formations depending on who is selected. Neptune will feature a "striking" formation that will focus more on damage, while Blanc will have a healing formation. During my hands-on demo, I didn't notice too much of a difference between using Neptune, Noire, and Vert as the leader but perhaps time will tell how distinct each character is as the leader. I'm also not sure if skills will play a major role in this game or not, but they were not available to me in the demo (or perhaps I didn't know I could use them).
The game is a bit rough around the edges at the moment. During my PS4 demo, the game froze a couple of times, and a couple of loading screens were really long. I don't know if auto text was on or not, but sometimes I would press the text button to continue and it would skip through a line of dialogue. There's time to fix these issues, but it wasn't the best impression of how the game runs on a technical level.
Series artist Tsunako is in charge of the usual CG scenes, as well as the in-game models. Tsunako has done her best to keep the series look authentic, with Artisan Studios handling the background art.
Super Neptunia RPG represents a big change to the series, which is always welcome. With a little refinement, this could end up being a pretty good game, and it would make a strong showing for Artisan Studios. This Neptunia fan is keeping his hopes up that this game will do well and show that the series deserves to be recognized more.