Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is a beat’em up, much like Tamsoft’s other spin-offs in the series. Much like Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed and Megatagmension Blanc + Neptune vs. Zombies, the characters are heading into battles and defeating mobs of enemies. But there is a little more care put into the details here. Instead of going from one mission to another, there are efforts to mimic the MMO experience, just like the .hack and Sword Art Online series, with rather satisfying results.
When you head into battle in Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online, you have a party of four with you. You control one and dictate the general actions of the other three. (It is also possible to switch leaders, but this must be done via menus rather than pressing a hotkey to swap.) The layout is similar to an MMO or Sword Art Online, with a bar along the bottom of the screen listing items you can immediately use with a hotkey. You can also trigger some special attacks by holding the trigger, then pressing an action button. Moving between areas, say from one open area to another or to return to the hub, involves a teleporter. Chests are randomly scattered in spaces, as well as gathering points. It certainly looks the part. There is even a box in the lower right of the screen that offers system messages and a chat system.
Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online also places a heavy emphasis on grinding. Some of it is grinding for experience. The Tetyu Temple is the first really good place you can find to grind for levels, for example, as I used it to quickly get my main party to level 40. You’ll also need to grind for items in different spots, either for crafting purposes or quests. The one area where I didn’t find myself working exceptionally hard for items was in regards to weapons. You can get equipment as quest rewards, and usually the pieces you get there are good enough to get you through the game without spending a lot of cash on other items at the hub. EX Quests also end up being a good way to grind, which means a lot of your time in the game could be spent going through these missions, rather than really advancing the story.
I like how the in-game chat was handled too. Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online calls back to other MMOs with its preset phrases and ability to enter any text you would like. But what’s really nice is how it relies on existing Neptunia lore and background to add extra personality. The preset phrases in the EX category actually have voice acting assigned to them. It makes the online segment a little more interesting. Since these have emotions and sentiments attached to them, rather than exact dialogue, it can be a fun surprise for both you and the other players in the party. I liked sampling them when I was offline to hear what everyone had to say.
It is when you go online that Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online starts picks up on the MMO experience, but not in a good way. One thing I noticed was lag. The game itself runs mostly smoothly, but I noticed frame rate issues when trying to play with others. Another people is the quantity of people playing online. If you are really putting a lot of time and effort into the game, you may have trouble finding others who are as dedicated. There is an audience there, just not a huge one, which could be more problematic as people start to work their way toward the endgame and postgame. But, if someone has friends who are also playing (and have steady internet connections), you can alleviate those issues.
Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online definitely has the atmosphere right. It may be an action game where you’re attempting to beat up every opponent, but it does try to mimic the online experience. You always have allies with you, sometimes real people. You’re taking missions from an in-game guild, with some being story-based and others helping you grind for necessary goodies. There’s even a chat system that has a little bit of that Neptunia personality in there for unique character lines. It’s these little touches that make the game more enjoyable.
Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is available for the PlayStation 4. It will come to PCs in 2018.