Once you’ve gotten into the second part of Megadimension Neptunia VII, you find you’re given an opportunity new to the series. For the first time, we really get to see the CPU goddesses changing and directly influencing their nations. We always hear about the shares system, and how taking quests at the guild would make Planeptune more powerful than its rivals. Product development would result in new products by turning in items. With Megadimension Neptunia VII though, we get to see the characters altering both the cities, dungeons, and lands of Gamindustri itself once we’re well into the story.
Scouts are as important as ever in Megadimension Neptunia VII, returning from Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory. Many of the elements remain the same. Sending a scout to a dungeon will result in positive and negative status changes and alterations. For example, Dengekiko is one of the first scouts who’ll join the group. If you send her to a dungeon, your earned experience in that area while she’s there will increase by 10%, but you’ll earn 5% fewer Credits. Each scout can spend a certain amount of time in a dungeon, influencing it, finding out information, and preparing to level up. Leveling up this time is different, though, as you must use items found in dungeons to increase scouts’ levels and abilities. Common sense dictates you send as many scouts as possible to the next dungeon you’re going to explore, heading to the nearest town first to call them back from assignments and send them out again.
What I really love about the scout system is how much information you end up getting from it in Megadimension Neptunia VII. There’s no trusting or distrusting them. You’ll get rewards or information, if they were successful, and that’s that. You also can learn information about new dungeons and hidden treasures within specific dungeons. The hidden treasures part is interesting, since it means achieving certain conditions to get some special item from the area. The unlocking of new dungeons is even more important, since the scouts are the ones who’ll tell you where the Neplunker dungeon is. (Don’t worry, we’ll go over that in another article.)
Also, you can “cheat” the scout system. Save the game before you get scouts’ reports back. See what they have to say. If you don’t like what they’ve come back with or you didn’t get any important information, reload the save. Their report will be different the next time. It’s a great way to get the results you want, but without having to wait for them.
Finding new dungeons means opportunities to create roads to reach these new locations. Megadimension Neptunia VII isn’t like previous entries, where you have a static world map and move an icon from one place to another to get there. Neptune and the other CPU goddesses actually do some traveling. To reach new places, routes have to be constructed either through storyline events or Route Building. When you find out about a new place, you need to spend Credits to create a road to get there.
Admittedly, this inclusion is a little frustrating. It halts the progression of the story and occasionally feels like a means of artificially extending gameplay. You need to find out about the place first. Then, you have to have enough money to build the routes. Once the roads are built, it isn’t as simple as clicking the location and going there. Random battles can occur on the road. They usually aren’t very difficult, but can be quite disruptive. Especially since the characters don’t automatically continue their journey after the battle. You have to set the destination again. I appreciate the attempt to make a more interactive world map and allow players to feel like the CPU goddesses have more power, but sometimes I missed not having the opportunity to immediately jump from one place to another.
The other investment opportunity isn’t nearly so troublesome. People get to invest in each country’s capital. By pumping cash into Commerce, Industry, or Public Relations, that region will open up to you. PR gives you items and shares, which is handy. The higher the level, the better the items. In fact, there’s one point in the Zero Dimension where investing all of the money in PR gives you processors you can sell for serious bank. (Though many rewards will be ones you want to keep and use. The Commerce and Industry ones are especially helpful, since both increase items you can acquire. Commerce increases shop stock, while Industry lets you develop more items. Combined with the Guild ranking,
All of these are wonderful changes, and ones that make a great deal of sense for the cities. The CPU goddesses are supposed to be the most powerful characters in Gamindustri, influencing each nation. Yet, aside from a battle for shares, we didn’t always get to see that. With the scout, route, and investment systems in place in Megadimension Neptunia VII, their influence becomes a little more believable. Well, as believable as a game about consoles that are suddenly people and goddesses can be.
Megadimension Neptunia VII is immediately available for the PlayStation 4.