Everyone talks about Megadimension Neptunia VII like it’s a single game. They’re not wrong. It is one massive PlayStation 4 game. At the same time, it’s also a collection of three separate games that, put together, tell a full storyline surrounding our favorite console goddesses, their little sisters, and a whole new goddess. While it could be considered an effective means of offering more gameplay value to players, Megadimension Neptunia VII’s divisions and size elevate the series, helping the storyline to evolve into something a little more serious in a gradual way.
Megadimension Neptunia VII begins in a familiar way, to help ease people into the formula. All of the series’ tropes are there in Zero Dimension Neptunia Z: Twilight of the Desperate CPU. Neptune and Nepgear find themselves in a new dimension! It’s a different world with entirely unexpected situations! There are callbacks to gaming’s past! We even get to meet a new CPU, Uzume Tennouboshi, who happens to be based on the Dreamcast. As Nick Offerman said in 22 Jump Street, “Do the same thing as last time. Everyone’s happy.”
And honestly? That’s what Compile Heart has pretty much done with every Hyperdimension Neptunia game in the main timeline until now. Neptune gets thrown into a situation. She makes new friends. The power of friendship triumphs over all. The day is saved!
Only not exactly. Things change with Megadimension Neptunia VII. The first storyline helps us understand and come to terms with the series’ darker turn this installment with an initial storyline that broaches the idea of a world on the brink of destruction, while still surrounding us with premises, hope, colorful characters, and comfortable trappings from previous games. Because of these other, optimistic things, it’s easier to deal with a world on the brink of collapse. Neptune, Nepgear, and Uzume can unite and do great things together. Optimism reigns.
The transition to the second story, Hyperdimension Neptunia G: The Golden Leaders, Reconstructors of Game Industri, may seem like it suddenly undoes everything Zero Dimension Neptunia Z accomplished. We’re back in the world of Gamindustri, following the adventures of the goddesses we’ve known since 2010. It’s a bright, colorful place, but one that’s no stranger to corruption. There have been share wars in the series for years, piracy has run rampant, and we already had an installment where a foe attempted to put a new goddess in place to rule over all. Again, it seems at the outset like something familiar.
But again, Megadimension Neptunia VII twists things an an attempt to add more depth to the story and create a more well rounded and mature adventure. Instead of one goddess needing to restore herself to her former glory, as has happened to Neptune many times before, every goddess has fallen. While Gamindustri isn’t in any immediate harm, as the leaders of the new regime seem capable enough, the goddesses are at a low point like the one in Hyperdimension Neptunia MK2. It’s as serious as the events of the preceding story, but on a different level. The danger here is more personal. The Zero Dimension was dark, depressing, and apocalyptic, but it was also happening to someone else. By taking all of the goddesses and reducing them to such a state, then having us help each one reclaim her place, it’s like it’s happening to us. It’s increased character development coupled with improved bonds with the cast.
Both of these are a perfect lead-in to the final chapter, Heart Dimension Neptunia H: Into Legend…. Since Megadimension Neptunia VII is still so young, I’ll avoid details to prevent spoilers. However, everything people experience in the first two parts of Megadimension Neptunia VII are preparing them for the gravity of the conclusion. With each Hyperdimension Neptunia game, the villains always have a plot that would have an undesirable result, but it wouldn’t be the absolute worst for ordinary people if the console goddesses failed in their mission. A change in leadership, with rulers who might be crueler or less capable, but they’d still get to live their lives. That wouldn’t happen with Heart Dimension Neptunia H’s storyline.
Compile Heart uses Megadimension Neptunia VII to prepare us for the more mature plotlines of the game. We haven’t seen such dark elements in an installment since the second game, which opened with the goddesses trapped in the Gamindustri Graveyard. Instead of bluntly throwing all information at us and expecting people to deal with it as they go along, Compile Heart did something different. It delivered content in a more manageable way that eased people into the complexities by surrounding them with familiar trappings. By the time the main event happens in Heart Dimension Neptunia H, you’re expecting it. The previous two storylines prepared you for what’s to come, helped you feel like both the goddesses and you are ready, and made it feel like there’s been serious growth and development over the past 50-70 hours.
Megadimension Neptunia VII is immediately available for the PlayStation 4.