The Neptunia and Hi-sCool! Seha Girls are each comedic series, though each series is funny in its own way. I prefer the Hi-sCool! Seha Girls episodes, with their constant clever references to series, but Neptunia certainly has its charm with in-jokes, references,self-aware characters, and the way in which it takes console traits and applies them to characters. Instead of Superdimension Neptunia VS Sega Hard Girls drawing inspiration from both series, it’s more of a standard Neptunia jaunt with the Sega Hard Girls along for the ride. In fact, there are times when it feels like it’s more about exploring the conflict than taking opportunities to have the Neptunia versions of the Genesis, Game Gear, Dreamcast, and Saturn riff off of… well… Mega Drive, Game Gear, Dreamcast, and Saturn, and vice versa.
In Superdimension Neptunia VS Sega Hard Girls, history is disappearing. IF, our familiar action-girl and personification of Idea Factory, and Segami, an amnesiac who happens to have “Sega” in her name, are tasked by the Grand Library’s librarian, Histoire, with restoring history and bringing stability back to different console eras. This means traveling through time to different periods of time to interact with the Neptunia goddesses and Sega Hard Girls dominant there.
It’s exact there that Superdimension Neptunia VS Sega Hard Girls misses a bit of an opportunity. Instead of characters trading clever quips regarding their associated platforms and connotations, they’re just… fighting. The Sega Hard Girls have the same issue with the Neptunia goddesses that we’ve seen come up occasionally in previous installments. They don’t think they’re good for the people and lands of Gamindustri. They feel they set bad examples. Which means when we meet Neptune, she’s being assaulted by Saturn. When we come across Dreamcast, she’s expressing her despair over Uzume being the reason for that era’s dark future. Game Gear isn’t too keen on Nepgear. Mega Drive has it out for Plutia.
Each Superdimension Neptunia VS Sega Hard Girls meeting tends to play out the same way. IF, Segami, and she’s-a-motorcycle-now-Neptune come across a Sega Hard Girl. They find out how she feels about the goddess for her era. She expresses her distaste and desire to remove her for the good of the people. Segami tells them to stop. They say something about Segami makes them feel like they should listen to her. They don’t listen to her. A fight ensues against this era’s Sega Hard Girl, and occasionally even the era’s goddess. A resolution is reached. Characters join your party.
The goddesses, and goddess candidate Nepgear, react differently. They tend to behave, well, the same way they have in the Neptunia series. Neptune has an overinflated sense of self, even after her sense of self is put into IF’s motorcycle. This can result in some especially clever quips when another version of Neptune joins the party and sometimes interacts with herself. Nepgear’s as helpful and tech-savvy as always. One of her shining moments comes when she discovers her sister’s situation regarding the motorcycle and feels like she could fix it with her mechanical know-how. Plutia goes from adorable to crazy. Uzume walks the delicate line between tomboy and girly girl. While Uzume does harbor some hostility toward Dreamcast, most of the other girls pretty easily accept a truce with their other-halves.
This isn’t to say Superdimension Neptunia VS Sega Hard Girls isn’t entertaining, funny, and good at offering insights that come across as accurate assessments to people in the know. After ending a dispute between Mega Drive and Plutia, the group is talking generally about Sega and its systems. Neptune says, “You guys were always too ahead of your time both in hardware ability and the software you created.” In another instance, where Segami and Dreamcast are referring to that generation, Dreamcast says, “It’s a solid console. I think if this was a less turbulent era, it would have definitely sold more.” I suppose what I’m trying to say is that the game does point out insights about the era, but they can be more analytical than amusing.
The Sega Hard Girls are definitely the guest stars here, and it shows. There are some fun interactions between characters, but I felt like it was more about personalities clashing than things relating to their being personifications of consoles. Superdimension Neptunia VS Sega Hard Girls’ goddesses and Segami steal the show. They deliver the goofy and funny conversations we expect from the series. I never felt like the Sega Hard Girls had the same opportunities. But then, that could from the Neptunia characters being well established by this point and the Sega Hard Girls not.
There’s are some interesting elements in the tale being told. Superdimension Neptunia VS Sega Hard Girls goes into some cool places once conflicts start to get ironed out and we’re able to start learning more about Segami and the situation that’s disrupting history. I just feel like there were so many things that could have been done with the Sega Hard Girls and console goddesses in one place, and that those things were abandoned for the more typical “the CPU goddesses face people who are attempting to remove them from their positions” storylines.
Superdimension Neptunia VS Sega Hard Girls is available for the PlayStation Vita.