So Bad it’s good

Another day, another Neptunia game from Idea Factory makes an appearance, this time as the aptly named Neptunia Game Maker R:Evolution. The story follows an older Neptune who travels to another dimension and meets three other goddesses who failed to make it in the game making industry. After much thought Neptune agrees and the three new goddesses accept her in the fight against the other game makers who are all well known cast of the Neptunia series that all fans will know of including Noire, Vert and Blanc and so on.

Neptunes three co-workers Pippih, Reedio and Jagaa who are known as Victory a name made up by Neptune soon re-write a terrible game and make it only somewhat better before Neptune names it Nep Beat. After initial poor sales it somehow became a hit where it exceeded sales and gave Victory the oomph to make better games.

I do enjoy the new characters all who have varying personalities much different to the characters that we all know of who all do make an appearance later in the game. If you are a fan of the Neptunia games you will already be aware of the consoles that the already known goddesses represent. The new characters that make up Victory also represent well established real world video games console which are the Apple Pippin, 3DO and Jaguar as if you could not tell already by their names.

One of the core mechanics of Neptunia Game Maker R:Evolution is to create games and what kind of games is up to the player. To do this you will take control using a light management-sim like menu. I say light as the management element is just that. To begin with there is not much you can do whilst you pick which first game you make apart from decorate the plaza slightly which can give a buff to the Creators. You will be overloaded with CP and will have likely maxed the Skill Tree of the company until further notice and until you unlock being able to make discs which is a reoccurring feature from previous Neptunia games there isn’t a lot to deal with, even when you do there isn’t a lot of management and you will spend a lot of time waiting for development of these discs to complete. Creating a disc requires a Genre, Style and a Creator and can be customized further than what you may be used to. This can give certain effects such as increased battle XP. It is a better system than before but still feels somewhat lacking even still, but I do still appreciate that they tried to make something new with the system.

CP is also used in unlocking much of the world also as you progress through each area. As you unlock new areas you will unlock new Creators to recruit, new areas consist of individual maps which have various enemies, NPC’s all who require your help and Items to be found. It is that general Neptunia formula of easy encounters, boxes which can be broken, switches which will unlock doors and easy kill, find quests which NPC’s will give you. These features of Neptunia Game Maker R:Evolution are hardly ground breaking but at least battles have a slight change to them but ultimately doesn’t feel changed due to how spam worthy they are. Battles are in real-time and are easy as enemies go down quite quickly as they become stun locked by even the most basic attack. You can chain together attacks by switching characters but I never found a need to unless you just feel like wanting a battle to be over quicker on some of the more tanky enemies. The lack of challenge is made ever more noticeable by quick levelling and the huge amount of healing items thrown at you either from breaking open boxes or winning battles. You can even grind a little and get the better weapons early on making you a force to be reckoned with.

While the game is easy from what I have played so far at least, I do find the gameplay loop addictive and anyone familiar with the series will find another game to feel at home with. There is a lot of glamour items you can find which you can dress up your party with for some insane combinations, you want to stack Pippih with an Afro, Camera and Angel Wings? Well you can in the most bizarre way possible. As Neptunia games go, this one is a lot of fun but it is not without its problems and some of which are returning issues from previous games. Most noticeably is the lag that appears as early as having control during the first dungeon, as you take your first few steps there is a very noticeable drop in FPS which is absurd for a PS5 game especially when it doesn’t have cutting edge graphics and no open world. This was not a one off either, the game does have framerate issues throughout and when you defeat every enemy during a battle there is a pause after before the game transitions into the main field. It all just feels very off. Characters will also spout the same repeated dialogue over and over also when exploring, it’s enough that we hear it during battles and the Neptunia game certainly isn’t and wont be the last game or series to do it.

Music and sound is fine but again much like many of the enemies, characters that exist these are reused assets from past games and if you’re a fan of the tracks “$100” and “Lite Light” well count yourselves lucky as they make a return once again.

A PlayStation 5 Review Code was provided by Idea Factory International