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E3 2018: Super Neptunia RPG early impressions

So many games and so little time. This E3 was probably one of the craziest ones I’ve attended over the last few years for a variety of reasons. While I had a list of games I had to play over the course of the three days, it was almost impossible to play all of them thanks to longer than normal lines, but I made sure to knock out my must-plays as quickly as possible, and one of those was Super Neptunia RPG.

I’ve been a long-time fan of the series. It has its quirks and issues, but the silliness and the characters have kept me playing since the first entry back in 2011. One thing that I’ve really enjoyed about the franchise in general is how developer Compile Heart has branched out by taking it into new genres. This Fall, Neptunia is going 2D, something I’ve been wanting for a long time (that and a 8/16-bit style game) and I was quite impressed with the what I played.

I was very pleased with the visuals in Super Neptunia RPG. The demo had me traveling across a re-imagined Lastation, taking on various quests which required me to travel around different locations on the map. The game itself reminds me quite a bit of Valkyrie Profile in terms of level exploration and even it’s battle system set up which I actually liked. Neptune is able to jump to other platforms to reach new areas and the demo let you also summon stand pudding like creatures that could be used to reach higher areas you might not be able to jump to so easily.

Because the backgrounds of the area looked like a painting, there were times I was trying to reach a platform only to fall since it wasn’t an area you could actually get to. This is something that happened quite a bit since games like Valkyrie Profile taught me to explore every nook and cranny of an area because you never know what you might find.

While I wasn’t fully able to grasp of the game’s battle system, I was able to understand a good portion of what you are able to do after a handful of battles. In battle, each one of your characters attacks and abilities are linked to a corresponding button based on their formation and a certain amount of “Action” is required. At the start of the battle, the gauge start increasing slowly and attacking with any character will drain the gauge.

You are able to choose which character attacks. With enough Action, you can have all your characters attack or just have one attack multiple times. One of the unique things about the battle system is the ability to rotate your characters, changing their placement. This great if your lead character is getting attacked and is running low on HP. You are also able to heal by holding down the characters linked button, but that will also drain your action gauge so you have to plan accordingly.

This was an early build of the game, so there were a few issues I came across including text and a few visuals bugs, before the game crashed. Overall though, you can tell the developer Artisan Studios is pouring a lot of love into the game keeping it true to the series roots while also adding a whole new element for fans to enjoy.