Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online (known internally as I can't believe it's not an MMO!) is Compile Heart's foray into the legendary MMO genre that has captured the hearts and souls of gamers across Japan. It is of course executed in the way only Compile Heart could by having absolutely no multiplayer whatsoever. A game teased by continuous references throughout the series, 4 Goddesses Online was finally released for fans to play in 2017.
Being a game created by a tiny team of developers who have never played a video game before, 4 Goddesses Online faithfully follows ALL of the anime MMO tropes: perfect character customization that has all characters looking identical to their out of game counterparts? Check. No text-based ingame chat? Check check. Absurdly realistic NPC AIs that act like people? Checkarooni. Both in-game plot and completely unrelated plot? You got it. Appalling lack of other players? What else? The cherry on the top is the abundant references to Sword Art Online. Despite being called 4 Goddesses Online, this game is apparently not the same game as the one Vert always plays, and is actually a sequel or something like that.
Being made in Unreal Engine, 4GO features some pretty delicious high graphics that will melt any PC that doesnt have at least a GTX 10x0 installed in it. It's also rumored that the PS4 version of the game actually features a multiplayer mode where you can play co-op with up to 3 friends or randoms, but this rumor has never been confirmed. The signature Live2D portraits that this series is famous (famous?) for are mysteriously absent in this game.
Being the sequel to MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies, 4GO has a very similar fighting system. The combat in this game is considerably polished in comparison. In particular, the control scheme is considerably cleaned up and simplified from its predecessor. However, that improvement is also an unimprovement. What's the word for "unimprovement"? ... whatever, anyways, the problem is that the combat is so simple and straightforward that the game is too damn easy. Run up to opponent, mash normal attack button, wait for the obvious tell, and press block with the slightly bizarre timing for the counter, and rinse, wash, repeat until the monster is no more. Unlike MegaTag, normal attacks can be cancelled at any time with any action, and skills, while no longer being fully invincible, are now dramatically faster and can be cancelled in the endlag. Just in case you thought this game was too easy already, you also have 3 AI controlled allies that can and will beat up all enemies for you if you so desire, and will also heal you when your HP gets too low.
Despite everything, a half-decent single-player experience. If you like not thinking.
You can play as any of the four goddesses or their little sisters, or as the four goddesses. Yep, dramatically reduced roster from MegaTag. The reason for this ought to be that since everyone has a completely new class, they have to create brand new movesets for everyone instead of just copypasting the moves they've had since Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed.
Easily the best feature of this game is its boot time. When you open that executable, be prepared to stay staring at the same screen for 2 straight minutes. After that, sit still because you still have 30 seconds of logos to wait for. Even better, every time you start a new game you have to sit through the surprisingly cute and well animated intro scene (which is unskippable) that's ruined by a panty shot in the first 20 seconds and also the entire opening video, which is now unskippable despite playing every time you open the game and being skippable there. Oh, and then after that, another unskippable and surprisingly well animated cutscene. Prepare to wait 5+ minutes just to open a new file. And if you get super lucky, you just might encounter a rare bug where you get softlocked on the tutorial, forcing you to go through all of that all over again!
Amusingly, there is actually an in-game chat feature during gameplay, along with a chat log to go with it (which the whole time is just full of information such as exp gained and items found). There's a rather wide selection of preset messages you can pick, such as greeting messages and instructions for strategies, but the feature is ultimately pointless as the only other "players" to talk to are your AI controlled party members, who wholly ignore everything you say. There is actually a hidden feature that lets you write whatever you want into the chatbox which can be pretty entertaining if you just wanna see Neptune say fuck, even if it's just in text. Just click into the text input box at the bottom of the chat window while in the Chat menu, and fire away. If you really have no life you can switch your party members around constantly to make it look like there's an actual conversation going on ingame.
Series composer Kenji Kaneko got shafted in favor of Yuki Sugiura, whoever that is, and it most certainly shows. The familiar sound design heard in most Neptunia games is completely overhauled in favor of a more fantasy-themed soundtrack, and the infamous Kaneki 7 don't make an appearance at all. This has mixed results, as while many of the new songs in this game are rather lackluster, several of them are 100% certified bangers, such as IN THE DEEP@DIVINE ROAD. Oh, that's the other thing about the soundtrack. Everything is in screaming allcaps for some reason.
- Tsunako has actually once mentioned that she wants to one day make an open-world Neptunia game. Yeah. That's totally gonna happen.