Neptunia Virtual Stars review for PS4, PC

Platform: PS4
Platform: PC
Publisher: Idea Factory
Developer: Idea Factory/Compile Heart
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No

Even though I?ve played a ton of Hyperdimension Neptunia games and spin-offs, I realized very early on that Neptunia Virtual Stars really wasn?t meant for me. I mean, seeing as my whole interest in the series stemmed from being a Vita completionist — as opposed to a love of Japanese gaming in-jokes — the other Neptunia game have always been kind of hit-or-miss for me, but even by the niche standards of the series, this one is pretty darn specific.

See, Neptunia Virtual Stars finds series aiming its satirical eye at the world of V-Tubers. I, on the other hand, barely even watch YouTube, and wouldn?t even be able to name a single YouTube star, let alone a virtual YouTube star. So right off the bat, it was clear that Neptunia Virtual Stars, with its V-Tuber guest appearances and what I assume are references to that whole subculture, was pretty far from my usual fare.

Still, that in and of itself shouldn?t have made the game such a chore. I have no problem playing any number of games that are based on subcultures that I?m completely ignorant of, so it?s not like the appearance of random animated YouTubers should be disqualifying.

On top of that, even if Neptunia Virtual Stars is crammed full of lengthy expository dialogue, that shouldn?t be inherently disqualifying either. After all, every Neptunia game is crammed full of lengthy exposition — the series has never understood the idea of ?show, don?t tell” — and that hasn?t stopped me from enjoying some of them. I long ago learned that you just have to know when to set the dialogue to auto (and maybe fast-forward), and then zip ahead to the next bit of action.

And that, more than anything else, is where the game really turns into a slog: the action here is incredibly boring. Neptunia Virtual Stars finds the series venturing into the world of third-person shooters, and it?s astounding how quickly that goes wrong. Part of it is boring bullet-sponge enemies — and an overabundance of them at that. Part of it is dull level design. Part of it is how incredibly repetitive it all feels, almost from the get-go.

Perhaps one of the biggest parts, though, is how grating this game sounds. I got so sick of the main characters screeching the same thing over and over again as they were in battle while the same music blares in the background that I had to mute my TV to keep my hearing and my sanity intact.

Really, though, it?s probably everything taken together. Unless you fit into a very specific box — that is, V-Tube fan who loves repetitive action, meandering dialogue, and awful noises — you?re probably not going to get much out of Neptunia Virtual Stars,

Idea Factory provided us with a Neptunia Virtual Stars PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: C-