Developers: Idea Factory, Compile Heart
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Genre: Action RPG/Girls Love
Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
Also Available For: PlayStation5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, Nintendo Switch, PC
Ahhh… another year, another Neptunia game. Those familiar with the world of medium-budget JRPGs will be familiar with this occurrence by now, as it has been roughly thirteen years since the series debuted and Compile Heart has only not released a yearly entry once in that time. I have recently jokingly taken to referring to Hyperdimension Neptunia as “Call of Duty for Weird Himejoshis”, which is perhaps not totally fair as I do have a soft spot for this series that contrasts rather sharply with my derision for Call of Duty. Nevertheless, the fact remains: Sisters vs. Sisters is at its core the most recent entry into a series of entertaining but not great games that, if you’ve played one, you probably have a pretty good idea of the measure of all of them.
I mean, I did enjoy my time with Sisters vs. Sisters, don’t get me wrong. It is, as far as Neptunia games go, probably on the higher end of the scale. The story is standard fare – There’s a new threat to the world of Gamindustri and with Neptune missing Nepgear needs to step up with the help of old friends and a couple of new faces who we’ll probably never see after this title, yadda yadda yadda. Mostly it’s a vehicle for silly shenanigans in between the more serious story beats, and that’s fine, that’s what I’m here for, to which end it was quite successful. The writing felt as funny as usual, if not a bit more so, and I was especially amused by the plot revolving around “trendfluencers” being the current threat to the fabric of Gamindustri’s reality.
Similarly, the graphical presentation of the game has a bit more oomph to it than previous titles. Graphical fidelity has never been one of the series’ strong suits, which I have and always will contest to be fine as a proponent of games-looking-worse, but it was still nice to see environments and characters alike get a little bump up in quality from previous titles. On the other hand, dungeon exploration is made somewhat obnoxious by constant chatter from the party that, honestly, doesn’t even really make sense. Characters will always make remarks about “passing you” or you “going too slow” through the field, but honestly, it’s not too hard to tune out so… eh. The voice acting is amusing and of acceptable quality – at least when the scenes are in fact voiced. It felt to me like fewer scenes had VA work than previous entries by a significant margin, and it was a little jarring to have even story-important moments be text-only.
Sisters vs. Sisters’ combat is not turn-based – instead, the player fields three characters at a time, each with their own set of combos that eat into a personal pool of Action points that regenerate in real-time. The key to winning battles is to switch between control of the characters when the current one’s combo is exhausted, thus allowing you to keep wailing on the enemy with reckless abandon. You may be wondering why I discuss the combat of the game almost as an afterthought, but that’s because it… honestly kind of is. I found it to be far too easy; even boss fights are over almost as soon as they begin, and pulling off full combos with no damage received by any member of the party is trivial. As with previous Neptunia titles, there’s a decent amount of customization you can do when it comes to combo building, but the systems in place aren’t really crunchy enough to necessitate doing so, and switching up the equipped abilities is rarely-if-ever actually needed to succeed.
But again, that doesn’t really matter! Neptunia is the kind of series that thrives on just being “good enough”, and this latest entry certainly clears that bar. Any flaws it has are not enough that they should deter returning fans from indulging their fondness for vaguely gay console girls, and a part of me does have to respect Compile Heart for maintaining its hold on that demographic.
Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters is the latest in a long line of objectively mid but nevertheless delightful yuri RPGs.