Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters is a peculiar game developed by two studios with 14 years of experience within the same series. Combining the elements of an interactive narrative and JRPG on paper sounds like a great idea. But how does it really measure up to its potential? Let’s find out in this review.
The story follows Neptune, Noire, Blanc, and Vert as they wander through the mysterious world of Gameindustri while trying to figure out what’s going on in their new home. While trying to make sense of their situation, they encounter a variety of characters and problems that slowly but surely reveal more information about the new world they have entered. The story itself is interesting enough but doesn’t really go anywhere or offer anything new or exciting after the first few hours. It starts off strong but then quickly devolves into a monotonous journey filled with repetition that plagues its level-design, combat, and overarching structure.
Gameplay primarily consists of exploring different areas and fighting monsters with turn-based combat that relies heavily on basic attack commands rather than any sort of strategy. The game also includes some puzzle solving which can become tedious as there are no real hints or clues provided for each puzzle. Additionally, there is little incentive for exploration as you will often find yourself running around in circles trying to figure out where to go next since most areas look exactly the same. Finally, the game suffers from long loading times between fights and areas which can be quite frustrating when all you want to do is get back into the action as soon as possible.
Graphics & Sound
Graphically speaking, Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters looks dated even compared to other games released in 2021. The art style is nice enough but it fails to capture any kind of emotion or feeling which makes it difficult to become invested in the characters or story. The soundtrack is decent at best but it lacks any sort of memorable tunes that stay with you long after playing the game.
Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters Review
Sisters VS Sisters is a story about Goddesses and Goddess Candidates—those who will ultimately assume the role of a Goddess—and the intertwined ties and fates that shape both groups of people. Although the Goddess Candidate Nepgear might be considered the main protagonist, it closely follows her and frequently flips between her points of view.
Early in the game, the narrative is thrown into the spotlight as the player becomes familiar with the large cast of individuals, their vibrant personalities, and the world’s prophesied conflicts. One of Sisters VS Sisters’ few redeeming qualities may be the number of characters. After a match is disclosed, the player will explore a dungeon where they can engage in combat with other players in their party. The game will feature lengthy dialogue sequences that establish the dynamics of each character.
The player will have a predefined party of three characters to switch between after reaching these dungeons. However, most of the Goddesses are accessible for the majority of the 20-hour playthrough. There are various restrictions on when a player can access each member. This gives the player some opportunity to experiment with the different play styles of each character, whether they are a long-range damage-focused wizard or an aggressive Goddess with a hammer. That flexibility, however, needs more substance due to the game’s lack of diversity and restrictions on each character’s potential.
Each dungeon featured in the game can only have up to four biomes at first. Grasslands, caverns, a digital realm, and one last location for the previous encounter are just a few of the biomes that a single overarching colour or theme can distinguish. Repeated elements, excessively linear level designs, and creatures that are the same in every area can all be found in these dungeons. The entire game is plagued by this copy-and-paste mindset, as players will repeatedly run into the same dungeon floors with nothing to distinguish them in any meaningful way.
The fact that these biomes never cross paths within a single dungeon doesn’t help. Therefore, when a player is scavenging in a setting with a digital theme, all they will see are blue walls lined up side by side with no distinction. Sisters VS Sisters appears to embrace a type of mindless gaming reinforced by this banal design philosophy. Navigating the lengthier dungeons becomes exceedingly difficult because everything starts to look the same.
Once an adversary is encountered, the battle combines hack-and-slash action with classical JRPG mechanics like an AP gauge, support items, and special skills. This gives the player some opportunity to experiment with the different play styles of each character, whether they are a long-range damage-focused wizard or an aggressive Goddess with a hammer. That flexibility, however, needs more substance due to the game’s lack of diversity and restrictions on each character’s potential.
The suggested synergy in Sisters VS Sisters largely hinges on combining combos and upping the damage of each attack. However, all that is necessary to accomplish this is four consecutive presses of the same button, followed by the depressing of a bumper to activate a fellow Goddess’s combination. After numerous hours of practice, all fear of passing away or desire to come up with original manoeuvres vanishes.
Even worse, occasional battles occur when the player is forced to fight against just one Goddess. Combinations of combinations are the foundation of fighting, yet controlling just one character makes this problematic. Due to this choice, the adversary roams the arena attacking the player intermittently while the player runs around waiting for the AP gauge to fill.
Sisters VS Sisters has some distinctive features that make for a brief show, like Goddesses changing into their primary forms, but nothing significant enough to keep the player interested over the long haul. There are several side quests to accomplish outside of the numerous cutscenes and unimpressive dungeons for more money and experience and to gather research to make discs that can be applied to each Goddess for more stats and bonuses. The player will never need to rely on these goods to get through boss encounters or common adversaries, even though the discs add a much-needed element of strategy. Instead, assigning them randomly and using pre-established combos to eliminate any threat is perfectly acceptable because of how challenging the game is.
The player will traverse the same dungeons as before throughout the side quests, which cover similar ground. There are only three different types of quests:
- Slaying a certain kind of foe.
- Gathering an item.
- Assisting a local who has been lost in the area.
These lose relevance after the first twenty or so unless the user greys for experience or cash.
The personalities themselves are the sole enjoyable experience concealed beneath the commonplace. As was already mentioned, the Neptunia series’ setting is an odd allegory for the video gaming business. This implies that each city and Goddess is based on a current company operating in the sector and present or past console generations. It’s a unique strategy that elicits many nods, albeit forceful nods, that make fun of current tendencies in today’s developing media. A handful of these references add to the enjoyment of the lengthy interactions. One in particular, which only obliquely refers to a business that enjoys suing anyone who uses its product in any way or similar product, added some much-needed humour to the story.
Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters is a repetitive, repetitive trip that suffers from poor level design, combat encounters, side missions, and overall structure. While there are a few instances where the characteristics of the characters can make players giggle, the game’s feeble attempt to make each moment unique leads to a frustrating experience and boring gaming.
For PS4, PS5, and PC, Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters debuts on January 24. For this review, Game Rant received a PS5 code.
Overall, Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters fails to live up to its potential due to its repetitive gameplay and lacklustre graphics & sound design. While its interesting premise might initially draw players in, this game falls short when compared against other JRPGs available on the market today due to its lack of innovation or interesting mechanics/features that set it apart from similar titles within its genre. For those looking for an engaging RPG experience with unique features should stay away from Neptunia: Sister VS Sister as it fails both on this front and many others too numerous to mention here.