Language: English & Japanese (Audio), English & Japanese (Subs)
Publisher: Idea Factory, Compile Heart
Format: Steam, PS4
Type: FPS/Action Shooter
Demo Box: PC, PS4
Synopsis: In this hack ‘n’ slash adventure co-developed with Tamsoft and Compile Heart, everyone’s favorite four Goddesses enter an online fantasy game world inspired by…themselves! Joined by the CPU Candidates, you’ll fight in 4-person real-time brawls, unleash devastating Awakening Skills, customize with tons of cosmetic accessories, and even play online with others!
So as you may know, I’m a huge Idea Factory fan, I play almost all of their games. In fact the only franchise I’d never picked up is Cyberdimension, and that was due to me mistaking it for another franchise!
In the end I decided to rectify this mistake and reached out to IF and they kindly provided me this copy of $ Goddesses Online. Also pointing out that this was the best time to get into the franchise as it’s changed direction a little.
So off I went, installed and what I got was a game that I’ve both loved and cringed at, in equal measure! Yet overall I find myself liking it’s quirkiness. While I certainly have issues with the game, well, one issue, I can get past this by recalling that this is Tamsoft’s first attempt at an ARPG, so they’ll learn as they go….I hope!
The first thing I was given was a loading screen, a loooong loading screen. I kid you not, I timed it and it took almost 5 minutes (4mins 53sec) for the screen to pass. What’s more every time you launch the game you get that loading screen! Seriously guys, come on!!
Lets get my dislikes out the way shall we! Honestly, this is my only real complaint, and that’s of the AI. When you’re running around the maps they spread out all over the place, and then suddenly as soon as I attacked something, they all returned and killed the guy I was fighting. Now on the one hand this does mean things get killed faster, but honestly it wasn’t satisfying for me, I felt like I wasn’t really playing the game but rather tagging along with the AI characters. This is a bad feeling for players to have, you always want your player to feel like they’re involved.
This isn’t a huge issue, but it’s something I hope they address in future games.
So what was causing it? I personally think it came down to the AI not really paying attention to the tactics you set. For example I’d set them to defend, yet they still ran in whacking left and right killing everything. I hope that in future games they fix this, so the AI follows the tactics more.
I also hope they increase the spacing between the characters. It’s weird to see them all running trying to stand on each other to attack a mob, it’s almost as if they’re trying to hit a single exact spot, all at once. This makes the screen a bit cluttered, especially with visual effects in play as well. Naturally this also adds to the feeling of not really being involved with the game.
My final dislike is actually a genuine part of the game, and one I hope I can adapt to. That is the constant fourth wall breaking that goes on. I’m not a huge fan of this in general, and in this game it’s taken to the extreme. However this is apparently one of the quirks of the franchise and is nothing new. So it’s not something that need’s ‘fixing’ but if like me you’re not a fan of it, be aware there’s a lot of it here.
That said, while I did cringe a lot of the time with this, it’s not game breaking for me. I found the core gameplay to be satisfying enough that I got past it.
Lets move on now to the graphics.
Graphically the game is decent, I can’t really call it great, not even in the sphere of JRPG’s which generally have worse graphics anyway. However I have to admit that the character models are really well done and looked close enough to their visual novel art that it wasn’t leaving me cringing.
Sadly thats pretty much the best I can say. The monsters you fight range from decent to bad, as does the dungeon maps. There’s no randomness here, after the first time in an area there’s no surprises left. Treasure and gather nodes spawn at the same spots, mobs spawns are the same, no variety.
Now while saying that, the town and world maps are gorgeous to look at. As are the visual novel aspects of the game. Both of these show of Tamsoft’s amazing art work to the best. Frankly part of me ended up wishing they’d make a game that just visual novel, I think that would be amazing looking.
Overall while the art of the game has it’s ups and downs it’s not a bad looking game, and I think if you can accept if for what it is, a decent game, you’ll enjoy it a lot more.
Now lets talk story…
There’s nothing earth shattering here, it’s your typical JRPG and even MMO cliche of the world is in dire straights and in need of saving. You (the 4 Goddesses) are the heroes and need to summon the 4 Goddesses….yeah basically you’re summoning a story version of yourselves. Of course things wont go easy for you! Waking the Goddesses isn’t and easy thing, and whats more the bad guys have already recovered half of the items you need to do it! So get out there and kick some ass.
Which is essentially what the story boils down to.
One thing to note, for those that have followed the franchise, there’s been a reshuffling of the english VA’s. Which highlights one of the huge problems with english dubs, you never know when you’re fave VA is going to move from project.
The story is never going to be dark or earth shattering, since right from the start it’s made clear its a game within a game. Which I think for some people will be a turn off, but I honestly find it refreshing to have a light hearted romp through a game without the need to feel like I’m leading a world to it’s destruction because I went off on a side quest or something.
One other thing to mention, and again this is just a pet niggle, I don’t like how in the visual novel sections the characters are animated. To me it feels a bit lazy given as how in previous titles this was a thing.
So after all is said and done what’s my thoughts on the game? As a first run by Tamsoft I can’t help but be impressed. They took a 2D franchise and have turned it into a 3D one. This is something I’m always wary of, because very few developers can pull it of right. One of the biggest disappointments being Corpse Party!
Now I want to see them expand on this and grow the franchise a bit further. Now they’ve gone for 3D ARPG they have a lot of breaking room to test out things and I really hope they do so.
Would I recommend this game, actually yes I would. Which I have to admit surprises me a bit! I love the games light heartedness, there’s no pressure, no the world is doomed going on. It’s a good fun romp that you can pick up and put down as you please!
This is by no means a genre breaking or creating game, nor is it GOTY, but then does it have to be? Can’t a game just be ‘good’ and ‘fun’??
The Below is a 50minute stream from Idea Factory showing off the game:
Tags: 4 Goddesses Online, arpg, Compile Heart, cyberdimension neptunia, Idea Factory, JRPG, PS4, Review, steam, tamsoft