Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters Review

Combining the elements of an interactive narrative and JRPG sounds like a great idea on paper. Throw that idea into a world that parallels the video game industry, and have it developed by two studios with 14 years of experience within the same series, and the final result is bound to be a strange accumulation of the varying parts. Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters is exactly that — a strange experience, but one that’s muddied by different components that don’t ever fully come together.

At its core, Sisters VS Sisters is a tale of Goddesses and Goddess Candidates, those who will eventually take the mantle of a Goddess, and their intertwining relationships and fates. It closely follows the Goddess Candidate Nepgear, who can be viewed as the main protagonist, but switches between perspectives quite often.

The game thrusts its narrative to the forefront early on, as the player will quickly come to recognize the vast cast of characters, their bubbly personalities, and the foreshadowed conflicts of their world. The sheer amount of characters is perhaps one of the few positive elements of Sisters VS Sisters. The player will witness long-winded sequences of dialogue that will set the dynamics of each character, and after a conflict is revealed, explore a dungeon in which they can fight enemies with their party.

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Once entering these dungeons, the player will have the ability to switch between 8 playable characters within their set party of three. There are some limitations to when a player can access each member, but a majority of the Goddesses are available for most of the 20-hour playthrough. This grants some freedom to the player to explore each character’s play style, whether they be a mage that focuses on long-range damage or a hammer-wielding Goddess that takes the fight to the enemy. Though, that freedom has little depth as the game’s surrounding features limit each character’s potential and lack any form of diversity.

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To start off, each dungeon featured in the game is restricted to around four biomes. These biomes can simply be identified by one overarching color or theme: grasslands, caverns, a digital realm, and one final area for the last encounter. Within these dungeons are repeated assets, extremely linear level-designs, and copy-and-paste enemies that can be seen throughout every location. This copy-and-paste mentality plagues the entirety of the game, as players will encounter identical dungeon floors over and over again without anything to make them feel truly distinct in a meaningful way.

It doesn’t help that these biomes never intersect within a single dungeon. That means that when a player is scavenging inside a digital-themed environment, all they will see are blue walls lined back-to-back without any contrast. This mundane approach to design helps enforce a form of mindless gaming that Sisters VS Sisters seems to embrace, which makes navigating the longer dungeons extremely frustrating, as everything begins to look the same.

The combat that takes place once encountering an enemy is a blend between traditional JRPG mechanics — an AP gauge, support items, and special abilities — and a hack-and-slash. This grants some freedom to the player to explore each character’s play style, whether they be a mage that focuses on long-range damage or a hammer-wielding Goddess that takes the fight to the enemy. Though, that freedom has little depth as the game’s surrounding features limit each character’s potential and lack any form of diversity.


Sisters VS Sisters’s proposed synergy relies heavily on linking combos together and increasing each hit’s damage. However, all that is required to do this is to hit the same button four times, followed by the press of a bumper to activate a combo from a fellow Goddess. After countless hours doing this, all fear of dying or intentions of getting creative with moves dissipates.

To make matters worse, there are some battles in which the player must fight with a single Goddess. The backbone of the combat is interlinking combos together, but this is impossible if there is only one character to control. This decision results in the player running around waiting for the AP gauge to fill up, as the enemy wanders about the arena occasionally attacking the player.

Sisters VS Sisters does have some unique qualities that may cause a moment or two of spectacle, such as Goddesses switching to their true form, but nothing large enough to truly engage the player long term. Outside the frequent cutscenes and lackluster dungeons are plenty of side quests to complete for additional currency, experience and to gather researchers to create discs that can be applied to each Goddess for additional stats and buffs. While the discs add a much-needed layer of strategy, the player will never truly need to rely on these items to progress through boss fights or common enemies. Instead, the game’s difficulty makes it more than okay to randomly assign them and stick to preset combos to defeat any threat.


The side quests also trudge through similar ground, as the player will go through the same dungeons as before. There are only three different varieties of quests: defeat a certain type of enemy, collect an item, and help a citizen who’s found themselves lost in the area. Once the player completes ten or so, these become quite irrelevant unless one is simply grinding for experience or coins.

The only positive experience hidden within the mundane is the characters themselves. As mentioned before, the world featured in the Neptunia series is a strange parallel of the video game industry itself. That means each city and Goddess is based on a current company involved in the industry, as well as current or previous generations of consoles. It’s an unusual approach that results in many nods, albeit heavy-handed nods, that poke at recent trends found in today’s evolving medium. There are a few of these references that actually make the extended interactions enjoyable. One in particular vaguely touches on a company that enjoys suing any product similar to its own, or someone who uses its product in any form, and brought a much-needed moment of laughter to the forefront of the narrative.


Overall, Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters is a monotonous journey filled with repetition that plagues its level-design, combat encounters, side quests and overarching structure. There are a few moments where its character’s personalities can usher in some laughter, but its lackluster attempt to make each moment unique results in a dull experience filled with frustration and mindless gameplay.

Neptunia: Sisters VS Sisters launches January 24 for PS4, PS5, and PC. Today Technology was provided with a PS5 code for this review.

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