Neptunia Sisters vs. Sisters Switch Review

As we count down the months for a successor to the highly successful Nintendo Switch, ports of games to take advantage of the Switch's market share continue to be released. Idea Factory International is looking to continue garnering supporters on the aging console with the next entry in the Neptunia franchise. In my review of the game last year, I said that Neptunia Sisters vs Sisters was the best Neptunia game in years in terms of everything that fans play the series for. Neptunia Sisters vs Sisters struggled a bit on the PS4 trying to hit 60 FPS, so my hopes weren't super high for the Switch port, but I decided to give it a shot anyway.

After the CPUs disappeared 5 years ago investigating the PC continent, Nepgear and the other CPU Candidates are tasked with restoring shares to their respective nations. Most of the nations in Gamindustri have converted over to mobile gaming, which has eaten up the vast majority of the video game market. Nepgear and her friends are joined by the mysterious Maho, an amnesiac girl with a bright personality who is trying to uncover the mystery behind the Trendi Outbreaks of monsters that have plagued the world since the disappearance of the CPUs.

For me, and most Neptunia fans, what we're looking for in terms of a story is usually a story with a good mix of everything. We're looking for a decent amount of story stakes to keep us invested, some fun character interactions, and usually comic relief at appropriate moments in between the more serious parts of the plot. However, I have a slightly different expectation when Nepgear is the protagonist. While she's only been the protagonist in two games, and taking the main character role in a couple of other games, Nepgear's games are usually more mature in nature simply due to her personality. Nepgear isn't the opposite of her sister Neptune per se, but she generally takes things more seriously than her carefree older sister and it leads to tone shifts when she's the one in the protagonist seat. I think Sisters vs Sisters nails the tone of what most fans are looking for in a Neptunia game. It reminds me a little of mk2/Re;Birth2 which is the mainline game where she takes on the protagonist role for the first time. It's a more serious tone than more recent entries, but I think it works well for this title.

One thing I can't believe I didn't mention in my original review is that I'm not a fan of the fact that you can only have three characters on your team at one time. For a series that loves pairs and quartets, the three-character teams feel like such an odd choice. You can't have all four CPUs on one team, or the four CPU Candidates on one team, or the fan favourite pairings of Neptune, Noir, Nepgear, and Uni at once, and so on. I think it's probably for performance reasons in order to keep the action running smoothly, but it is something I was disappointed in.

Graphics took a hit on this Switch port as well as performance. On most other systems like the PS4/5 and PC, the game runs pretty smoothly. The Switch port is stuck on 30 FPS and it does dip on occasion, usually during battles. Attacks have a slight delay on Switch, as multiple successive hits will eventually cause the game to hit "slo-mo" action. The combat slows down for dramatic effect that while I wouldn't classify it as stuttering, it is distracting if it happens too often. There are also longer load times after battles end in the Switch version, but what I found amusing was how they filled that load time. After the battle ends and you get past the combat results screen, the lead character walks in the background until the game pulls you back into the exploration area. It reminded me a bit of Persona 5 when Joker had that short animation of walking in the background while the game loaded the dungeon back.?

If you're looking to take Neptunia Sisters vs Sisters on the go with you, this isn't a bad port. Compromises have been made to the game from its original versions on PlayStation 4 and 5, but the game itself still functions adequately. I'm not sure if the next Neptunia game will happen to run any better on Switch after the lessons learned here, but one can hope that the games will improve for the remainder of the Switch's lifecycle.

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