Last updated on June 16th, 2017 at 09:54 pm
Here you’ll find a mini-walkthrough of important events, True Ending requirements, trophy info and more! If this guide helps, you can consider contributing to my Patreon fan-funding campaign, as I make all my guides and articles for free.
Head up to the Neptunia Mega Guide, which links guides and info for all games.
Table of Contents
- Differences/Quick info/FAQ
- Hidden Treasure
- Endings & True Ending Requirements
Should I buy it?
I’ll have a full review soon (not done playing the English version yet, beat the Japanese release three times), but in my opinion it’s clearly the best Neptunia game released especially at a mechanical/gameplay level. Story has not disappointed so far. Basically if you’re interested at all, don’t hesitate to pick it up.
If you’re going into this game with a lot of baggage about how Neptunia games work, or just looking for quick tips on how to play the game optimally, read this section first! There’s lots of changes that result in some changes to how you should play. Note the ingame tutorials bring a lot of this up!
If you’re coming in from the Rebirth series and not the PS3 series, you should know that every Neptunia mainline game has a huge increase in quality gameplay/polish-wise over the prior one, and Victory 2 is no exception. If you only played the rebirths it’s easy to assume there’s little difference each iteration, but that’s because all 3 Rebirth games were more or less salvaged from Victory 1’s engine. Unlearn the Felistella stuff, they didn’t work on this at all.
As long as you’re willing to do a quick second playthrough, you probably shouldn’t worry about getting the true ending first try. More on that in the Ending sections but seriously, don’t stress yourself out and enjoy the first playthrough of the game.
New Game Plus is greatly improved and now adds a lot of amazing features like faster dungeon movement, higher jumps, a more forgiving Neplunker, reset or keep levels. You really don’t want to go for 100% in your first loop because of this, collecting hidden treasures and other stuff will be far easier second loop. Thanks to the new skip feature, being overleveled and other perks, a replay will only take maybe 5 hours or less when the main game is closer to 60 hours.
L2 skips, and has been much improved. It can skip ahead most menu animations, map movement, the battle ending screen, and as always, battle animations. It also skips animations much faster than in prior games, basically instant now. You can skip whole events with L2 instead of leaving on Fast Forward, which actually makes a massive difference. Cutscenes are instant instead of a minute or so.
Can I play this game if I haven’t played the others?
There’s some minor spoilers for other games (that aren’t really drawn attention to as being spoilers) and some references to prior games, but this game is gameplay-wise the best to play first, and story-wise it has plenty of accommodation for new players. I would however read up on the personalities of at least the CPUs (Vert, Noire, Neptune and Blanc) before playing, as Arc 2 does assume at least mild familiarity with them.
Do I need the DLC?
The game is mostly pretty easy and none of the trophy grinds really benefit from the DLC (unlike prior games with very suspiciously useful DLC), you should probably even ignore the free item DLC since it makes the game even easier, and I found the brief difficulty refreshing.
The ultimate weapon/armor DLC should definitely be avoided unless you’re
a filthy casual are having a pretty rough time somehow or really just want to burn through the story.
The Character DLC includes brief stories for the new characters though, and is always my most recommended DLC. Shame it wasn’t out at release.
The level cap DLC (cap 1 is free) and Coliseum DLC (free) basically go hand in hand, as they’re crazy hard matches designed for super high levels, pretty common stuff since Mk2. Level 999 is not useful in the main game. Hell, anything over level 40 isn’t needed to beat the story mode if you’re good.
Cosmetic DLC is…do I have to explain. Buy cosmetic DLC if you want, and IMO as early as possible so you get to enjoy it. But obviously you don’t need it. IMO the night gowns are pretty lame except on Uni, Noire and Vert (the only one with a particularly interesting design), the swimsuits are alright. The Gold Third swimsuits in particular tend to have references to their companies.
Also, no it isn’t “day one DLC”. The game was out for over 8 months before it released in the west and almost all DLC was already done months before that western release. Almost every Japanese game is ported to the west months late, and holding the DLC back artificially does nothing but hurt players who buy early. IFI also dramatically reduces the prices of the DLC when publishing in the west.
Who are the Gold Third?
I thought this was pretty obvious but some people forget Neptunia is a series about console/gaming parody or are just bad at picking up on (largely japanese) game references.
The Gold Third are major Third party developers, B-Sha is Bandai Namco, S-Sha is Square Enix, C-Sha is Capcomm, and K-Sha is Konami. They thus have very many references to their “parent” company in their speech, mannerisms, outfits, skills. Keep an eye out for them, a lot are really good. For instance, take a peek under B-Sha or K-Sha’s heels.
Story structure is different now, and there’s basically three stories in one, all about the length of Neptunia Rebirth 1 (~20 hours each). They all flow into each other, but the first 2/3rds of the game limit your characters and items somewhat.
As far as what’s canon, the full True Ending route of both Neptunia Mk2 (Rebirth 2) and Neptunia Victory (Rebirth 3) connect directly to this game. Neptunia 1 seems to still be retconned and ignored.
This is somewhat personal opinion, but all of the Kinda Bad Writing from Victory/Rebirth 3 is gone. Uzume still has crazy powers but isn’t overbearingly the focus of the story like Plutia, Vert and Nepgear are no longer treated like crap or written very out of character. If like me you were disappointed in Victory’s writing just know that the writing is back to normal. The good aspect of Victory’s writing (focus on the villains) is still intact however.
The translation feels a bit more direct than prior IFI games, keeping names like “S-Sha” (Sha is company in Japanese) instead of using an English equivalent (S-Co.). Uzume Tennoboshi for example is just literally Uzume Uranus (Dreamcast). They fixed some oddities like Uni’s “Where are you looking?!” attack being translated/censored to “Charlie Horse” (?!), the name’s back to normal. A few other attack names were changed, not sure if they’re more accurate now, different for the same of difference, or if the Japanese just changed (Lace Ribbon is now Lacy Dance).
But there’s still some changes, it’s no literal translation. Neptune is still English Reference Factory Neptune not Plain Old Genki Girl Pudding Bot Neptune. Noire doesn’t make an extremely out of character “Nyan~!” when jumping, probably others. But there’s nothing I would call censorship, just stuff that would be awkward in English prettied up a bit like is common.
The dub coverage is still somewhat minor. I’d say it’s between 25% and 50%. Important scenes are voiced, but there’s plenty of story content not voiced that was voiced in Japanese. The Japanese dub is available as free DLC. Enemies are, perhaps unfortunately, still voiced in English. A few even keep their JP voices. I’d still recommend playing in english so you get the effect of the combat quotes and such, but the choice is great.
Vert’s voice actress is different, seems to be Rom’s (obviously playing a different more mature voice). Everyone else is their usual English VA including IF.
Guard Meter and Break Attacks are dead, good riddance.
Parts Break partially replaces Guard Meter, some enemies have “parts” on their front, side or rear, and attacking from that direction deals damage to the part as well as the enemy (and formation skills hit all parts at once.) Breaking parts gives you extra items, XP and credits, and can also reduce enemies stats, uncover weakpoints or disable certain attacks. Parts Breaking normal enemies will also often give CPU Chips, an item needed for the Obligatory Insanely Long Grind Trophy.
Break attacks are replaced with Standard attacks. Rush attacks hit many times with weaker hits, power attacks hit very few times with larger damage, and standard attacks tend to be in the middle hit-count-wise, but can also be single hit. Whether you want a Power or Standard attack depends mostly on the attributes of the specific attack; do you want an elemental attack here? Do you want to hit 3 times or 1? Can you inflict a status ailment?
Combo system is different, combo points are dead (good riddance again).
You no longer fully heal on level up, you have to return to a town for that. The general effect is the game is a bit harder and dungeons are more punishing.
Damage for skills, EXE drive and Normal Attacks have been flattened out pretty majorly. The result is a much more tactical combat system where normal attacks are viable (with a weapon that allows enough combos!), special attacks are only OP early on, and EXE drives are more of a consumable replacement for SP rather than crazy stupid OP.
EXE also doesn’t carry over between battles, it’s a consumable resource within a single fight.
HDD transformations now cost EXE drive instead of SP, and a bit of Shares (gold third excepted). EXE is easy to build up, but the share system still discourages constant use of it (not very important if you don’t care about True Ending in a playthrough).
Coliseum rounds are excluded from the Share depletion system, so go nuts.
The Damage Limit is no longer a big deal, as damage numbers have been lowered again. You’ll rarely see 9999 even at the end of your first playthrough.
I was surprised to see complaints about this system…it feels somewhat unneeded as a gameplay element, but it’s dead simple, cheap and necessary for progression. You just pay 500 credits per node to unlock access to new maps. Story areas rarely require more than 3 hops. If you never burn all your credits when shopping you should have no problem building routes, and running a single quest should get you the money progress.
Shares are no longer Zero Sum, every nation now has a 0 to 100 meter, and whoever has the most shares has a stat buff (and if everyone is at 100%, everyone gets the buff). Shares are tied to a nation’s CPUs/Candidate, so Gold Third members aren’t affected and don’t affect shares, same with humans. Uzume counts as a Planeptune CPU.
The bad news is being KO’d and transforming (outside of forced story transformations) cost Shares now, and yes the True End has some Share requirements. Being KO’d will drain a very significant portion of the bar, especially without Share Usage Down scouts deployed, while transforming’s effect is pretty minor. You’d only notice it by losing “top” status if only one CPU transforms, or by not ever completing quests/PR levels after building up shares.
Note that even when getting the true ending, Shares only matter during G Dimension, and only until you see a certain dream scene for that nation. After that single Share-tied event you can transform or KO to your heart’s content without it affecting anything but stats. So really don’t worry too much about shares, worry about getting those scenes. See the True Ending section for info on this.
The apparent reason for the change is to slightly discourage spamming transformations now that they don’t eat SP, and discourage the “let everyone die and just use the cheapest revive item frequently” which was very effective in prior games. But Share Usage Down scouts can significantly reduce the effect, making transformations basically free.
First off, Neptunia isn’t a hard series. VII starts off hard for some people, but by the time you can pick and choose characters you can pretty much handle everything the game can throw at you unless you deliberately avoid experience and gear.
So while I’ll provide descriptions of how characters play and how best to use them, basically the right way to play is to use whoever you want to, for whatever reason. There’s only a select few combinations that will make things dramatically harder for you, and as long as you keep a top-tier team as your back row even then you should be able to get by in almost any situation.
Character “classes” also don’t really exist and you shouldn’t think too hard about them. Just because Compa can heal doesn’t mean she’s the “healer” that you’re required to have in all parties. You don’t need a healer. You don’t need a tank. You don’t need a DPS. Everyone is DPS. And thanks to items, everyone is healer and buffer too. Keep character’s abilities in mind while using them, but don’t use people specifically for their abilities unless you really need to (for instance, a boss immune to non-magical damage)
Neptune is a pretty standard physical attacker with very balanced but not very interesting stats. She has solid Int but nothing to use it with, a level 2 EXE that isn’t Next Form Exclusive (but it’s not very good), and most notably she has many SP skills that hit many times (useful for building EXE gauge and dealing damage at the same time) and she has by far the most Formation Skills, pairing with each of the CPUs, Nepgear, Uzume and having a few multiple character Formation Skills as well.
Neptune is your standard “can’t go wrong” character but is also a bit boring especially early/mid game, before she gets any AOE skills. She does have a couple good buff skills however. Late game Neptune will learn a passive skill that heals her a for a sizable chunk of her HP, suddenly making her a more notable addition to a party, and kind of a better tank than Blanc because things will actually target Neptune.
Neptune’s NEXT form is pretty standard, her NEXT EXE skill is notable for dealing a huge amount of damage in a single hit. I’m not sure it’s able to miss, but I tend to avoid using it just in case. Most NEXT EXE skills are only good as finishers anyway due to the cost + down-transformation.
Noire is one of the most versatile and useful CPUs (and characters period), with an only somewhat late Fire elemental SP skill, elemental Combo Skills, an EXE attack that’s both AOE and has a nice array of debuffs (though it’s been nerfed a bit), and some decent AOE skills including one learned somewhat early (Fall Slash). She’s also pretty fast, and while she has slightly lower defenses than Neptune her damage easily makes up for it and the defense difference isn’t hugely noticeable.
Noire might seem a little weaker in her actual story, since it’s easily the hardest “nation” chapter. Don’t judge Uni or Noire too harshly based on it, it’s more a difficulty issue than a character issue, and Noire’s utility raises dramatically at level 30 with Infinity Slash. (and, I believe, Fall Slash)
Noire’s NEXT form increases the AOE of some of her attacks which is nice. Her NEXT form EXE skill is flashy but pretty standard gameplay-wise. Honestly the CPU Candidates get the better deal for their new EXE lvl 2 attacks.
Vert is the fastest CPU (and fastest character after IF) so you can usually plan your strategies around her going first. She’s the most interesting CPU gameplay-wise as well, with a great variety of different skill types. And being Wind element, fairly few enemies resist her elemental effects, at least compared to Fire.
Vert has AOE buffs for M Attack and speed, is the first CPU to have an AOE attack, is the only magic-focused CPU (with the most damaging magic Special skills, the earliest magic Special skills, and a magic EXE drive). Her Rush Combo Skills also build amazing EXE meter, and she of course has some Wind elemental Combo Skills. While excessively late-game in this game, Vert’s Kinestra Slash is OP as ever, and has insanely wide AOE in Next Form, and Rainy Ratapura is one of the best SP skills to build EXE gauge with.
Vert’s one downside is her defensive stats are the lowest of the main CPUs, and enemies will often target her if she has the lowest defensive stats. You might dedicate a situationally less useful character to healing, though due to her high speed she can often heal herself (or others) first after a big enemy attack. But she’s not really glass-canon status, she just takes a modest percent more damage from the heavier attacks compared to the other four CPUs (but less magic damage than Blanc).
Vert and Noire are both pretty solid characters to keep in permanent slots in your “main” party. They’re very safe and versatile enough to never be wasting a turn. (But due to buffs, items and EXE meter, you really shouldn’t ever be wasting turns, and defending isn’t always a waste of a turn either!)
In Vert’s NEXT form her skills are so cheap there’s no reason not to spam them, and they’re mostly even more powerful than Spiral Break now. Kinestra Slash’s AOE is insanely wide in NEXT Form. Vert’s NEXT EXE is notable for dealing over 100 hits, giving a nice credit/EXP bonus, and being pretty damn badass (though all of them are).
Blanc is your standard physical defense “Tank” with decent physical attacks, and abysmal Int and Mental Defense. Due to her Men stat she can actually go down extremely quickly for a “Tank”, but most attacks are physical. She’s not actually useful as a tank though, as enemies will tent to target whoever they can hurt the most, and the aforementioned magic defense problem as well.
She’s still not a bad character to have around, especially once she gets her late game Ice element skills, but she’s pretty solidly okay, with an EXE skill that’s basically Noire’s but without debuffs and no AOE skills other than her EXE for ages. You’ll find your EXE meter better spent on Noire and Vert’s EXE skills in most situations, so leave Blanc to dealing physical damage. The low hit count of her attacks is annoying too, nice on high-defense enemies, but due to misses and EXE gauge, high hit count is generally preferable to low.
Blanc’s NEXT form is pretty standard, not many AOE skills to take advantage of the wider AOE though. It’s mostly good for the buff to skill damage. Her NEXT EXE attack is notable for knocking off her hat which is pretty funny.
Uzume is fairly versatile right from the start, having a basic heal and revive skill (that can be used from the menu finally!), she’ll save you some item usages at least, and her Revive can even be useful in battle early on (later you’ll want better revives than 30% health). Her later attacks add decent AOE and she has an interesting Combo Skill AOE, always a cone shape.
Nepgear is, oddly, a more versatile Neptune at least early on, having decent AOEs with Slash Wave (which no longer immediately hits the damage cap) and Nepgeardam. As her level goes up the difference between Neptune and Nepgear’s versatility goes down, but Nepgear is all around decent at any point in the game.
Uni gets a bad rap in this game due to being extremely under-powered when she first appears in the story, and having a pretty awkward to use ranged normal attack (some of her guns have different AOE however, including a melee-range shotgun-style cone). But at later levels Uni is quite powerful and has a good variety of AOE shapes, and now even an AOE holy elemental EXE level 2.
Uni is very versatile at mid to high levels, having great Rush skills to build EXE, elemental Standard Combo Skills where necessary, and a good array of skills. Her Avoid Support now just buffs AGI, which I’m not sure is very useful after the battle starts since it’s primary effect is turn order.
In an odd Conservation of Perversion, Uni’s skirt is weighted and no longer flies up when she jumps, but her chest jiggle is absurd even in Black Sister form. This was definitely important enough to put in a guide, yes.
Rom starts with an AOE 50% heal, instantly making her a better Compa than Compa. She has a later game revive too, filling her “white mage” roll pretty well, but she’s still a solid attacker with a few AOE skills, even AOE EXE skills, and magic/elemental Combo Skills. Her Combo Skill radius is nice and wide too, making quick work of normal mobs.
Since elemental attacks in general are scarce and enemies are often weak to them, Rom (and Ram) can bring the pain pretty easily, though ice is of course their specialty; you’ll need Combo Skills to deal other types of damage.
The biggest downside to Rom (and Ram) is she’s an extreme glass canon, having half the HP of the fully fledged CPUs…and still way way less than even Uni and Nepgear. If you bring them out you’ll need to protect them with buffs and keep their health up, and always expect to lose some Lowee shares because boss’ desperation attacks can often KO a R@M instantly.
Ram’s stats are basically Rom’s stats but with better offense and worse Magic Defense. Her Combo Skill AOE is longer range (not actually very useful) and less wide, which is generally significantly less useful than Rom’s. She has none of Rom’s healing abilities, and is still as fragile as Glass Joe in a moshpit.
All in all, Ram is mostly a less versatile Rom who hits a bit harder but IMO not nearly enough to justify bringing her instead. You’ll probably only bring Ram if you need a full party of elemental attackers (which would be Rom, Ram, Vert, and one of IF/Compa in most cases). It’s good to have either Rom or Ram in the back row at all times though so you can deal some elemental damage in a hurry.
Trying to use Rom and Ram will make you realize how overpowered Plutia was in Victory. A better array of skills, great Rush skills for EXE and she could take a hit far better than the poor Twins.
B-Sha is most notable for having great ranged, AOE Combo Skills that build Rush like nuts. She’s got a decent physical AOE SP skill and deals okay damage. She also packs okay but not very notable buffs/debuffs.
Not very remarkable but decently effective. You’ll note the same is true of most Gold Third; they have less skills and are generally less versatile than CPUs, and are perhaps most notable for being able to not burn shares when they transform/get KO’d. They’re solidly in a B-Tier below the CPUs/Candidates, not bad but clearly a little underdeveloped.
All the Gold Third are pretty good at building Rush though, and should be transformed as early as possible. The Gold Third’s EXE attacks are extended and deal more damage while in Gold Form, while most characters just perform extended attacks only against bosses. Gold Third are in a way better against tough non-boss monsters for this reason, as you can build and spam EXE attacks and transformations with no share or SP loss.
C-Sha is the only Gold Third with no form of Area of Effect attack at all and suffers pretty greatly for it. It’s a shame since she’s got great Capcom references but she’s a very boring character gameplay-wise.
At a late level she regens SP passively, which is neat, but with okay at best SP skills it’s not too impressive. A better reference than a character.
K-Sha is most notable for being a slightly worse Uni, decent ranged Combo Skills good for building EXE, a line AOE skill, but all around she’s basically Uni with less skills.
S-Sha is very much the Vert of the Gold Third, having excellent Rush attacks and a mix of physical and magical skills…as much of a mix you can have with two SP skills and one EXE skill, that is. Her self-targeted AOE attack is nice for when you’re surrounded (and is pretty funny too).
Of the Gold Third I find her and B-Sha to be the most useful, I usually leave one or both of them in reserve.
IF has gotten major buffs, and while she still isn’t CPU level material, she’s one of the best characters to have around for normal fights. With La Delphinus’ SP use cut from a completely insane 900 SP to a modest 130, along with a new AOE fire attack, IF has the best early game AOE attacks. She’s also the fastest character period, almost always acting first even against high leveled foes, and she can steal now.
IF has a great combination of useful traits that decently offset the fact that she won’t really be dealing the most single-target damage in the game. She’s often not who you want in a boss fight, but she’s great to have against normal enemies.
Compa has gotten major buffs too, and now starts out with Compa Love Heart, an AOE Holy magic attack that does solid damage, meaning taking Compa along is no longer an extreme DPS penalty. She’s got a second, very good attack skill now too, but it’s learned at a very late level. She still has Combo Skills that deal paralyze and poison too (now the only character with such skills) so she can potentially disable targets for no SP.
Her job of “medic” is still better performed by items however; items have less delay than skills, Compa doesn’t learn great heals until late game, and her normal attacks are still weak. Compa’s still a “use her only if you really like her” character, but still better than she was by miles. If you always used Compa and found the earlier games difficult…it’s probably because you used Compa. Oddly enough for a publisher self-insert she’s consistently one of the worst characters gameplay-wise. This game is no different, though she’s more like a C Tier than an F- Tier.
Now that heal skills can be used for the menu, Compa’s best use is probably saving a few credits, sadly enough.
Older Neptune, being a Neptune, has more abilities than two Gold Third put together for no apparent reason. However, she’s mostly only interesting for her ability to Steal. She’s a fairly standard physical attacker with one (very high level) magic attack and a decent late game AOE physical attack.
Not a particularly poor addition to a party if you like her, but generally she’s only interesting for her Steal ability. Even gameplay-wise the inclusion of two Neptunes seems unnecessary and forced, yet clearly garnered an undeserved amount of resources due to her skill count.
Scouts are different (thank Goddess) and much improved. I see a lot of whining about this system and seriously, chill out. It is NOT Victory’s scouts, it is NOT Stella from the Rebirth games, scouts are basically free credits and help you get extra items if you use them right.
Scouts now prospect in real time, whether or not you enter combat maps, and they pause if the game is suspected or the PS4 menu is up. At the end of their timer they’ll bring back one of many things like credits, or drops specific to the map they were sent to. They’ll have to be manually checked to get the reward and re-scout, but they’ll automatically re-deploy to the same map after giving you the goods, so you don’t have to manage them much beyond changing the map they scout. Scouts are also free, so you really have no excuse not to use them.
Note you can check multiple scouts to send at once by pressing Right to “check” undeployed scouts, press R2 to call back all scouts, or hold Right on an undeployed scout to select ALL undeployed scouts to send ’em all to one map. You should spend no more than a minute in the Scout menu each time with these useful shortcuts.
More important than money are certain Scout-only things they unlock. Scouting a specific area you can also unlock up to two Map Bosses per map (often not something you want to fight when you can first unlock them). Scouting will also unlock up to one Hidden Treasure star per map until you unlock the prior hidden treasure. See Hidden Treasure for more info. I want to be clear there’s no horribly confusing “Dangerous/risky foe” system or “flags”. Monsters can be unlocked by any scout at any time, and are unlocked forever.
Scouting any area on a given world map can locate a scout or optional dungeon. It doesn’t matter where you scout, you have a chance of unlocking these scouts/maps, so just focus on map-specific unlocks or drops.
Scouts have direct effects on the areas they visit, like lowering credits and such, it’s no longer random. You can simply avoid sending “harmful” scouts to areas you intend to go to, but most effects are minor. The significant effects include Enemy Change (which can replace enemies with potentially much stronger ones, or maybe just ones that don’t match the quest you’re on), Share Usage Down which reduces the shares you can lose while in a map, (good if you’re bad at the game or very paranoid).
Scouts are technically entirely optional, but ignoring them would mean giving up on a lot of low-effort items, credits, and entire optional areas/bosses/quests.
You can level scouts with effects varying on which scout you level. Each level is more expensive than the last so probably just level up everyone evenly, Famitsu and Dengekiko are pretty reliable levelers however. Get more Energy Mates to level scouts by unlocking Hidden Treasures.
Stats are “confusing” but don’t really matter. Scouts with higher stats in general return successfully more often. Best I can tell all stats just add up to a general success rate. Don’t worry about stats, other than that spending Energy Mates on Scouts that don’t seem to raise in stats when leveled may not be a good idea (only a couple seem to do this, not sure if they’re “late bloomers” yet or what).
When scouting, what I usually do is send 4-6 scouts to the same map, and I found at that count every “trip” I’ll unlock at least one of Hidden Treasure or
Hidden Treasure isn’t too complicated, but it’s nothing like the old “scan the dungeons” crap from before.
You’ll have to “unlock” a hidden item star on a map by scouting the map, then complete the condition on the map itself to actually be able to collect the item. You can check your progress toward the condition in-dungeon on the map screen by pressing Square.
You can’t unlock multiple stars in the same dungeon without completing the conditions, but you can unlock the next star if you earn but don’t collect the prior Hidden Treasure. This is useful since a few Hidden Treasures may require map skills like higher jumps or item breaks you don’t have yet.
Hidden Treasures are often unique items like cosmetic equipment and tons of them are Energy Mates, which are needed to level up scouts.
Hidden Treasures respawn when you NG+, meaning you can level all scouts to max if you really want to (you don’t).
Don’t go for 100% Hidden Treasure until you’re on a second playthrough IMO, and on True Ending Path. You gain NG+ only map abilities that make the grind much faster, plus you’ll have more scouts. And it won’t even be possible without True Ending since some maps are exclusive to it, and you get both story branch’s maps too.
Most requirements are self explanatory, but here’s a few hints for the tricky ones:
- Character/lily skill/Game Disk passive healing will still reset the “win battles without healing” counter. Neptune in particular needs to be removed from your party.
- “Make X consecutive symbol attacks without being noticed” really means it–a single missed strike or being seen will reset the counter. This can be dramatically easier if you find a slowly wandering enemy with a predictable hitbox like a dogoo, symbol attack it, run and repeat. You don’t have to beat the enemy for the symbol attack to count, and the RNG of the AI’s facing makes this pretty hectic otherwise.
- The White Orb flag item (S rank quest reward) makes this basically unfailable, but the repeating & running method is available much earlier on. Your choice, since you’ll definitely be in postgame anyway by the time you’re anywhere near 100%ing Hidden Treasure.
- Defeat all deployed enemies seems to exclude “map boss”/added enemies. Again note you can check your progress for this (and all treasures!) in the map screen by pressing square.
Senmuu Labyrinth Map & Secrets
- This is just mean, there’s a hidden room where a few enemies are, required to get the first hidden treasure here (which is already grueling.)
- Here’s a complete map of Senmuu Labyrinth, with enemy locations noted. Don’t try Defeat All Enemies without it, it’s a huge pain!
- Here’s a video of getting into the secret room with enemies in Senmuu Labyrinth. There’s a few other secret rooms too but none have enemies. (not sure if they have items yet, I’ll check it out)
- For the “Defeat Dream of Cast” challenge, make sure you’re defeating the right enemies. There’s visually identical Dream on Cast enemies that you might kill on accident.
- The third challenge here? It’s…defeat all deployed enemies. Again. Seriously, it’s just deliberately mean. But it honestly doesn’t take absurdly long if you have the map
- Senmuu Labyrinth’s enemies hit like trucks even when your cast is at level 99, so it’s very easy to take a KO or two while mopping up mobs for the challenges. Try using the Gold Third or other Human characters if you don’t wish to lose shares.
- The Purple Pirachu enemies and the giant Space Invaders are Added Enemies and don’t count towards the Hidden Treasure kill count.
- There’s some unique treasure on this map (as always) including the prized “croire butterfly” item for Older Neptune, which is in level 2 I believe, and a Disc or two.
The great majority of quests are now Kill Monster quests, and such monsters are marked on the map (and in battle) to make locating them easier. There’s also less filler quests in general, but they’re still important to unlock cosmetics and buff your shares.
If you get a Fetch Item quest you’ll see an entry for an enemy that drops that item in the Nepedia, though if it’s not available in any available maps you still won’t see a location for it until that map opens up (I think this only happens to the True Ending only Rank Up quest).
S Rank Quests
The S Rank Qualification quest is tied to the True Ending so don’t go looking for it if you’re not on that route or that late in the game. Most of the S Rank Quests are just Beat Big Boss quests and are pretty straight forward, if not especially easy as far as single target quests go.
Two of the S Rank quests reward you with Flag items, one which pacifies enemies so only Symbol Attacks start battles, and one which maxes out the EXE gauge permanently (both can be turned off in the Flags section of the Item menu). To beat these two quests you have to beat the dragon foe in the bottom of Senmuu Labyrinth, once enemy changed, once not. Senmuu Labyrinth is unlocked by scouting in Heart Dimension and is a large mapless maze. Use the map here to find your way. (if this link goes dead let me know, I have the map images, but would rather link unless the site goes down.)
The boss for these quests, either God of Woe or Shiva, is an incredibly beefy but otherwise none too dangerous boss. Since you’re already in Senmuu Labyrinth you can get to level 99 (Refer to Power Leveling) and fight God of Woe in one trip, then circle back for Shiva once more. The fight is possible but slower and harder at lower levels, I’ve heard people as low as level 40 beating it.
The trick of these bosses is they’re terrible at taking down more than one target at once. They may deal about 6000-8000 damage per turn, but 95% of the time they target a single character, and they seem very reluctant to use their desperation hit all targets attack (but they have one!).
The way I played was to bring all four CPUs, get them into NEXT form immediately, then have Vert use Kinestra Slash, Blanc use Gefarlichtern, Noire use Infinite Slash to debuff then Volcano Dive when all debuffs were active, then leave Neptune to heal and use her buff skills or buff items to keep everyone in good shape. For some reason the boss seemed to always target Neptune despite Vert and Noire’s lower defenses, which is why I used her to heal. And if Neptune’s defense is high enough, she can actually just block the whoel battle and heal over the damage the boss deals due to her passive healing and naturally getting more turns than the enemy due to defending, it’s pretty funny.
These bosses take more damage from elemental attacks, so Rom and Ram could be useful…but they’re also much, much more likely to be OHKO’d due to their garbage defensive stats and HP.
If you’re playing underleveled just be sure to save (always a good idea) as there’s a save point right before the boss, and perhaps keep one beefy character defending at all times in case of a desperation attack.
The quests the super creepy dude in Creator’s Town gives you are the most annoying and repetitive in the game (deliberately so). They aren’t essential to the story or True Ending, don’t expire, and the rewards are not particularly good (some outfits for Neptune from Victory, and a white Jersey Dress for Older Neptune).
You can’t even complete this quest line until the third arc, so really don’t worry too much about it. If you’re intent on doing it, make sure to have Forbidden Twigs crafted (I forget where this is unlocked, please comment if you know) and use a team of ONLY IF and Older Neptune to steal from the target enemy, defeat it, respawn it etc until you get your items. Doing these quests before getting Forbidden Twigs will take a toll on your sanity for exceedingly minor rewards.
However, I think this quest line might unlock “final” weapons for everyone in the shop, at least I don’t know why else they appeared in my game (if anyone knows, comment and let me know or email me). But you really, really don’t need final weapons to beat anything in this game so even if that’s the case it’s still a minor reward by the time you can do it.
Neplunker is both brutal and not as bad as it seems. Falling almost any extra distance from the height you started your jump at will lose a life, as will bat guano, running out of energy, falling in a pit or touching steam vents. Everything costs one life. You should pack escape buttons (as always) so you don’t game over if you’re caught in a bad situation. Do not jump just to jump, even jumping while on a plain incline will get a KO. If you need to get down from a platform be sure you’re moving the absolute least vertical distance possible.
Do not be afraid to abandon Neplunker if it’s driving you nuts. It’s not necessary to beat the game (only for platinum/100%) and while the benefits are nice, not having them won’t even be a speedbump on the way to beating the main game. It’s easier with some of the New Game Plus features, so feel free to come back later.
Energy pickups are generally not worth it unless you’re already low, they’ll often be in mildly dangerous spots. In certain areas the speed up items can let you skip large amounts of danger, so keep them in mind.
Do NOT use Blanc as your party leader in Neplunker, her jump has extra startup frames where she’s on the ground, which make everything much more fiddly.
Actually, showing these is easier than describing them, so here’s a walkthrough video instead. But there’s some extra details below too.
This one is easy enough even at the start of the game, and the reward is worth it: A key item that lets you craft another item that lets you break “metal” destructible objects. You need Planeptune Development level 4 to complete the crafting, however. These level 2 objects you’ll now be able to break can drop some crafting materials, and also often block the way to valuable treasures.
Be sure to save before you go in. Getting 100% of the optional items hidden around the map is hard, but doable. Just be sure to leave and save if you’ve gotten items but are running low on lives/energy. Just use an Eject button the moment you’re at zero lives and it’s impossible to lose.
In the first map, don’t forget to jump when leaving the first platform. Make a beeline for the corridor to your left, avoiding enemies. They’re pretty high level if you do this as early as you possibly can, and they drain your energy. Carefully avoid the bat droppings, just wait for them to disappear entirely before moving on. Once you reach the mine cart you can cheap things out a bit. Just jump the gaps around the tracks instead of messing with the steam vents, but watch for bat droppings as you do so. Now just head straight along the tracks to the exit, avoiding enemies.
No problems in the second area, just don’t forget to jump when entering/leaving the middle ring, and dodge the enemies.
In the third area you want to go left immediately and jump the gap to get the speedup. This will greatly extend your jumps which is good and bad. Jump back to the starting area, then carefully grab the one up, then jump straight over to the pyramid structure. Move around the outside of the pyramid, avoiding bat guano–if you’re feeling bold you can jump off the platform and back on to weave around it as long as your speed up is still active. If you’re fast enough, you can jump straight across the final extra-long gap with the speed up. If not, make two careful jumps across the platform leading away from the pyramid and grab your treasure.
Neplunker Zero (Zero Dimension)
This one is much harder and will require a lot of trial and error. Ideally take this one on after New Game Plus, so you can turn off the lovely feature that gives you a game over if you run out of lives in Neplunker to make things less annoying. The higher walk and jump speed will also be invaluable.
The reward for reaching the end is just a Celestia Bangle; one of the best armors in the game, but still very unnecessary.
Again, just watch the video for this one. It’s too hard to explain in words and it wouldn’t be as useful as seeing it run.
Endings & True Ending Requirements
IMO, a perfectly valid way to enjoy this game is to not try to get True Ending the first playthrough, for a lot of reasons:
- For ideal trophy farming, you need NG+ and true ending, meaning getting True Ending first actually requires three playthroughs (True, Normal+, True+) while Normal first requires two (Normal, True+)
- There’s a story branch you’ll need to reload or reply to get to see anyway
- NG+ is SO GOOD and you can blaze back to the ending in like 5 hours or less.
- NG+ has new features that make the True Ending requirements less of a problem (and you can carry over levels to make things easier)
- The True Ending requires fussing with Shares that could easily add more playtime (and stress) than a quick NG+ would require
- To get the true ending you need to do some specific things rather early on in the game so it’s extremely easy to miss your first playthrough
- The normal ending is NOT an anticlimax like Mk2/Victory’s
Anyway. There are three endings, a “you suck” ending, a normal one, and the True Ending.
You have to kind of try to get the bad ending: once in Heart Dimension, don’t visit all four green exclamation points on the map (the CPU’s Dreams). The game will end in Ontario Corridor, right before a big boss fight. You won’t even get to see the branch so save before you get this.
The Bad Ending is more like an extended Game Over (and 99% the same as the default cutscene), so it’s not really worth watching. No trophy for it either, no goodies, though it’s a slightly faster way to get to NG+. It also doesn’t add any CGs to your library, unlike Mk2.
If you’re curious and don’t want to go through with it:
Note that you can’t “lock” yourself into the bad ending. As long as you save before actually ending the game, you can just go back and see the cutscenes, then go back in and continue normal path. You’d have to deliberately save over your prior save with your NG+ save to lock yourself in. Uh. Don’t do that, unless you really do want to just go NG+ as fast as possible, but note that doing this will make the rest of the game even easier, and it’s already a bit too easy.
Again, just view all four CPU Dream events in Heart dimension without qualifying for True Ending and you’ll get the normal ending, which is fairly satisfying unlike prior games (but, naturally, not AS satisfying or fluffy as True). You’ll get several more dungeons over the Bad Ending route, but not as many as the True Ending route.
Note that while shares are a factor, you do not need to maintain high shares to keep on the True path, you simply need X% shares to trigger a scene, the scene is what matters not the shares. After seeing all scenes for a nation, that nation’s share count does not matter at all for the ending.
There are quest requirements for the True Ending. You can’t just see the dream events. I’m not sure why so many people miss these when they’re clearly and specifically in the list below, but be aware of that.
Info gained from this post by HGH on NeoGAF, thanks a lot! (spoilers). Extra details gained from @SonyOfLastation. I wouldn’t have gotten the true ending without them!
First off, if you’re playing this game and assuming grind is required for anything but trophies/100% completion, you’re probably playing the game very wrong. In the main story Noire’s route is probably the only area you might need to grind a bit as it’s the hardest (due to poor low level skills for Noire and Uni and limited cash for True Ending requirement). Most bosses in the game are quite manageable at even low levels and the game can be completed by a party in the mid 30s (normal players will probably be low thirties before the third arc even starts).
This section is for us insufferable completionists, so please pay it no mind or return for your trophy run if you play to play the game normally.
Second off, an ominous but sincere warning: due to how optimized but repetitive a lot of the best grinding strategies are for certain tasks in this game, certain objectives like kill X enemies or grinding CPU Chips for cards can really start to hurt your hands/fingers. If your fingers start hurting take a break and try to spread out some of the trophy grind over several days.
New Game Plus
New Game Plus is absolutely vital to grinding in this game. Here’s why:
- No random battles greatly reduces wasted time traveling
- It also enables you to FORCE a “random” battle on any node, making certain quests/item hunts easier, and lets us spam battles as fast as possible without Forbidden Twigs for certain grinds like Lily Rank where we don’t care what we fight
- Faster movement speed in dungeons is so nice. It also helps in certain Neplunker areas
- Higher Jump height actually enables several shortcuts and, again, aids in Neplunker
- Being able to keep your party (and levels) makes early missions/credit grinding for the G Dimension arc go much faster for True Ending requirements
True Ending/Post Game
Even when we have NG+, you can’t get certain trophies/items without access to the True Ending, so go ahead and make sure you’re on the True Ending path while doing your NG+ for grinding. This is yet another reason to get Normal Ending first, as it’s a trophy we don’t want to miss, but getting Normal Ending in a second playthrough ruins our ability to trophy hunt that playthrough. Getting True Ending first locks you into three playthroughs, but Normal first only requires two.
So halt your biggest grinds (Treasure Hunter) until we have beaten the game with True Ending as you can now explore all of Gamindustri at our leisure.
Forbidden Twig and Eject Button
Eject buttons you should have been using the whole game. They let you instantly eject from a dungeon Possibly the single most important item in not wasting time, and they’re extremely cheap after the first chapters, and still attainable even then.
Forbidden Twigs you’ll unlock lategame (I forget exactly when), but once you can, craft them immediately. Forbidden Twigs respawn all enemies on a dungeon map instantly, allowing repeated fights on the same enemy, even if they’re rare.
If you need to steal or defeat enemies for a quest and don’t care about their drops/XP, you can actually just steal/kill the specific enemies you want, then run from the remainder (if any), then re-start the fight with a symbol attack to repeat. It’s actually a bit faster than using Forbidden Twigs due to the menuing to the twig.
Leave a character or two at the extreme edge of the battle field to run after the initial kills to make this faster, and order them based on speed. For example, put IF and Vert in the middle to kill targets, then leave Noire and Blanc at the extreme edges as their turns will be after IF and Verts’, letting them flee after IF steals or Vert kills.
Stealing is an action IF and Older Neptune can perform for no SP, and it seems tied to their Luck stat (possibly Tech. It’s always hard to tell). For ideal stealing, leave only IF and Older Neptune in your party, as everyone else is dead weight and will significantly drag out fights that could take only a few seconds.
For the Project Nepupupu quests Stealing is basically required, as Scouting or killing to get the drops will take vastly longer than a proper IF/Neptune stealing team. Stealing is also usually the best method to get…any stealable drop actually. So if you need items for alchemy, see if you can steal them before trying to grind drops, as stealing is far more reliable.
You can see the Steal drops for any enemy in the Nepedia (kill an enemy to see all it’s drops, even if it didn’t drop that item, or if you didn’t steal), or use the Observation Scope item to see what enemies (especially bosses) have before you’ve defeated them for the first time.
Stealing combines well with Tactical Fleeing above, since we don’t really care about their kill drops, as stealing lets us confirm the item before combat ends.
Note stealing will occasionally get you Gamindustri Chocolate or CPU Chips instead of the item you’re probably looking for, but those are good for other trophies.
Blazing Through Battles
Once you’re mopping up the game for completion/trophies, most battles will be easy, but they’ll still take time. Once any semblance of difficulty is gone from battle, there’s some steps you can take to make battles extremely fast.
First we want everyone’s weapons to have Standard as their longest combo (it’s okay if another combo is just as long, but not longer). This way you can mash X to start and end an attack.
Second, of course, we hold L2 to skip all battle animations, making the fights take a few seconds max.
Finally, annoyingly, holding L2 does not skip the results screen as fast as possible. For a long time I thought this was a loading screen I couldn’t skip. But if you press L2 as soon as the loading screen you’ll instantly skip back to the map instead of waiting a few seconds. So either master knowing when to press L2 at the end of a battle, or simply mash L2
Ideal Grind Point
Discovered by @DearcheKClaudia on Twitter, a certain node in Lowee has a very peculiar set of possible battles: A lone Sentai, a Sentai and a “High Score King” (EXP piñata) or a living check (Credits piñata), or all three.
While the credits/EXP are nice for early game, the real important thing here is this is the most reliable spot to get a repeatable, single target enemy without slow methods like a forbidden twig. We can easily grind the battle count trophy, challenges, or Lily Ranks using this node.
Note you need to be in NG+ to fully exploit this node, as you can simply press X on a node to initiate a battle. This is what makes it so much faster than Forbidden Twig farming.
This node is technically exploitable in a normal playthrough with random battles to power level/credit grind Blanc’s story but….Blanc’s Story is one of the easiest so it should be pretty unnecessary. It’d be really useful in Noire’s story, but I couldn’t find another such node anywhere else. The enemies are also a bit hard to kill, especially the EXP piñata, at the point where they’re actually useful. But if you’re planning a speedrun or something maybe it’s useful.
A second grind-worthy node is on the third World Map screen, discovered by Eliakon:
The route point in Heart Dimension right before “Depths of the Heart” has three options:
- 100% of the time there will be a Colorful Choicer
- 30% of the time there’s also a Metallic Gabacho (10,000 credits)
- 10% or so of the time there is a Hall of Fame King P (1,500,000 XP)