Friday, 23 January 2015

Review: Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2 (PSVita)

The same old song, mark 2. 

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation is the full title for the Vita exclusive remake of the Playstation 3 title Hyperdimention Neptunia mk2. It has been developed by Felistella and published by Idea Factory International and is part of the ever expanding Hyperdimention series that spans games, anime and manga. Even though it is a remake there are a number of changes that should keep long-time fans coming back and new players wanting more.

The game itself actually focuses on Neptune’s little sister and CPU candidate Nepgear and her quest to rescue her sister along with the other CPU's and bring peace to Gameindustri. Set in a world that’s a shadow of its former self as the stores close, children worship the evil Arfoire instead of the CPU and the nations they rule over lose their shares as the ASIC grow stronger. Compa and If journey with Nepgear to gather the nations mascots and save the captive CPUS. As the story goes on you will have available over 20 party members to aid you in stopping the decline of the world. During your adventure you'll stumble across many parody characters poking fun at gaming, anime/manga and even popular music. When the game starts off you're mostly playing catch up, learning about what's happening in the world through cut-scenes, however it soon opens up giving you accesses to a array of the games offerings, I found that it kept me wanting to find out the full story only drifting from the main story progression to do side quests. All in all it flowed smoothly and kept me entertained leaving me hardly wanting to put it down.

While playing the game you will be experiencing many visual novel like scenes that provide information on the story or showing you spending time with your friends to form stronger bonds with them. This bonding will play a huge factor to any players wanting to see each available ending as well as providing the usual humour that is ever present throughout the rest of the series. I highly recommend actively searching each and every character out. These scenes sometimes provide you with still animated images for the museum and they can also lead to events, items and story variants. Many of these become available only when set conditions are meet for example someone joining your party or the shares of one nation reaching a set amount. Most of this is done on the world map were you move the icon of Nepgear around to select towns, dungeon’s, events and NPC's. I personally find this to be a very intuitive method for traversing the world with ease the event icons pointing out most scenes and guiding my way when I was unsure what to tackle next.  Upon entering the dungeon the game becomes a 3d world that you would be familiar with if you have played games like Fairy fencer, Mugen souls or the other HDN titles.

Once you enter the dungeons you may notice that they are not particularly large even when split up into multiple zones, this helps with making them easy to navigate, new players used to titles with larger dungeons may find this a bit jarring at first but anyone that is familiar with the series will be right at home in its surroundings spanning from the beautiful beach resorts to the grim graveyard or even the wacky multicolored block world it is all well done and offers a wide variety of surroundings. Getting lost or confused is almost a impossibility as you are almost guided to your destination. I personally enjoyed some of the zones and found them easy to traverse. The second thing will be that your foes will be on the map, a recurring theme in the series and makes grinding set opponents much easier as well as avoiding those you are not ready for.

The battles are straight forward and shouldn't be to difficult for new or existing fans of the series, Movement is simple as a push on the stick while dealing damage is a case of selecting the type of attack you want to use assuming you are in range. The battles usually flow well with the turn based combat, getting into the right position to hit more than one foe huddled together is executed by just taping the screen. It is without a doubt one of the easiest battle systems I have ever used. Visually the battles are not bad to look at and the enemy models offer a variety of cute, awesome and sometimes even bizarre.

There is a multitude of dungeon’s on the map making the game a decent size, However this is increased by using “plans” these are items acquired in many ways as gifts, found in dungeons, dropped by powerful foes or by completing quests. The developers have given a large amount of customisation options to change your game to suit you, starting with the usual weapons/armour and accessories but the most useful are those that fall into the system and battle category, These allow you to change a number of things from enemy strength to extra playable characters. There is also another category I need to express the importance of which is the dungeon category, without utilizing this category the game can become quite a pain as it contains a list of each dungeon, and the plans for altering each dungeon. This allows you to perform a number of changes to each, expanding your experience and the depth you can dive into the games side quests by taking on new foes and obtaining new items.

Revisiting dungeons is usually a must as the game offers a large amount of side quests that will allow you to get better items and train your characters further, as well as offering a suitable distraction from the main story if you are struggling with a particular point in the game or you just need a little boost to your stats. While mostly optional and skip-able there are a handful that are integral to story. To help with the grind there is also the staple Colosseum area, here you can fight stronger than average monsters for great rewards such as rare items, money & more exp.

Another notable side feature in this game is the slightly tedious Stella’s dungeon. This is another completely optional part of the game but is simply an added bonus. You will progress even if you are not playing the game as once given instructions her progress is automatic and based in real time. Though it provides some items I honestly can not say its truly remarkable or innovative you give a little girl a blade/clad her in some plate armour and send her on her way and hope she survives. Don't get me wrong its not a bad little distraction but I did personally find it to be almost redundant and quite tedious. This is mostly down to you waiting for upwards of 4 hours for her to die at the last hurdle, 90% of the time for almost no apparent reason e.g running the dungeon and surviving with 80% of your hp 5 times then failing on the 6th run based on some arbitrary roll of the dice . I wish anyone attempting this good look and happy spelunking.

Graphically the game isn't bad, it’s what I've come to expect from the series and though it hasn't improved significantly it isn't bad by any means, some areas have received a little bit of a polish for example the menus and onscreen displays in battle are a little different and the game seems to flow smoothly for the most part only encountering a significant drop in frame rate when against multiple giant dogoo. The anime art style, game play and visual novel scenes work well together and provide a pleasant experience. I found the audio works well along with the scenes, be it adding a sense of suspense or a happy moment it can’t be faulted. If you were happy with the rest of the series you should be more than happy with this instalment.

The enemies are also brilliant parodies ranging from cute little balls of slime to demonic hell hounds or even a Zord from The Power Rangers or a Gundam. Generally this game isn't really an improvement or a let down it's just more of the same, how you feel about this is down to you but personally I have enjoyed more time in Gameindustri.


Who should buy?

  • Fans of the hdn series
  • If you enjoy a good parody 
  • JRPG your thing? look right here 

Who should avoid

  • If you aren't a fan of making multiple play-troughs 
  • Gamers that have no interest in side distractions
  • Looking for a straight laced game 

1 comment:

  1. great review. i'm getting the game thursday. :)