Welcome to my Hyperdimension Neptunia full review + mini guide! I’ve finally completed the game, and this review will replace the short blurb I did earlier. I will be covering the story as well as providing tips to clearing dungeons, and present to you screenshots I’ve personally taken – ones you won’t find elsewhere! So read on to find out more~!
First would be the introduction to each character, as well as another popular character the (Japanese) voice actress has played in another game or anime series. Why did the game garner such low scores by other reviewers? One of the more obvious reasons is simply that you’re not the game’s target audience!
Easy ways to tell that you’re not the game’s target audience:
- You’re playing the game listening to (and lamenting about) the English dub.
- You fail to recognise that the above gif file actually refers to Akira Toriyama.
- You can’t identify at least three of the anime/game characters I’ve provided.
Needless to say you wouldn’t have anything nice to say about the game at the end of the day. So my review will assume that you ARE the target audience.
Like my other reviews you WILL be exposed to numerous game spoilers.
With that out of the way, let’s introduce the cast of Neptunia!
First up, the Console Patron Units (CPUs):
Purple Heart: Neptune (V.A. Tanaka Rie)
The main character of this game, Neptune represents the Sega Neptune console that was never released all those years ago. She’s your typical amnesiac heroine, who lost her memory when the other three goddesses ganged up on her to send her flying down from Celestia to the human world. She is rescued by Compa and they meet IF when dungeon-crawling. The three then agree to become a ‘party’ (literally).
Neptune becomes a powerhouse later in the game – once you obtain her Neptune Break combo skill, which is her special that can be used while untransformed (or transformed) that deals many hits and is an area attack (meaning it hits all enemies too). Her single hit CPU skill is reminiscent of Nanoha’s Divine Buster (big…purple…beam).
Black Heart: Noire (V.A. Imai Asami)
Noire, the CPU representing the Playstation, and my favourite Tsundere. 😀 Her stats are among the highest of the CPUs, and she is fast to boot (often starting her turns before anyone else). My advice is to get her before the rest of the CPUs once she’s recruitable – she’ll make all your missions THAT much easier – if it isn’t already easy enough. 😉
Noire has the monster bell ability (effective replacing Compa – yay!) and is a melee fighter, much like Neptune. As a little bit of trivia, the game doesn’t take long to reveal that she’s an anime/manga otaku who wants to become a voice actress. XD
Green Heart: Vert (V.A. Satou Rina)
Vert represents the xbox, and is the most mature of all the CPUs. She’s the only caster-type (like Compa) amongst the 4, so if you’re gunning for elemental weaknesses, she’s the other character that can supplement that area. However her decent damage weapon is not available for sale (unlike the other CPUs) until after many missions are completed, so it’s safe to leave her for last.
Vert has the treasure search ability, so you can swap between her and IF when the other is cooling down, allowing you to use the skill more often (not that you need to really). She’s the gaming otaku in love with MMOs, and can spend a week playing while holed up in their room.
White Heart: Blanc (V.A. Asumi Kana)
Ah, Blanc. Representing the Wii console, with hobbies and looks resembling Haruhi’s Nagato, and everything else ripped off from Nanoha series’ Vita (down to her personality, weapon [hammer] and german attack names).
She can be treated like a 2nd Neptune. Same chibi, similar skill set. 😀 She finds all the novels she reads crappy, so she wrote her own doujinshi and went to sell it at a comiket-like event – it wasn’t popular. A total of 3/500 copies. 🙂
IF (V.A. Ueda Kana) and Compa (V.A. Sakai Kanako)
Well, despite them being in the other section, they are actually two of the main three, together with Neptune. And they’ll be your only party members for almost the length of the entire game – so you’ll have to get used to them. While IF was easy to adapt to, Compa can occasionally give your ears a world of hurt – and irritate you at the ‘normal’ level. XD
These are also the only two members in your entire team that have access to revival item skills, so their participation is essential in the harder boss battles, even with other members. IF in particular is useful, because her revive skill takes place after her turn ends, while Compa’s revive happens when her turn begins, which complicates switching a bit.
Gust (V.A. Kuwatani Natsuko) and Nisa (V.A. Mizuhashi Kaori)
Both Gust and Nisa naturally represent their respective companies, and the two join you after … quite a long while. Gust reminds me of the Nagasarete Airantou character Mei Mei, down to the way of speaking (-desu no), while Nisa (or Nippon Ichi in the Japanese audio) is typical Etna from the Disgaea series. They are not usable without DLC, and will appear as level 1 guest characters. 🙂 However, both have their unique skills.
Gust gives you a permanent 30% discount on all items sold in the shop (but frankly, by the time she joins you, you’ll have so much money you don’t know what to do with), while Nisa allows you to monitor the shares (faith level) of the islands, which you need to get to 30% through completing dungeon missions to recruit the goddesses, and to 50% to get the final event for that island (a disturbing blog entry).
Next up: Gameplay + Mini Guide!
I generally take gameplay as an entire package. So for you to see it from my point of view, first begin by playing this OST from Hyperdimension Neptunia before you read further:
That is a dungeon theme you’ll hear for the large part of the entire game, so get used to it. You’ll be spending most of your time in Lastation, and if you decide to complete all available missions on the landmass, it will see your party reach the early level 30+, powerful to tackle most of the early missions in other landmasses with your eyes closed.
Don’ t mind the screens, they’re taken with a camera off the TV, so it looks warped and discolored. That is not what you’ll see in the actual game. First, difficulty. Easy, Normal and Hard, changable anytime except once battle has commenced. It controls how much damage you and your opponents deal, nothing else (not even exp gained). So to clear older dungeons just crank up the difficulty to Hard and one-hit all the monsters. 🙂
Then comes item skills. No offensive skills, just healing or buffing. They’ve got conditions to satisfy before healing can take place, based on the percentage chance occurence (which you can alter anytime while not performing a combo by entering the menu) when/who/why
theory of relativity. Characters learn these skills as they level up.
The skills are ranked from top to bottom, and therefore used accordingly. So for instance if you have both Nep Bull (which activates at <50% hp) and Nep Bull C (which activates at <30%) at 100% chance of occurence, and you receive damage reducing your hp to 20%, Nep Bull (and not Nep Bull C) will be used.
Now to talk about equipment. Basically, you have 4 slots, corresponding to a weapon, a defence item, clothing and an accessory slot. Of which clothing you will hardly get any (if at all) over the course of the main game, and accessory doing next to nothing for your character except changing the way they look (some do add +50hp…but they are negligible bonuses). Save for the weapons and defence items.
In the screenie above you also see the CPU overclocking section. Basically you collect parts in dungeons (mostly the treasure search items) that you can equip to change the stats of the transformed CPU. I spent the entire of the game ignoring the top three (clock frequency, memory and heat) as they really don’t seem to have any visible effect. Just focus on Strength or Vitality or Intelligence and Agility. (eg. For Neptune it’s Str and Agi)
Dungeon crawling is pretty much similar to Trinity Universe, in which you have a series of corridors in which you run around to:
- Find an exit
- Defeat a boss monster
- Defeat a certain enemy x times
- Find an item (via Treasure Search) or items (via enemy drops)
Most of the chests in the dungeons contain absolutely useless items (like reflex), except for storyline dungeons, which sometimes have a good weapon or defence item. So for the normal dungeons if you’ve already got your Treasure Search item it’s pointless to go hunting for other chests. Cliones provide the only stable source of exp in the early-to-mid game, and they are the only monster you encounter when you use monster call at those glowing purple floor panels.
They designed the game in a way that forces you to abuse the animation skip (L2) function. The dungeons are timed, and you’re ranked based on how fast you complete the dungeon. Attack animations (with the exception of large finishers) don’t pause time, so you end up getting more hits for the same amount of time if you just skip the animation. This also applies to monsters you managed to “break”, as their break gauge recovers even while the attack animation is going on, so maximize damage by skipping all animation. 🙂
Between 6-8 minutes and under and you’re almost guaranteed an S rank. Which is plenty of time, seeing that later in the game clearing most dungeons in under 2 minutes is a cakewalk. Harder dungeons can see you get an S rank even at 11-13 minutes.
On to the story & audio!
If you had played that track earlier, you’d have realised that it isn’t even deserving of “average”. It’s not all bad, but you’re made to listen to the bad more than the good. Unfortunately, both the story and audio are the game’s weak points. I have no qualms about spoiling the sad excuse of a plot for you (since you’d have easily come up with something similar while in the bath). But skip this section if you don’t want to find out:
- Histoire was sealed away by the game’s antagonist, Arfoire.
- Neptune is asked to retrieve 4 keys from the 4 landmasses to unseal her.
- Neptune succeeds in unsealing Histoire.
- Arfoire wants to destroy the world, so off to Celestia to stop her.
- The path to Celestia is sealed, so they find 4 weapons to unseal the path.
- Path unsealed, the party heads up to face Arfoire, and defeats her thrice.
- The goddesses put their powers together to eliminate all monsters.
- Peace is restored. And they live happily ever after.
I don’t deny it, the game does have its faults. The many references to games and anime series, although spot on, feel very disjointed from the rest of the story, as though it was added as an afterthought. In comparison, games that play on parody (such as Disgaea) incorporates the story into the parody, allowing the players to connect with the humor not just at the superficial level.
However, if you’re able to look past these faults and drag yourself through the first 10 or so hours of the game (which is the hardest segment of the game actually), you will, like me, find something that would make playing this game a decent overall experience.
- Story: 2/10
- Audio: 4/10
- Gameplay: 6/10
- Replay Value: 2/10
- Extras: 6/10
- Overall (not an average): 6/10
Hyperdimension Neptunia is a game that tries too hard to be too many things, which made them a master of none. If they wanted a visual novel experience, they should’ve included more CG and beefed up the soundtrack. If they wanted a parody, they should have ensured that it fit with the story. And if they wanted their skill animations noticed, they would have done well to ensure a better way of grading dungeon exploration.
Simply put, you would probably shun this game unless you’re its target audience. If you are, it is definitely worth at least a rental. If you’re looking for a purchase I suggest the premium box that comes with the artbook as well, because the CG in the game itself is few and far between, and you’ll have better use for the book anyway. 😉