Lolis, humor and a retro RPG: a Hyperdimension Neptunia review

The niche market of Japanese RPGs is still existant, with few titles that make it to North America but thanks to NIS, this one did make it across and with a sequel coming out soon, it’s a perfect time to dust off my copy of Hyperdimension Neptunia and review it!

The story is set in the world of Gamindustri, which embodies 5 continents, Lowee, Lastation, Leanbox, Planeptune and Celestia, which embodies the 3 main consoles, Wii, Playstation 3 and X-Box 360 respectively for the first three continents. Planeptune is in lieu of a dropped Sega console and Celestia is the continent where the Goddesses (CPUs, also humanoid representations of the consoles) reside. The Goddesses have been fighting each other since their creation until the 3 of them decide to gang up against Neptunia and cast her away from Celestia, disrupting the balance.

That moment when you realise your fellow party member is talking to a voice in her head.

The game follows Neptune, the human form of the Goddess Neptunia, as she goes on a mission to rescue a person that talks to her in her mind. Along the way, you team up with multiple characters, whom are representations of the various companies associated with this title.

The cast of playbable characters, with the exception of the 2 DLC characters. The 4 Goddesses at the top are transformation of their human counterpart.

With no cutscenes to speak of, the game tells the story through character dialogue displayed like the two screenshots, showing the characters talking and alternating. All text in those scenes are also voiced over, which to my surprise, was quite better than I expected to come from such a title.

Being a humor driven game, much of its humor is derived from references to other popular video game like Mario and Final Fantasy. The game also does not shy away from using crude language, but never breaks off the stronger swear words, so there is no use of the “Seven Dirty Words” but everything else is fair game.

Isn't this kidnapping?

As far as combat goes, it’s pretty simple, Triangle, Circle and Cross do different actions, which you can set to create chains and summons, allowing a sequence of 4 button combos. The Square button ends the combo and allows you to defend. The combo customization can get pretty in depth, letting you chain multiple moves, letting you map the combo sequences and renaming all of the attacks.The summons are a fun part of it as most of them are based on old school titles and there’s even a summon that lets you use any images in your harddrive.

The item usage system is a downfall to this game, there is no items per say but there is Item Skills, which you can set percentage and upon having the trigger effect happening, your skills may activate, based on the percentage you set it at. A 100% set skills will always happen, but a 30% skill will be a rarer sight. The system is based of 4 potions that get used whenever a skill activates and you can either buy those potions in town but there’s always some that drop after finish a random encounter.

For example about how it can screw you up, check the video below.

This is an example of why the healing system makes me angry.

I want to heal Compa but since her ability isn’t at 100% and didn’t proc, it means she’s stuck like that until she gets hit again, which could kill her. There’s no other way to heal in a dungeon apart from those procs and that can get really bothersome, especially early game when you don’t have enough skill points to max one of the healing to 100%

There is DLC available for this title, as mentionned earlier, most of them are either stat boost, alternate outfits, level cap raises and dungeons. None of them are needed to complete the whole game, the side quest dungeons do however give you overpowered equipment compared to the shop bought items. The only 2 pay ones I got were the characters.

To sum it up from this humble reviewer:
The Pros:

    -The humor in the game.
    -It has that classic RPG feel and music.
    -Retro summons and custom summons

The Cons:

    -The DLC – too many, few are worth it.
    -The environment and combat gets repetitive quickly.
    -The item skill system.

I’d give this game an overall 8 of 10, that’s overlooking the item skill system. Hopefully MK2 gets that fixed.

Hyperdimension Neptunia MK.2 will be available at the end of the month, following where Hyperdimension Neptunia left off.