Review: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection (PlayStation Vita)
- Release Date (NA): June 6, 2014
- Publisher: NIS America
- Genres: Music/Rythem - Idol Simulation
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection (HN:PP)
The game takes place in the fictional land of Gamindustri, here, you the player are tasked with being the producer and manager of the Idol of your choice. The object of the game is to train your chosen idol and help them to put on concerts in order to gain more fans and in turn gain a larger share of the people's faith. The game features 4 girls, who are referred to as goddesses and are physical representations of the previous generations of video game consoles. Each goddess is known as a Console Patron Unit, or CPU and represents a different nation and have their own unique areas within the game world. We have Neptune who is the main protagonist of the game and is also the goddess of Planeptune, representing the SEGA Neptune. Noire the goddess of Laystation who represents the Playstation 3, Vert the goddess of Leanbox representing the Xbox 360 and Blanc, the goddess of Lowee representing the Nintendo Wii.
The gameplay in HN:PP comes in the form of a visual novel mixed with time management activities. In order to raise your chosen idol to the top of the weekly music sales charts, you must gain more fans by putting the idol to work. Work activities such as Ad Campaigns and Publicity events all take up varying ammounts of in-game days. You will also have to put your idol through Lessons that will raise her own stats such as Vocal and Dance training, Rehearsals and Study. The metagame here is to keep the Stress Level of your idol low so that you gain enough stats from the activities. If she is overworked her stress level will increase. This can be combated by using the Refresh command or allowing the idol to take a vacation.
Completing each task raises your amount of fans as well as giving you Guts, a stat which you are required to raise in order to put on a Concert. That is all there is to it and the only input you have as a player is selecting the events in whichever order you deem best. You don't have any mini-games to play, it is all just text to read, which is fully voiced throughout the entire game. You can also choose to use the original Japanese audio.
Once you have aquired enough fans and have enough guts you get the chance to put on a Concert! Concerts are perhaps the best part of HN:PP and where you have the most interaction with the goddesses. You start off performing solos but later on in the game you can form a group and have 1 or 2 of the other goddesses perform with you. Throughout the game you unlock more songs to sing, costumes and accessories to wear as well as stage effects to activate during the performances.
Before each concert you can select which stage to use, as well as it's effects such as Beam Sparks, Confetti and Cyber Butterflies. The effects are controlled by the player during the performance and each one has a cooldown timer so you can't constantly spam them to improve your score. Changing the idols costumes and accessories is purely for aethetics and has no impact on the over all performance score, but it is fun to mess around with the different combinations such as hair colour and dress choice etc.
The overall performance score can also be increased by changing the camera angles during the Concert, but trying to be like a real producer using realistic angles and shots doesn't pay off as well as just spamming all of the angles and effects as fast as possible. This is a real shame as it leads to no strategy being used during a performance and instead the show just becomes a frantic mess of zooming in and out and switching perspectives as fast as possible whilst the wild and sometimes pretty stage effects light up the background.
There are also only 5 tracks to sing and dance to, a bit strange considering the object of the game and you will have seen all of the stage effects way to soon in the story. Depending on how your performance went, you will gain more fans and hopefully rank higher in the weekly Idol Sales Chart. After spamming my way to victory I hit first place after just a few hours of play time.
After playing through the story with each idol you can also use the Viewer Mode to play dress up with the girls, as well as use the Vita as an alarm clock to be awakended by your favorite idols. Outside of Producer Mode, which is the story mode of the game, this is literally all there is to do unless you want to keep trying to perfect your Concerts with Unlimited Concert Mode, a mode which really needs the ability to record and playback your best exhibitons.
I did enjoy experiencing the goofy story of HN:PP but for a content driven gamer there is not much to do here. I finished the story with Neptune in about 3 hours and got to see her good ending. Obviously the challenge is to get a 100% on all events with each idol and see the best ending, so there is a lot of replayability here as each idol has different dialogues and events, however it is not very clear how to actually get closer to a 100% completion without a guide or a lot of trial and error. I expected the game to be full of fan service and was pleasently surprised when it wasn't constantly thrown at me. Overall I found the gameplay to be very shallow but I don't think that it is the selling point of this game, or possibly even this genre. The fans of HN:PP will come for the story, everything else is a bonus.
+ Fun dialogue
- Shallow gameplay
- Limited appeal
- Only 5 tracks to perform
Everything in HN:PP is bright and quirky. The world and its inhabitants are all tongue-in-cheek and some of the references to real life consoles brought a real smile to my face.
Outside of the visual novel story telling, there really isn't much to do. After seeing all 5 of the songs being performed the only interactivity left is to play dress up. With no clear explanation on how to achieve 100% completion, coming back for seconds is off-putting.
After playing through the story with each goddess, only the die hard fans will come back for a 100% completion.
out of 10
(not an average)
HN:PP is a niche game in a niche genre and will most likely only appeal to fans of the source material. The game is best perceived as an interactive visual novel with some time management activities. If you go into it knowing this you may actually enjoy the whacky adventure it offers.