Review: Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 3: V Generation (PlayStation Vita)
- Release Date (NA): June 30, 2015
- Release Date (EU): July 3, 2015
- Publisher: Idea Factory
- Developer: Felistella
- Genres: Role-playing Game
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
Welcome back to the land of Gamindustri! A land where the four CPUs govern their four nations. Each fighting one another to expand their territory over others, creating a balance.
After Gamindustri was threatened to be destroyed by the evil CFW Magic and the Deity of Sin in the last game, Gamindustri was once more at peace. However, how long would that peace last?
A tale of two Gamindustris.
With great power comes great responsibility! Except for Neptune and her friends, who can be found playing videogames instead of doing work in Planeptune, Neptune's nation.
It doesn't take too long for them to be scolded for being lazy, however, and the 4 CPUs return to work rather quickly. While doing a job on her own, however, Neptune gets sucked into a dark vortex and appears in the sky somewhere. After crash landing right on top of one of her friends, she meets Plutia and the two have a very meaningful discussion. After Noire, Neptune's friend, joins in, she claims that she doesn't know Neptune at all, and just calls her weird for thinking otherwise. After some time passes, it's revealed that Neptune is not from this dimension, and has to start working to get back to her own.
As with the previous 2 games, the dialog in this game is written to be far from serious and includes references/puns to the gaming industry in the real world, the game itself and the previous games at every corner. It doesn't take itself seriously at all, and that's what made me enjoy it the most. The story by itself is surprisingly weak, consisting mostly of getting back to your own dimension and in the process, figuring out why she was sent there in the first place, but the character interactions make this story fun to play through and forget about how weak it actually is.
Monster fighting and dungeon crawling.
The biggest part of this game is the combat in dungeons, and it's where you'll be spending most of your time in the game. The dungeons are all designed to be slightly different, though floor layouts will repeat themselves often, but with different exit placements and enemies. You can roam around freely and choose when to run away or attack enemies. You can also jump, which is mostly useless. Hitting enemies with an attack in the overworld causes the battle to start with a Symbol Attack, meaning all your characters are placed at the top of the turn order, while getting hit in the back or while you're still in Symbol Attack animation but missed, you will get a Surprise Attack instead, which reverses this effect.
In battle, you have three primary options of attack. They are Break, Power and Rush. All 3 serve a distinct purpose too, meaning you will most likely want to use either of these depending on the situation. Break moves are for depleting the GP bar of a monster but deal average damage on HP, Power moves focus on heavy damage and deal average GP damage, and Rush moves focus on hit count and don't excel in either, dealing average damage in both. Instead, Rush moves serve to refill your SP gauge faster. A final hit in your combo, called "EX Finisher" is also part of these 3 options, but require a certain amount of SP to be able to perform them, though they don't consume it. This is a little bit different from the other games, where you had a separate EX gauge you had to fill up in order to use these moves and EXE Drives.
Your SP gauge is broken up in 4 segments of 250 and is used for SP Skills and EXE Drives. There is quite a wide variety of these attacks too, and they deal a lot more damage than your regular attack options. Combined with the fact that you need SP for all of these things and only replenish SP by using either an item or hitting a monster, it creates a simple but effective dynamic of SP management. Your max SP also does not go up, but the costs of skills do, so you'll need to limit skill spam. SP Skills use a traditional means of SP, costing a certain number of SP in order to perform a move. EXE Drives consume segments of your SP bar, meaning that they can cost quite a lot. In return, they are ridiculously more powerful than any other type of attack, making it a high risk, high reward type of deal. For a price of 20% of your SP, your character can perform HDD On, which allows them to transform into their alternate CPU form. In this form, all stats get boosted, making it a good deal when you struggle against a certain enemy. This transformation is performed automatically before a boss fight, so it does not consume SP which is a very nice addition to keep the game a little more balanced against bosses, as they can easily damage you in these forms anyway. Most EXE Drives will also transform you for at least the duration of the move, keeping the SP use a slight bit lower for using those, which is especially helpful when you're doing a move that requires 3 segments of 2 characters.
Aside from that, the remake system makes a return in this game and it's mostly the same as in the other two games. You can craft plans to change the way the game plays, add dungeons, add items to the store and... look up Neptune's skirt. That's an actual unlockable. Changing existing dungeons and adding new dungeons also means being able to acquire new loot, which makes a tempting reason to return to an earlier dungeon and find some new items in there. The remake system was slightly upgraded in this game, as you can now check where the items needed for a plan are dropped if you have the corresponding dungeon unlocked. It also tells you whether or not the dungeon has to be changed in order to find them.
It's so cute... and colorful!
The game is graphically pretty impressive, and looks great on a PSTV as well. The game does tend to drop a lot of frames whenever there are a lot of enemies or during special moves, but after a while I grew accustomed to it and don't really pay too much attention anymore. Apart from that, the game runs flawlessly and from the stunningly bright visuals to the superb sound design, to the quality of music. The dub is really good too, with voices that fit the characters perfectly. You can also use the Japanese voices if you download the free DLC for it. I couldn't actually download that, so I don't have an opinion about it, but the option is there for those who prefer it!
Oh, and did I mention fanservice? From unlocking the ability to view panties to the CGs of the CPUs having jiggle functionality when you tap the screen or press the X button, there is quite a lot of it. Nowhere near as close as the recent game Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed, but enough to make me question life decisions. I've decided against posting such screens in the review, but keep in mind that they are there.
Personally, I went into this game with no expectations at all. Honestly, I didn't expect this game to be as good as it is. 2 weeks ago, I was still very new to this series but in the course of these two weeks, I stumbled my way through both this game and parts of the first two Re;Birth games in order to make comparisons, or so I'd like to claim. Truth is, this game was just really, really good and made me want to play the other games as well. It's an excellent Action-RPG and I have almost nothing else except praise for it. This game, along with the other two Re;Birth games on PSVita, are definitely worth buying.
+ Fantastic presentation in both sound and visuals
+ Gameplay can be simple or challenging depending on how you want it
+ Using the remake system is an absolute blast
+ Very little grinding required
+ Simple story with amazing dialog
- Tends to drop frames quite a bit
- No postgame content unless you get the best ending
The presentation in this game is absolutely stunning. The only thing really holding it back is the absurd loss of frames during special moves and such, and the slightly weak storyline, which isn't much of a problem due to the creative and amazingly written dialog.
The gameplay is arguably one of the biggest strengths of this game. I just keep coming back for more. The sheer simplicity of the battle system, setting up new combos and watching special moves unfold is just great. Too bad I still haven't figured out the Lily System. It doesn't explain that one very well.
With gameplay as great as it is, I keep coming back to just fight some more monsters and get some more materials. The game keeps you busy with tasks that seem almost meaningless at times, but there is always a reward on the horizon. Whether it's that new dungeon where you can get new plans for new weapons, or being able to finally buy a nice hat for one of your characters, there is always something to do. Plus, there's still DLC coming, adding more characters, dungeons and events. I can't wait!
out of 10
(not an average)
Easily becoming one of my favorite games of all time, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 3 is one of those games I simply have to recommend to everyone who has a Vita. And if you don't have a Vita, there is a steam release coming as well.