Review: Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 Sisters Generation (PlayStation Vita)
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 Sisters Generation: Official GBAtemp ReviewPlayStation Vita 3,968 views 3 likes 10 comments
- Release Date (NA): January 27, 2015
- Release Date (EU): January 28, 2015
- Release Date (JP): March 20, 2014
- Publisher: Idea Factory International
- Developer: Compile Heart, Felistella
- Genres: Action Role-Playing Game, JRPG
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- PEGI Rating: Twelve years and older
Single playerLocal MultiplayerOnline MultiplayerCo-operative
A Review of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 Sisters Generation
Hyperdimension Neptunia is a game series, which began with Hyperdimension Neptunia being released for the PS3 in Japan in August 2010. Several years and PS3 games later the original game was re-released for the PlayStation Vita as Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1. Instead of just being a Vita port of the PS3 game, Re;Birth1 was a great surprise to many fans of the series with multiple changes to the original game. The fans' wishes and the developers improvements from the later titles were imported into the game. The changes include among others a new story, additional characters, new items and events, a remake system and an upgraded battle system, which was adapted from the third PS3 game, Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory. Re;Birth1 received good scores both from reviewers (vastly better than the original PS3 game) and gamers in general, which was one of the reasons why publisher Idea Factory decided to bring the series' next Vita game to the west. And here we have it, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 Sisters Generation!
As mentioned previously, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 Sisters Generation follows the same principals as Re;Birth1 and is a remake of the second PS3 game, Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 with a new story. The alternative universe world in which the new game takes place has changed quite a bit compared to Re;Birth1: Arfoire (read: R4) is dead and the land of Gamindustri (Game Industry) is at peace or at least it seems to be. Still a darkness is looming in the shadows. A mysterious group called ASIC (Arfoire Syndicate of International Crime) has began spreading methods to play and spread illegally obtained games, which is putting the whole world of Gamindustri at risk of collapsing. The previous games' main antagonists, a group of CPUs (Console Patron Units), one from each of the four nations in the world, are sent to stop the rise of ASIC by defeating their leader, CFW Magic. As one could guess, the plan doesn't go exactly as planned and the whole team is captured. The game starts here with IF and Compa managing to save one of the captured members, Nepgear, Planeptune's CPU candidate. The enemy is far too powerful to do anything else and the team flees the site.
The visually impressive game has a very Japanese feel to it with the cute anime style characters and references/puns to both the gaming industry in the real world, the game itself and Japanese pop culture. The quality of these puns and references are near or on the level of the Phoenix Wright series, so you are in for a treat if this sort of narrative is your cup of tea. The game world feels empty at first, but soon dungeons, cities and people to visit began appearing around the world. The main cities Planeptune (Sega Neptune), Lastation (Sony Playstation), Leanbox (Microsoft Xbox) and Lowee (Nintendo Wii) act as central hubs with each one having shops, guilds and disc development locations among others. As you go onward on your quest to save your CPU sisters, the game mechanics are explained with short, but effective tutorials as you acquire more skills. The guilds gives you quests with varying difficulties ranging from collecting specific items to slaying monsters, while disc development makes it possible for you to enhance your characters by giving them certain improvements including resistances to damage types, improving drop rates or even adding bonus damage effects to attacks. The cities also house the interface to Stella's Star Dungeon, a miniRPG available via the plan system, which uses the same dungeons as in the real world to send Stella and her support, Felix the cat, on a mission to bring loot and glory to your party in real time (similar to real time clock functionality in older games). The difference to the main game is that you cannot affect Stella's movement after sending her into the fray, so plan carefully!
The dungeons themselves are the main gist of the games. If you've played games like Persona 4 Golden, you'll be familiar with the dungeon and gameplay system. You can free roam the dungeon areas freely and enemies attack you when seeing you. A red "!" appears on top of the enemies when they spot you (reference to Metal Gear Solid) and the battle beings once either the enemy reaches the player or the player strikes the enemy with their weapon. The combat is done in turns with the characters' and enemies' speed determining the order. Instead of a grid-based system, each character has a circle determining their movement areas and, depending on the character and their weapon type, a square shaped attack area. Multiple enemies can be attacked at once in a single attack, but this requires lining up the attack area correctly with the enemy locations. As damage is dealt to enemies, they lose both hit points and guard points. Once the GP is depleted, the enemy takes more damage. You still have to be quick in order to get the most out of the guard break, since the enemies replenish the fully depleted GP by a small amount.
Melee attacks have three combo options after the initial attack made by the player. Each one has unique features: Rush has multiple, but weaker attacks ensuring at least some may hit. Power on the other hand hits hard on HP, but little on GP. The final combo type is Break, which hits hard with guard damage, but less on HP. As you deal and receive damage, you also receive EXE Drive points. Once at least one of the bars is full, this features adds EX Finish moves after the standard combo attack. These attacks are usually far more powerful compared to the normal combo attacks, which gives the player a huge benefit against the monsters of the realm. EXE Drive points also function as sort of mana points for the EXE Drive skills, which are far more powerful than any other attacks in the game. Hitting the maximum damage limit of 9999 per hit is easy after a little bit of gaming, but once you manage to deal the amount of damage, the enemy can easily take the beating, too. In addition to basic melee attacks, the game uses skill points, SP, for a number of things. On is the more traditional RPG element of special skills and spells, while the other is the Hard Drive Divinity (HDD) form of the CPUs. Both consume an amount of SP and the effects can vary. In general the HDD form is a method of bringing a bit of balance to the game's battles as it gives a huge bonus to the player as the enemies don't have a similar skill. Since some enemies can easily K.O. a character without breaking a sweat, HDD still doesn't feel too overpowered.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 Sisters Generation has a surprisingly large amount of things to do, which develops into a micromanagement system. Changing gear, team members and their couplings as well as developing plans add a ton of content to the game and saves it from being too repetitive. Plan development can affect many systems in the game: enemy strength, items, gear and dungeons among other can be affected. New dungeons can be created with the system and existing ones can be changed to have more challenging enemies and different items. This becomes a tempting reason to venture back into the first areas and grind the missing loot you need for that better weapon or armor. The only annoying part in this system is that some items are ultra rare, which results in having to beat low level enemies in specific dungeons without the possibility of buying these from shops.
Speaking of grinding, the game does it right in my opinion. Many RPGs suffer from the need to grind certain areas to oblivion, which can become repetitive. If you're more interested in experiencing the Japanese visual novel grade story, you level up quite nicely as you search the dungeon to proceed in the game. In general I never had a boss battle that was super easy at any time in the game. Then again, the mechanics can change suddenly in the enemy's favor especially if there are multiple boss battles in a row or the enemy happens to have a load of HP and regenerates a part every turn it attacks. But hey, what RPG actually has boss battles, which are a cake walk?
So far I've given mainly praise to Re;Birth2 Sisters Generation. This is something I wasn't actually too prepared to do, since the original PS3 version was and still is inferior in pretty much every way compared to this one. Regardless, the game does have a few things, which can push a possible buyer away. The art style, music and story are very much focused around Japan and its gaming industry. References are made to previous games, consoles, console makers, piracy, flashcarts and many other topics, which can make the player miss quite a few quirky replies and things in the game. If you happen to hate Japanese anime/game culture, you will cringe quite a bit as the story unfolds. Another thing removing a few points here and there are the occasional slowdowns mainly present with doing the more visual finishing moves in battle. The game ran close to perfect in all other situations, though an infinite loop happened in the beginning of one of the dungeons forcing me to reset the game. Not a complete freeze of the game, but nevertheless made me need to restart the game.
All in all, I have to say that Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 Sisters Generation is one of my favorite RPGs of 2014-2015 so far. It's one of those rare gems that you stumble upon either by accident or based on a review somewhere. I've been thinking of games that would be added to my "Must have Action RPG" list on handhelds and this game will join Persona 4 Golden in that short list of fantastic games. The new story will give players both new to the series as well as old veterans something to anticipate. Improvements to gameplay have been generous and made the game much more enjoyable. As such, this game will guarantee you hours on hours of fun and is easily worth pre-ordering. TL;DR? A blessing for anyone want a fantastic Action RPG for the Vita. The series is having a renaissance on the Vita and I expect the future Vita games to improve even more. Strongly recommended RPG.
+ Fantastic visuals
+ Interesting story with many hidden references and puns
+ Gameplay is solid and simply works
+ Vastly improves the original PS3 game
+ The ability to modify the game itself keeps things fresh
+ Little grinding needed to proceed in the game
- Too Japanese for some gamers
- Slowdowns here and there in graphically heavy situations
- A ton of repetitive grinding needed to gain all the best gear
A complete remake of the original Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 with the best bits from the newer games in the series made portable. Vibrant colors and artwork make the game pleasant for the eyes. A humorous story and unique characters carry the story onward through surprising events.
The gameplay works in a fantastic way and is a blessing for the series' fans. A spectacular action RPG that just works. If something seems too easy or too hard, you can always change the game's internal system with plans and make it something very different.
The game has lots of characters to choose from with a vast amount of dungeons and content. The story won't change between different playthroughs, but this won't lessen the game's appeal. A game that will be worth picking up even after a few years have passed after you play it.
out of 10
(not an average)
Easily my favorite action RPG from the last year. The interesting setting and improved gameplay remind me of the numerous fantastic JRPGs that made me interested in the gaming business of the island country in the east.