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Super Dimensional Console War Game – Hyperdimension Neptunia Review


Super Dimensional Console War Game - Hyperdimension Neptunia Review 1Title: Hyperdimension Neptunia
Alternative Title: Super Dimensional Game Neptune, Chou Jigen Game Neptune.
Published by: Nippon Ichi Software America (US), Tecmo Koei (UK), Namco Bandai Partners (Australia and New Zealand)
Based on: The Console War between the PS3, XBox and Wii.
Console: Playstation 3
Genre: Role-playing Game
Rating: This game has been classified as Teen for comic mischief, fantasy violence, coarse language *Takes a deep breath* Partial Nudity and Sexual Themes.
Audio: Both the new English dub and the original Japanese dub can be used in-game.
Subtitles: English at the very least… didn’t check for the others.
Region: This review is from the American version released by Nippon Ichi Software America. All versions are region-free.
Cost: $60ish from Play-asia, NISA Store currently out of stock.
Blurb: Anyone who is a fan of a wide variety of games will find the storyline amusing as it brings a number of references from all gaming platforms and games. The gameplay is solid and enjoyable however hardcore gamers will find that the battle system is lacking in complexity.

This holds the first game purchase of mine of 2011, thanks to a rather slow start to the year, and what a way to start…. a game that takes the console war to a new level, as well as parodying many popular games over the last few years. This game I believe is only available in first print editions at the moment, which come with a bonus artbook and a bigger collectors box. Whilst these are not covered in the spectrum of this review, I would like to say it is a worthwhile thing to get, especially since it is of no extra cost.

If the thought of gaming companies and consoles fighting against one another, and the threat of a being named after the DS Flash Cart, then read on for my review of Hyperdimension Neptunia to see if the game is worth it!

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Four goddesses preside over a parallel world called Gamindustri. Aside from the warring goddesses of Celestia, the human world below brims with monsters released by the evil powers of Arfoire. One girl, Neptune, falls to the human world during a scuffle between the goddesses. Once there, Neptune hears a cry from the tome Histoire, who has been sealed and kept away from the goddesses by Arfoire.

The world of Gamindustri is split up into four lands, Planeptune (Based on the failed SEGA Neptune from the past), LaStation (Based on the Playstation 3 and run by Black Heart), LeanBox (Based on the XBox360 and run by Green Heart) and Lowee (Based on the Nintendo Wii and run by White Heart). Suddenly with no warning, three of the goddesses came down from Celestia and started looking after their respective lands whilst the goddess for Planeptune never came back….. and around the same time, Neptune crashes head first into the land.

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The first half of the game has you running around each of the four worlds looking for keys to rescue a mysterious voice named Histoire. For the most part, the storyline only lightly follows the other goddesses and focuses more on the land, its residents and the three main characters. The storyline is mixed between event scenes that are related to the storyline or have more comedic scenes relating to other game characters, such as Princess Peach running away from Mario, and a Dead Rising reference from Green Heart for example.

In terms of characters, for the most of the day you are forced to use only three characters…. Neptunia, Compa (Personification of Compile Heart) and IF (Personification of Idea Factory). You are also able to recruit both Gust (Personification of GUST) and Nisa (Personification of Nippon Ichi Software America), however these characters after their short storyline, don’t have any prevalence in the storyline, making them completely useless characters unless you pay something like a $1.99 each to unlock them as DLC Characters. As well, you only get to use the other three goddesses when you reach the final dungeon and after meeting some strict requirements, therefore…. essentially, you get stuck with the three for the whole game.

Personally, IF is the only character that didn’t get on my nerves…. I personally couldnt mentally handle the amount of “dumb” placed into Neptune and Compa’s personalities and I did feel that it made the storyline drag on at times. However, the character development was decent for the main characters and there was enough content in the storyline to not make it feel like it was just tacked on to suit the console war genre, however could have been much better.

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In terms of character design, it was overall around the same quality as Trinity Universe was, however the facial expressions, whilst remaining the same, were a lot more realistic then in the previous game. The animation of the characters were also suitable and have been improved to suit the combo system implemented. Thankfully they also added the option of adding accessories and different colour schemas to the characters designs for a cost, which were a nice touch. The actual character portraits are of the same quality as Trinity Universe and use the same expression system, which I do like and hope they continue using it in their games.

Super Dimensional Console War Game - Hyperdimension Neptunia Review 5

The environment designs of the dungeons however have been downgraded since the previous game. Trinity Universe offered a number of different area designs which had their own unique appearances, however in Neptunia, it seems that each land has its own underground dungeon and a couple of other random levels that I felt didn’t offer much of a variety. The actual backdrops that appear in dialogue segments were well designed however were used way too much during the course of the game. The CG art used was of a good quality and has to be scrolled across to be viewed entirely. However there were very few in comparison to all the other Compile Heart games.

Opening Theme: Ryuusei no Bifrost by nao
This is a really enjoyable song and very suitable for the game in terms of pace (Fast paced for the bad-ass game industry) and the lyrics which are also enjoyable. I have been listening to a fair few of nao’s songs recently, and this song is of the same standard as her previous ones.

In terms of the actual music, I am extremely disappointed in the lack of variety within this game. Whilst the music is of a satisfactory quality, the songs are played over and over again, quite often in one event after another making them get old really quickly. Each land has its own menu theme, alongside its own goddess battle theme, the occasional unique dungeon theme and a couple of other generic ones. Just disappointed to keep it simple.

As you may know, I really don’t like reading subtitles too often, therefore I insist on listening to the english voice acting, and I am happy to say it was pretty good in this game. Whilst I can’t actually name any of them from the top of my head, a number of them you will easily recognize from previous NISA games. They are good enough that you won’t want to turn to Japanese dubs as soon as you turn on the game.

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The gameplay is really similar to the game Trinity Universe, where you are first presented with a map of the land you are in, for example, LaStation…. from there you can choose to do everything from shopping, viewing events to going to a dungeon. This is a much better system in my opinion, as you are not forced to walk around low level areas to get to an area that you want to go….. except when you want to go to another land, in which you must walk through a low level area to get to the other world, being forced into a random battle or two.

Dungeons are spread out into three different categories for completion. The first type being the most common, where you have to find a boss and then defeat them. The bosses are usually moderate-hard in difficulty however the biggest gripe is that their HP bars are so high, leaving you to battle them non-stop until you slowly grind their HP down. The second is where you need to collect X of a certain item or kill Y of a certain boss, which was the most annoying as in some cases, the items or monsters are rare to find, leaving you scowering a low level area for an extra item or kill. The third is to get from A to B in the map, which is the rarest however usually forces you to take the longest route. The dungeon system is okay, but combined with the rather bland level designs, I found myself wanting it over as quickly as possible.

Super Dimensional Console War Game - Hyperdimension Neptunia Review 7

The battle system is similar to the battle system used in Trinity Universe, however much more complex to utilize the customizable features in  the game. The system utilizes the four shape buttons, with the triangle being a weapon hit, O being a slap and X being a gunshot, and each of these can be used in a combo of up to four button presses. These button combinations can be modified by the player to add different skills at whim, even during mid-battle, and also can have transformations and disc summons added to them. Disc summons are a system where you can “summon” either classic game characters or your own characters from an Image stored on your PS3. This system works well at the start however after the half-way point, the disc spells are practically useless. Transforming is a nice feature which allows all four goddesses to transform into a powered-up version of themselves, which uses different equipment from your normal outfit. This works well however you can get by using the default power-ups (Infact, purchasing others more often then not makes your character even less powerful) and the power-ups are usually much more expensive then you will be able to afford for a whole set.

Super Dimensional Console War Game - Hyperdimension Neptunia Review 8

The battle system allows skipping using the L2 button, you can use defend with the square button and you can flee using (rather expensive) items from the shop. However, the biggest difference from any other RPG is that whilst you are in the dungeon, you are unable to heal in-battle or out of battle manually. Instead, you collect four types of “ingredients” and then you can add points to item skills, which say, the basic one is if you hit <50% HP, there is a chance your character will heal 30% of it dependent on if you have 5 Reflex potions available to you. Originally this can get really frustrating when you have no money and low numbers of potions, but it gets much better as you progress through the game and by the end, you barely even notice it is different.

The battle system is appropriate, however by the half way point, I was getting through the game with the same combos of Triangle, Triangle, X, O which I customised to be the characters powerful area attack, Triangle x 4 for a combo attack and T, T, T, X for transform. I would have preferred a bit more strategy in the system. Also, unless it was just me, you will find that Neptune will be the only character in your original party that will do significant damage…. I found that Compa, attacking with a giant syringe did barely any damage in comparison to the other two, whilst IF was better at lowering the GP Bar (Which once depleted, allows you to perform a combo break on the monster, gain extra AP to attack and attack with more power).

In terms of replayability, I personally was not inclined to play a second time, as it is well possible to get the usually difficult Truth End on the first playthrough, even accidently, and all events are compulsory so you will not miss any events as it was in previous games. When you start New Game +, you are given all your previous level ups and skills, so there is no real point in replaying. The game is relatively easy to get trophies for as well, so you can get them by just grinding in the dungeons.

Super Dimensional Console War Game - Hyperdimension Neptunia Review 9

Personally, I enjoyed playing through this game and picking out all the references from different games on all the consoles from the old Dreamcast/SEGA era, to the modern current-gen games. However, for all the hype, I do feel a bit disappointed that there wasnt more to the game and that it wasn’t so much about the “console war” as it was “Game companies travelling the world”. The game overall just didn’t meet the standard I expected.

Final Score

Storyline: C
Character Development: C
Design: B-
Opening Theme: A
Music: D-
Voice Acting: B
Gameplay: B
Replayability: C
Personal Opinion: B-

Overall Score: B-

Founder of The Otaku's Study. I have been exploring this labyrinth of fandom these last fifteen years, and still nowhere close to the exit yet. Probably searching for a long time to come.


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