Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory review
SG Gaming Info takes at the latest installment of the popular comedic JRPG, Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory.
After finally finishing Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, I am left in two minds. I really enjoyed the dialogue, gaming jokes and the new scouting feature, but I’m left with sour taste in my mouth which was caused by the games story, reuse of assets and combat.
So what is the games story? The games story is set several years after the events of the second game, Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2. Gamindustri is at peace, and all the CPUs have gone back to their normal jobs, but suddenly the CPU of Planeptune, Neptune, is sent to another dimension, which is similar to her home, but it Gamindustri of the 1980s. In this new dimension, Neptune must band together with the CPUs of this new dimension to find a way home and to defeat a group of villains known as the “Seven Sages”.
Honestly at the start the story isn’t that bad, we are reintroduced to the games main CPUs, Neptune, Noire, Blanc and Vert. We are also introduced to a new CPU, Plutia – the CPU of Planeptune. The story sounds basic enough, CPUs join forces to defeat an evil group to save the world, but while this is true, the story is pretty bad. I know the Neptunia series like to be comedic, but after you have to face the same boss for the second or third time it gets kind of silly. With a good start, the games story does go downhill, all be in slowly. What really killed the story for me was the ending, or better yet the lack of an ending. The game just stops, you defeat a boss and that’s it. No defeating the big bad or anything. I was rather confused to see the game just end like this, so I did some research and I discovered that the game had two additional chapters, and the reason why I couldn’t do these chapters was because I wasn’t on either the good ending or true ending path. I’m all for multiple endings, but having a fifth of the game locked because I didn’t do everything 100% correctly is rather annoying. So now if I want to know the games ending I am left to do new game + or watch someone else play the game on YouTube.
Now to move to something a little more positive, the games combat. I really do use the term more positive loosely when talking about the combat. Combat in Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory is a lot better than the last Neptunia game, Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2. In Neptunia Victory there are two new combat abilities called assist mode and EXE Drive. The EXE Drive is partially like the EX Finish ability in Mk2, but with some key extras. The assist mode makes the party setup worthwhile. Assist mode allows your partner to give you some new combo, skill and EXE attacks.
The EXE Drive relies on a bar which increases with every hit you land while in combat in any given dungeon. EXE Drive which for me went to a max of 4 bars allows you to perform powerful extra moves after you complete three attacks. You have a choice of four moves which you assign yourself. These moves are great for doing large amounts of guard or direct damage. You can also use the EXE Drive to perform powerful attacks which drains your EXE bar. These attacks do large amounts of direct damage and I found they were great for killing off powerful bosses.
Even with the new addition to combat, the combat still feels boring and tedious. Combat can be broken down to walk up to an enemy and either press triangle, square or X. triangle for a multi hit attacks, square for a direct damage attack and X for an attack which damages the enemy’s guard points. To win a fight you reduce the enemies guard points until you get a guard break and then hit the enemy with direct damage attacks and win. It is all and all pretty simple. The simplicity of the games combat, in my opinion is rather bad. It removes all challenge from the game, I personally found myself defeating most enemies with ease. The only time I found myself in trouble was when I was under leveled This brings up another issue with combat. You don’t actually know how strong your enemies are. Your character may have levels, but none of the enemies do. This issue means that you are pretty much gambling on hoping that the dungeon you enter isn’t too high a level for you.
Lastly the camera during combat is a nuisance, when I change character it likes to do a 180 degree turn and have me looking away from the enemy forcing me to waste time turning my character around. While this doesn’t happen every time, it happens often enough for me to mention it as an issue.
Finally one last major negative, Neptunia Victory reuses a lot of assets. I didn’t notice it at first, but for some dungeons I found myself recognizing the area even though I had never being in the dungeon before, then it hit me. I saw these areas in Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2, after that I noticed that a lot of the monsters were taken from the previous game. While there are a good number of new assets, the reusing of assets is a bit annoying, but with that said I would have only noticed the obvious remodeled monsters if I hadn’t playing the previous game.
Ok. Let’s talk about something positive. The dialogue in Neptunia Victory is hilarious. Just like the previous games in the series it doesn’t takes itself too seriously. While playing the game I found myself genuinely laughing at some of dialogue, due to its video game, otaku and fourth wall breaking dialogue etc. The humour is really helped with the increased amount of voiced dialogue in this game, with over double the amount of voice acting in Victory compared to Mk2. Speaking of humour, the new character, Plutia, is probably the funniest character in the game. The main reason is because while in normal form she is rather quiet and lazy, but in her CPU form she becomes a sadist. This transformation in personality makes for some great dialogue as she threatens both friend and foe alike. This threatening personality results in some hilarious moments with some characters going out of their way to make sure Plutia doesn’t transform.
With the good does come the bad, and the dialogue is no exception. I loved the dialogue, but the little sound bites when you enter combat or jump nearly drove me insane. It reached the point where if I heard Neptune say “I’m a Kangaroo” one more time I was going to play the rest of the game on mute. Make no mistake the dialogue was good but the out of conversation sound bites were painful beyond belief.
Also before finishing talking about dialogue, the voice acting was top notch. I know a lot of people don’t like to play JRPGs with English voices, but if you do it with this game you are missing out.
Now I think it is important to talk about some of the games new features. The main new addition to the game is scouting. In this feature you can send out scouts to dungeon you have visited. When a scout has visited a dungeon you will receive a reward. Rewards include: items, money and alterations to the dungeon etc. alterations include, EXP gain, money gain or stronger enemies. When it comes to dungeon alterations, the alterations might go up or down because your scout might be lying to you. Overall the scout feature isn’t too bad. It is a nice side addition which you don’t have to perform to complete the game.
Other new features include: NepStation and an end of chapter scoring. Both features happen at the end and at the start of chapter. NepStation is a spoof TV show which broadcasts some humorous news, a shopping channel which allows you to buy a certain item in bunk for a reduced price and a three question quiz. The quiz provides you with up to three free items, depending on how many chapter or game related questions you get right.
The chapter scoring is another new feature. Chapter scoring is the games way of rating how well you did out of 40. The rating is broken into 4 categories: monsters killed, quests completed, shares gained and the amount of times you sent scouts out. If you get 40/40, you receive an in-game item.
Lastly, the graphics while cartoonish do have selection of nice vibrant colours. In terms of music, the game has a nice score. I’m no huge music fan, but I enjoyed the music that I heard in the game.
While Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory has a lot of issues. I personally found it to be a humorous and at times an enjoyable game, with a great cast of characters. With that said if you are looking at buying the game don’t expect a world class story or great combat.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory Information
Developer: Compile Heart, Idea Factory
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: PlayStation 3
Release date: out now
Website: Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory official website