Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 review
It is time to return to the world of Gamindustri as Idea Factory International continue their plans to remake all the original Neptunia games with, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation for PS Vita.
For those who are unaware Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 is the sequel to my 2014 Game of the Year Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1, so this game has some big shoes to fill, and well…. Re;Birth2 fails to live up to expectations.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 seems to toss aside a lot of Re;Birth1’s strong points. The four lead characters from the first game are tossed aside for their younger and annoying sisters and the basic plot of the game is similar to the firsts. However Re;Birth2 does retain some the good aspects of Re;Birth1 such as the combat system and side objectives. Speaking of side-objectives Re;Birth2 sees the inclusion of a new side objective called STELLA’S ☆DUNGEON.
I think it is time to dive right in and talk about the story. As I said the plot of this game feels similar to the first , with both this game and the first revolving around video game piracy and a powerful creature known as Arfoire. Now while the basic plots are similar, Re;Birth2’s attempt at turning it into an interesting story is well pretty bad.
First of all Re;Birth2 demotes the four original CPUs to side characters and promotes their sisters, the CPU candidates (and since this game is based on video game humour, the candidates represent handheld devices) to the lead role. The reason why the CPUs take a side role is because at the beginning of the game they are imprisoned by ASIC – the Arfoire Syndicate of International Crime , along with the Planeptune’s CPU candidate, Nepgear. Three years after their imprisonment IF and Compa (allies from the first game) find the five of them, but can only free Nepgear because the Sharicite (a device that can transfer shares to a CPU) is too weak to revive any of the CPUs, and so IF and Compa run off with Nepgear in attempt to formulate a plan to get enough shares to free the CPUs, but getting more shares is easily said than done as ASIC control the entire video game market and the belief in the CPUs has all but disappeared.
But all is not lost as Planeptune’s oracle, Histoire, informs Nepgear that there is a way to revive her sister and the other CPUs. According to Histoire, each of Gamindustri’s four nations has a mascot, and these mascots possess an immense amount of power that can be used to help defeat ASIC and stop them from reaching their ultimate goal of reviving the Deity of Sin, Arfoire. Nepgear will not be alone in this fight as IF, Compa, adventurers named after video game developers/publishers, and her fellow CPU candidates are willing to help her save the world.
While the quest to save the world seems relatively easy to complete, the game likes to drag things out. For example it took me thirteen hours of game play (end of chapter 3) to get all four CPU candidates together, and the leaders of ASIC weren’t fully introduced until the same chapter.
Honestly, Re;Birth2’s story is completely lack lustre compared to Re;Birth1’s. While Re;Birth1’s was made interested with its barrage of video game humour, Re;Birth2’s attempts at humour fails and is replaced with a paedophile/perverted boss, a constant boss battle with a character called, underling that gets old fast, and a main character that spends her time mopping and beating herself up over every little thing. While I do say the humour in Re;Birth2 isn’t that good I at least got a small chuckle over the joke the two young CPU candidates Rom and Ram from Lowee weren’t allowed to play with a 3DS (had to make due with a 2DS) because they were too young to use its 3D functionality . If you want an idea of how lack lustre the story is the main villain only exists for about one cutscene before he is dispatched as easily as a level 1 mob.
Moving on from the story let’s talk about the characters. In one word the new characters are, bland. The CPU candidates: Nepgear, Uni, Rom, and Ram are nowhere near as interested or as humorous as their older sisters, the CPUs. Nepgear (the main character) spends the entirety of the game beating herself up and relying on her allies to give her a pep talk every five minutes, Uni is overly stubborn and is typical tsundere style character, Rom feels to innocent and acts like a cheerleader for Nepgear, and finally Ram just constantly acts like a brat to nearly every member of the team.
The non CPU characters are a mixed bag. IF and Compa are pretty good with both characters providing the right amount of comic relief and interesting information about the world. On the other hand Red, the first adventurer to join you, is an incredibly irritating character that loves to shout about how Nepgear and all the other party members are her “waifus”/”wifey”. Red isn’t the only character to have issues, another example is Kei, the tomboy (in case you are wondering there are no male playable /intractable characters) oracle of Lastation, who knows that Nepgear is on a life or death mission, but has her do a fetch quest before she is willing to give Nepgear info on Lastation’s mascot. The characters and their interaction do warm up a bit once the CPU decided to pop their head in and say hi.
When it comes to the CPU candidates I feel they would have been better severed as side characters, because for as much as I didn’t like them I think they would have been tolerable side characters.
For those wondering NISA from Neptunia Mk2 is not present in this game, her character has being replaced by Red.
Ok, enough talking about the game’s story and characters. Let’s move onto the combat and dungeons.
If you have played Re;Birth1 you should have zero problems with Re;Birth2’s as the combat system is the same, minus the fact that this game now allows you to have four characters on the field.
The combat system, which has being dubbed the “free movement combat system” is all about well free movement in a walled off space while allowing you to choose from a relatively large collection of attacks. I say large collection because just like in Re;Birth1, the game offers three ways to attack. 1)combo skills, 2) SP skills, and 3) EXE drive skills. If you’ve played the first game you will know exactly what you are doing. You use combo attacks to build up your EXE bar and drain the enemies guard bar, and once the enemies guard bar is gone you attack directly with an SP skill (SP skill also allow you to perform buffs/debuffs and heals) or if your EXE bar is filled enough you can perform an incredibly powerful attack that upon usage drains the bar.
While this all sounds simple, the game allows you to customise your selection of combo moves. Customising them is important as you have a choice of nine combo moves, but can only use three per turn, and these nine moves are divided into three categories: rush (increases EXE bar quickly), power (direct damage) and break (damages guard bar). You can also add EX finish moves to your list of combo, these finish moves do extra damage and some of these allow you to perform assist moves with your off-field partner via the “Lilly rank” system. This system allows players to perform combo skills with an off or on field team mate and provide permanent buffs to those they are behind.
While Re;Birth2 has a large amount of combat options it doesn’t feel bogged down as the options flow well together. Also, all attack animations can be sped up by the user, so if you want to speed your way through some thrash mobs you can.
When it comes to dungeons there isn’t much to say. Dungeons are pretty much identical to Re;Birth1’s where you run around fight your way to the end of the dungeon and follow the story. The dungeons in this game are basically just a collection of paths that lead to you to your goals.
One of the best aspects of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 is the fact that game has numerous side objectives that can be completed while doing the main story. There are a total of four side objective in Re;Birth2 (Re;Birth1 had three): quests, remake system, disk development, and the all new Stella’s ☆Dungeon.
Quests are a very straight forward side objective that consists of missions to kill or collect X number of creatures/items. Quests are probably the most import of the four side objectives as they provide money and help you manage the numbers of shares in the world, an important part of Nepgear’s mission.
The remake system allows players to alter the game’s content. This includes: weakening all enemies, changing item drops and adding new items to the shop. Just like quests the system is easy to use, all you are required to is gather plans and find the items the plan asks you to find.
Unlike questing and the remake system, disk development is a largely unneeded side objective. With this side task allowing you to create special disks that give its user increased damage, strength, and assist functions. To create these disks you are required to unlock blank disks and search for “idea chips” that match the disks available spaces.
The final side objective in Re;Birth2 is the brand new Stella’s ☆Dungeon, named after one of the game’s developers, Felistella. Unlike the rest of the side objective this one is very much hands off with only limited interaction needed. This objective is a simple text based real-time RPG that requires you to command Stella and her cat Felis to explore previously completed dungeons and search for items. It is a simple and easy to use side objective, all you have to do is select your dungeon and what equipment Stella wears, and it is off you go. Speaking of equipment, you don’t need to use your own as Stella’s equipment is gained from the dungeons (although if she fails, she loses her equipment). If you are looking for something to do before you start doing the story or are about to turn off the game you should quickly boot up the dungeon objective and send Stella on an adventure, because even when you aren’t around (game on or off) Stella will complete her objective.
Like any game released from Japan fan service is something you are expecting, and Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 is no different. While the fan service is limited, its appearance can be shocking and at times uncomfortable. Some moments of fan service include the CPU candidate’s late game HDD “awakened” mode, which become rather revealing for no reason. The peace of fan service that goes directly into the shocking and uncomfortable column is CFW Trick’s interaction with Rom and Ram. Now in the game it is made clear that Rom and Ram are bother children (under the age of 10), so when you have to see and hear Trick molesting them with his tongue it is incredibly off putting.
Graphically, Re;Birth2 really stands out on the PS Vita with the OLED display helping to create eye catching and sharp visuals. This sharpness in colour also helps elevate it above its original PlayStation 3 release. The colour and contrast is easy on the eye, and I found no issue after a prolonged play session (In the past I have noticed some makes make me feel incredibly tired or cause eye strain.
The English voice acting in Re;Birth2 is decent, but not amazing. Some lines of dialogue feel painful to listen to (I more so blame the script than the actors for this), while others were decent. Christine Marie Cabanos does a good job of bringing Nepgear’s personality to life, despite the fact I didn’t like how the character always blamed herself for every little problem. Also, Sarah Williams does a good job as Uni, as she managed to make Uni’s prideful and tsundere nature really shine.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation is an uninteresting game, that takes the best of Re;Birth1 and simply throws it away. The game’s story is boring, characters are uninteresting, and the humour is nearly non-existent.
+ Combat is easy to use and understand
+ Numerous and easy to use side objectives
+ Stella’s ☆ Dungeon is a nice addition
+ Great graphics.
+ Good voice acting
– Nepgear is a boring lead character
– Uninteresting characters
– Very little humour
– Story is uninteresting
|Compile Heart, Idea Factory, Felistella
|Idea Factory International
|Feb 6, 2015 (EU)
For more information on Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation, visit http://ideafintl.com/rebirth2.
Author: Ash Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.