Hyperdimension Neptunia first came to North America back in Febuary 2011. Despite the PlayStation 3 title being met with mediocre at best reviews the game went on to spawn a manga series, anime and a few sequels. Later this month the original Hyperdimension Neptunia is coming to the PlayStation Vita remade as Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1. I never played the PlayStation 3 original, but I’m spent around 8 hours with the remake, and I’m having a blast so far.
The story so far has all the ridiculous JRPG anime tropes that I love, but it is also a sort of satirical look at the games industry. The game takes place in a world called Gamindustri, and is broken into four distinct regions. Planeptune, Lastation, Lowee and Leanbox. Each region being meant to reflect a video game console. Lastation is the PS3, Lowee is the Wii, Leanbox is the Xbox 360 and Planeptune represents the fictional seventh generation console that never came from Sega. Each region has it’s own goddess ho battles against the other regions goddesses in what has become known as the Console wars.
You play the game mainly as Neptune, the goddess of Planeptune who has lost her memory. On her quest to get her memory back she meets many new companions and starts to uncover an evil plan behind the scenes. (I think)
So far I’ve been having a lot of fun with the game. The gameplay largely takes place in one of the games many dungeons. You play through the dungeons in a similar way to one of the Persona games. You can see the enemies wondering around the map and can choose to pre-emptively attack them to get an advantage in battle. Conversely if you try to just walk by the enemies and they attack you will be put at a disadvantage for the battle. When exploring the dungeons you can also jump to reach higher up monsters and items.
The game’s battle system has also been impressing me so far. Once a battle starts it will take you from the open dungeon to a much smaller battlefield. The battle system from there is turn based and gives you many different options. Each character will only be able to move so far in the battlefield, and each of their moves have a limited area of affect that you have to think about.
Between your normal combo attacks, SP skills and EXE drive attacks there are a lot of fun unique ways to go about winning a battle. Once you get more than three party members you can start pairing them together to unlock even more mores. I’m really enjoying the battle system so far, but it also looks like it is only going to get deeper from here. Right now it seems like every couple levels I’m unlocking something new that is fundamentally changing how I go about battling.
The last thing I want to mention is this game’s sense of humor. It’s clever and incorporates things from a lot of different video games. The story is largely told just by the characters talking to each other. That can lead to a lot of times where you are just left reading for several minutes at a time. A lot of JRPGs fall into a trap where that reading can be borderline miserable. But not Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1. I’m really finding this entertaining so far. I have probably taken more screenshots of this game than any other Vita game, just to capture a clever thing a character said, or a reference I found funny.
I’m really enthusiastic about Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 after my first 8 hours with it. I know I have a long way to go and I’m excited to finish playing it. The game release on August 26th, and you can expect a full review then. Until then I’m off to explore some more dungeons in Gamindustri.