Hyperdimension Neptunia (PS3)

By Moe Rantala

Published on Sunday, August 7, 2011

Graphics: 8.00
Sound: 8.00
Gameplay: 7.00
Replays: 5.00
Gamelength: 8.00

Hyperdimension Neptunia brings some JRPG excitement to the Playstation 3.

Neptunia is a very J JRPG. It is definitely not for everyone, but it isn’t absolutely terrible. You play the role of the console Neptunia who has been kicked out by the other consoles, and must regain her former power and ascend to the top of the console pantheon once more. You will meet comrades along the way, each one with their own personality and strengths and weaknesses, and together form the ultimate team.

The combat and share systems are more or less the meat of this game, but we’ll get to those in a bit. Most of the dialogue is done through cutscenes in which the two characters talking to each other take up one half of the screen each, and talk/breathe/jiggle. You’ll understand if you play it. That’s how most of the dialogue is done, and it isn’t terrible, but it’s definitely fan service at its finest. You learn a lot about the game through the explore and search system on the map, and that is also how you unlock missions to complete as well. There is a store that allows you to purchase items and equipment, standard RPG stylings really. Each character has a unique item like in the Wild Arms series that allows you to unlock secrets, progress further in the dungeons, and find hidden treasures, and so on and so forth. Switching between characters is easy, and the dungeon exploration is a lot of fun.

The combat system itself is turn based, and each character has a set amount of action points. Each different move type takes a certain amount of action points, for example Neptunia’s melee takes about 8 points for every strike, whereas her shot takes 10. As you progress through the game you’ll unlock different elemental bullet types that allow you to attack the weaknesses of enemies, and do more damage. There are two meters for enemies. Their health meter and what is essentially a shield meter. When the second meter is depleted completely, the enemy takes critical damage with every hit until it recharges fully. Doing different moves in different orders allows you to use special moves, and there is a lot of depth to the combat system. It isn’t overly complicated at all, but it isn’t a walk in the park either. The one huge issue with this game is that you can not heal conventionally. When you are in a dungeon, the only way you can heal is with skills and item skills. Item skills are set via the menu, and however many points you put into it is what the percentage change is that a move will go off when you are hit. For example Neptunia has a skill that heals her for about 30% of her health when she gets hit, and you start off with I think 50 points to put into item skills. Each time you level up you get more points to put in. When your characters die in combat, at the end of combat they are revived with 1 hit point. It’s a huge pain in the ass sometimes, but the game isn’t impossible at all like it may seem.

The share system is what you use to unlock different missions and sometimes even advance the main plot. When you complete a quest for an NPC, it increases the share bar for one area while reducing it for another. If Neptunia dies in combat, I believe this also reduces the share bar for your main continent. It’s a very complex system and only if you’re truly obsessed with JRPGs will you find this really enjoyable and worth playing the game through multiple times in order to see what each thing does. However, it doesn’t make the game unplayable, it’s just kind of annoying sometimes.

Hyperdimension Neptunia is not a terrible game at all, but you REALLY have to love JRPGs in order to get the most out of it. It definitely is not for everyone but for those who would enjoy it, it will be a blast to play through. It is frustrating sometimes, but honestly it has its moments. There is some good humor, some pretty cute moments, and there’s a lot to read and discover. If you absolutely need a new JRPG to play, then get this game. You’d be hard pressed to be disappointed in it.

Full Disclosure: Review copy provided by NIS America

Overall Rating: 7.00

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