Jump to content


Social Media

facebook facebook facebook facebook

Search Articles



69 active user(s)(in the past 15 minutes)

69 guests, 0 anonymous users
Google, Yahoo, Bing

- - - - -

Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 Review


Developer: Idea Factory
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: PS3
ESRB: M for Mature
Release Date: Out now


NIS America seems to rarely shy away from localizing titles. When they brought over Hyperdimension Neptunia in 2011 it was a gutsy move. Sure, there's lots of anime fans in America but would they clamor around the title? Would general JRPG fans embrace it or shrug it off? As it turned out, the game was a moderate success but still not favorably looked upon. Still, NIS decided to bring the sequel overseas. Is it a good game though or is it just cutesy anime fluff? Somehow it manages to be a bit of both.

First, let's go over the story as it sets itself apart from standard RPGs. The year is 20XX and things aren't well in the world of Gamindustri. The Arfoire Syndicate of International Crime (ASIC) has practically taken over the land. Because of them, the younger generation is all but hooked on downloading games illegally. While the government could step in, they instead simply ignore the problem. Nobody is willing to face the nefarious ASIC, that is, except a young CPU Candidate named Nepgear and the CPUs she meets along the way.

Posted Image


The game is very much a jab at the state of affairs in the real game industry. Things certainly aren't as dire as they are in Gamindustri's world, but they could become so if things remain unchecked. Either way, in case you couldn't tell from the setup this is a title that focuses on levity. Because it is a game about games, there's a ton of gaming-related humor and take offs of well known properties/characters. For one, ASIC, or Arfoire, is a rather obvious jab at the R4 - a device quite often used for DS piracy. Then of course there are the CPU Candidates themselves, which are personifications of handheld systems.

Despite all the jokes and references to the game industry being in peril the story itself is pretty bubbly. With such adorable lead characters it'd be hard to expect much else. It all plays out a bit like a cartoon, where bumbling enemies try time and time again to be victorious only to fail. However, if you simply look at the game box for Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 it's easy to tell this isn't going to be Citizen Kane. Still, the story manages to be entertaining and doesn't overstay its welcome.

The story manages itself well enough but the game shines most when it comes to combat. When exploring dungeons you meander around and charge at enemies on the field. Once you've smacked into them a battle is engaged and you switch to that mode. Battles are turn-based however they take place within a free roaming environment. This means you can place your characters strategically to get the best jump on enemies. When it comes to attacking there is quite a variety of what you can do. There are three main attack types which each lower various gauges of opponents. For example, initiating a breaker hit will cause an enemy's Guard Points to go down which makes them weaker against other attacks. Then there are of course combos and specials that can be unleashed when your characters have enough points.

Posted Image


It's strange that there is a good deal of strategy involved at all. It isn't readily apparent for the first few hours, but as you continue on bosses will become strangely difficult if you've not got your mind completely wrapped around the battle system. While it is possible to simply bludgeon enemies to death with basic attacks, using combos and specials are integral to doing well. Unfortunately the game only gives very brief tutorials to explain what gauges like AP, SP, and GP mean, so it's best to soak that information up fast or you'll be at a disadvantage.

Characters are also able to be partnered in battle. The reason to do this is because specific pairings turn out to be useful and have special movesets between them. This part of the strategy is not clearly defined though, so you might be stuck testing out various pairs to see what works best. Again, it is possible to get through most battles by simply leveling up a lot and applying brute force tactics, but that's not nearly as rewarding. Being aware of the intricacies of the system helps make fights much more rewarding.

Fighting isn't the only thing to do in the world, although it is obviously a big part. Players may take quests from Guilds which are focused around killing specific enemies or simply gathering items. Items can also be gathered to synthesize into new weapons, armor, and more. One particularly goofball part of the game is Chirper. Although you aren't forced to access it, visiting Chirper provides a virtual Twitter environment basically where characters whine and boast about their lives. Sometimes characters will advertise the location of special weapons though so take a look every so often.

While the story isn't the most enthralling thing in the universe, the game world itself is cute. It's fun because as gamers we will all get many of the references. One of the first enemies you come across is a strange winged horse standing on two legs. The reference to chocobos is pretty clear but made ridiculous by how funny this creature looks. There are also many creatures based off famous arcade characters like Pac-Man or items from the Nintendo world. Beyond that, the CPUs themselves are all personifications of famous Japanese companies like Gust, 5pb, and even NIS.

Posted Image


With all this going for it does Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 falter in any way? Unfortunately it does and in a way which may turn a great deal of gamers off. While gameplay is fun the game itself does not appear to have very high production values. The dungeons designs repeat multiple times, don't look graphically impressive, and are pretty confined. Characters are nicely designed but anyone against anime styling will avoid it like the plague. Finally, the English voice acting cast is all okay but nobody really stands out. The English version even lacks some voiced segments whereas in the Japanese version there were vocal tracks. This is due to budget restraints rather than laziness but still might rub gamers the wrong way. If you're interested in playing the game fully voiced then the Japanese language is on disc to select instead.

Returning to the point that some may be turned off by the anime styling... It may be normal in Japan to produce games/worlds full of young-looking women in revealing clothing but that doesn't fly quite as free here. Anime fans have come to expect it but others may raise an eyebrow, and rightly so. At least the game offers the ability to customize outfits to your liking or even create your own from scratch for Nepgear.

Judging solely by its gameplay, the title deserves some respect. The story too is also quite amusing and more creative than your typical JRPG when it comes to the topic. Still, the game will probably look like a budget release to a lot of people. If the unusual plot or gameplay appeals to you though then go for it. Unlike shooters which often have a similar focus, this title is certainly something you're not likely to find anywhere else. How many games really make fun of their own industry? The experience is a fun one and succinct in comparison to other games of the genre. Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 is the kind of game that splits opinions. Either you like it or you don't, but hopefully you'll like it.

 

Pros:
+ Entertaining gaming references
+ Strategizing for battle proves very rewarding
+ Still not difficult to progress if you're slow to learn the game's intricacies

Cons:
- Tutorials aren't nearly involved enough
- Easily apparent this isn't a triple A title


 

Overall: 7.5 (out of 10)
Good


While Hyperdimenson Neptunia mk2 isn't everyone's cup of tea it is definitely worth a look for those hungry for a comedic JRPG.




10 Comments

I’m so sorry Marcus… I totally understand if you find it to be a TL;DR. But I have quite the opinion for the game, so brace yourself.

I definitely had very mixed thoughts about the game. I may love the premise, and literally get most of the jokes and references the game presents, but I thought it had quite a few issues primarily from a gameplay standpoint. It was all the more jarring when the narrative/script wasn’t too engaging to me for most of the time (and it would regularly throw you into it).

My biggest problem with this game early in (and same with Trinity Universe…which apparently is exactly like the original Hyperdimension) is that I thought the battle system was so restrictive early in, where until you are around lvl 30 you have literally no skills or AP (meaning you have to use the wait command way too much if you wanted to do damage for combos or use skills) to play around with, it played like a worse version of Eternal Sonata and Dragon Quarter for some time. Plus, if you want more team/combat variety you have to wait for more than half of the game for new party members (I definitely did not use Nepgear, IF and Compa by the end of the game). Also being a couple level higher or lower meant a near impossible fight (very early I was missing 4 out of 5 attacks in a regular attack string, heck, I spent 40 minutes on one boss because none of my attacks would connect because I was underleveled. Mind you I also used Ifs abilities to boost accuracy in that fight, sad?) or a total cake walk (when you grind or learn some special moves, like neptune’s and nepgear’s special combo attack, you can literally take out late game bosses in like 2 hits.), so it hardly found a happy medium for me in general.

Also had some pain with the story, now clichés I can work with and I’m totally fine with cutesy banter, heck I really enjoyed Atelier Totori which is nothing short of it (which Gust makes quite a few references to, in and out of combat), but this didn’t really fall into that category for some time (outside of the chirper events). They really forced the ‘Underling’ and ‘Pirachu’ jokes beyond excessive and occasionally there were some pretty tasteless jokes in general (how many times did I have to see that pedophile monster?). Beyond that I thought, even when compared to the original (which I…listened to a walkthrough before playing this game), the localization/script was not as funny either; despite the setting it has to work with. Heck, it wasn’t until more characters from the original game appeared, that I thought the game showed some real personality with their character interactions and I found it to be more ‘entertaining’.

Enough of that, I made it sound like I hated the game (well, I did halfway, but I enjoyed the latter half), but the problem is that the game when faced against so many jrpgs past and present, even if just for PS3 (which…isn’t the creme dela creme for JRPGs this gen imo), the game is less than mediocre overall I think. Being ok in gameplay (imo) with a cool concept doesn’t really cut it.

If you want plenty of cutesy character interactions with an addictive gameplay and quest system, item crafting, multiple endings, I’d say play Atelier Totori. Want to play a game that heavily rewards grinding and has lots of over the top humor with 4th wall breaking jokes, play something like Disgaea 4. If you want a deep and strategic action rpg/turn-based hybrid, play something like Resonance of Fate. Hyperdimension Neptunia may have a very cool concept and setting, and allude to most of these games (and then some…well, more than some, holy moly is there a lot of references. Even subtle things like quest names make a TON of references to PSP and DS games), but the thing is, you have to appreciate the concept more than the game, in my personal opinion. That said, I do think they are on the right track for the series, if they made a HDN3, I think it could very well be pretty good game and I’d be more than eager to play it, and they’ve already got a very cool concept to work with and lots of potential (just no character dlc please if they do).

Also I remember reading a certain article on why a lot of scenes weren’t dubbed, and it definitely wasn’t because of space issues on the disc (It's a PS3 disc, it can hold lots of dialogue, Mass Effect 3 or Ar Tonelico Qoga can teach you that), but more budget related reasons. http://www.siliconer...-mk2-questions/.
I didn't realize this game had an M rating.

That's...kinda messed up...
There's no problem with wall of text comments, Barrel! Rant away as they are eloquently stated points :).

I will get back to your comments later but just wanted to say I did read that interview and somehow forgot the contents of it before writing. Or, I somehow supplanted a different reason for VO stuff in my mind between reading and writing. Knew I should have looked back over it before this! Either way, the line has been changed and updated to reflect the interview.

I didn't realize this game had an M rating.

That's...kinda messed up...

Yeah, I think they just took the M rating rather than decided to fight the ESRB for a couple of questionable scenes (kind of how like Persona 3 & 4 or Nocturne had a lot of religious themes, so it took the M rating, but it wasn't that bad otherwise). It's pretty tame normally, but there is some scenes that I bet wouldn't be worth fighting for a T rating (kind of like Ar Tonelico Qoga).
I picked up this game the other day because I figured the game store wouldn't stock it often, but I still have yet to get my hands on the original game. Hopefully I'll get it soon and get a chance to play both games this year. I love JRPGs more than any other genre.
I've always slightly considered getting one of these sorts of games (along the lines of Neptunia or Alchemist of whatever) but I just can't get over the fact of how awkward it would be to play.

I've always slightly considered getting one of these sorts of games (along the lines of Neptunia or Alchemist of whatever) but I just can't get over the fact of how awkward it would be to play.


If you want awkward, you should play Ar Tonelico games. LOL

If you want awkward, you should play Ar Tonelico games. LOL

I'd say just Qoga. I and II won't make you look nearly as awkward, well, aside from some 'dive' sequences. Qoga even has a 'panic button' since it is fully aware of it's awkwardness (like press select and a family friendly pic will appear in the visual novel segments, which is pretty funny and you even get a trophy saying "It's nothing ma!" or something like that if you use it enough)

I'd say just Qoga. I and II won't make you look nearly as awkward, well, aside from some 'dive' sequences. Qoga even has a 'panic button' since it is fully aware of it's awkwardness (like press select and a family friendly pic will appear in the visual novel segments, which is pretty funny and you even get a trophy saying "It's nothing ma!" or something like that if you use it enough)

LOL yeah. I definitely don't play Qoga in front of my wife. Something about underage girls gaining powers by losing clothing might not sit well with her.
No prob Marcus, I was reading the review and was thinking 'wait, that can't be right...' for the disc space thing and remembered that interview. That and because it's not that technically impressive, if it was a 360 title I'd probably pay it no mind for storage reasons (Ar Tonelico 2 had a similar fate on PS2, where even the Japanese dub had to receive a bunch of cuts, or Sakura Wars:SOML had a separate disc for the dubs).

Alright, just wanted to let you know that I'm quite the critic when it comes to Jrpgs (well, games in general), so I can talk up a storm of opinions. I mean if I weren't me I would say "TL;DL, how can expect me to read that poorly punctuated wall of text? Also, Just how many improperly used ellipses and parenthesis do you plan to use anyway?"

LOL yeah. I definitely don't play Qoga in front of my wife. Something about underage girls gaining powers by losing clothing might not sit well with her.

Fair enough, I doubt shaking the controller in battle to make it happen helps much either (which doesn't register well, so it could easily look more obscene). To be fair though, you can choose older personas (personae?) to...lessen the awkwardness, kinda...not really, yeah, you can't play that game safely in front of people. Sometimes, That game... (why do I like it so much after basically bashing MK2? Since MK2 is a better 'game'...oh well, I'll wear my hypocrite badge)

 

 

 

Top Stories From Around the Web

 

About

Friends of GP

Site Navigation

Contact

  • General Inquiry
  • contact (at) gamepodunk (dot) com

  • Press Related
  • gp.press (at) gamepodunk (dot) com

Site Info