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[Review] Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1

Hyperdimension Neptunia has been a fan favourite since it was first released and still is, with 3 remakes and many spin-off titles. The first game Hyperdimension Neptunia was remade as Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1  and is available on the Playstation Store, Steam and in physical editions too – PlayAsia, Amazon. This review covers the Steam edition, but personally I reckon that the vita is a perfect platform for this type of game.

At first glance, Hyperdimension Neptunia seems like a complex universe to enter, but it’s actually simple enough. There’s a single sequence of game, with some spinoffs and remakes tacked alongside:

[Blue for main series, Yellow for remakes & Red for spin-offs]

Hyperdimension Neptunia (let’s shorten this to HDN so I don’t have to type it every time) is a heavily story-driven J-RPG. The story in an RPG is vital to my enjoyment of the game – I find gameplay in the genre tends to be samey, differing only with small alterations to battles, graphic quality, et cetera – and after so much grinding I find I don’t return to the game. Neptunia suffers here also, but not as bad as some series – grinds are motivated by quests – simply tasks such as kill X amount of Y Monster, collect X of Y item – Nothing creative here – but pretty much as soon as you finish with a dungeon, you’ll find an unlock for a new side-dungeon or your characters will be strong enough to fight through the next section.

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Fight scenes are carried out in 3D and whilst turn-based, have no time pressure.

The battle sections of the game are still longer than I would like, but the change in scenery, constant enemy challenge and small achievement (quests, plans, items, etc) are enough to make it bearable. Additionally, the battles themselves (as seen above) have enough variety in them to keep interested – Whether that be positional changes so you can just about hit multiple at the same time (we’re hitting 3 in the screenshot above) or tactical changes as you need to restore your party’s health whilst keeping the enemies’ barrage of attacks off you (you can only use healing abilities in-battle). Altogether it’s a very likeable system and I’m sure those who enjoy grinding will be delighted to find the DLC packs contain a boost of 300 levels to the cap for your characters, giving you an excuse to play for hours and hours and hours and…

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Serious plot lines and complex characters

HDN knows its audience inside out and jokes are frequent. The story itself isn’t overly innovative, but it’s the telling that is the main appeal. Some of the jokes are obvious – you beat up Pacman-style ghosts and space invader aliens, whilst other references will fly over the heads of those not heavily familiar game/anime culture. At no stage does it seem inaccessible though.

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Here I am, about to beat up a super otaku, a vader and Ms. Clyde

End Result
4 and a half stars

HDN Rebirth is a very fun game but occasionally falls into periods of overly simplistic humour and enemies that suddenly spike in difficulty. These points aside though, the game is intensely playable and the remake brings even more re-playability to the game in the form of additional costumes, dungeons, the ability to augment difficulties and other nice tweaks. Playing on a keyboard is awkward, but grab a gamepad or a console edition of the game and you’re sorted.

A definite purchase for those already in both the anime and gaming scene, but still a recommended play with just exposure to one.

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Labels: Anime/Manga Tech

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