Game: Hyperdimension Neptunia
System: Playstation 3
Review By: Illmatic
Every now and then a game comes along that up until then, totally escaped your radar. Even more rare is finding out that that game is a true diamond in the rough. At first glance, Hyperdimension Neptunia might look like your average budget JRPG title. Upon further inspection, I can honestly say that Hyperdimension Neptunia is far from a budget JRPG.
Story: Hyperdimension Neptunia is unlike any JRPG you have ever played before, solely because of its story. You play the role of Neptunia, a goddess who has lost her memory, go figure. It is Neptunias job to fight against the four evil goddesses to protect your world, Gamindustri during the “Console Wars”. This may sound like your typical JRPG, but wait, there is a twist. Almost everything in the game has a relation to video games. In the world of Gamindustri there are a few different regions. These regions; Leanbox, Lowee, Planeptune and Lastation are all iterations of today’s modern consoles, with the exception of Planeptune. Planeptune is referencing an old Sega console, codenamed Neptune, that never saw the light of day. Even the characters in Neptunias party are represented by real life game companies. An example of this is Compa, Neptunias sidekick in battle. Her name, Compa, is short for the Japanese video game developer, Compile Heart. Througout the game there a tons of indirect video game references, they even poke fun at E3.
Gameplay: Hyperdimension Neptunia is a turn based RPG with a few elements that make it truly unique. The game implements a combo system that allows you to build customized attack combos for later use in combat. This adds a level of complexity, yet simplicity to the games combat mechanics. Like any RPG, you level up, equip/un-equip items, and gain XP. One of the coolest features in the combat system is the ability to use your pictures that are stored on your PS3 as a special attack. If you have pictures stored on your PS3 you can use them for your characters special attack, triggering a nice animation followed by your picture. In my case I had a picture of my Chihuahua, and you better believe he PWND everyone on the screen!
Dungeon Exploration: What would an RPG be without dungeon exploration. Ill admit, some of the dungeons in Hyperdimension Neptunia look a little un-polished. With that being said, I found myself spending tons of time in the dungeons, grinding. The level grinding was my choice, it’s not necessarily needed. The dungeons at times can feel a little linear, but not to the point where the game is any less fun. There are treasure chests scattered around the dungeons that contain various items and equipment. There are also different types of dungeons. What I mean by different is, not all dungeons can be completed the same way. Some dungeons need a Boss to be defeated while another might require a certain item to be found. I think this helps the game greatly, by not keeping the gameplay so monotonous.
Graphics: The graphics in Hyperdimension Neptunia are not the greatest, but they are not the worst either. At best, this game looks like a well polished PS2 title. In my opinion this does not make the game any worse. If anything, the graphics pay an homage to classic RPG’s. During the games cutscenes however, the graphics look very nice. These are done in true anime fashion, using pastel colors that are selected almost perfectly. It is during these cutscenes that we find out a little more about the story’s progression.
Sound: The voice acting in Hyperdimension Neptunia is borderline crummy, but what do you expect from a localized JRPG. American voice actors have never done a JRPG any justice and this game is no exception. The music in the game is actually quite good. It reminds me of a time when developers actually cared how the music in their game sounded. The sounds used in combat can get a little old pretty fast, but it wasn’t a problem nor did it distract from enjoying the game.
Controls: Plain and simple, this game controls exactly how you would expect it to. The movement isn’t tanky and the controls during battle work well.
Wishes: Like any JRPG, I wish this game had some awesome voice work done. If I were to choose one aspect of the game to change it would be the graphics. Although they aren’t terrible, I would have definitely spent a little more time polishing them up a bit.
TQ Bottom Line: If you are a fan of JRPG’s and if you have a strong background knowledge in video games from the last 15 years, then this title is definitely for you. If you are a casual RPG player, I think you will enjoy this title as a rental. If you are a negative person, I advise you to stay away from this game because you probably wont have anything good to say about it.
Final Score: 4 out of 5 Michelas!
Developer: Idea Factory
Publisher: NIS America
Released: February 11, 2011
MSRP: $59.99 via Amazon