Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 – The PS3 Attitude Review
Hyperdimension Neptunia wasn’t the breakout game NIS America was hoping for and flew under the radar of most gamers, and for good reason too. Gameplay was rough and despite its comical storyline there wasn’t much depth to the game.
Nearly a year later, the franchise returns with Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2. Continuing from exactly where the previous game left off, can mk2 fix everything that went wrong with the original?
It’s the year 20XX and while Mega Man was busy saving the world from Dr. Wily, the four goddesses of Gamindustri have been defeated by the powerful Arfoire and are imprisoned deep within the Gamindustri Graveyard. It’s now up to their younger sisters, the CPU Candidates, to travel across the worlds and rescue their siblings.
Players take control of Nepgear, Planeptune’s CPU Candidate and younger sister of Neptune. She is joined by both Compa and IF, who players will recognize from the previous game. Gameplay revolves around traveling to the various cities such as Lastation, Leanbox, and Lowee and complete missions in order to restore shares and decrease the influence of Arfoire’s forces. In addition to accepting missions, cities also hold stores, item synthesis, and the Chirper, a Twitter-like social network where characters express their opinions and unlock new areas or gain influence with others. Cities are the hubs of Gamindustri where there’s always something new to do so it’s best to check in often.
Dungeons are the other half of Gamindustri, and they are where the action is. They have been dramatically improved over Hyperdimension Neptunia. First off, character specific skills have been eliminated, making it no longer necessary to switch characters to search for treasure or destroy obstacles. There’s no unnecessary pausing or stalling; everything is much more streamlined. It’s the same for battles as well. mk2 retains the same turn-based battles as before, only this time around each party member has a range that they can move in the battlefield. If they’re close enough to an enemy, they can then attack in the same manner as the previous game.
By simply allowing players to directly control their characters, Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 provides more interactivity than before. Battles no longer require you to just sit there and mash a button until the results screen. There’s actual strategy involved in placing your characters and knowing when to attack and when to defend. Each character has a set amount of Action and Skill Points that can be used per turn. Every action performed takes a specific amount and attacks can be chained together for increased damage or EX Finish combos. Each character has their own set of combos and abilities to learn so play around and find out what works best for you.
As players progress through the story, more characters and CPU Candidates join the party. Only four party members can be in battle at any time, though, and once you find a trio that works well for you, there’s little incentive to switch it up. There is a new pairing element where another character can be added on for support, which gives an extra stat boost.
With names like Gamindustri, Lastation and Leanbox floating around, you should know by now that Hyperdimension Neptunia’s story heavily plays on the videogame industry. The entire story and plot revolves around poking fun at business it’s a part of. It’s very silly but surprisingly works well, just don’t go in expecting a masterpiece for a script.
Visually, Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 comes across as an interactive anime with more detailed cutscenes and voice acting. While it doesn’t particularly shine on the PS3, it doesn’t look horrible either. Many of the cutscenes feature static characters making a variety of emotional faces on screen while text cycles through. It would have been nice to see something more dynamic.
Hyperdimension Neptunia was fun for a while but ultimately became a chore to play through. Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 fixes practically everything that was wrong with the original and provides a refreshing take on the RPG genre. If you’re looking to get into the series, go ahead and jump straight into mk2. The story is humorously entertaining and while the graphics may be a little dated, the gameplay is satisfying.