Hyperdimension Neptunia is certainly a game, unlike any we’ve experienced before. Neptune’s story takes place in the magical land of Gamindustri which is composed of four different lands; each represents the games and demographics of different gaming companies. Lastation, for example, is on the leading edge of high-tech devices and is much heavily influenced by steampunk. Likewise, Leanbox is the type of world one would expect to find in an MMO and Lowee looks like a possible field for a new Super Smash Bros game. Each land is protected by a CPU “Goddess” which is essentially a personified game console.
Please enjoy reading my very first review!
The story begins with the ongoing console war as the four “Goddesses”, Neptune (Purple Heart), Noire (Black Heart), Blanc (White Heart), and Vert (Green Heart), continue to battle it out. With inspiration to cause a game-changing event to occur, three of the “Goddesses” form a truce and go three-against-one against Neptune, causing her to fall from the overworld of Celestia. With no memories of being a “Goddess” and with the aid of her newfound friends Compa and IF, Neptune begins to travel from land to land in hopes to “save the world.”
Plot-wise, Hyperdimension Neptunia is more like a collection of episodic skits rather than one epic. Each of the three new worlds Neptune visits has its own story that is only loosely connected to the other two. The story will center on Neptune’s party going on different missions to help villagers which always leads them to meet each land’s “Goddess” whom will seem to hold a grudge towards our amnesiac of a heroine. Before, after, and sometimes even during most missions, little skits will appear where the characters will poke fun at their own plot, make obvious game references, and even break the fourth wall.
Let me just start by saying that I love the character art used for the characters of Neptunia! Each “Goddess” is draped the colors of the games console they represent while Neptune’s party members, each based off of a developer that took part in Neptunia‘s creation, are based on character designs from games from mentioned developers. Compa, for instance, looks much like Ellis from Compile Heart’s recently localized game, Record of Agarest War while Nisa is totally a Prinny girl from Nippon Ichi’s Disgaea series. While the in-game graphics aren’t quite up there with some other PS3 RPGs, the brightly colored character models certainly are eye candy. Sadly, the same can’t be said about other design choices within the game.
Many of the dungeons will look exactly the same and will look somewhat generic in the first place. As mentioned in the above quote, NPC’s, which make up all the characters found in the game minus the four “Goddesses”, Neptune’s four party members, and 2 other characters, all are nothing but black silhouettes. With only the very main characters getting actual art, it begins to feel that they are in their own little world (which is partially true) and the NPC’s are just there for some small talk between traveling from point A to point B.
Hyperdimension Neptunia‘s gameplay, for the most part, doesn’t stray much from traditional RPGs. However even though the gameplay is very traditional in terms of battle, the setup is very customizable. Characters take turns and attack in increments of four. During this time, you can use the triangle (slash attack), circle, (hit attack), and x (gun attack) which can form either basic combos or customized setups created by you.
In addition to attacks learned by leveling, players can use an R/W Disc to create their own summons made by images stored within the PS3′s image gallery. With this ability, players can give characters summons from anything including games from inspired sources. Something just seems right seeing Compa summon out Ellis!
Many RPG fans will know that English dubs can be very hit and miss. Don’t worry fans, NISA did well again casting for this one. Most of the characters are voiced by the same great talents that have voiced characters from anime and games in the recent years. NISA has also included the option to switch to the Japanese voices which are also performed by an excellent cast.
Neptunia‘s soundtrack is heavily influenced by old-school games such as Mario and Sonic. These catchy little tunes will bring memories of the very games that inspired the making of this game. With that said, however, the music selection is very lacking. While the game features some great tunes, they are overly used and can start sounding quite bland. It’s like listening to a nice single CD that you bought but continuously repeating it for a few hours. This can make even the best music become nothing but noise.
Overall, Hyperdimension Neptunia is great for what it is. It is a customizable and episodically paced niche RPG that pokes fun at the gaming industry we love so much. When going into the game knowing full well what it is, it is very enjoyable. But if you are looking for the next epic RPG with an unforgettable story, these aren’t the CPUs you’re looking for. HEY! HEY!! LISTEN!!! gives Hyperdimension Neptunia 7.3 CPU “Goddesses” out of 10.