A Neptune to the Past

That’s what you get for going into the light.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth3 V Generation is an alternate universe continuation of the story present in the preceding entry in the series. We’re also in the past… so it gets a little confusing as to where this version of Gamindustri fits into the universe, whether we’ll see it again, or if it’s just a pudding-induced Neptune fever dream. Or eggplant-induced fever dream. Stella’s Dungeon makes a return alongside a new Remake system with the (much appreciated) ability to search for materials, while everything else is generally bigger and better.

Stella’s Dungeon has an impact on the main story now, too.

Each time you successfully complete an area you’ll get a bounty of goodies- items, plans, materials, keys to the next area, and much more will be awarded for your efforts. These not only help when progressing to new areas in Stella’s Dungeon, but also with quests and the like where these materials will help you meet the requirements. It’s also a steady source of easily attainable income.

There are also new character challenges which fit into the Remake system to provide further party customisation. Most are statistical changes and are valuable in varying degrees of importance, but some will unlock new skills and new passive bonuses. The EXE Drive system has been completely reworked as well. SP is now immediately and permanently set to a maximum of 1000 for each character, it’s generated through Rush Attacks (or through general combat), and will be how you activate the EXE Drive. Either through having to reach a particular amount to use EXE Finish Skills, or by consuming a considerable portion of SP to unleash an exceptionally devastating EXE Drive Skill. It’s a change which adds a strategic layer to most combat.

Within which there are many positive changes from having more EXE Drive Skills available per character, more advantage being taken of the various Coupling and Formation Skills, further choices for the equipment CPUs and CPU Candidates will use in their HDD form, and a fifth combo slot for each attack type which expands the potential for damage and chain bonuses. It definitely feels more content-dense (in a good way), while, at the same time, there are opportunities to expand on these mechanics even further in later entries in the series.

Which the Neptunia series has done quite successfully so far.

No two entries are the same and that’s a good thing. It’s enjoyable to experience new mechanics or at the very least alterations to existing ones. This makes the desire to continue playing through the series even stronger than it normally would be, as you can’t wait to see all of the positive changes they’re making. Or all of the new things you’ll have to get accustomed to.

I’ve definitely spent more time with this entry than anticipated but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the time spent. Which is why I would recommend this series to anyone looking for something akin to the JRPGs of old from the days of the SNES or the PS1. They’re light hearted, fun, and not too complex. There are a lot of characters to choose from (especially with the free DLC options) and each is genuinely interesting in their own way. It’s also sure to induce a few pangs of nostalgia given it’s a parody of the gaming industry (and many of the series and characters therein). There are also a few different titles available which branch off from the main series in interesting ways, which might interest those who love the characters and want more from them.

Have a nice weekend, all!


Hope for Planeptune

CPU Candidate Nepgear has arrived.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 Sisters Generation is a slightly shorter but just as enjoyable sequel boasting multiple endings, an excessively huge roster, and an alternate universe Gamindustri that doesn’t reflect the events of the first entry in the series. There are new mechanics in the events of Stella’s Dungeon, an expanded Remake system, and even in the character progression. In comparison to the previous entry you’ll find that many characters now have multiple roles, with healing being more generously distributed.

In fact, one of the CPU Candidates of Lowee, Rom, is excellent with support magic.

While I would still agree that healing magic is probably not required to reach any one of the endings (due to an abundance of healing items) it’s nice to have the option. Even Nepgear has limited single target healing capabilities. The offensive magic selection across many characters has been improved, too. While the selection of EXE Drive options has been vastly expanded.

That’s one of the recurring positive elements of the Neptunia series. The roster of characters is quite extensive, with each having their own particular approach and weapons to use, but each also provides benefits to others through the Lily Rank system, so you’ll be spoiled for choice as to who will make it into your party. The party itself is slightly bigger, too. Now with four members compared to the three from the previous entry. It seems like a minor change but it does alter the pacing of the combat enough that it remains fresh. It does get slightly expensive to outfit all of these characters for combat, though. I tend to just keep their weapons up to date and shuffle the accessories around the active party.

I think that’s one of the reasons that this series appeals to me as it does. It feels very much like a classic JRPG, with characters that you don’t necessarily develop in any way other than by accruing experience and providing their various pieces of equipment. You can’t make Nepgear into a second Rom and that’s nice. It’s nice to have a party of individual characters, each with their own strengths, and each with their own reasons to be in a party, instead of having an army of clones that you could change into what you required them to be.

If they were clones I’d never have got the opportunity to hit someone with a guitar.

This entry leans heavily on New Game+ with some of the events, dungeons, and other goodies sealed behind a second or third attempt. It will be interesting to see what they deem so important that they hide it behind completion, though. There’s a host of secret optional characters which technically require multiple attempts as well. In that way it’s quite content dense.

It’s going to be interesting seeing how they take it forward from here. I don’t believe there will be many changes to the core aspects of these titles, but I do believe that the next adventure is set in the same alternate universe Gamindustri after the events of this entry. So it will be nice to see an actual sequel. Then, it’s onto the last available title at the moment which I believe is a direct release to Steam instead of a remake. But I’ll be getting to that much later. Until then if you’re looking for an engaging, funny, and enjoyable JRPG that makes many humorous jabs at events in the gaming industry I’d recommend this series. It’s also a pretty cool series to follow if you enjoy anime. As I do believe there’s an anime (based on?) the video games.

Have a nice weekend, all!


Journalists of Gamindustri

They’re looking for promising CPUs to do numerous quests.

Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed is an extension of the Neptunia series (believe it or not). It’s an interesting mixture of brawling hundreds of monsters, exploring the events of Gamindustri, collecting medals from fallen monsters, and individually developing each character. That said, the character development is fairly simplified in comparison to a main instalment in the series. Most characters have three available weapons, accessories are shared, and even their skills are fairly limited.

However, it’s an enjoyable and fun diversion for 20-30 hours.

Your time will vary depending on how far you want to push the quests, whether you care for the additional modes, and whether you’re interested in JRPG-like grinding. But there’s a lot to do even if you’re not interested in pushing past the final chapter. You’ll need to do a small amount of levelling to cover all of the main quests, too. Especially for the Candidates.

The good news is that each character has a unique fighting style so it tends to stay fresh. You can also access a HDD transformation for every character, the EXE Drive is available, and there are even Lily Specials which pair specific characters together. Unlocking many of these things will require you to progress through the story or complete specific quests, but it won’t take you too long. For that reason it’s actually a fairly good idea to move to the final chapter as early as possible as you can complete/repeat all prior quests. If you’re feeling particularly masochistic, there are even quests which require you to be at Lvl 99 in which the enemies have health numbered in the millions. They can also knock you out in a single hit. Which is fun.

Forever twirling to victory.
Forever twirling to victory.

The above quests are not counted for the quest completion statistic, though. So don’t worry too much if you’re going for that particular achievement. Once you’ve completed the main story quests you’ll be invited to take part in the Gamindustri Gauntlet, which is a short tournament amongst the characters. There’s a Dogoo, too. They fill in one of the blanks but they can never (as far as I’m aware) actually progress to the next stage. While a fairly short mode, you’ll need to complete it with every character (and their HDD transformation).

So you’re going to be there for a while.

Then, finally, if that wasn’t enough, on the first completion of the Gamindustri Gauntlet you’ll unlock the Neptral Tower. This fifty floor tower serves as a way to test yourself against increasingly more difficult monsters, to farm any medals you may be missing, and to even gain access to a special monster that you don’t see in the quests. It’s well worth your time to do it at least once.

Much like the Gamindustri Gauntlet, to get the full value from the Neptral Tower you’ll need to take every character through each of the fifty floors. The difference here is that HDD transformations aren’t required, characters can pair together (giving you two progressions per climb), and you’re able to pause at any point. There are numerous rewards available for completing either of these modes that play into many of the achievements. Plus, there are even special achievements you can only unlock through these modes. So it’s a pretty comprehensive and content dense title. Even if it does get a little repetitive at times. I’d still recommend it, though. Especially if you love JRPGs or the Neptunia series.

Have a great weekend, all!


Heavenly Pudding

How dare you taint pudding time.

I’ll preface this post by saying that I understand very little of the history behind Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 and whether it came before or after Fairy Fencer F. I do know that the Re;Birth series is a remake of the original series. But that’s about it. I went into this one completely blind and I can’t say I’m disappointed. It’s a really enjoyable JRPG with surprisingly deep combat, actually requiring the use of various characters and abilities to easily dispatch your foes.

I realise that seems like a silly thing to be surprised about.

But it’s actually quite rare to find a party based JRPG where each character can either help or hinder the party. Especially when you consider that some characters (like Neptune or Vert) can increase their power via the HDD system, which you would assume is the answer to several problems, but it actually isn’t, as sometimes you need something else to tip the balance.

The party mechanics are really well done, too. You’ve got a partner system that allows you to pair up characters to combine their traits, to allow them to use special partner abilities, and to allow you to switch between them in combat. It’s a really nice touch. It’s incredibly useful to have a character like IF in the front dealing damage being able to switch to Compa for healing. It allows for so much more flexibility when building a party, as you don’t necessarily need to have a healer in the default line up. Or at all. If you’ve got the right combination of other benefits. It’s also really neat that they have different types of basic attacks, giving you freedom to focus on breaking down guard or dealing an exceptional amount of damage with power attacks.

Given that you’ll be doing a lot of fighting (and grinding) in JRPGs, it’s nice that they’ve taken the time to create systems which are enjoyable and complex enough for you to remain interested in them as your characters level up. Of course, there’s always going to be that break point where you’re too strong for everything and so it becomes trivial in the end- but that’s forty hours away. Or less. If you like grinding. Which I kind of sort of do and ended up being incredibly confused in the early game.

I didn’t know they unlocked those abilities later.

In a year that has been strangely riddled with nostalgia, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 comes in as something that I’ve really enjoyed and I think was well worth the price of admission. It reminds me of the JRPGs of old- but newer- with updated systems to reflect modern concepts. It also has some of the best/most hilarious dialogue known to man.

I’ll be looking forward to experiencing the rest of the series after this. I don’t know how they will differ from the first, but I’ve got high expectations of being able to explore and do as much as I’ve done in this title. There were so many dungeons, quests, plans, and other things to discover. Then there was the grinding. So much grinding. Not just me, either- IF and Vert were doing some. That was a weird afternoon. But I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. I’m slowly having my interest in JRPGs thoroughly revitalised, which is pretty awesome as I have a PS Vita full of them and I do need to get around to finishing some of those as well. Like Final Fantasy VII. That I started several months ago.

Have a nice weekend, all!