Some series come along with a premise that sounds a bit ridiculous, especially when trying to explain it to someone else. If I told you a game had characters that each essentially stood for a particular game system, the world was called Gamindustri, the main characters are called CPU’s, and there is a “Console War” going on, you may think it sounds ridiculous…and you’d be right. A series like Hyperdimension Neptunia has one of those ideas that sounds silly to exist, but the concept of the game is honestly its highest point. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation was originally released on March 20, 2014 in Japan and is a revamped version of the PS3 version Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2. I’m always happy when I see games remade for the Vita. I normally have enough games to play on console or PC as is so it’s nice to have something great on the go as well. If games weren’t remade for the Vita, I likely never would have played Persona 4, which is now one of my favorite games.
For those that didn’t play the version on PS3 (or maybe no games in the series at all), this is a game that you could definitely play on its own without playing the first game. Will you get more out of playing the first one? Yes. But if you are tempted to play Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation and are turned off to it because you didn’t play the first game, I’d still recommend playing it. The game opens up with a cut scene battle with a clearly powerful enemy that results in all four CPUs as well as a CPU candidate, Nepgear, falling in battle. You are then given a Star Wars inspired intro to explain what’s been going on before jumping ahead three years to the Gamindustri Graveyeard, a dark and bleak place created by Arfoire. A rescue team of Compa and IF only end up saving Nepgear, who you’ll be playing throughout the rest of the game.
A lot of your time will be spent in battle so it’s a good thing the battle system works well – though the battles themselves are quite underwhelming for the most part. Combat is turn-based and you have to move around to make sure the enemy is within range, but there were few fights that I felt were honestly tough. You get a character that can heal right from the start and most battles didn’t require much strategic or tactical thought. You can create certain combos with your characters that they will pull off, but I never felt the time spent setting them up was worth actually using them, especially when I was flying through battles so easily. The one good thing that comes from this is the lack of grinding you will need to do. This is a bit weird since one feature allows you to essentially change what items drop in a dungeon, something that would go great with a grinding-type game. Unfortunately, unless you want to go search for a particular item to fulfil a quest, the feature is mainly useless. The small cut scenes for ability use in battle is a nice touch and the enemies you face will definitely be unique; I just wish the combat was more difficult.
In a game like this, you may think that a lot of exploring would be required, but all that exploring will be done through a menu system on the map that teleports you to the proper place (namely the main cities or dungeons). I would have liked to see more of the world as the art and the map itself intrigued me. If I could have run around even certain areas in the game to talk to people instead of it all being done with a menu system, I would have been extremely happy. With that said, there are still some positive things that come out of the interactions with other characters. For one, the game is almost entirely voice acted both in Japanese or English. I always check out both options when they are given and I actually found myself liking the English voice acting more for once. I also liked how conversations were handled with both characters next to each other on the screen on a static background. There is a slight movement to the characters as they breathe, but I found myself wondering if that was done solely to show the character’s chests moving up and down slowly…which brings me to the next bit.
What would a Hyperdimension Neptunia game be without fan service? Mere moments after the game’s outset, the first slice of fan service rears its head. Your first interaction with a few of the characters sees them tied up by “tentacle things”, all the while they are posed in sexy positions, their breasts jiggle, and the camera makes sure to give the best view of their bodies. One particular shot even made me laugh out loud as three characters are shown tied up next to each other, and all have a pained (but more sexy) look on their face, and are looking directly into the camera. I’m used to seeing some sort of fan service in anime or manga, but I was taken aback when presented with these characters for the first time in such a manner. While some games, shows, or manga are very aware of themselves and clearly have fan service moments very on purpose with even the characters commenting on it, I didn’t see much of that in Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation. No, instead it seemed to be fan service for the sake of fan service, and there’s quite a bit of it throughout the game. None of this will be new to fans of the series of course, but I think it’s worth bringing up regardless. When a game makes two characters kiss to “share their power”, or the ending scene after a battle has a character falling to the ground for a perfect upskirt shot…well, it will be a bit much for some people. I don’t think that the fan service in Hyperdimension takes away from how good of a game it is, but it’s just something to be aware of prior to purchasing.
If you’re wondering what is different in this remake, look no further! Here is the list of changes you can find in the Vita version.
- You can jump in dungeons! It does absolutely nothing, but it’s cute!
- Those that hated the only ending in the PS3 version will find a new “Holy” ending here that can be obtained
- Nisa and Gust will not appear in the game, but the oracles will be playable and Red from the first game will return
- A new character, Stella, can be sent to dungeons to find items for you in a type of mini game that runs even when the system is of
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation will definitely keep you busy for a good amount of time on your commute or vacation. If you like anime, are fine with fan service moments, and the unique premise sounds great to you, then this is likely the game for you. There is also a limited edition version which comes with the game, a desktop calendar (that you’ll likely be forced to keep at home, not work), a soundtrack, a collector’s box, and a reversible cover sleeve art. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation may be best on paper, but it is still another good offering for the PlayStation Vita. The remake adds enough to the PS3 version to make it worthwhile and it can definitely be a starting out point for those new to the series, or those looking for a new Vita game.[review]