Hello and Welcome to my review of Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 made by Idea Factory, Compile Heart, and Felistella, and published by Idea Factory at least in America. Normally that’s just simple information but in this game, let’s just say we’re going to see personifications of two of these companies, well not even just these.
Hyperdimension Neptunia is a long-running series, spanning over ten games so far, focused on a universe where the video game consoles are humanoid Goddesses embroiled in a major Console War. If it sounds interesting, then starting with Re;Birth 1 is the right step with it being a remake of the original game, originally made for the Playstation Vita, Playstation 3 and 4, Windows currently.
The idea of this game sounds compelling so I gladly picked up this game and wanted to see what it’s about, but before we go on, please consider subscribing and liking this video, it’ll help me grow the channel and I would appreciate that. Thanks for listening
With the interesting idea that needs to be talked about with the story, but the core of the idea is this is the world of Gamindustri, which is the universe that has four consoles battling it out for supremacy, like I said we’ll get into it in a couple of minutes.
But let’s talk about the graphics to start with and it’s clear that Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 takes inspiration from anime, manga, visual novels. The style of dialogue delivered here is clear.
From there, though there are two different art styles at work for the characters in this game. The first one for our main character, named Neptune, which is a loli, which is a fetish focused on underaged girls, or at least girls who look underage. At least, in this case, it is a young-looking female with … well, a flat chest. I know not every flat-chested girl is a loli, but the fact is I think many girls in the game would fit into that fetish if you will, they at least look and act youngish.
On the other hand, well, there’s busty women everywhere, Compa for instance, as well as most of the goddesses in their goddess form, and of course Noire and Vert in their human form. Don’t worry I’ll try to explain all of this in a bit. Just be prepared for overly sexualized characters and that’s what you will see here. Nothing wrong with that. There’s not much between these two stereotypes. Characters seem to have either an A cup or a D cup.
Again, please don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with either of these sizes, but there’s NO middle ground. The game even gets into this topic later on and straight-up has characters focused on this. Probably some of the developers choosing to personify themselves flat out telling people what they like.
I haven’t talked about the men and… that’s because there really aren’t men in the game. The only two memorable male characters have that discussion about women’s breasts. Actually, they have it multiple times. They like them big, that’s… their whole story, in fact, when one character changes from her loli version to her busty version they start paying attention to her. Ugh.
The other men here are businessmen and are evil in the story. But so little time is focused on them. This is a very female-dominated game, and it works in that way, some male presence might have been interesting, or an explanation of why everyone is female. Just an opinion of course.
As this is an RPG there are several areas, and players are going to fight many different enemies. While the game is based on the idea of being part of the game industry, it’s a shame because only a few of these areas have much to do with the game industry. There are a couple of clever locations, like the one on the screen. Tetromino sometimes appears, pipes from Mario, and such, but this is a rarity. Most of the time the enemies are just generic enemies from RPG, Robot, giant Whale, Bigger robot, fox. Whatever assets the game had. It’s a shame because this could have been more clever with its enemy design.
Also, the level design itself does get reused often. If you enter a factory you’ll see a specific design, whether it be the first or the fifth factory in the game. This field is used at least twice. Many areas are copied and placed from similar locations. There are several locations in the game, but there’s also a lot of reuse of the designs of the location, and that is a bit of a shame.
Really with the idea of the game being “Console War” I expected a little more novelty or cleverness in the design of the graphics and sadly that’s not here. It doesn’t go deep enough into this idea, either as a spoof, or a style that makes it work, and it’s a shame because it lets down much of the look of the game outside of the story.
Though I did mention Console Wars there, and sure enough that’s the core of the story here. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 at the very least is about a world named Gamindustri as I mentioned. At its core is the world of Celestia, where four goddesses for four different consoles battle it out for supremacy and fight for control of shares. That’s the idea at the beginning of the game as you’ll see, and it works while the game focuses on it.
Our main character, Neptune, is based on a failed console named the Sega Neptune. Small gaming history with it is that it’s a Sega Genesis paired with a 32x in the same device. Wonder why that didn’t work out.
Still, our main character is named Neptune. The other three goddesses… well, there’s Lowee’s goddess, White Heart, Lastation’s goddess, Black Heart, and LeanBox’s the very busty, Green Heart. And yes, if you didn’t catch that. Lowee, The Wii, Lastation, Playstation, and of course Leanbox… Xbox. Color schemes make this rather obvious. This idea works, at least in theory.
But like I mentioned that’s about all that the game does with the Console Wars. Even the wars part of the game is lackluster, Neptune goes around befriends each goddess after getting amnesia and then fights big bad evil, like every RPG. It’s a shame because the concept of this game is so interesting but it’s not delivered on.
Each goddess has a human form as well, so Neptune is Purple Heart, Green Heart is Vert, Black Heart is Noire, and White Heart is Blanc. Yeah, it’s the same theme as before. Though when they do transform into a different form and … yeah many of them get busty. Yeah, I’m trying not to make the whole review about this but… it’s in your face. Sadly not a joke.
There are 6 major characters, we have four video game consoles, which are interesting, who could the last two be… The other two are named Compa and IF… Remember when I said there would be personifications of the companies. Yeah IF, Idea Factory, that’s a bit on the nose. Though as I wrote this review, I realized, Compa, a nurse, focused on healing…. Compile Heart. I’m only sad it took me this long.
Those are the six main characters of the game, and the style of the story feels like an anime. Most notably, there’s a lot of filler here. Many silly gags appear that work but feel that they don’t go anywhere. Neptune names everyone with silly names, such as IF becoming Iffy and such. Part of this feels like playing into the little girl’s idea of loli, the character acts young, uses nicknames, is called Nep Nep.. She eats pudding and only talks about that as food. These are all tropes used in anime and manga, and that’s fine.
There are also several fourth-wall-breaking gags such as saying no one wants to read a wall of text. Though spoilers, they certainly have walls of text all over the place too. Many of these jokes though, just jump between styles pretty fast. There’s always something humorous about the dialogue but four-wall jokes start for a while, then a switch to discussions of if Nep and Noire are friends or not.
This random style of dialogue can get tiresome after a while especially for how long the game is, at least thirty hours, and my playthrough was closer to forty. There’s a lot of filler in this story and it’s a shame because at times the game can be pretty funny, interesting and great. But after very long dialogue segments, I questioned the purpose.
Several characters come out of nowhere and have very little discussion of them. These include Tekken… yes, Tekken just Tekken a fighting girl, a MAGES that’s M A G E S all caps, who’s a magician… of course, and Broccoli a girl who rides a slime. I hope you aren’t interested in these characters. Who are they? What are they? Where did they come from? Well, that’s the thing, they all come from later games in the series.
This is a remake of the original game of the series, so it’s a good place to start, but fan service is quite heavy here, and… I still know nothing about almost half of the playable characters here because it’s just fan service for fans of the series. There are even references to other games that… I mean, come on. Really?
There’s also other weird stuff. Iffy, hooks up with Vert our Green Goddess, who’s a gamer, at the drop of a hat. Now, remember this is the personification of the publisher and the personification of the Xbox… wut? Oh yeah, it’s also a Japanese Publisher and the Xbox… with a game series that hasn’t been on the Xbox… Awkward.
Yeah this is very weird, and it’s not that I hate the idea of this, but there’s no build-up. Iffy is clearly interested in Vert, and they … start making romantic faces at each other about a minute after the meeting. At least spend a little time on the idea.
It is probably not surprising that if that’s skimped on there’s not a lot of character development at times, or at least much of what happens isn’t done well. The story pushes on but many times it feels like it’s just moving chess pieces rather than building a stronger narrative.
So that’s a bit sad, but let’s look at the gameplay.
This is, of course, a pure RPG. You’ll run around kill enemies, and level up. If you’ve played an RPG you’re not going to be too confused by this, and if you haven’t, there’s a decent tutorial at the beginning.
The big thing in this game is there’s an interesting free move battle system that has characters move and position themselves as necessary, though I did have a few issues with this. The game doesn’t always give the player the way to find an optimal move. If there are three enemies perfectly set up to be hit by a single attack, players will sometimes have to move around over and over to line up that perfect hit, and it’s mostly just rotating a character back and forth until the bounding box of the attack hits all three enemies. At times it feels like the player’s attack can’t touch all three, but suddenly they’ll be in the right position and the attack can go through. It becomes a bit frustrating to do at times.
Besides, it’s not clear what attacks an enemy might have or if the players are in a position where they can get attacked. Some enemies might have a bigger area of effect attacks, and even after seeing that attack, players aren’t given good intel on the optimal place to stand.
There is still a ton left in this system, however. There are quite a few abilities and systems, but before too long it becomes entirely too much content for players. There are so many pieces here. There are party makeup, friendship levels, positioning of character, combo attacks, attacks that trigger if your EXE level is high enough, EXE skills which are something different, and the HDD forms, the transforming I mentioned before.
After finishing the game, I still can’t tell why multi-hit attacks are significantly better to use in any situation other than just for a combo number. Maybe it’s for better EXE development, but it’s hardly the only piece of the game that I lack full knowledge of. This is the type of game that really could benefit from a longer tutorial, such as the Tales Series that continues to teach players piece of the game, fifteen or twenty hours into the game. Here, if the game gave at least ten hours it could develop deeper concepts but instead, it quickly ushers you out the door with barely any information.
The one system that really doesn’t work is the virus system. Some enemies will become viral after a turn. If that happens, they regain full health, and hit harder, have higher defense, effectively becoming a mini-boss, however, there’s no benefit to beating them in this form.
It’s extra frustrating because if you die, the game is over and you lose all your progress. There’s not even an autosave feature so if you forgot to save when you entered a dungeon, a couple of hours can be lost quickly. It also doesn’t help that sometimes you’re supposed to lose certain battles.
Similarly, many bosses are strong. There’s always a save spot right before a boss at the very least. Besides, this isn’t just a skills test. Many bosses recover health and guard damage, a system that allows you to break their guard and rack up even more damage, so unless you hit a certain threshold, you’re out of luck.
Well, it’s time for that old RPG chestnut. Grinding. You’ll have to kill enemies over and over, and gather experience. There are guides on where to power level, but I always ask the same thing. Is power leveling essential to the game? In Hyperdimension Neptunia’s case as well as almost any game, the answer is no. It’s just a way to artificially lengthen the game, and in Hyperdimension Neptunia’s case, it’s not a very interesting system. There’s plenty of optional dungeons and systems that could be combined to create a better experience. That’s right, there are optional dungeons, and not just one or two but at least five if not more dungeons that can be added to the game.
The way to get optional content is through a Plan system, this is another system that is offered and not required, however it is one that could have been a major reason to like the game. Players can find loot as they search through the world, and use those items to develop plans. There might be a new dungeon that requires a few items, executing the plan gives you access to the dungeon. Each dungeon also has a Plan for adding enemies and finding different items and yes, this is where it gets more complicated.
It sounds great, but it’s a system that has a ton to do, such as finding different plans for new items, dungeons, and modes to the game. There’s even a Plan for an “easy” and “hard” difficulty. Not a bad choice for the game, but finding enough objects to do many of the plans became such a large chore that didn’t feel as fun as it was initially. Though getting Easy mode was appreciated, it didn’t make the game simple.
Finally, I do have to mention that Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 does have a lot of DLC. None of it is required, but it again is fan service. I somehow had one piece and found ultra-powerful characters that felt like they unbalanced the game when I first used them. I ended up not using them, but I also didn’t recognize them. Each one appears to come from another game in the series but doesn’t have a story element for them.
That’s Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1. I don’t want to go too much deeper because this is already a long review. There’s so much in this game, that at times I feel like they could have just removed about half of the game and refocused the other half on the theme of “video games” or “console wars” and made for a stronger experience. The writing is fine just a little scattershot, but the battle system is absolutely overflowing with ideas and concepts, to the point that I think many new fans will get overwhelmed.
This is definitely a game for the RPG fan, and there’s a lot of content here. But it’s going to be inaccessible to many gamers. The style of the game, that anime style is really important here, and it’s what people are playing for. It’s just strange to me that the concept of the game, the console war is used so lightly here because that’s the piece that any gamer will recognize and enjoy.
I’m giving Hyperdimension Neptunia a
The fact is this is decent for an RPG but short of being great, still enjoyable though. However personal opinion time, I probably won’t be reviewing another of these games, at least not an RPG from them. I found this game a touch too long, a little too random and man, grinding is a pet peeve now.
If you want a long game, there’s a LOT you can do here, and it’s perfect for that, you also can get it wicked cheap, but I wasn’t a huge fan of this one and while I recommend it, personally I’m just disappointed in the game not leaning as heavily into this idea of a game about video games. Oh well.
That’s Hyperdimension Neptunia, if you’ve liked anything on the screen, it’s probably a game for you. Though if you liked the video don’t forget to subscribe and hit the like button. I appreciate as always.
I have a video on Grinding, but I’ve made my opinion clear, so instead, I will pop up a video on Disgaea 5, a great game, as well as Tales of Berseria. These are both long games, longer than Hyperdimension Neptunia, but solid games. Check those out.
And Until next time, I’m Kinglink and thank you for watching.