Hyperdimension Neptunia mk. 2 Review

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“You damn fodder enemies! I’ll crush you so flat the players will think you’re 2D monsters!”

“Uh oh, Iffy snapped! She broke the fourth wall!”

What if there was a game where consoles and video game publishers were represented by young cute anime girls fighting evil across the game industry? If your first thought was, “Uhhhh, no thanks,” then this game is not for you. But if you thought, “Hmmmm, that could be kind of fun,” well then you are in luck.

Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 is the second entry in the very niche Hyperdimension Neptunia series. The series is set in the fictional land of Gamindustri which is cared for by four CPU Goddesses. Neptune rules over the land of Planeptune, Vert over Leanbox, Blanc rules Lowee, and Noire heads up Lastation. Picking up on the theme yet? These four goddess’ are the stars of the first game, but take a side character role in mk2. Instead, the leads of mk2 are the CPU Candidates who are the heirs to their kingdoms (a play on the hand held video game market).

Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 opens with the four CPU goddess’ trapped in the Gamindustri Graveyard, where the old and forgotten goddess (consoles) go to rest forever. A criminal syndicate known as ASIC has trapped them to promote piracy throughout the lands of Gamindustri. Nepgear, the younger sister to Neptune launches a hopeless rescue attempt and is easily defeated by CFW Judge. She manages to escape With the goddess’ trapped, ASIC seems poised to flood the world with pirated goods, but they seem to have a different motive than simply flooding the world with pirated material.

Nepgear travels back to Planeptune to recover her strength and launch another rescue attempt to bring back Neptune and the other goddess’. She is quickly joined by her friends IF and Compa as the three set out to defeat ASIC and bring peace back to Gamindustri.

Mk2’s story is nothing grand, or even good. The story simply acts as a vessel to insert as many jokes and references towards the video game industry as possible. Every single character is some sort of personification of either a game developer/publisher or a console and the locations in the game do the same thing. For example, on your quest, you will come across Atari Marsh, and Midgard. One disappointing aspect of the story is the fact that it really doesn’t have much to say about piracy. It attempts to debate the pros and cons before a certain boss fight, but it feels so out of place for a game that doesn’t take anything seriously. The debate wasn’t even that well done anyway as it literally became an argument over whether or not people can enjoy things they didn’t buy. We all know the answer to that already.

The manner in which the story is told is part of another problem. The game feels very disjointed. Events take place in a visual novel type format where portraits of the characters appear on screen with the text underneath them. Where in every visual novel, the person talking will be on screen, this is not the case in mk2. Nepgear and Uni (the CPU Candidate of Lastation) might be talking to IF and Compa but only Nepgear and Nisa are on screen. This means the person talking is not always on the screen leading to some confusion as to who is talking.

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Another issue contributing to the disjointed feeling is the Chirper system. Much like Twitter, when you visit the capital cities, the NPCs and characters will Chirp their thoughts. Some of these Chirps lead to secret items and events. The problem is with the events which happen out of chronological order. A character may wish for something to happen in a Chirper scene, but that event has already happened. It’s like the character had already forgotten about it. As long as you visit the towns often and check the Chirper constantly, the problem can be avoided.

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By checking these Chirper events out though, you can increase the affection your party members have towards you. While I found no bonus for doing so, it is necessary to have high affection from your party members to achieve the True Ending. It’s a shame that the events are typically pointless and boring. Every character is one dimensional, so we never see any sort of complex character growth or any sort of growth in general (outside of breast size… I’m not even joking). This makes for a funny, but uninteresting cast of characters.

Another key factor in getting the true ending is the Shares systems. By completing Guild Quests (side missions) you can increase and decrease the popularity of the nations in the game. For example, going out and defeating 5 Horsebirds may increase Planeptune’s shares by 10, but decrease Lowee’s shares by 10. By getting each nations shares up to a certain number, you can unlock new characters and more events as well as getting a True Ending.

As is typical with JRPGs, there is an economy in place where you can buy, sell, and create items. Item creation is flat out useless and you will never really run out of money (and even if you do, there is free DLC that will net you over 3,000,000 credits). Buying items will basically be limited to healing and revive items as well as weapons. Armor and charms can easily be found in dungeons or as rewards for quests.

The battle system of mk2 is by far, the best part of the game. It’s your typical turn based battle system with free movement and attack ranges. Your basic attacks are divided into 3 separate buttons. Triangle is your weak, multiple hit attack, square performs your heavy attacks, and X takes care of your Break attacks.

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Each enemy has a Guard Break Bar. By using break attacks, you can try and take out all of the enemy’s break points. By doing so, the enemy will have lower defense and end up taking extra damage.

Your attacks take up AP which regenerate each turn. For example, stringing together 3 rush attacks may use up 60 AP. If you have more AP, you can continue attacking, or stop attacking and carry over AP to the next turn. Every time you hit and enemy, you will gain SP. SP is required, along with AP, for special attacks. Want to summon the creator of Mega Man from the skies to shoot a laser out of his mouth?

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Better save your SP and AP. With careful planning, you can launch extra long combos and cause massive damage to your enemy. For a certain boss, I spent about 10 turns building up my AP and SP, then launched a massive 81 hit combo that caused well over 200,000 damage to the boss and ended the battle that very turn.

You can also hit multiple enemies at once with the free movement and ranged attack system in place. When it is your turn, you have a set area that you can move in. By positioning yourself, you can hit multiple enemies at once with your attacks. The enemies can also do the same to you, and bosses can easily end a battle in one turn if you bunch your party members up. However, if they are too far apart, the won’t be able to support each other with items and magic. It’s a good thing the battle system is so fun, since all their is to do in the game is battle.

You will constantly have to replay the same dungeons over and over for side quests and level grinding if you want to keep up with the sometimes over powered bosses. The grinding nature of the game will deter some, but rest assured, because the battle system is so fun, and the battles are fast paced, you will find that level grinding doesn’t hurt the flow of the game (unlike the story-telling).

While Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 fails in terms of a good story and interesting characters, it is held up by solid turn based battles and plenty of humor. Not all of the humor lands, but the more into gaming you are, the more enjoyment you’ll find in the humor. If you don’t mind the over the top fan service and dull story, and just want a solid battle system that you can relax and play, this game is for you. If you are looking for an actual good game, this is not the game for you.

I enjoyed this game, but only as a game I could simply sit back and turn my mind off. I didn’t question ethics or my role in the universe. I just enjoyed this simple, fun JRPG.

Overall: 6.5/10

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Posted on May 24, 2013, in Video Games and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I’ll note that not every VN actually has character sprites; there’s even a No Character Sprites tag on vndb.

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