In Gamindustri, there are four different lands, rule by four different goddesses known as CPUs. They are Purple Heart, Black Heart, Green Heart, and White Heart. They are battling against each other for a very long time in Celestia, with their battle named as Console Wars. In their last battle, all goddesses except Purple Hearts were instructed by an unknown voice and teamed up against Purple Heart. They successfully defeated her, and send her back to the lower world in her human form, known as Neptune. Neptune was saved by a nurse trainee, Compa, and traveled all over the four lands to discover her memories back.
This game's story is rewritten from the first game, with some new characters implemented in the game as well as some new plot elements. NPCs in this game now have character portraits, a notable difference to allow us to understand the NPCs better.
Characters in the game are quite interesting, with a variety of characters like Neptune, Noire, Blanc, Vert, IF, and many others. Many of these characters also represent a specific game company and even one of them represents a video game series. My favourite characters are all four goddesses as well as MAGES., Tekken and Falcom. Not only because they have interesting designs, they also have interesting personalities.
1) Progression and Exploration Section
This game plays like previous HDN games. First of all, all you need to do is to roam over the World Map and interact at any important icons labelled as Events. Events may occur at both cities or dungeons. Most of the time, you will need to go to dungeons and fight the bosses to progress.
A new feature in this game is called Remake system. Remake system allows you to manipulate battle conditions, create items, create new dungeons or create weapons via plans. Plans can be obtained by talking to NPCs that pop up on the World Map from time to time, or in the cities and dungeons as well. It is recommended to spend some time to create new items or alter battle conditions to give you an advantage in battle.
The catch to create stuffs from the plans is that you need to spend some Storage Space and materials. For example, a Nep Bull can be created by spending 1MB and some materials.
Quests also return in this game, where it allows you to manipulate shares for different landmasses. Quests objectives usually either defeating certain enemies in a specific number or by getting a certain amount of materials. Materials can be obtained by finding them in harvest points in dungeons or defeating enemies. Like previous games, shares also affect the endings in the game.
Dungeon exploration is also the same with previous games, where you can control your characters freely in dungeons to explore, fight enemies, and initiate Event scenes.
2) Customisation and Upgrading Section
Equipment such as weapons and accessories can be bought from Shops. New items and weapons will be added as you progress in the game and when you completed Plans. Buy them as soon as possible to gain advantage in battles.
Before battles, you can customise each character's combo lists, such as three slots for either Rush Combo, Power Combo, or Guard Break Combo. Each move has a certain CP cost, and you can allocate any moves as long as you have enough CP.
You gain experience by defeating enemies. As each girl levels up, they will gain stats upgrades and occasionally new moves. Any characters that are not used in battle will still obtain experience points.
3) Combat Section
Battles will start when you strike an enemy or if you come in contact with enemies. If you strike an enemy on screen in a dungeon first, you may start the battle first. This is a turn-based RPG, so each character or enemy must use a turn to do some action, such as attacking or moving on the battlefield. Like the previous games, reducing enemies' Guard gauge will lower their defenses and you can strike at them harder.
Enemies come in a variety of abilities and stats, and tougher enemies will appear in later dungeons. Level grinding is recommended to avoid issues, especially before fighting bosses. Each girl in this game have different stats and skills, where you need to experiment with each of them to see which one is the best character to use in certain battles.
There are three main skills that you may use in battle, which are SP Skills, EXE Drive skills, and Combo Skills. SP Skills require you to use a certain amount of SP, and there is a variety of them used by all characters in the game such as stat boosting and healing. EXE Drive skills are the ultimate attacks used by the girls, and they consume the EXE Drive gauge. The gauge is filled by attacking enemies. Combo Skills are the finisher of using normal combo attacks using either Rush move, Guard Break move, or Power move.
Some characters in this game can transform using the HDD command at the expense of a certain amount of SP. This command allows them to have better stats and access to have powered up EXE Drive Skills or SP Skills.
Lily Ranks also return in this game, where you can pair up a front row character with a back row character, giving her some new passive abilities. Lily Rank is increased by fighting battles alongside her, and they may gain access to newer abilities.
4) Gameplay Conclusion
I like the gameplay a lot, and I personally it is way better than the original game's gameplay. However, I feel that this game lacks originality to make it stand out from Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory. Regardless, the gameplay still makes this game as one of the best in Hyperdimension Neptunia series, on par with Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory.
The graphics is totally similar with Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 or Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory's graphics, but it looks much more fitting in the smaller screen. Framerate is a bit problematic in the game while exploring dungeons, but it is still better than the last two games on the PS3. Character portraits during cutscenes are great as usual, and the CG images in this game are very well-done. 3D character models feel similar with the previous games.
One issue I have is the many reused enemy models in this game, which are present in other HDN games. I sincerely hope that Compile Heart and Idea Factory will put more effort in creating more original enemy models in upcoming games.
This game uses some new music themes as well as reusing many themes from previous games like Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory and Hyperdimension Neptunia. Again, the soundtrack is much more pleasant than the original game's soundtrack, such as much more energetic normal battle theme. The opening and ending songs are also catchy. Unfortunately, not enough new music themes to call this game a totally original remake from the first game in the series.
Voice acting is present in both English and Japanese. Like I mentioned before in my previous HDN games reviews, I prefer the English voice acting as they do not sound generic and sound much more natural. Also, there is some improvement in the voice acting compared to the original game.
Although the game does not have extensively high replay value like Final Fantasy games, this game still has good replay value, where you can obtain four hidden characters, obtain a secret ending, and defeat the game's optional bosses.
I personally think this game is a great game to play on the PS Vita console. What makes this game stand out from others is the clever homage or references to various games and companies, with an easy-to-learn gameplay. The story is also an amazing improvement compared to the original game, with a well-written dialogue and great humour. Unfortunately, this game reused many game assets from previous games that it makes me feel difficult to call this game an overwhelmingly great remake. However, this game is still good, and I personally think this is a great RPG on PS Vita.
Final Score: 7.5/10 or 32/40
Pros and Cons
- Improved storyline from the first game.
- Improved gameplay from the first game
- Well-written and funny dialogue.
- Funny game references.
- Easy-to-learn and fun combat.
- Challenging enemies and bosses.
- Nice animations when using SP Skills and EXE Drive skills.
- Great music.
- Pretty character portraits.
- Nifty Remake system.
- Dual audio.
- Reuse of many game assets like character models, enemy models and music.
- Boring dungeon designs.
- Graphics could be improved.
- Requires some excessive level grinding for certain chapters
- Improved but still minor framerate issues when exploring dungeons.