Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 ReviewJenny Wagner
Have you ever secretly wondered what your favorite game console would look if it was a cute Anime girl? Wonder no more thanks to the Hyperdimension Neptunia series! The Neptunia series was developed by Idea Factory and its subsidiary Compile Heart. It was published in America by NIS. The companies have met before, in games such as Trinity Universe and Cross Edge (both for the PlayStation 3). NIS should also sound very familiar to JRPG fans as the publisher of the highly successful Disegea series.
Like its predecessor, mk2 also centers around the personification of video game consoles and the console wars. The first game started with fighting among the four goddesses who each represent a game console. The first (and main charter of the game) was Neptunia, whose name comes from the canceled Sega Neptune system. The other three goddess are Noire (the PlayStation 3), Vert (Microsoft Xbox 360) and Blanc (Nintendo Wii). Since this war has been going nowhere for a while, one goddess was sent away, and it ended up being Neptunia. She was tossed into the world of Gameindustri (see what they did there) which is divided in four regions: Planeptune (Sega), Lastation (Sony), Lowee (Microsoft), and Leanbox (Nintendo). With the help of Compa and If, she visits each Basilicom. Compa is derived from Compile Heart (and wears the logo) and If is derived from Idea Factory.
The game plays like most other story based adventure games by Idea Factory. A lot of time is spent reading. The rest is traversing 3D dungeons fighting randomly encountered monsters, finding treasure chests, and reaching the boss. The combat is a turn-based system, where each character on screen has "AP" points to spend on attacks and special abilities.
Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 takes place in an "alternate reality" where Neptunia's younger sister, Nepgear and represents the Sega Game Gear. There is also Uni, who is a personified Sony PSP and Ram and Rom who together, represents the Nintendo DS. Nepgear goes off to save the world from the evil ASIC, and from there the story kind of lost me. When I hear "alternate reality" when going into a squeal, I'm not very excited.
A lot stays intact from the original such as the turned-based battle and dungeon exploration. Yet, few things change for the better. For example, monsters wander the dungeons, so the random encounter element is out the window. Chipper is also introduced, a play on Twitter, which lets us know what the NPC's are abuzz about... because we care about that. Things also went from quirky and silly to down right sexual in the squeal. The puns and jokes are a lot more provocative, which I found a bit odd and out of place.
I can't help but find the game mediocre. The idea of personified video game stuff is neat, but it's way to "cute girl" infested. If you're hoping for a male playable character, you're looking at the wrong game. There is not one. The upgraded art, and couple of other tweaks to the game are nice, but it just was not enough to save it. If you loved games similar to this like Trinity Universe, you'll get some enjoyment out of Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2. Yet, if you are looking for a game to bring you into the JRPG universe, you may want to try a different title. These games are middle of the road, enjoyable to fans of the genre, but not a game for everyone.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.