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Game Guys review - Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory

9:16 PM, Apr 10, 2013   |    comments
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  • 'Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory', a PS3-exclusive title.
  • 'Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory', a PS3-exclusive title.

When NIS America released the first of what would become three Hyperdimension Neptunia video games a couple of years ago, it was a fresh and light-hearted take on video game fanboyism with female idols taking the roles of the major video game consoles of Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.  The player took the role of Neptunia, who represents the former SEGA game consoles.  The second game, Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2, repeated the formula with mixed results when it swapped personifications of home consoles for handhelds.

Now, with Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory, developers Compile Heart and Idea Factory are at it again - this time with Neptunia going back in time to a representation of the video game industry in 1989.  With it comes a handful of changes to the series.  Some are for the better, but most seem like change for the sake of change.

To catch those up who are unfamiliar with this property, the Hyperdimension Neptunia games take place in the land of Gamindustri.  As mentioned before, Neptunia gets transported into the past to prevent an evil group known as the Seven Sages from destroying the now much younger goddesses.  The tongue-and-cheek personifications of the goddesses and the game's various side characters extend to the Sages as well and one need not look any further than the Sage called Pirachu (read: Pikachu parody), who is a rat and the self-proclaimed mascot of the group.

Victory's plot and overall story is, to say the least, fairly weak.  To the writer's credit, however, it's strong enough and moves at a well enough pace that it somehow holds itself together.  The game's light-hearted humor and doses of fan service help quite a lot because, like the two HN games before it, Victory feels very much like a game by gamers for gamers to celebrate and parody video gaming as a whole.

The battle system featured in Victory is very similar to that used in the previous games, though users can use items at will in battle whereas they couldn't in the first (which was a major gripe at the time).  This time around, however, players have the option of performing either standard or special attacks and are given a degree of in-battle freedom as characters can now move around rather than the genre-standard of good guys on one side and bad guys on the other.  As far as actually executing attacks, they're performed using an overly simplistic combo system in which players choose individual actions mapped to three of the PS3 controller's four command buttons with each said action taking CP (players only get so much CP each go-around).  Ultimately, the player will discover which combinations do the most damage and will tend to just repeat that action whenever possible, taking away most any semblance of strategy Victory had.  While overall the battle system is pleasant, it eventually feels cheap and doesn't simply isn't as well executed as it could have been.

A nice thing with Victory is that there doesn't appear to be much of a need for grinding, which is a major complaint heard from players of RPGs in general.  Level progression flows rather well through the game's standard assortment of encounters and most of what's unlocked through advancement proves useful more often than not.  

One final item of note when it comes to the actual playing of this game is it's length.  At roughly 40 hours, there is plenty of play value to be had with Victory.  Sure, RPGs do tend to be lengthy affairs, but players will feel that it's time well spent with an ending satisfactory enough to justify the time spent getting there.

Outdated.  That's probably the best word to describe the visual presentation of Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory.  While the game meshes well graphically with its predecessors, it seems that there was been little-to-no evolution in the appearance of the game's characters, the environments, or its presentation as a whole.  One would have hoped that, as the games continued to come out, the graphics would have gone up in quality rather than staying stagnant.  Audio-wise, it's a slightly better affair.  Voice overs are still a little over-acted, but of good quality.  The game's soundtrack is rather standard for a game out of Compile Heart and would fit just fine in most modern animes as it does this video game.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory can best be described as a mixed experience.  Mechanically, it's better overall than the first title even if some of the changes made this time around keep mk2 the best of the bunch gameplay-wise.  The lack of progression with the series' graphics from game to game is disappointing, but Victory proves that the series' mediocre story and can yet again be overcome by its cheeky presentation.  Those who live, breath, and sleep video games will probably give this game the appreciation it deserves.  Those who aren't so die-hard or simply hadn't played the previous HN titles might find it hard to maintain interest.

15/25 13/25 17/25 23/25 68/100

Version tested: PlayStation 3

(NISA supplied a copy of this game for review.)


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