Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2

Players: 1
Publisher: NIS America
Genres: RPG
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Developer: Idea Factory and Compile Heart
MSRP: $49.99
Platforms:
Return to the world of Gameindustri once again and assist Neptune's little sister, Nepgear, in rescuing the Goddesses of gaming from an evil criminal syndicate, looking to bring production of the industry to a screeching halt! Assisted by Tetris blocks, exploding penguins, and pixilated space invaders, you have the power of gaming on your side!

I like Idea Factory. I like Compile Heart. They make some really interesting games that unfortunately often end with mixed results. The original Hyperdimension Neptunia was one of those mixed bags. It was fun, and had some funny parodies of the game industry as a whole, but at the end of the day, its combat and menu systems were way too complicated for even an experienced RPG player to wrap their head around, myself included. Now, one would expect a sequel to a game like that to identify the problems of the original, improve on them, and make a wholly more enjoyable experience. So, is this a sequel that manages to pull this off?

YES! YES IT DOES!

PROS Funny commentary on the game industry, pokes fun at itself and others, virtually no level grinding, really simple and fun battle system… and implied lesbianism
CONS Lots of fetch quests, kinda cheap-looking, not many extras, unnecessarily squicky fanservice… and implied lesbianism
WTF?! Evil mechanical pedo-dragon… and LOTS of implied lesbianism

I shall start this review off by saying that no, you don’t have to have finished the first game to know what’s going on here, because this game isn’t so much a sequel as it is an alternate timeline. Same world, same characters, just slightly altered circumstances. Anyway, the story is thus: For three years, the world of Gamindustrie has been falling apart. Each of the four countries (Planeptune, Lowee, Lastation, and Leanbox) have lost their goddesses, known as CPUs, and an evil criminal organization known as ASIC has emerged to wreak havoc. In the absence of their goddesses, and the promises of free games forever, people turned away from the practices of their own countries and became pirates who worship ASIC and their own goddess, Afoire. Little do they realize that the true goddesses are being held captive in the Gamindustrie Graveyard.

After a botched rescue mission where only Neptune’s sister Nepgear, a shy and inept CPU candidate, was rescued, she and a small group of friends set off to recruit the aid of each country’s mascot character, oracle, and CPU candidate… before ASIC totally takes over the world and turns it into a land of total piracy and anarchy.

This obvious commentary on the state of the game industry runs throughout the entire game, but trust me, it is a lot better in practice than I make it sound. Rather than being an overly preachy plea for people to stop pirating game software, everything is played for laughs and comedy, and quite effectively so. One of my favorite exchanges is a scene where two characters actually discuss the morality of using emulators for older, outdated systems. Pretty much everything in the game is a reference to another game, or meme, from enemies resembling pixilated space invaders, to even the names of the countries themselves, and no one is spared from Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2‘s scope of parody.

Say hi to 5pb and Nisa. Those names sound familiar, don't they?

This includes the characters as well, who are either personifications of third party game developers (to name a few: If, Gust, Compa, Nisa, you get the picture) or are original characters that reflect specific ideological stereotypes some people associate with a particular system. For example, Lastation’s goddess, Vert, is stacked like a freaking brick house, reflecting its ‘sexy’ image. Lowee’s CPU and CPU candidates are all children, reflecting a family friendly image. Not only are they meant to be analogues for certain companies or consoles, but every character is also saddled with a personality that is a very typical archetype for a game character. You have the nurse, the tomboy, the superheroine, the alchemist, the twins, the reluctant hero, among others and the list goes on. Of course, it is all played for comedy, and characters frequently break the fourth wall (followed by quickly burning its remnants) when calling each other out on their quirks and flaws.

This does lead to the problem of the characters not really having much in the way of development, however. At best, the attempts at fleshing out the characters can be described as ‘cute’ and at worst, it’s just really annoying. Not that there needs to be much development for a story that is essentially one giant parody, but there are moments where the game attempts to break its lightheartedness for the sake of drama, and it just drags the whole experience down. These moments are few and far between, though, so it is forgivable, but you will want to have that auto-skip button on standby when our heroes decide to make a big dramatic speech.

Just another day on the message boards.

In terms of gameplay, as I stated in the intro to this review, everything has been simplified and streamlined, especially when compared to the first game, and Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 works beautifully because of it. You access all available dungeons and towns via a map screen, where you can move freely from one place to the next. In every town, you have four places to visit: the shop, where you obviously buy items, weapons, and armor; the item synthesis area, where you can create new items with the recipes you’ve found and bolster the shop’s inventory; the guild, where you’ll spend the majority of your time accepting quests; and the Chirper feed, where you’ll be able to hear the little character avatars talk about what’s going on in their lives or in the city. The only thing simpler than navigating the town, is actually utilizing its features, which I will discuss now. Starting with synthesizing, the whole process is thankfully very simple. All you need to do is gather the reagents, make sure you have the proper recipe, and create the item. The one caveat is that there are a few special weapons and items that can’t be created unless Nepgear has a good relationship with a character specific to that item.

The chirper feed is a bit of a hit and miss inclusion. It is mostly just an excuse for the developers to put in dialogue to make fun of internet trolls, but every now and then, a random event will pop up in the feed which will result in characters receiving special items, new skills, or more frequently, increasing their relationship with Nepgear. Now, this relationship system really does not affect the game very much. Mostly, it just affects what items you can make in synthesis and whether or not you can access some… shall we say “risque” scenes later on. It is also so damn simple that most of the time you will forget it is there.

While the synthesis and chirper systems are nice and simple, the quest system is about THE simplest part of the towns. See, the game requires you to go on fetch quests (and yes, it actually refers to them as fetch quests) to gather “Shares” for each country, basically a manifestation of people’s faith in their CPUs. When you complete a quest, shares will be transferred from one country to another depending on how difficult the quest was. Early on, you will really only be taking shares from ASIC, who control over 70% of the world’s shares, but once you start boosting other countries, you’ll have to carefully balance out who loses and gains shares. Why is this important? Because it will not only affect whether or not certain characters will join you at a specific point in the game, but will also affect which ending you get, silly goose! I will say that it is relatively easy to manipulate the flow of shares, so balancing them out is not a problem, but it can get very tedious doing the same quests over and over to try and bolster a country’s shares. Even if the game is self aware of how tedious it is, they are not the ones who have to play it.

The only other major area in the game is the dungeons, where you’ll probably spend most of your play time. The dungeons themselves are never very large and most of them are so linear that exploration is nonexistent. If you are lucky, you may get a branching path, but most of the time, one path does not lead anywhere and the game will quickly force you to retrace your steps and take the other path. But all of this is okay because, thankfully, we do not have to deal with random battles! Yes, all enemies are completely visible on the screen, and can easily be avoided if you do not want to engage in conflict. But, seeing as how the combat is one of the best parts of the game, you will want to engage anyway.

Pages : Page 1 Page 2
  1. March 09, 2012 at 12:26pm
    In response to Article
    VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

    I think I read a review of the first game in a magazine once, they gave it 1/10. It couldn’t have been that bad, right?

    • March 10, 2012 at 04:44am
      In response to jackeduphobo
      VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

      The first game wasn’t that bad, but it had issues. The biggest flaw being the extremely clunky and slow-as-heck battle system. A battle that that would take maybe 15 seconds in most RPGs literally took 4 to 8 times longer in the first HN. Some of the music was oddly composed, too. Other than that, the characters and story are fairly interesting. Games like these (including Trinity Universe and the Atelier series) are fleshed out more through character interactions than the actual story. If that’s something that doesn’t bother you, then these kind of games are worth looking into. Generally speaking, if you’re not a fan of Japanese-style RPGs then you probably won’t like it.

      • March 10, 2012 at 08:40am
        In response to Vulpes Mundi
        VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

        I’ve never seriously devoted my time to any japanese-rpg, not because I find it bad or anything, just uninteresting. But I got to give it to this game, it at least looks fairly interesting .
        Is there also any of the typical manga/anime kind of humor to be found in this game, because I can find it funny to an extent-until it annoys the shit out of me !?

  2. March 09, 2012 at 12:08am
    In response to Article
    VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

    It has hours of humor and fun all over it, I won’t grab this new, but will grab it in the not too distant future :3

  3. March 08, 2012 at 12:20am
    In response to Article
    VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

    i love the pros and cons description XD

  4. March 07, 2012 at 11:58pm
    In response to Article
    VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

    I recently picked up the first game and played a couple hours. (I only tried a couple hours because I’m currently focused on playing through Trinity Universe.) I found the characters and the story very interesting. The battle system left much to be desired, though. I’m glad to hear the sequel addresses this problem and continues in (mostly) the same humorous direction as the first game. I’ll have to pick it up sometime (of course I want to finish playing through the first one).

  5. March 07, 2012 at 11:17pm
    In response to Article
    VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

    Wait, both loli and yuri themes past the censors? That is pretty good news. I hope people one day will realise that loli is significantly different from pedo, but that is for another day.

    And why would lesbianism be a bad thing in either case? It boggles the mind.

  6. March 07, 2012 at 11:08pm
    In response to Article
    VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

    Another game I need to make time for with the arrival of my copy of ME3 imminent.

    On a side note, doubt the yuri’s going to bother me. Yuri themed games are rare enough already and yes, even in the world of eroge ;.;

    • March 08, 2012 at 06:09pm
      In response to BookwormOtaku
      VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

      I’m really growing concerned with the ease and frequency of people being offended or even upset by “fan service” in games.

  7. March 07, 2012 at 09:28pm
    In response to Article
    VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

    I knew exactly what to expect from this game and based on your review, this is a guilty pleasure I have no shame in denying.

    The 1st game didn’t have good graphics either. Its sidequests were also fetch quests…then again so are “Trinity: Souls of Zil Ol”

    Besides, I’m a yuri fan so if lesbianism disgusts others here,

    As for the loli stuff, I’ve seen much worse. Black Sister is just Etna with white hair. So whatever. I’ll endure lolicon crap if need be.

    So yeah, call me a freak all you want. I’m many things, but one thing I’m know I’m not is a pedo.

    Okay, that’s supporting a niche game. Now bring on Tales of Graces f and Atelier Meruru before Ni No Kuni Arrives this Summer.

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Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 Review

Posted by [ 2 years, 1 month ]

In a world, where the game industry is not just a form of entertainment, but a religious faith, and where software piracy threatens the fabric of reality, the only saving grace is a bunch of girls in spandex and maid outfits with great, big swords and guns… awesome.

Neptunia Trailer Shows Off Battles, Attacks and... Stuff...

Posted by [ 2 years, 2 months ]

Well, it’s not quite as crazy as the Disgaea 4 trailer from last year… but man oh man, is this a trip and a half!

Return to Gameindustri this month with Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2

Posted by [ 2 years, 2 months ]

The wacky world of Hyperdimension Neptunia makes a triumphant return! Soon, all your times are belong to it!

Neptunia Trailer Shows Off Battles, Attacks and... Stuff...

Posted By about 2 years, 2 months ago

Well, it’s not quite as crazy as the Disgaea 4 trailer from last year… but man oh man, is this a trip and a half!

Return to Gameindustri this month with Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2

Posted By about 2 years, 2 months ago

The wacky world of Hyperdimension Neptunia makes a triumphant return! Soon, all your times are belong to it!

Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 Review

Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 Review

I like Idea Factory. I like Compile Heart. They make some really interesting games that unfortunately often end with mixed results. The original Hyperdimension Neptunia was one of those mixed bags. It was fun, and had some funny parodies of the game industry as a whole, but at the end of the day, its combat and menu systems were way too complicated for even an experienced RPG player to wrap their head around, myself included. Now, one would expect a sequel to a game like that to identify the problems of the original, improve on them, and make a wholly more enjoyable experience. So, is this a sequel that manages to pull this off?

YES! YES IT DOES!

PROS Funny commentary on the game industry, pokes fun at itself and others, virtually no level grinding, really simple and fun battle system… and implied lesbianism
CONS Lots of fetch quests, kinda cheap-looking, not many extras, unnecessarily squicky fanservice… and implied lesbianism
WTF?! Evil mechanical pedo-dragon… and LOTS of implied lesbianism

I shall start this review off by saying that no, you don’t have to have finished the first game to know what’s going on here, because this game isn’t so much a sequel as it is an alternate timeline. Same world, same characters, just slightly altered circumstances. Anyway, the story is thus: For three years, the world of Gamindustrie has been falling apart. Each of the four countries (Planeptune, Lowee, Lastation, and Leanbox) have lost their goddesses, known as CPUs, and an evil criminal organization known as ASIC has emerged to wreak havoc. In the absence of their goddesses, and the promises of free games forever, people turned away from the practices of their own countries and became pirates who worship ASIC and their own goddess, Afoire. Little do they realize that the true goddesses are being held captive in the Gamindustrie Graveyard.

After a botched rescue mission where only Neptune’s sister Nepgear, a shy and inept CPU candidate, was rescued, she and a small group of friends set off to recruit the aid of each country’s mascot character, oracle, and CPU candidate… before ASIC totally takes over the world and turns it into a land of total piracy and anarchy.

This obvious commentary on the state of the game industry runs throughout the entire game, but trust me, it is a lot better in practice than I make it sound. Rather than being an overly preachy plea for people to stop pirating game software, everything is played for laughs and comedy, and quite effectively so. One of my favorite exchanges is a scene where two characters actually discuss the morality of using emulators for older, outdated systems. Pretty much everything in the game is a reference to another game, or meme, from enemies resembling pixilated space invaders, to even the names of the countries themselves, and no one is spared from Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2‘s scope of parody.

Say hi to 5pb and Nisa. Those names sound familiar, don't they?

This includes the characters as well, who are either personifications of third party game developers (to name a few: If, Gust, Compa, Nisa, you get the picture) or are original characters that reflect specific ideological stereotypes some people associate with a particular system. For example, Lastation’s goddess, Vert, is stacked like a freaking brick house, reflecting its ‘sexy’ image. Lowee’s CPU and CPU candidates are all children, reflecting a family friendly image. Not only are they meant to be analogues for certain companies or consoles, but every character is also saddled with a personality that is a very typical archetype for a game character. You have the nurse, the tomboy, the superheroine, the alchemist, the twins, the reluctant hero, among others and the list goes on. Of course, it is all played for comedy, and characters frequently break the fourth wall (followed by quickly burning its remnants) when calling each other out on their quirks and flaws.

This does lead to the problem of the characters not really having much in the way of development, however. At best, the attempts at fleshing out the characters can be described as ‘cute’ and at worst, it’s just really annoying. Not that there needs to be much development for a story that is essentially one giant parody, but there are moments where the game attempts to break its lightheartedness for the sake of drama, and it just drags the whole experience down. These moments are few and far between, though, so it is forgivable, but you will want to have that auto-skip button on standby when our heroes decide to make a big dramatic speech.

Just another day on the message boards.

In terms of gameplay, as I stated in the intro to this review, everything has been simplified and streamlined, especially when compared to the first game, and Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 works beautifully because of it. You access all available dungeons and towns via a map screen, where you can move freely from one place to the next. In every town, you have four places to visit: the shop, where you obviously buy items, weapons, and armor; the item synthesis area, where you can create new items with the recipes you’ve found and bolster the shop’s inventory; the guild, where you’ll spend the majority of your time accepting quests; and the Chirper feed, where you’ll be able to hear the little character avatars talk about what’s going on in their lives or in the city. The only thing simpler than navigating the town, is actually utilizing its features, which I will discuss now. Starting with synthesizing, the whole process is thankfully very simple. All you need to do is gather the reagents, make sure you have the proper recipe, and create the item. The one caveat is that there are a few special weapons and items that can’t be created unless Nepgear has a good relationship with a character specific to that item.

The chirper feed is a bit of a hit and miss inclusion. It is mostly just an excuse for the developers to put in dialogue to make fun of internet trolls, but every now and then, a random event will pop up in the feed which will result in characters receiving special items, new skills, or more frequently, increasing their relationship with Nepgear. Now, this relationship system really does not affect the game very much. Mostly, it just affects what items you can make in synthesis and whether or not you can access some… shall we say “risque” scenes later on. It is also so damn simple that most of the time you will forget it is there.

While the synthesis and chirper systems are nice and simple, the quest system is about THE simplest part of the towns. See, the game requires you to go on fetch quests (and yes, it actually refers to them as fetch quests) to gather “Shares” for each country, basically a manifestation of people’s faith in their CPUs. When you complete a quest, shares will be transferred from one country to another depending on how difficult the quest was. Early on, you will really only be taking shares from ASIC, who control over 70% of the world’s shares, but once you start boosting other countries, you’ll have to carefully balance out who loses and gains shares. Why is this important? Because it will not only affect whether or not certain characters will join you at a specific point in the game, but will also affect which ending you get, silly goose! I will say that it is relatively easy to manipulate the flow of shares, so balancing them out is not a problem, but it can get very tedious doing the same quests over and over to try and bolster a country’s shares. Even if the game is self aware of how tedious it is, they are not the ones who have to play it.

The only other major area in the game is the dungeons, where you’ll probably spend most of your play time. The dungeons themselves are never very large and most of them are so linear that exploration is nonexistent. If you are lucky, you may get a branching path, but most of the time, one path does not lead anywhere and the game will quickly force you to retrace your steps and take the other path. But all of this is okay because, thankfully, we do not have to deal with random battles! Yes, all enemies are completely visible on the screen, and can easily be avoided if you do not want to engage in conflict. But, seeing as how the combat is one of the best parts of the game, you will want to engage anyway.

Pages: Page 1 - Page 2
  1. March 09, 2012 at 12:26pm
    In response to Article
    VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

    I think I read a review of the first game in a magazine once, they gave it 1/10. It couldn’t have been that bad, right?

    • March 10, 2012 at 04:44am
      In response to jackeduphobo
      VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

      The first game wasn’t that bad, but it had issues. The biggest flaw being the extremely clunky and slow-as-heck battle system. A battle that that would take maybe 15 seconds in most RPGs literally took 4 to 8 times longer in the first HN. Some of the music was oddly composed, too. Other than that, the characters and story are fairly interesting. Games like these (including Trinity Universe and the Atelier series) are fleshed out more through character interactions than the actual story. If that’s something that doesn’t bother you, then these kind of games are worth looking into. Generally speaking, if you’re not a fan of Japanese-style RPGs then you probably won’t like it.

      • March 10, 2012 at 08:40am
        In response to Vulpes Mundi
        VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
        Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

        I’ve never seriously devoted my time to any japanese-rpg, not because I find it bad or anything, just uninteresting. But I got to give it to this game, it at least looks fairly interesting .
        Is there also any of the typical manga/anime kind of humor to be found in this game, because I can find it funny to an extent-until it annoys the shit out of me !?

  2. March 09, 2012 at 12:08am
    In response to Article
    VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

    It has hours of humor and fun all over it, I won’t grab this new, but will grab it in the not too distant future :3

  3. March 08, 2012 at 12:20am
    In response to Article
    VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

    i love the pros and cons description XD

  4. March 07, 2012 at 11:58pm
    In response to Article
    VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

    I recently picked up the first game and played a couple hours. (I only tried a couple hours because I’m currently focused on playing through Trinity Universe.) I found the characters and the story very interesting. The battle system left much to be desired, though. I’m glad to hear the sequel addresses this problem and continues in (mostly) the same humorous direction as the first game. I’ll have to pick it up sometime (of course I want to finish playing through the first one).

  5. March 07, 2012 at 11:17pm
    In response to Article
    VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

    Wait, both loli and yuri themes past the censors? That is pretty good news. I hope people one day will realise that loli is significantly different from pedo, but that is for another day.

    And why would lesbianism be a bad thing in either case? It boggles the mind.

  6. March 07, 2012 at 11:08pm
    In response to Article
    VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

    Another game I need to make time for with the arrival of my copy of ME3 imminent.

    On a side note, doubt the yuri’s going to bother me. Yuri themed games are rare enough already and yes, even in the world of eroge ;.;

    • March 08, 2012 at 06:09pm
      In response to BookwormOtaku
      VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

      I’m really growing concerned with the ease and frequency of people being offended or even upset by “fan service” in games.

  7. March 07, 2012 at 09:28pm
    In response to Article
    VN:F [1.9.21_1169]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

    I knew exactly what to expect from this game and based on your review, this is a guilty pleasure I have no shame in denying.

    The 1st game didn’t have good graphics either. Its sidequests were also fetch quests…then again so are “Trinity: Souls of Zil Ol”

    Besides, I’m a yuri fan so if lesbianism disgusts others here,

    As for the loli stuff, I’ve seen much worse. Black Sister is just Etna with white hair. So whatever. I’ll endure lolicon crap if need be.

    So yeah, call me a freak all you want. I’m many things, but one thing I’m know I’m not is a pedo.

    Okay, that’s supporting a niche game. Now bring on Tales of Graces f and Atelier Meruru before Ni No Kuni Arrives this Summer.

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