Reader Review: Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 (PC)

HYPER_BOXA few years ago, I reviewed Hyperdimension Neptunia on PS3.  It’s an anime-inspired RPG, and now you can play it on your PC via Steam with a few added features.  My friend Robbie reviewed this new installment for me, so check out his review here.

Do you like anime? Do you like cute girls? Do you like games that spend more time talking at you then actually letting you play it? If so, then I got the game for you. It’s Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 and it was recently released on Steam by Idea Factory and Compile Heart.

The idea behind Neptunia is actually sort of clever. It’s a fantasy RPG take on the video game industry complete with people representing different consoles and gaming companies. The main character Neptune is named after a never released Sega console of the same name. This would all seem even more clever if the game had any sense of subtlety, because the world this game takes place in is called “GameIndustri” and the four console based Goddesses are fighting in the “Console Wars”. Yeah, they feel the need to pretty much hit you over the head with its attempts at satire.

The story goes like this, during the Console Wars, where the four Consoles Goddesses have been fighting (each based on consoles by Sega, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony) when the other three Consoles decided to gang up on Neptune in an attempt to eliminate one of the competitors. Upon being defeated, Neptune falls from the battlegrounds to her home world below. The fall hits her so hard she becomes victim to my most hated story cliché: amnesia. From here Neptune is found by a nursing student named Compa (*ahem* Compile Heart) and later they meet up with an adventurer named IF (*ahem* Idea Factory). Yeah… totally not self-gratuitous at all. So from there the plot is to recover the key fragments so Neptune can regain her memory.

The gameplay in the game is actually a pretty fun action RPG setup. You run around 3D dungeons fighting enemies. When you enter a conflict with an onscreen enemy it takes you to a turn based fight where you characters attack via combo inputs and special attacks. It’s all really simplistic, but fun and the combos are customizable. The problem is you don’t get to play these segments very much, because the game spends most of the time in long dialog segments between the characters.

These seem to come up far more often than the actual gameplay segments, and they just consist of still frames of the characters with voice acting and only their mouths are moving. In fact there mouths move so fluidly that gives a jarring effect to the otherwise still frames and almost makes it look like an anime version of Clutch Cargo. The fact that these are a majority of the game wouldn’t be so bad if the dialog was actually good or the characters were actually interesting, unfortunately it fails on both of these. The game tries way too hard to be clever or funny, but fails by flooding the game with a million fourth wall breaking jokes or video game references that it completely ruins any believability in the characters or their world.

To add to this Neptune and Compa aren’t particularly likable and just rattle off lots of dumb dialog, I mean there was like a minute or so dialog segment where they just talk about pudding. If Neptune and Compa’s ditzy personalities weren’t annoying enough, their voices aren’t any better, making these dialog segments really grating on the ears. By the third time Compa calls Neptune “Nep Nep”, because she supposedly can’t pronounce Neptune (I’m serious, that’s the explanation they give in game), you’ll feel the want to either muzzle hear or flip the game to the Japanese voice channel. IF is the only tolerable character you meet in game and that’s solely because she feels like the only remotely intelligent character and has a voice that isn’t squeaky or annoying.

There’s also the fan service… which is understandable in games like this, and it’s fine with the characters that are older looking. However when you meet IF it gives a still frame where they animate her breasts bounce despite everything being perfectly still. This is a little uncomfortable when the character looks the same age as my 13-year-old daughter.

Overall Hyper Dimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 would be an above average RPG if it wasn’t for the focus on unnecessary dialog, underage fan service, bad voice acting, and bad writing. This makes the game feel like a chore to play and brings it down from an above average RPG to a mediocre one at best. Hardcore anime fans may enjoy this game, but personally this game is not for me, and I’m sure this is the case for most other people as well.


Kid Factor:

This game has quite a bit of fan service, so I wouldn’t let anyone younger than their teens play this game.  –Robbie Allen

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