Review: Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth
The original Hyperdimension Neptunia was a mixed bag at best, while it’s script, humor, and characters certainly were the main reason that it has it’s current fanbase, it was marred with some very confusing design choices such as no manual healing, one of the worst soundtracks I’ve ever heard, and a very awkward battle system that consisted of just mashing buttons in predetermined sequences to pull off combos, making it virtually nonexistent when compared to it’s later entries. So I was very happy to hear that not only was Neptunia getting a full remake on the Vita which supposedly addressed all of these concerns.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth
Developed by Compile Heart, Idea Factory, Felistella
Published by Idea Factory International
Release date: August 26th, 2014 (NA) August 27th, 2014 (EU, digital only)
Everything from the main game with the exception of core plot points have been completely remade from the ground up. The confusing battle system Neptunia Victory’s much more competent and effective battle system, instead of memorizing strings fo button combinations, you have a total of 5 options for inflicting damage. Rush, which inflicts less damage but fills up your EXE gauge, Power, which inflicts more damage, Break, which does medium damage while also making it easier to inflict guard breaks, SP Skills, which are special attacks that cost SP to use, and EXE Drive, which is essentially a finishing move that can only be used once the EXE Drive fills up to a certain amount, also special combo moves are available depending on your party formation.
One of the biggest problems I had was with the ridiculous difficulty curve. Victory had something similar to this as well but it was nowhere near this extend, I kept all of my equipment up to date and still found enemies taking away 3/4 of my health per attack every time I entered a new dungeon, I found that this can be offset by grinding for about 5-7 levels or so, but having to do that every time I entered a new dungeon became very tedious.
Re;Birth also got a huge boost in the visual department. Instead of looking as dim and bland as they did on the PS3, they’re far more detailed and vibrant thanks to the Vita’s display, even NPCs have unique portraits that weren’t around in the original.
But that’s not all Re;Birth brings to the table, it’s also got a completely new system called the Remake System. By talking to NPCs around the world map and exploring item points in dungeons, you can do a variety of things including crafting equipment, to changing the strength of monsters in dungeons and even changing what items appear there, it’s a pretty good system except for the fact that finding the materials needed to do these things is much more hassle than it needs to be.
Re;Birth is absolutely the best Neptunia title to date. Tons of improvements, a script and characters that are as solid as ever, great voice work huge visual improvements, even the framerate issues that have plagued previous entries have been all but fixed. It’s a great place to jump in for people looking to get into the series, and a solid game that current fans will be happy they came back for.