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Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory [PS3] Review

Posted on April 12, 2013 AT 10:10pm

I admit, I approached Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory with trepidation. I had played the previous title, Hyperdimension Neptunia MK2, and while the game was fun; it was just average. I was not sure I was ready for a long, average JRPG. Well, I am glad to say that Victory was a huge improvement over MK2, even if it isn’t the perfect JRPG, and it was fun.

Again, the story is centered around Neptune and takes place a few years after MK2. Neptune has been way too involved in having fun and playing video games, as opposed to doing work and being a  proper CPU. Her adviser, Histoire, has had enough and forces her out into the world of Gameindustri to get something done. Something strange happens and Neptune finds herself transported to an alternate universe that appears to be a few decades behind hers. Of course the Seven Sages are behind all this, somehow, but Neptune is completely oblivious to the fact. Now she needs to find a way back to her own Gameindustri before all is lost. The story is fairly predictable for the most part, with very few surprises, it is well paced and will keep JRPG fans playing.

The Hyperdimension series is (in)famous for poking fun at the gaming industry as a whole. There are many tongue-in-cheek references to video game characters, games, and the whole idea of PC gaming. Real care has been taking in the localization of Victory and while there are some wonderful moments of humor, you will find yourself trying to skip through the big chunks of vapid, cutesy dialogue. There are moments where the in-game characters break that “4th wall” and speak directly to the player. These moments can be very amusing, especially when the dialogue is poking fun at the games flaws.

For JRPG fans, this has everything you would expect from the genre. Cute girls that are probably older than they appear, scantily clad women whose costumes have got be held on by magic and prayer, the random music video and of course, a bathing scene. Graphically, it’s on par with the genre. The cut scenes are done in “comic” panels with some animation. While in the various towns of Gameindustri, characters appear as adorable sprites but when walking around an combat area, characters are full 3D. Players will be able to create items by collecting ingredients, buy/sell armor and weapons, even buy new costumes for their characters.

Missions fall into two categories, main story quests and “fetch” missions. Of course the fetch mission will assist in earning currency, items and experience but like all games that are fetch quest heavy, it’s easy to get tired of doing them. Some fetch missions are even repeatable and some cannot be avoided since you will be required to complete them before the story mission will progress to the next stage. It’s a mild form of forced grinding but not nearly as obtrusive as other JRPG games that are so heavily based on forced grinding you find yourself spending several hours just wandering around fighting random monsters.

Combat is similar to the other Hyperdimension games so fans of the series will be able to just pick up and play. New players need not worry though, the tutorials are easy to follow and well executed. Controls are still the same as well. Look around with right analog stick, move with left. Your buttons are for combat and jumping. Don’t feel like fighting? No problem. Just avoid the creatures that are moving around on the screen. Some will chase you if you enter into their vision path (clearly indicated on the mini map) but for the most part they are easily avoided. You have the option of trying to get a first strike by hitting the X button when you are approaching an enemy (or vice versa). If you fail, the enemy will get first strike.

Within the basic concept of combat are some more advanced options. Players will have an Exe bar. Fill that bar halfway up and players will have EXE Drive moves to use on enemies. These moves are more devastating that the normal weapon strikes. These moves can really take the life out of the larger boss monsters but the gauge is rather slow to fill so you might find yourself running around a combat area, grinding to get the bar full before you face the area’s boss.

Enemies are blatantly ripped from other games. You will find ghosts from Pac-Man, pipes from Mario Brothers, blocks from Tetris and a myriad of other creatures you will probably recognize. There are even a few “Pokemon” running around. Now I found this amusing and thought it tied in well with the concept of a video game about a video game world but some people might not appreciate the humor.

While Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory is not a genre changing title, it is a solid game even if it is not a standout in the genre. It does fall back on the aspects of JRPGs that are familiar and safe rather than bucking the norm and striking out on its own. This can be a good thing or bad depending on how you look at it. It’s always nice to start a game and not feel lost or bewildered about what is going on but then again, if a game is too familiar it can be boring. However, all that being said, it is a nice addition to your JRPG collection.

The Good: Humor, Easy Controls, Familiar Elements

The Bad:  Predictable, Story Stalled By Required Fetch Quests

Grade: B-



Carly "PoisonPinkFluff" Frith is a little sugar, a little salt, and a whole lot of personality. Gamer, general geek and beer aficionado. Just call her a tomboy in high heels. She is on Twitter: @DN_PinkFluff.

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