PS Vita Review: Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1

I'm living on the edge... critical edge, that is!

I’m living on the edge… critical edge, that is!

By: Uma Smith

To this point, titles from the Hyperdimension Neptunia series have been a mixed bag. They have an initial charm that pulls you in with their colorful and cute anime style. And then, the unusual story and content that pokes fun at the video game industry are hit-or-miss in the eyes of players. Now with the remake of the series’ first title being released for the PlayStation Vita as Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 (wow, that sure is a mouthful!), how will gamers react?

CONTROLS (3.5/5)

Having the typical JPRG control scheme, Re;Birth1allows you to make easy-to-access commands during your adventures. However, considering that there are a couple sets of actions to choose from, this can turn out to be pretty confusing and cumbersome to activate. That aside, the controls execute quite adequately while moving about in a third-person perspective while going through the menus turns out to be very handy.

So, even though acquainting yourself with the number of face and shoulder button combinations may not be a walk in the park at first, the learning curve is not so steep that it’ll impede on your fun.

GRAPHICS/SOUND (4.25/5)

On the PlayStation Vita, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 remains triumphant in delivering a colorful display of impressive anime-style characters and wonderfully-designed environments. Although the detail could appear plain in comparison to other games of a similar nature, this particular title still manages to provide both stimulating and gorgeous graphics that consistently run smoothly.

Since the soundtrack comprises of electronic melodies for the most part, Re;Birth1 gives a “dimension” of appealing and memorable tunes that work hand in hand with the setting. If you throw in the superb sound effects and charming voice acting attached to this game, you end up with a rather pleasant auditory experience.

GAMEPLAY (3.75/5)

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 has you exploring in the world of Gamindustri as the protagonist, Neptunia. With the increasing tension between neighboring realms that happen to be named after video games consoles, you’ll set out to fight to attain peace. While the concept is somewhat interesting, there’s a lot of corniness and crude humor that comes at you from behind that may not sit well at some occasions. The characters themselves also seem to be missing the needed charm to draw you into the story.

Once you jump into the gameplay, however, it plays out like a nice JRPG. You are basically given some objectives to complete, which prompts you to venture into certain areas within a map or dungeon. Each dungeon you enter into takes about 10 minutes to complete. The objectives here can consist of targeting a boss, killing a set number of enemies or simply finding an exit. With the number of items to equip your characters with, there’s some depth involved here. Additionally, you have autonomy in terms of the adventures and side quests you wish to engage in.

The formula can feel a bit repetitive as a pattern starts to develop — watch the cut scene, travel to the dungeon, attack enemies, hopefully earn enough money, experience and items, and then repeat. Luckily, the turn-based battle system has very good pacing, making this aspect of the game that much more enjoyable. Players have control over their characters’ actions with the ability to select their skills as well as move freely within the combat area. This opens the door for coming up with strategies needed during battles while engaging in the game’s action-packed dynamics.

In terms of balance, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 seems to vacillate between easy and difficult. At times, the degree of challenges attached can be overwhelming, especially when this spike happens all of a sudden. Nevertheless, it does draw attention away from its monotonous pattern attached to its repetitiveness. Furthermore, the amount of complexity and depth associated with its gameplay mechanics is what gives this Vita title its appeal and retention value. Although it’s not perfect, it still is effective with its implemented JRPG elements that prove to be both delightful and addictive.

OVERALL (3.75/5)

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 definitely has the appeal for players who can appreciate its anime-style artwork and JRPG elements. It’ll take some tolerance to overlook the repetition from its gameplay, however, as well as its plotline that consists partly of tongue-in-cheek humor. Despite that though, it’s still a good remake for the PlayStation Vita.

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About Herija Green

Avid gamer, adventurous lover and all-around damned handsome man...
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