If you haven’t been keeping up, Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory is the third game in the series behind the original Hyperdimension Neptunia and mk2. They’re a franchise based upon the idea that your game consoles are actually goddesses that rule over their own lands and are constantly at war with one another. There’s also a heavy anti-piracy message that looms over the subject matter, and even a number of game companies are represented as recruitable party members. It’s kind of a brilliant idea, really.
As something of a disclaimer, while I have played the original, I hadn’t had a chance to experience mk2 prior to diving into Victory. So I apologize in advance if my observations stem from things that have already been addressed by mk2. At any rate, here are my impressions of the few couple of hours with the game:
1. While mk2 was a reimagining of sorts, telling a story that can be enjoyed without knowledge of the original, Victory seems to be a direct continuation of mk2. All is peaceful in the land of Gameindustri, with the four CPU’s on friendly terms with one another. On a seemingly routine quest, Neptune suddenly finds herself in another dimension, which appears to be during a time when the Console Wars hadn’t actually happened yet. There she meets a version of Noire that hasn’t become a CPU yet, as well as Plutia, this dimension’s air-headed CPU of Planeptune.
2. The story is still told primarily using still portraits and text boxes, though everything from the special effects to the way the engine runs seems a lot more impressive than I expected. The game’s engine didn’t seem to struggle as much to keep up with my character moving about the map, and the special attacks are visually appealing without being absurdly lengthy.
3. The core of the game is still performing quests, though many of them are optional. You can accept multiple, and since most of them are done in the same region, it’s in your best interest to do so. I noticed even the required ones exhibit the same traits as the sidequests, requiring you to defeat so many foes or collect items. They are also repeatable, and can be done on your way to your primary objectives.
4. Materials that you pick up can be crafted into new items that you can then buy from shops, such as healing items or weapons. I noticed though that even if you choose not to participate in item synthesis, new things are regularly added to the shops, so you don’t have to spend hours grinding out materials to improve your gear.
5. Areas are laid out on a nice overworld map that lists out plainly which towns and dungeons you can visit as well as which one has the next waypoint for story progress. Towns are similar in that you can use a cursor to easily take advantage of of the shops and guilds as well as talk to residents. A side bar menu will list out everything that can be interacted with and will let you choose it that way should you have a preference for that.
6. My understanding is that the combo system had already gotten an overhaul in mk2, but coming off of the original, I can’t describe how much more user friendly and practical it is. You can still customize combos, but it is nowhere near as daunting as the first time around. You get three basic attacks: rush, heavy hit, and break. Rush is for multiple hits, heavy hit is more for doing HP damage, will break will try to demolish their guard. You also have a circle in which to move about in and an attack range that can encompass multiple foes if they’re bunched up enough. I found myself enjoying it much more than the original game.
7. Many of the foes that you run into on the field seem to be a play on enemies from other games. In just the short time I’ve played, I spotted what looked to be Pac-Man ghosts, Dragon Quest slimes, and Mega Man metalls. One of the antagonists in the game even appears as a Pikachu.
8. You can visit Neptune’s room at any time to listen to any unlocked music, or view any portraits or scenes that you may have seen previously. This is a nice feature to have if you enjoy going back to your favorite parts of the game without having to fill your hard drive full of savepoints.
9. A number of NPC’s in the game also appeared to be inspired from existing video game characters, including Maryo and Snake Hayter. There was even a character called Famitsu that represents the infamous Japanese magazine. If you follow the industry at all, you should get a kick out of all the references, just as with its predecessors.
10. The prior games in the series had a number of characters that would join your party, but could only be used if you purchased their respective DLC. While I haven’t encountered any of these, there is an option on the main menu for additional content (though there is certainly not anything listed there now). That could mean any sort of content, but it bears mentioning.
So, there you have it. There isn’t too much more than can be said without this becoming a full review in of itself, but then again, I’ve just scratched the surface of the game. New features are still being introduced to me at a regular pace, a new areas to explore are beginning to open up. What I’ve played so far though is already leaps and bounds better than the original, so I hope the appeal lasts the entirety of the game. Look for the full review coming soon!
Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory releases on March 12, 2013 for the Lastation… I mean, PlayStation 3.