Need some more of Nep-Nep to tide you over until Victory II? Well, Idea Factory has heard your concerns and has localized Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation (wow, what a mouthful) for the PlayStation Vita. Like Re;Birth1 before it, this title is a remake of one of the PS3 releases, this time Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2. I had an opportunity to spend a few hours with it and these are my impressions thus far:
1. The transition from mk2 to Re;Birth2 is not as drastic as its predecessor. The core game is largely intact save for a few changes, so if you’ve already played the PS3 version, it’s not going to feel like a whole new experience this time around. It’s just as well, since the bones of mk2 are still pretty solid.
2. That being said, since plot is largely unchanged, that means having Nepgear as the main protagonist once again. This game and those after it like to make fun of the fact that Nepgear sucks as a main character, but being self-aware doesn’t change the fact that Nepgear sucks as a main character. She’s timid, has no self-confidence, and not nearly as humorous as Neptune is. The other CPU candidates are equally as uninteresting. Fortunately, IF and Compa are still around to save the day until you bring the old cast back into the fold.
3. As for what plot changes HAVE occurred, the biggest by far are some of the casting adjustments. Nisa and Gust are gone from the game entirely, and their scenes in the story have been replaced by Red and Broccoli. I suspect there are more, though my memory of the original game is hazy and I’m not that far into this one yet.
4. Speaking of plot, the game casts you in a grim version of Gamindustri where piracy runs rampant and no one believes in the CPU’s anymore. In fact, the CPU’s have all been captured, though one of the CPU candidates (Neptune) is rescued by IF and Compa during a mission. Determined to free the rest of her comrades, she goes on a journey to earn shares and win back control of Gamindustri from the evil Arfoire. It’s been said that this doesn’t share canon with the previous game, though the continuity seems to fit together well enough so far.
5. The combat mimics that of Re;Birth1. Your party and the enemy takes turns moving about the battlefield and can strike when they fall within attack range. Except now, you have four party members instead of three that can be used at once, and the combos used in your attack phases can be customized. Things like EX Finishers return, and the CPU’s and their candidates can transform at the cost of their SP once again. All told, things should feel instantly familiar if you’ve been keeping up with the last few releases.
6. These games continue to look great on the tiny Vita screen and it even seems to run much better too. I haven’t noticed much in the way of frame rate sputters or clipping, which is always a bonus.
7. Likewise, the same English voice cast is utilized here, though the Japanese voice track is available too. The music seems like it is different from mk2, but again, it’s been so long since I’ve fired that one up that I don’t recall.
8. The Remake system is back, functioning pretty much identical to the way it did in Re;Birth1. You’ll find plans out in the wild that when combined with parts dropped from monsters, turn into new dungeons, new items, and the ability to tweak your experience in each area. It worked great then, and it still does here.
9. A minigame has been added that allows you to send Stella (based on Felistella, the developer) into dungeons that you’ve explored in order to retrieve items for you. She can be equipped with weapons and armor found in these dungeons, though if she happens to fail in one of her adventures, she will lose everything. The best part is, her time spent in dungeons is tracked even when you’re not actively playing the game, so you can send her off on a lengthy one before you quit and still benefit.
10. The original PS3 release was never that grind heavy compared to its brethren, though when put up against other JRPG’s in general, expect to spend some time knocking out the same enemies over and over. Fortunately, attack accuracy seems to have been improved greatly, so battles go much quicker than they did previously, which is a plus.
Even though it wasn’t in need of the overhaul that the original game got, Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 still finds things that needed improvement. Accuracy seems to have gone up, the Remake system has been added, and the game ties much better with the rest of them. If you couldn’t get enough of Re;Birth1, be sure to put this one on your wishlist. And stay tuned for the full review!
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2 releases on January 27th for the Sony PlayStation Vita.