I still remember my first reaction when I was introduced to the existance of this series. I really thought this was a brilliant idea. In case you’re unacquainted with the series, the protagonists of the Hyperdimension games are living portrayals of game consoles that rule the game industry. I thought these “characterizations” of famous game companies had so much potential for parody.
The makers of this series sure must have felt the same way as, years later now, I can say that I really lost count on how many games this series has spawned so far. The thing is, this is still a pretty niche franchise and none of the games could really be considered “must haves” for the mainstream but I’ll give them one thing, their games really are getting better.
Hyperdimension Neptunia U is the sixth game in the franchise (excluding remakes) and, within them, the third spin-off game. This series was born as an RPG but this title in particular sits in the hack n’ slash genre.
The combat itself could be reminiscent of the Dynasty Warriors series as there’s not such a big focus on remembering complicated combos and most enemies, coming by the dozens, don’t suppose a threat as long as you keep attacking and moving.
There is a big difference though as the fights themselves instead of taking place in large battle scenarios, they’re set in environments based on dungeons from prior Hyperdimension games.
Another intricacies from the game’s combat are also inherited from the original RPG series. The special attacks of the goddesses (triggered by holding R + another button) are indeed similar if not the same. And you can also turn into HDD form after filling up a power gauge which changes the appearance of your character and makes it faster and stronger for a period of time.
In Hyperdimension Neptunia U you’re introduced to two new characters. Dengekiko and Famitsu who are obviously based on famous Japanese magazines. In this game they represent two rival journalists that decide to report on the feats of the goddesses as they take on different quests posted by the people.
I should mention now that the progression of this game isn’t very story-driven at all. You’ll have a wide arrange of quests to fulfill and once you accomplish a certain number of them or, a certain quest in particular, you’ll unlock a new piece of story and more quests will be unlocked.
There is indeed a story in the game though even if it’s not that played out. Similar to other Hyperdimension Neptunia games though, the approach to it is very “Japanese” as it’s presented in different dialogs full of references, innuendos and fourth-wall breaking jokes.
The technical aspect of Neptunia U surprised me in a good way. The 3d character models won’t win any awards but they’re very good for vita standards and the performance was very solid as well. Even with a big amount of enemies on screen, the framerate never seemed to suffer and the load times, while constant, they were short enough.
Like with the visuals, the sound department went for a “cute” approach rather than realistic but that’s not a bad thing. It has to be said as well that all of the characters are voiced both in English and in Japanese. I found some of the English voices not really matching some of the girl’s personalities so I sticked with the Japanese ones. The choice is yours though.
Things I liked
- Responsive Combat: The combat in here is all about being agile and good management of crowds, not about learning intricate combos. If that sounds good to you, you’ll probably love it because it is executed really well. The different movesets for the different characters are all flashy as well so the experience is responsive and satisfying.
- Good Performance: A lot of these lower budget Japanese titles seem to struggle with the vita’s processing power but that’s not the case for this game. It looks good and it runs as it should.
- Humorous: While there aren’t as many dialogs in this game as there usually are in the main Hyperdimension games. The ones that you’ll find are full of references and jokes of all kinds. I’ll admit that some of the jokes are a little childish but they’re still entertaining and made me chuckle a few times.
- Light Fanservice: Tamsoft was in charge for this game and they are the makers of the famous Senran Kagura games you can also play on the vita. Fortunately for the faint of heart or the easily offensible, while there is fanservice in some sexual innendos and some clothe tearing mechanics, it’s all very tame. (and the whole tearing of clothes can be disabled)
Things I didn’t
- Environments: The levels (or should I say arenas) in which the quests will be taking place are based on dungeons you can find in other Hyperdimension Neptunia games. The thing is, those weren’t that interesting to begin with and they seem even more boring in a hack n’ slash game.
Who’d like this?
This is a very good game and actually the one I enjoyed the most in the whole franchise. If you’re a fan of the Hyperdimension series (or a weeaboo in general) and you also dig Hack n’ Slash games, this should be a must have.
If you’re new to the series but its premise intrigues you, give it a try.
The only ones I wouldn’t recommend this game for are for those who don’t want their games to be too “Japanese”.
<This game is available on vita and compatible with playstation TV>