As I said in my New Year’s post, I treated myself to Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 for the PS Vita. Well, I’ve played the game through to the conclusion of its story, and I will now be sharing my thoughts on it like I did with Valkyrie Drive -Bhikkhuni-.
As an aside, you can find my review for Hyperdimension Neptunia: The Animation by clicking here.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 is an enhanced remake of the original Hyperdimension Neptunia game. I’ve never played the PS3 original, so I couldn’t tell you what they’ve changed without looking it up.
So, the game has new music, voice acting and systems borrowed from mk2 and Victory – a couple of other games from the franchise. Combat, transportation and in-dungeon abilities are some of the things that are borrowed.
Also new to Re;Birth1 is the Remake System – you can find Plans which allow you to create new items, discover new dungeons or even affect the game by making enemies stronger or weaker.
Judging from the reviews I’ve seen in various places, Re;Birth1 is a definite improvement over the original.
The story begins with the Console War, in which the four Console Patron Units (or CPUs) – Purple Heart, Black Heart, Green Heart and White Heart – are in conflict. Three of the CPUs gang up against Purple Heart, and are able to eliminate her from the fight.
The game begins with a rather lovely lass called Compa discovering the amnesiac Neptune – that would be Purple Heart in her normal form. Neptune ends up travelling through the land of Gamindustri in order to protect it from a woman called Arfoire. By virtue of having amnesia, Neptune doesn’t recall her conflict with the other CPUs and as such ends up uniting with them in order to confront the threat of Arfoire.
For a game that has lots of self-aware and referential humour, the story is rather standard JRPG stuff. Regardless, there were plenty of times I found myself laughing at the characters’ conversations.
Well, might as well go through the characters.
First up is Neptune, our amnesiac heroine of this game. She loves pudding, so if anyone ever needs to motivate her to do anything they just need to involve her favourite food. Neptune is also entirely aware that she plays the role of main character in the game, and has no problem referencing that fact.
Neptune can be pretty easygoing, but when it really matters she will get serious.
Her goddess form is Purple Heart, and it seems that Neptune and Purple Heart are their own distinct personalities. They even refer to each other as if they were separate people.
Unlike Neptune, Purple Heart is a lady of war. However, there are various aspect of Neptune’s personality that remain – pudding, anyone?
Next is the CPU of Lastation, Noire. Her character profile calls her a ‘stereotypical tsundere’, and her interactions with Neptune are pretty much exactly what you’d expect from such a character. As such, there’s plenty of teasing going on for the Neptune & Noire ship.
Neptune makes many jokes about Noire being a loner – it’s just that she has trouble befriending others, that’s all. There’s also the implication that she’s an otaku – she claims to be cosplaying herself at one point when she wants her identity to remain hidden.
I played through the game with English voices, and whilst I think they are all fine for the most part, Noire has a whiny quality to her voice that just doesn’t sit well with me. I definitely prefer her voice as Black Heart.
The elegant and refined CPU of Leanbox is Vert. Well, that’s the vibe she gives off – turns out she’s actually a hardcore gamer who dodges her duties so she can play video games instead.
There’s two things people tend to notice about Vert at first, and those two things become even more noticeable when she transforms into Green Heart.
It seems that IF has a quite a thing for her, and Vert has no problem smothering IF with her… endowments. Vert can also easily fluster the usually cool and collected IF and does so on several occasions. IF seems to enjoy it, though.
Blanc is the CPU of Lowee. She’s a bookworm, and appears to be a calm, serious and emotionless person. However, she has a very short temper and is somewhat prone to outbursts of anger – particularly whenever anybody references her flat chest. Said outbursts of rage are often accompanied by lots of swearing.
Blanc is my favourite of the CPUs – not just because she’s representative of Nintendo, but she’s also a writer. Whether the novels she’s written are actually any good or not remains to be seen, but I can appreciate someone who enjoys writing.
Next are the Makers – human characters who support the goddesses throughout the story. Compa and IF are present right from the beginning, but there are a few others who lend their aid to the CPUs as the plot advances.
Compa is a nurse-in-training, who discovers Neptune stuck in the ground at the beginning of the game. Fittingly, she wields a giant syringe in battle. She plays the role of healer, though her first aid might not be the best. Fortunately, this has no impact on her healing skills in battle.
Neptune is known for being ditzy – Compa can be almost as ditzy as Planeptune’s CPU at times. Despite that, Compa does have some moments of ingenuity. I have to say, I do quite like Compa – she’s a nice lass, and I sure relied on her healing skills throughout the game.
The second Maker you meet is IF, who quickly gains the nickname ‘Iffy’. She and Compa form a power trio with Neptune, and it is IF who tends to be the most serious of the three. However, get Iffy in close proximity to Vert, and that pretty much goes out of the door – as I’ve already mentioned, IF sure does seem to love Vert.
The next Maker isn’t the anthropomorphic personification of a game dev company, but the company that handles merchandising in Japan. She is
Puchiko Broccoli, and she has a verbal tic, nyu. Though she’s small and cute, she has a sharp tongue.
Aside from Compa and IF, the Makers only play relatively small parts in the plot of the game, so I’m a bit indifferent about a few of them – Broccoli’s interactions with Neptune made me chuckle a few times, but that’s about it.
The adventurer Falcom is a Maker who’s character design I quite like. Her status as an adventurer and the fact she wields dragon-slaying swords is enough for me to like her. According to a couple of the other Makers, Falcom is a reliable lass, too.
Out of all the Makers, MAGES. arguably has the best introduction as a controllable character. She shows up and uses some powerful off-screen magic to save the party – and then immediately resorts to using normal techniques when you get to control her in battle…
If you can’t tell by her name and appearance, MAGES. very much plays the role of spellcaster, having access to several different elements of magic.
In combat, MAGES. has some useful range allowing her to stay back and hit the enemy with her magical attacks – which is what you want her to do, because she has defence comparable to tissue paper. She also has a healing spell, but I preferred to rely on Compa for that.
I feel like whatever Tekken is referencing is staring at me right in my face, but I just can’t quite put my finger on it… it must be some kind of fighting video game…
Jokes aside, Tekken is a martial artist – which is fitting, considering. She’s adept at unarmed combat, and I certainly relied on her damage output to outpace the final boss’s regeneration.
In terms of personality, Tekken is a shy girl whilst being a masochist at the same time.
CyberConnect2 – which gets shortened to CC2 – is described as a furry girl who wields daggers. Turns out her ears and tail are actually fake.
She’s also a vivid fan of anime and video games and aspires to become a heroine like those in said media – she’s apparently more heroic than Neptune.
Honestly, CyberConnect2 is a character that didn’t leave much of an impression on me, either – the scene where she and Noire steal the spotlight from Neptune was funny, but there wasn’t really much else that stood out to me.
My favourite Maker would be the walking Senran Kagura reference, MarvelousAQL – or just Marvey, for short.
MarvelousAQL would not look out of place in a Senran Kagura game, and I love the way her ‘idiot hair’ forms the Marvelous AQL logo.
Much like MAGES., MarvelousAQL appears to help the party when they are in a bind – except there’s no prior introduction to her, so Neptune and the others are just saved by a ninja showing up out of nowhere. That’s kind of the way ninjas should be though, right? You shouldn’t see them coming.
A few of her alternate costumes are straight-up shout-outs to Senran Kagura, and you can even get a damaged version of her regular outfit.
There are other playable characters in addition to those listed here; the DLC characters, and a few optional characters you can unlock in game by completing specific plans. I won’t go into too much detail about them here.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 has a world map, through which you can access the four lands’ Basilicoms and a whole host of different dungeons. A location will tell you when an event will play out there, and that generally means that is where you need to go to advance the game.
Whereas you actually take control of your characters to explore dungeons, Planeptune, Lastation, Leanbox and Lowee have menus through which you can access a shop, the guild and other such things. The shop is where you’ll want to go to restock on items, weapons and armour, whilst the guild handles quest completion. More options open up to you as the game progresses.
Dungeon exploration is done by controlling your lead character, and is generally getting form point A to B. Being a game, there are enemies between the two points which you can choose to either fight or try to avoid – it’s never a good idea to avoid enemies in an RPG, as you always need to earn experience to increase your level.
Battles are turn-based, and you begin by having to move your character into position to attack the enemy. If they can get close enough, you can unleash a combo attack, or SP skills. As the game progresses, you’ll gain access to EXE Drives – powerful special attacks that require a gauge to be filled to use.
The four CPUs can also activated Hard Drive Divinity – HDD for short – to transform into their goddess forms. This gives them an increase in their stats, at the price of 20% of their SP.
You also have your typical RPG elements – weapons, armour and plenty of numbers that you want to see increase. There’s items, too – healing items, items that cure status effects and ones that boost stats are all things that you can either find or buy within the game.
You’ll want to be careful of certain enemies in dungeons, too – they get their own unique symbol on the map. These foes are dangerous ones that are comparable to bosses. Fighting them is worth it, but only if you’re prepared for a challenging battle.
Well, before I share my final thoughts on the game, let’s talk a little about the yuri aspects that are present here. In particular, there are two pairs of note in Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1. I have already mentioned both of them, but let’s go into a little more detail here.
When the game straight up calls Noire a “stereotypical tsundere” in her character profile, you know she’s… well, a tsundere. More specifically, she is tsundere towards Neptune to a ridiculous extent. An example of this comes when Neptune turns up in Lastation with Vert and Blanc: Noire accuses them of trying to invade, and has a go at Neptune for trampling on her feelings.
You also have the scene shown above where Neptune and Noire eat pudding together, and then you get the incredibly blatant example of Neptune telling Noire that she’ll accept her if she loves her, even if they are both girls.
I guess that last one can be interpreted as Neptune being Neptune, but it’s not exactly nothing though.
The other obvious pairing in Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 is none other than IF and Vert. Before meeting her, IF has a very high opinion of Vert and dismisses Neptune’s claim that she’s actually a hardcore gamer. Turns out Neptune is right, but this does nothing to lessen IF’s infatuation of Leanbox’s CPU.
There’s at least two different occasions where IF finds herself being embraced by Vert – and on the second occasion, IF’s face ends up buried in Vert’s enormous assets. This turns out to be sheer bliss for IF.
There’s also a point where Vert lists all of IF’s qualities, letting her know that they are what make her cherish IF so much.
So between Neptune x Noire and IF x Vert, there’s some rather nice yuri pairings present in this game. I’d certainly like to see more of the latter.
To wrap things up, I really enjoyed playing through Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1. I’m always up for a good RPG, and I feel that this game fits that description rather well.
The self aware humour and just other general silliness is right up my street, and I will always enjoy games that don’t take themselves too seriously. Neptune’s mostly responsible for this, but the other characters can get in on the act from time to time, too.
I also the saw the game over screen on multiple occasions, which meant the game provided a greater challenge than I was expecting. I am fine with that, and will always welcome video games that aren’t too easy. Fortunately, a little level grinding is all that is required to make things slightly easier, and there’s plenty of stuff to do in conjunction with that (such as quests and completing plans) that it doesn’t get too bothersome.
I definitely intend to play Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation and Re;Birth3: V Generation as well, though I don’t know when I’ll get around to buying them. Heck, there’s a whole bunch of games in the franchise that I intend play at some point. Once I do, though, you can be sure that I’ll share my thoughts on them on here.