PS Vita Review: Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed

2015-05-19-144747 Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed is a hack-and-slash action game developed by Compile Heart and Tamsoft and published by Idea Factory International.  It is a spin-off of the main Hyperdimensional Neptunia series.  The games also works with the PlayStation TV micro-console.

Neptune and friends are back!
Neptune and friends are back!
(Note: This review is my opinion only. All pictures are captured in-game with the PS Vita’s screen shot feature.)

The game features all four or the Console Patron Units (CPU), Neptune, Noire, Vert and Blanc, working together to keep the land of Gamindustri safe from monsters.  Along with the CPU candidate sisters (Nepgear, Uni, Rom and Ram), the ladies are approached by two Gamindustri journalists, Dengekiko and Famitsu.  They are based on real gaming magazines from Japan and, of course, are incarnated as cute anime girls.  Together, the Goddesses and their sisters take on missions throughout Gamindustri and the reporters cover them, and sometimes participate themselves.

This is Dengekiko, based on the Dengeki PlayStation Magazine
This is Dengekiko, based on the Dengeki PlayStation Magazine

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Famitsu is based on one of Japan’s longest running video game magazines
Like all the PS Vita Neptunia games, the game is fully voiced in English, with the same voice cast as previous games (and the anime, if I am not mistaken)  Some missions have cut scenes that explain the storyline and  the characters talk in-game.  The voices suit the characters, but if you are a purist, a Japanese voice option is available.

You are rated on how well you do on your missions
You are rated on how well you do on your missions

Noire on the battlefield
Noire on the battlefield
The gameplay is similar to both the Senran Kagura (also developed by Tamsoft), and Tecmo Koei’s Warriors series with you slashing your way through many on-screen enemies.  The levels usually consists of a few small areas with your objective being anything from number of enemies killed, defeat a boss or collect a certain object.  Your enemies consist of such foes as dogoos, 8 bit aliens, clyde ghosts, and mecha robots, the usual enemies in the Neptunia series.

The Enemies are varied, to say the least.
The Enemies are varied, to say the least.

Those are...HUGE dogoos!
Those are…HUGE dogoos!
At the start of the mission you choose up to two characters to play (some levels decide for you or limit you to one).  In battle you can switch characters at will (press down on the D Pad), building up their HDD meter. There is also a three-part meter the is used for energy for skill attacks using the L button and the face buttons.  As you take damage, your outfit takes damage and can eventually be ruined, leaving your character underdressed for the remainder of the level (more on that later!)

Noire (as Black Heart) and Vert team up!
Noire (as Black Heart) and Vert team up!
As in the other Neptunia games, the CPUs and their candidates can access their HDD mode, becoming powerful “Goddess” versions of themselves.  Even Dengekku and Famitsu have HDD forms (just tougher versions of their normal forms)  Their stats and hit points go up and they can access a special EXE Drive attack that drains the HDD meter, but causes a lot of damage.  Once the meter is drained, they revert to their normal forms.  Like the regular forms, if they take too much damaged, their clothes could become torn.

Noire is more than a match for the Mech in her HDD form
Noire is more than a match for the Mech in her HDD form

Neptune (As Purple Heart) going into her EXE drive
Neptune (As Purple Heart) going into her EXE drive

Nepgear in her Purple Sister form
Nepgear in her Purple Sister form
Now let’s get into that.  Like in Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus (which I reviewed in Dec 2014), the girls’ outfits can be damaged and “Torn”, leaving them in just their underwear.  Unlike Senran Kagura, the undergarments are indestructible, letting these girls keep some of their dignity.  Unfortunately, with there not being any human female enemies, the only way to get this fan service is by letting your characters outfits get destroyed.  It does have the advantage of increasing your attack and speed, but at the cost of your defence.  The game acknowledges this though, rewarding you with easier-to-tear outfits or “Torn Duds”, pre-torn versions of your outfits.  You can also get “Duds of Steel”, indestructible versions of their outfits

EXTREME WARDRODE MALFUNCTION!!!
EXTREME WARDRODE MALFUNCTION!!!

Too much damage can leave you exposed
Too much damage can leave you exposed
Now, much like Senran Kagura and the Warriors series,  you wade through tons of enemies.  Mostly, though, they don’t seem that exciting.  Slicing though a horde of dog-faced slimes, Pac-Man ghosts, flowers and Space-Invader enemies gets old quick, especially if they just pretty much run into you to do damage.  Sometimes they through out tougher version or giant versions of the enemies.  The robot enemies are a bit for formidable but mostly rely on sheer numbers to overwhelm you.

Uni in her Black SIster HDD form
Uni in her Black SIster HDD form

Giant Dogoo:  Threatening: No.  Annoying: Yes
Giant Dogoo: Threatening: No. Annoying: Yes
Their isn’t much customization for the girl’s outfits.  Mostly they have three versions of the same outfit, just in different colours.  You can unlock more outfits, but they are just the same ones, either easier to destroy, already destroyed or indestructible.  There was some DLC or bathing suits as well, with them, acting like an indestructible outfit.  You can also alter the girls’ hair colour (again limited to three choices and equip weapons earned by completing challenges or items they can increase or decrease stats.

You can alter  the costumes and hair to pre-set colours.
You can alter the costumes and hair to pre-set colours.

Costume Unlocks are preceded by News Bulletins from Dengekiko or Famitsu.
Costume Unlocks are preceded by News Bulletins from Dengekiko or Famitsu.

Costume Unlocks are preceded by News Bulletins from Dengekiko or Famitsu.
Costume Unlocks are preceded by News Bulletins from Dengekiko or Famitsu.
Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed is a good game, but it might be the weakest in the series.  All the Neptunia games have a funny story, great game play and fan service.  Action Unleashed can get a little repetitive ,with only the victory conditions adding some variety.  If there was some sort of end boss, a goal the girls were to reach, besides clearing monsters completing missions, I think it would be more exiting.  As a hack and slash, it is serviceable, but without a clear goal you wonder, “What’s the point?”

This.  This is the point.  Fan Service.
This. This is the point. Fan Service.
Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed is available in digital or physical copies.  Check online for pricing in your area. 3.5/ 5 2015-05-19-170010 2015-05-19-170005 2015-05-19-165235 2015-05-19-165202 2015-05-19-152548 2015-05-19-152616 2015-05-19-150429 2015-06-28-161757 2015-06-28-161802 2015-05-19-170530 2015-05-19-170240 2015-05-19-224852 2015-05-19-223416 2015-05-19-220528 2015-05-19-220303 2015-05-19-220238 2015-06-03-223017 2015-06-03-221739 2015-06-03-221709 2015-06-03-221624 2015-06-03-220615 2015-06-03-220541 2015-06-03-214940 2015-06-03-215431 2015-06-03-215555 2015-06-03-220359

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PS Vita Review- Disney Infinity: Marvel Superheroes

(Note: This review is my opinion only and is not a paid review.  All pictures are taken with my PS Vita and/or my PlayStation TV)

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Black Widow from the Avengers

Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Superheroes is an open world/sandbox action-adventure game developed with Avalanche Studios and published by Disney Interactive.  It is a sequel to the original Disney Infinity game. The game is available on multiple platforms  including PC and iOS devices.  Like the original, it required the purchase of figurines and “Play Sets” to gain more characters and levels.  This review is for the PlayStation Vita version that was released on 9 May 2015.  This game is PlayStation TV compatible.

The Disney Infinity series is similar to games such as Skylanders at it used collectible figurines to add characters to the game.  Using n Infinity base, you would put the character on it to bring them into the game.  The figurine also tracks the characters stats and level and lets you carry it over to newer versions of the game or into other people’s games.

Sorcerers Apprentice  Mickey (from the first game) can be used in the Toybox
Sorcerers Apprentice Mickey (from the first game) can be used in the Toybox

Unlike Skylanders, there is no core game.  Instead, there are Playsets, which are centered around certain groups of characters (Avengers, Spider-Man and characters from the Spider-Man Unlimited cartoon and Guardians of the Galaxy.)  Only certain figures will work with those levels, though some cam be added by collection cross-over tokens within the playset.   The Playsets from the first game do not work in this game There are also discs called Toybox Games available which have mini games you can play, though only Marvel characters can play in the Marvel levels.

Black Widow in the Avengers Playset
Black Widow in the Avengers Playset
Hulk can play in the Spiderman playset if you collect his cross-over coins.  Yes, he is driving a car.
Hulk can play in the Spiderman playset if you collect his cross-over coins. Yes, he is driving a car.
Gamora in the Asgard Toy Box
Gamora in the Asgard Toybox Game

The other mode is the Toybox, a sandbox game in which you can build and share your own levels..  Using set pieces unlocked in the game or imported through certain hexagonal power discs, you can create your own level and use any Disney Infinity figure from either game.  You can upload your own levels to the Disney Infinity server or download one of the millions available.  The best part is that if you created a level in the first game or on a different system and uploaded it, you can download it on the PS Vita  (or any) version.

The Toybox offers infinite replay value
The Toybox offers infinite replay value

The PS Vita starter set comes with the game, the Spider-Man Playset, an Infinity Base and a special black-suited Spider-Man  The figurine is the  same as the first – figure, except painted to look like he is sporting the black suit he got in the mid 1980’s.  In the game, he is also dressed in black with no differences to his abilities than the red and blue Spidey.  He even shows up in your Infinity Collection (which tracks what figures you’ve used) as the regular Spider-Man.

The PS Vita Starter Set (minus the game)
The PS Vita Starter Set (minus the game)

Now the Infinity Base for the PS Vita version is unique for two reasons.  First is that there is only room for one figure and play set piece.  This is no surprise as only one person can play it on the Vita at a time.  The second unique thing is that the base is wireless.  Since there is no USB plug on the Vita, the base uses Bluetooth to connect with the handheld.  The base is rechargeable and comes with a USB cable to connect to a computer.

Gameplay-wise, the Vita version is the same as the console ones.  It uses the same figures and playsets as the console version.  The graphics  are not as great as on the PS4, but are fine for the PS Vita (though it is more noticeable playing it on the PS TV.)  Some levels with a large amount of enemies may cause a bit of slow down but  game remains playable.

If I have one problem with this version (and I do) it is that for a game on a portable system, it isn’t very portable.  In order the play the game, you must have the base connected via Bluetooth.  This  can drain your Vita’s power very quickly. especially if you have Wi-Fi on as well.  If you were able to load a character and playset up on the base and them save it on the system, you could turn off the base and take the game like most for the system.  Even if you could only enter the pin from the character pack any play in the ToyBox (like on iOS) you could take the game without the base.  This is not a game that you can take with you easily.

Disney Characters are available too.  Too bad there is no Howard to go with Donald
Disney Characters are available too. Too bad there is no Howard to go with Donald

Overall, the PS Vita version of Disney Infinity: Marvel Superheroes is just as much fun as the home console version.  I always like to see the Vita get more game as there seems to be less and less at the stores.  Unfortunately I don’t think that the next Infinity game will make it to the Vita, which is sad because STAR WARS!  If you have any of the home console versions already, there is not real reason to buy this one, unless you must have a black-suited Spider-Man.  If the PS Vita is the only system you got, get it.  If you are going somewhere and plan to use your PlayStation TV and some figures and playsets, it would be great.  As a game for a handheld system, though, it is not very portable.

Disney Infinity: Marvel Superheroes can be bought online in Canada from EB Games for $59.99.  Some physical stores might have copies available.  See your nearest EB Games for details.

3.5/ 5

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