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

PS Vita Review: Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart

Hypedevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart Title Screen
Hypedevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart Title Screen

Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart is a tactical Role Playing Game developed for the PS Vita by Sting and Compile Heart and published by Idea Factory International. It is a spinoff of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series of games. the game also works on the PlayStation TV micro console.

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

The CPUs are back.  This time, Noire takes charge!
The CPUs are back. This time, Noire takes charge!

The game takes place in an alternate version of the Neptunia series’ setting called Gamarket (as opposed to Gamindustri). Instead of Neptune, the game centers around Noire, the CPU for Lastation (PlayStation) The CPUs fight for control of Gamarket with their armies, and Noire is close to total victory. When a mysterious woman named Eno shows up with a way to achieve peace, however, Noire decides to trust her. It turns out to be a trap and Noire and the rest of the CPUs are stripped of their powers and that land is thrown into chaos. Noire manages to regain a bit of her power and, once she convinced the other CPUs to help her, sets out to recruit an army and free the land.

Noire in her HDD form, Lady Black Heart
Noire in her HDD form, Lady Black Heart

Her army is made up of former generals that followed the CPU in the Console War. Like the CPU, who are avatars of the different game consoles, the generals represent games. Again, all of them are cute anime girls. Some of them represent well known games. Lid, a sneaky lone wolf soldier with a bandana and electronic eye patch, represents the Metal Gear Solid series. Lei Fei, a ‘road pugilist”, is a nod to Chun Li and the Street Fighter series. Lady Wac represents Pac-Man. Other are from lesser known games. Each has their own unique abilities.

Lid (right) is a soldier that likes stealth and hiding in air ducts to spy on people.
Lid (right) is a soldier that likes stealth and hiding in air ducts to spy on people.

The game play is mostly your standard tactical RPG. At the beginning of the battle, you choose what characters to take with you. You assign a leader which gives you certain bonuses depending on which character you choose. You can have up to 5 members in your party. During your turn, you can move your characters and have them either attack, use a skill or use an item, and move.  If you have enough Lily points, you can transform the CPUs into their HDD forms.  One all your actions are used you finish your turn and the enemies them move. The battles end when you complete your objective (usually defeat all enemies of a boss character) or all of you characters die. Some levels however have special rules, such as defusing all bombs within 15 turns or using a switch to access the rest of the area.

Move your units on the battlefield
Move your units on the battlefield
Some areas  have tricks to them, like this train and swtich.
Some areas have tricks to them, like this train and switch.

Like games such as Final Fantasy Tactics, you have to equip your characters and upgrade their weapons Giving you characters better weapons and equipment will increase their attack and defence. Characters will also gain experience and level up in battle. At the end of the battle all characters not K.O.’d , even if they did not participate.

Lily Boost can give you an advantage.
Lily Boost can give you an advantage.

Strategy is also important as you progress through the game. There is a system called Lily Boost in which you can reduce the number of skill points used by having other characters right next to them. when you use a skill or special attack, the characters next to you give you a kiss for good luck. the more characters next to you, the less the action cost. There is a short scene with the girls pecking the attacker on the cheek and the character says a quick line (Neptune sometimes goes, “Wow! Feeling kinda funky!” OF course having al you characters so close leave then open for an area attack, \but you have to decide if it is worth the risk.  You can use the points gained by this to transform the CPUS into their HDD form.

It is so nice to see the girls get along.
It is so nice to see the girls get along.
The more girls the better.
The more girls the better.

The game is well done with the story told in a similar style as the main Neptunia games. The English voice acting cast is back, so the CPUs sound like you expect them to. The graphics are good, with the characters taking on a 3D chibi (big head, small body) look which suite the tone of the game. The cinematics have the characters looking like they do in the main games. There is a lot of fan service too, with scenes of Noire and others in bikinis or in the shower (with strategically placed soap bubbles). These can be viewed at the CPU hotel n the main Lastation hub.

The story is told like in the other Neptunia games.
The story is told like in the other Neptunia games.
Gotta have some fan service!
Gotta have some fan service!

Also in this hub is the mission HQ, where you choose your mission, a store to buy items and equipment, the Basilicomm, where Noire lives and items and disc development where you develop new items or discs to give your characters new bonuses. There are also “locals” you can talk to that may or may not have anything interesting to say.

Lid can be a bit...intrusive.  Noire will sort her out.
Lid can be a bit…intrusive. Noire will sort her out.

I had only started playing Neptunia games recently but this is one of my favorite. I liked Final Fantasy Tactics for the PS1/PSP and, while this one is more tongue-in-cheek, it is as enthralling. The cast of characters are interesting and it is nice to see the focus on one of the other CPU instead of Neptune. Noire, with the rough way she treats her allies is different from Neptune’s easy going yet lazy personality. It is interesting to see Noire try to be a better friend and leader to her teammates.

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Hyperdevotion Noire is a great game for fans of Tactical RPGs and the Neptunia series. It is available as a physical copy or digital download. It is rated T for Teen. Check stores and online for price and availability.

4.5/5

Obvious nod to MGS in Lid's special attack
Obvious nod to MGS in Lid’s special attack
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Compa (pictured) and IF are in the game, but as paid DLC.

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PS Vita Review: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection

NOTE:  THIS REVIEW IS MY OPINION ONLY.  ALL PICTURES ARE CAPTURED IN GAME WITH MY PS VITA.  ENJOY.

Producing Perfection
Producing Perfection

Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection is a idol-raising simulation game featuring the characters and settings from the Hyperdimension Neptunia series.  It was developed for the PS Vita by Idea Factory, Compile Heart and Tamsoft and published in North America by NIS America.  It is a spin off of the main Neptunia series but is not considered canon in the overall story.

You know when a game is too out there for the Neptunia franchise, it is going to be starnge.
You know when a game is too out there for the Neptunia franchise, it is going to be strange.

In the game, peace rains over Gameindustri and the four CPUs have entered into a competitive, yet stable peace.  But a new threat has emerged, taking shares away from the Goddesses and stealing their fans away.  This threat: MOB48, an all girl pop idol group.  The four CPUs meet to discuss hope to handle this threat and decide that the only course of action is to become Idols themselves (because naturally…)  They use their remaining power to summon a producer (you) to guide them to the top of the charts.

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The Four CPUs (Console Patron Units) team up to stop MOB48 from taking over

The goal of the main game, Producer Mode is to manage and train one of the girls to become the top idol in Gameindustri.  You do so by either doing Work in which you do ads, interviews or recordings to increase their popularity; Lessons, which improve your vocals, acting skills and coordination or Relax, in which you can lover stress, improve their relationship with the other CPUs or your own relationship with your idol (yes, apparently there is a possibility of romance).  You can also move to a different land to get more fans and, every so often, put on a concert.

Vert is the most mature of the four girls (as least physically), and managing her seems slightly less creepy.  Slightly.
Vert is the most mature of the four girls (as least physically), and managing her seems slightly less creepy. Slightly.
Most times, your idol's day is spending by choosing either Work, Training, Rest, Move or Concert
Most times, your idol’s day is spending by choosing either Work, Training, Rest, Move or Concert

The concert mode is the most involved mode of the game.  You chose the setting, the song, the special effects, which can boost audience enjoyment and the outfit your Idol wears (in both normal and HDD mode).  During the “concert” (which is one song), you control the camera angle and the special effects.  FInd the right angle and the fan’s enjoyument increases.  Set off a special effect to get bonuses to the score.  As well, if you activate Hard Drive Divinity (HDD) Mode, your stats increase.  You can only use HDD mode during solo concerts and only with your Idol’s signature song.

Close ups and stage effects can win over more fans.
Close ups and stage effects can win over more fans.
Shifting into HDD mode can boost your concert score.
Shifting into HDD mode can boost your concert score.

Other modes in the game include Unlimited Concert, in which you can use up to three CPUs and perform any some you’ve unlocked with any outfits you have for the characters and Viewer ij which you can.. well, look at the characters in any outfits you have unlocked for them.  You can even set up an alarm to go off at a certain time (as long as the game is running to wait up to once of their voices.

You can look at the girls in View Mode.  Dress them up and watch them pose.  Just...don't poke them.  You're above that.
You can look at the girls in View Mode. Dress them up and watch them pose. Just…don’t poke them. You’re above that.

Overall, the game is simple, yet addicting.  Much of the game is choosing an option and then watching the result.  But the characters are fully voice acted and it’s well done.   Like in the main series, the girls have their own quirks (Neptune is lazy, Noire is overly aggressive, Vert is competitive and Blanc is defensive.  So you have at least four storylines to play through.  More items for the concert mode unlock as you play and you want to see how well you can do with your Idol.  You could easily lose yourself in the game.

All of the girl's scenes are voiced by the same actresses from the main series.
All of the girl’s scenes are voiced by the same actresses from the main series.

Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection is definitely a different type of game than what we usually get over here.  I bought iut on a whim, having bought Re:Birth1 recently (and reviewed it too on this site).  I was expecting something more like Project Diva, a rhythm game but with the Neptunia characters.  Instead I got an Idol raising sim with a full story line and good English voice acting to boot.  As I said before, I like when we get the unusual stuff from Japan and this certainly qualifies as unusual.

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Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection is available as a physical copies or as a download from the PlayStation Store.

3/5

PS Vita Review- HyperDimension Neptunia; ReBirth1

 

NOTE:  THIS REVIEW IS MY OPINION ONLY.  ALL IMAGES TAKE FROM THE GAME WITH MY PS VITA.

HyperDimension Neptunia

HyperDimension Neptunia; ReBirth 1 is a Japanese Role-Playing Game (JRPG) on the PlayStation Vita. It was developed by Compile Hearts, Idea Factory (IF) and Felistella and published in North America by Idea Factory International. It is a remake of Hyperdimension Neptunia for the PS3 which saw a western release in 2011.

HyperDimension Neptunia takes place in a realm called Gameindustri during a period called the Console Wars. Four lands are at war for supremacy, represented in combat by their Console Patron Unit or CPU. The lands and their CPUs are; Lastation, with Noire (Purple Heart), Leanbox with Vert (Green Heart), Lowee with Blanc (White Heart) and Planetptune, with the titular heroine, Neptune. All of them are cute anime girls.

The Console Wars involved anime chicks fighting each other, apparently.
The Console Wars involved anime chicks fighting each other, apparently.

In case you didn’t notice, each character/realm represents a video game console. Noire is the PS3, Vert is Xbox 360 and Blanc is the Wii. Neptune represents Sega , and her name is a nod to the Sega Neptune, a Sega Genesis/ 32X hybrid that was planned but cut in favor of the Saturn. Why didn’t they reference the Saturn or the Sega Dreamcast, the console that lost the actual console war? I don’t know. Sega distributed the original game in Japan; maybe they did not want to bring up sad memories?

Neptune in her normal form. !
Neptune in her normal form.

So as you can guess from above, the console war does not go well for Neptune. At the start, she is knocked from the heavens and crashes down to Planetptune. She is found by a well-meaning but a bit ditzy woman named Compa who helps her recover. Neptune has lost her memory, though, and is in contact with a mysterious voice named Histoire, who needs her help. Along with another adventurer named IF (called Iffy by the girls), they set out to travel the lands to regain Nep-Nep’s (Compa’s nick name for Neptune) memory. Along the way they discover a plot to take over the realms from the CPUs and encounter the CPUs as well.

Left to Right:  Compa, Neptune and IF
Left to Right: Compa, Neptune and IF

The game play is typical of JRPGs with your character fighting monsters to level up and get money to upgrade weapons, armour and get supplies. Battles take place in areas you get to from the world map. Enemies are visible are you move around the area and combat is initiated only if you get to close, perform a symbol attack (attack first) or trigger an in game event. Combat is turned based, with each character able to move in a certain area during their turn and attack, either with a physical attack with their weapon, a skill attack or magic. Combat end one the enemy is defeated (with surviving party members getting XP) or when the party falls.

Battles are turn-based.
Battles are turn-based.

Certain characters, such as Neptune have another skill called Hard Drive Divinity ,in which they transform into their CPU or Goddess forms. Neptune transforms into Purple Heart and her attacks and stats increase (as well as not looking like a loli) You can change and upgrade you HDD form with game discs as you progress in the game. You can do the same with the other CPU characters if you recruit them along the way.

Neptune transformed into PurpleHeart
Neptune transformed into PurpleHeart

 

This game is a pretty fun JRPG. The setting is truly unique and but it plays like you typical Final Fantasy-type game, which is a good thing. The characters are interesting and have English voice actors bring them to life. Sure the character design is a bit cutesy but it works in this type of RPG; one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Sometimes the character or Neptune is self-aware, commenting on how the game is a remake and how certain event did not occur in the same way as the last game.

 

Overall, this is a great RPG for the PS Vita, which seems to be having a drought in games. This is not the only HyperDimension Neptunia game for the Vita as there is an Idol training sim HyperDimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection out as well. They are planning to release a remake of the second game as well as two other spinoffs (one featuring Noire/Blackheart, the PlayStation avatar in a lead role as well as an action game developed by TAMISOFT who did Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus) for the PS Vita in the next few months. So there will be a lot of Neptune and the girls available for the Vita in 2015 This game is solid addition to the PS Vita catalogue.

 

Compa is your party's healer, but she tends to go a bit overboard with the bandages.
Compa is your party’s healer, but she tends to go a bit overboard with the bandages.

4/5