Hyperdimesion Neptuinia Victory was a game I wasn’t sure that I was going to get or not. I would see the first or second game of the series on the shelves and I would be skeptical at best. “Purple, Japanese style girls with serious looks on their faces, would I really enjoy this game?” I thought to myself once or twice. I did a little research into it to find out what kind of game I was thinking about getting into. The Hyperdimension series focuses on the console wars and attempts to humanize them, in almost a visual novel style. I went out and bought the first one that day. Here’s a review on this crazy, meta, but extremely fun game.
Victory starts by explaining the world players will be in: Gamindustri. The world is divided into four parts: Planeptune, Lastation, Lowee, and Leanbox. After that, you are thrown into a fight against three heavily armored characters. However: this fight is just to introduce you to the characters. After the battle, you head into the “real world”, where the main character and her friends are all playing a video game together. The main character, Neptune, is a cheery and happy-go-lucky character. She’s not the most driven to work, but she’s always looking to have fun. The game goes on to show her antics with her friends: Blanc, Vert, and Noire. Neptune’s first task is going into a dungeon and promptly getting sucked into a worm hole. It sends her back to before her time, when the other nations were just starting to form. Neptune knows she has to find some way to get back home to her own time.
The game is two parts visual novel, one part dungeon crawling RPG. This game will definitely take up a lot of your time to do everything. While the game focuses on a story, there is no lack in fun gameplay. The main cities have shops (for items), item developers, and a Basilicom (where players will get quests to get money, items, and experience). Each dungeon houses a number of enemies, with the occasional boss. Players will get very familiar with the dungeons, as they will be revisited multiple times over for quests to to travel between different cities.
As a dungeon crawler, combat is turn based. Players move the characters around a defined area in attempts to get the best location to start their attack. The combination system allows players to combine either rush (multiple hit) attacks, power attacks, or guard break attacks in any way they see fit. As the characters level up, they will get stronger and different attacks to customize the combination system. Items are in the field to be picked up, and players are given a search ability to find hidden items throughout the dungeon as well.
As a visual novel, the idea of a 4th wall doesn’t really apply to the game, and that’s the series’ charm. Neptune constantly refers to herself as the main character (which is why she’s the best, right?), along with noting on different tropes that the video game world offers. Victory will even reference some of the previous games in the series along with other games out there. The villains that are fighting against you are focuses of problems in the industry (Ie: Piracy, copying games, hacking, etc.). The characters also talk to the player directly at the end of every chapter, critiquing them on their performance throughout the level. To some, this could get annoying. I was laughing throughout the entire time and having a great time with the game.
Characters are also a big part of this game. Each character, even the main villains are in some way easy and bring their own charm to the game. Whether it’s lazy Neptune, cool and collected Noire, over exuberant Copypaste, or naive Plutia, each character grows on you in some way throughout the game. The main characters also have a different personality when they transform, but I’ll let you all see that when you play the game.
While the game is good, battles can be a bit tricky at times. Characters will go through SP quickly, and there aren’t many ways to restore SP. The attack system isn’t always the most uniform either. While the game does have an order where enemies will be attacking, it’s not always with the same enemies from battle to battle. However: getting out of the dungeon restores your health and SP, so it’s only a minor annoyance if players really need to restore their stats.
The game is a Japanese RPG. JRPG’s normally take great pride on their graphics and beautiful landscape. This game is no different from the rest. Area’s do get used multiple times, but there is still enough to keep players interested. The characters themselves are also well modeled and thought out. Each city and dungeon has their own life to it, their own feel. Weapons and clothes for the characters also change as you equip different items to them.
The audio is very game oriented. By that, I mean it’s a lot of electronic music and stereotypical styles of music from other games in the RPG realm. Each dungeon has their own feel with their own music, but there is nothing outstanding about the music in this game. The voice acting is very well done for each of the characters. Like many RPG’s, they will have the same few lines said multiple times, but it can be overlooked.
Victory is definitely a fun game for those who like the JRPG style of games. Fans of the visual novel genre, or those looking for a fun story, will also enjoy this game. Without a doubt though, start with the first of the series to give it a try if you are still unsure. Frankly, it’s cheaper than the latest one in the series, but you will also miss something if you don’t play through the other two games. Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory is definitely a game that is a separate experience from many other games out there, while still taking tropes and styles from many other games in the same genre.
A solid 8.5 / 10
Publisher: NIS America Developer: Compile Heart, Idea Factory
Release Date: US- March 21, 2013, EU- March 15, 2013
Price: US – $50, EU – £50 Rating: ESRB: T, PEGI: 12
Players: Single Player
*Note: Requires an HD TV to play this game*