The Hyperdimension Neptunia series has had a cult following since its American debut in 2011. In this spin off title, Hyperdimension Neptunia Producing Perfection, NIS America and Idea Factory hope to maintain the rabid fan base while straying away from the RPG style game play that the series is known for.
The story begins with the player being unexpectedly transported from their bedroom to the monotonous world of Gamindustri. Upon arrival, our character is informed of the motive behind the abduction. Four singer / dancers called CPUs are in desperate need of a producer. Noire, Blanc, Neptune, and Vert have summoned the would-be producer to assist in their journey to become idols and to dethrone their nemesis on the charts, MOB-48.
Once acclimated in the world of Gamindustri, the producer is presented with the choice of which of the 4 idols to manage. I elected to manage Vert, a busty blonde with an insatiable lust for playing video games. This is where the game began to fall apart for me. Vert mentioned playing the latest 1st person shooter and my ears perked up. The idea of playing a game within a game was tantalizing. I imagined that even a primitive shooting mini game would prove a welcome distraction to this somewhat repetitive idol sim. Regretfully though, my imagination was far better than what the game had to offer. Every mention of playing video games with Vert evolved into merely a screen fade to black and Vert then would appear again in the same static position as before only to explain how much fun the game was to play.
Speaking of static positions, a large portion of this game consists of one or more characters on screen with as little animation as possible. Maintaining the JRPG / Anime esthetic, the animators more than focused on the cast’s “womanly” attributes and gave little effort in much else. The only real gameplay in this title is offered in the form of concerts where players are in control of the camera. Players can pan, tilt, and zoom around the CPUs as they perform their routines. Also, players can unlock stage gimmicks and effects to excite the fans during the shows. Speaking of exciting the fans, once the CPU’s concert performance peaks, the player can trigger a HDD transformation where the on stage idol adorns an even more scantily clad outfit.
Outside of the interactive stage shows, players are tasked with maintaining Personal Skills Status meters. These meters come in the form of Trust, Vocals, Rhythm, Expression, and Knowledge. Each day you’re faced with the decision of choosing a task to focus on. Whether it’s an Ad campaign, studying, practicing, or interacting with the other CPUs each task will satisfy a meter on the status screen. Poor choices will result in a smaller fan base whereas more thought out choices will increase your fan base in turn unlocking additional stage and costume options for you in your journey to the top of the charts. Players also need to manage the CPUs Stress and Guts level by occasionally sending them on excursions as well as interacting with them.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Producing Perfection definitely isn’t going to win any graphical awards. The static and repetitive scenes are sleep inducing. While the concert mode is fully animated, all you can really do as a player is pan and zoom the camera while triggering on stage effects and gimmicks. These effects are passable on the Vita’s OLED screen but would lend themselves more so to a 3D screen.
Each of the CPUs have a distinctly anime esthetic. Fans of the genre will appreciate the wardrobe selection or lack thereof for each would be idol.
For an idol simulation with very little in the graphics department you’d think the audio would be above average. That’s simply not the case in this title. Daily interactions with your CPU end with the same few lines of dialogue. Songs during concerts are identical each time regardless of the amount of idols on stage. Crowds all sound the same at each venue you play.
When attempting to interact with other idols, the conversations can be odd at best. The objective of interaction between CPUs is to befriend them so they’ll join your group. With each conversation with Blanc, she became more combative with my CPU Vert while she continued to react like they were the best of friends. It was almost like they were having 2 different conversations.
Sorry, no multiplayer or co-op in this game.
Ya know that feeling of “just get through it” or, “It’ll get better” when you find yourself knee deep into something you really don’t want to go through? Be it a bad relationship, stomach bug, or a root canal. Well, I couldn’t help be feel that way when playing NIS’ latest title Hyperdimension Neptunia™: Producing Perfection. For as much as I wanted this game to pull through and actually be fun, from the uncomfortably perverted cut scenes and dialogue to the utter lack of game play, I couldn’t wait to put this game behind me.
Publisher: NIS America, Inc.
Developer: IDEA FACTORY / COMPILE HEART / TAMSOFT
Release Date: June 3rd, 2014
Platforms: PlayStation Vita
Rating: ESRB T
Offline Players: 1
Online Players: N/A Competitive: N/A