We return to where it all began in 2011, when we first learned of Neptune, Gamindustri and Arfoire. The beloved PS3 game Hyperdimension Neptunia makes its way to the PS Vita and has been tweaked, altered and upgraded. Do these changes work? Let’s find out!
For gamers new to the series, here’s a little summary of the story. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 takes place in Gamindustri, a parallel universe protected by four goddesses, known as CPUs. Long ago they have been in war with each other for ultimate supremacy, known as the War of the Guardians, which weakened their hold on the nations they protect. This made it possible for Arfoire, the biggest enemy of Gamindustri, to flood the nations with monsters in order take control. During the War of the Guardians one of the CPUs, Neptune, is defeated and thrown to the ground.
This drop caused Neptune to lose her memory and this is where we come in. We need to help her restore her memory as well as defeating the source of all evil in Gamindustri, Arfoire. We meet with Compa and IF and are updated on recent history by a mysterious book. Together we embark on journey to find out what happened, how to set things straight and defeat Arfoire.
When you enter the first dungeon it can be a little overwhelming, there is a lot to learn about the game but the first couple of tutorials are very detailed and will prepare you for the game ahead. Veteran players will notice the first big changes right away. The exploration and combat systems used are the same as used in Hyperdimension Neptunia Mk2 and Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory. It’s possible to jump around, use the treasure sphere and you can move almost freely during battles.
The battles are turn-based and each character has it’s own set of skills. The trick is to weaken your enemy’s guard, the GP bar shows the amount of Guard Points and this needs to be drained so you can continue to hit hard. Later on it’s also possible to use SP, Skill Points, to cast spells and buffs to weaken enemies or upgrade your characters stats. SP is also used to change forms, you go from simple Neptune to her HDD form and change in the Goddess Purple Heart. Changing forms is a very important feature in the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, this will make you a lot stronger and gives new special attacks. The best feature is the EXE drive gauge. When filled you can summon very strong attacks and will come in handy when fighting tough enemies or bosses.
Hyperdimension Re;Birth1 has learned a lot from other games in the series and the changes are a breath of fresh air and made it more fun to explore dungeons and fight off enemies. The possibility to move around during battles and the EXE drive gauge are great additions. That’s not all though, various other gameplay elements have been tweaked as well.
When you’re not in a dungeon you’ll see the World Map. This map shows the different nations and all the dungeons you can travel to. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 updated this feature as well and implemented a couple of changes. It’s possible to move to other nations without the use of a transportation system the original game used. There are four nations, each nation is ruled by it’s own CPU. Planeptune is Neptune’s home, Lastation is ruled by Noire, Leanbox is where Vert is based and Lowee is controlled by Blanc. The nations work with shares, this will give you an idea of how much influence a nation has in Gamindustri.
Selecting a nation will give you a variety of options to play with. There is a shop where you can buy or sell weapons, items used during battle, costumes and materials. The amount of money asked is quite reasonable, soon you will have more than enough money to buy everything you need. The second option is the Guild, here you can select quests to gather materials, weapons, game ideas, advance the story and influence the nations shares. The Disc Development option is here to let you create gamediscs by burning game ideas on a blank disc. Blank discs are earned by defeating tough enemies. Equipped gamediscs will give you certain abilities and stat upgrades. The last option, Museum, gives you the option to listen to the soundtrack or take a look at artwork found during events.
The scouting system from the original has been replaced with the Remake System. The scouts are here but with the new Remake System you don’t have to manually send them around, at certain points in the game or when certain conditions are met they will pop up as little text balloons. Talking to them will give you plans to influence dungeons, create items and alter the game’s difficulty. The plans they give can range from building new weapons, summon tougher enemies and even unlock new dungeons.
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 is one of the best remakes of a game I have played. The developers have clearly learned from the other games in the series and implemented everything that is good from, and thrown away the lesser parts of, the original. The gameplay is significantly improved due to these changes . The story is altered as well, it introduces a few new characters and even addresses story points from previous Hyperdimension Neptunia games. The graphics are almost identical to the PS3 version of the game as well as the soundtrack.
Fans of the Hyperdimension Neptunia games and new players looking for a RPG on-the-go will be delighted with this game. The changes implemented are breath of fresh air, the story is very funny at times and is interesting enough to keep playing for dozens of hours. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 is right at home on the PlayStation Vita and deserves to be in everyones collection.